I believe the title sums it up but for anyone who may be perplexed then what I mean is a fish resides in water in order to survive, without it, it suffocates and dies. Similarly, self-harm resides in gluten, without it, the self-harm will suffocate and cease to exist.
That’s not to say self-harm is only caused by gluten, rather it is one cause of destruction. Before anyone imagines that the consumption of a baguette or sandwich causes a person to slash their wrists, I’d like to clarify that the self-harm about to be mentioned is on a mental or spiritual level.
As you are already aware, gluten, grains and soya products cause me problems and I should avoid them at all costs. When I did a clean eating program with a coach and weekly ‘check-ins’ which lasted three months shortly after discovering I was allergic/sensitive/whatever you wanna call it to gluten I learnt to eat clean. Good clean food. No checimals, no junk, no rubbish, no E numbers, nothing processed or out of a packet. Just raw food that naturally decomposes and goes mouldy after a few days! Anyway, yes I slipped up every now and then and found it hard as I was re-training my brain and body but eventually eating clean became second nature to me. It really was a no brainer and I was coming up with new foodie concoctions of my own.
So after the three months were over I was adequately trained to carry on with a decent life with good food. I should state it was a paleo program I followed because I needed to be grain free and since then I learnt about raw milk in the Sunnah and started drinking that and discovered it really was a cure for me. So I moved away from this paleo thing and I eat in a way which fits in with my religion more importantly and whatever foods my body can tolerate.
I discovered, eventually, that potatoes don’t harm me so now I eat them and life’s all good and various other changes have been made. Now, along the way I got a little over excited and was slowly introducing new ‘treats’ in order to avoid insane cravings and reaching for chocolate bars or awful sweets and so on. I know I’ve fallen ill several times but I put this down to my new job and generally, I shrugged off any sickness I felt.
This is where my heart breaks and I feel like giving myself a huge slap… I’m an idiot. All these foods I have been eating do contain minor traces of gluten even though some food say gluten free or nothing is listed under the allergy advice. Basically, gluten has been lurking in thickening agents. I know things like gravy and other popular foods use cornflour to thicken foods. I just happened to pop onto facebook last night to visit a gluten group and after scrolling through old posts by members I saw alerts left, right and centre about hidden gluten. How could I be so stupid? How could I be so careless? I did one google search and there was plenty of material out there confirming what people were saying. All I did was ONE search. Why didn’t I do it before? Where did my common sense go?!
It gets worse. I’ve had stomach aches and slight discomfort in my belly for the last couple of weeks at least. Pain is something relatively insignificant to me, I have a high pain threshold so I just ignore pain and hope it goes away. It usually does. This didn’t. It came back again, and again, and again and I continued to ignore it. What is wrong with me?! I know pain means something is wrong. Over the years I would wake up with stomach aches and would be worried I’d end up in hospital one day (I have an interesting fear of hospitals – don’t worry, I’m so over it now). I noticed after going strictly paleo that I no longer have stomach aches in the morning and as previously mentioned in another post, a nurse thinks it may have been the start of coeliac for me and Allaah knows best. But seriously, how could I be so stupid? Stomach aches and I ignore them ’cause I’m a tough gal..!
But I can top it that little bit more. I’ve been tired, wanting to rest and sleep in. Again, thought it was because I was getting ill from my new job, maybe I was overworked etc plus it’s now the holidays and clearly the best place to be is in bed!! I mean that’s fine right? Yes… if you’re eemaan isn’t at a stand still and you know you’re slacking when it comes to the Deen or religion. This is what hurts me, my carelessness and stupidity were responsible for my laziness. I keep banging on about how I need to use my free time wisely, targets I have, things I want to do, ways I want to progress and so on and I KNOW for a fact that all of this is only possible if I treat my body right.
Right now whatever I eat, no matter what it is, my stomach hurts. I can ignore it and I do but it’s a reminder of my foolishness. I’ve said it before, that whether or not you have coeliac, gluten sensitivity, IBS, Crohn’s, diabetes or whatever you NEED a good clean diet. Even if you’re not sick or have no allergies, we have all been given blessings which we neglect; good health and free time. Gluten is harmful to me and no doubt many of you but you simply do not know or you CHOOSE to ignore what you do know. Why? Because we give into temptations and our desires. I have had too many conversations to count with so many people who agree that gluten must be bad for us all after they themselves have read and seen the evidencs supporting it. Yet they turn to me and say “wow, I admire you, I could never do that because I love bread and pasta too much.” Desires! You love it yes but you can survive without it! You will be healthier without it. InshaaAllaah you will live longer without it. You can worship Allaah more and better without it! I know because this is what my life is like now, Allaahu Akbar.
When your eemaan dips so far that you can’t see a way back, may Allaah protect you from this aameen, you won’t know if you’ll be guided back to a better life. You won’t know if you’ll ever have khushoo again, you won’t know if you’ll have the opportunity to pray again, you don’t know if you’ll have a chance to repent, if you’ll see another Ramadhaan, if you’ll perform Hajj and so on.
Perhaps I was neglectful prior to those several years when Allaah tested me but I can say I would do anything to not return to those dark and wasteful days. Perhaps that was what I needed in order to fix up and teach me a lesson. Yes, alhamdulillaah it worked for me and I’m grateful for being tested in the way that I was. I don’t say any of this to boast or show-off, indeed I have nothing to boast or show-off about because I’m full of flaws and the very reason for me writing this post is because I was foolish and neglectful after having knowledge of foods that harm me. I say it so it can make you think about your life. Where you are now, where you want to be and your ultimate goal for the Hereafter.
Don’t wait for something so extreme to happen to you before you sort you life out because you don’t know when your time on Earth is up and the deadline for increasing in good deeds is over.
This is advice to myself first. Apparently wise people learn from another person’s mistakes. So take note.
Forgive me if I sound harsh, rude or opinionated, I only intend good to be taken from this. May Allaah help us all and grant us good eternal dwelling. May He grant us an increase in knowledge and the understanding of the Sunnah and the path of the Sunnah, aameen.