When I was laid off in November last year, I felt like I was at the lowest point in my life. I was truly devastated. It was my first job after graduating from university and I enjoyed the financial independence it afforded me.

But what I thought only happened in movies, happened to me. I consider myself lucky for having a strong support system. My family and friends gave me continuous moral support and told me that it was a test from Allah SWT that I had to endure in dunya. I have to admit that, initially, this advice was difficult for me to take in. I told myself then, no one could truly understand how I feel unless they had experienced it themselves.

To add more salt to the wound, I was also deeply wounded by a failed romance. It was the first time I had ever pursued someone and it didn’t go as I expected. This made me even more vulnerable and it deeply impacted on my self-worth. I cried myself to sleep every single night since the day and I refused to go back home for several days so I could party my feelings away with friends (Since I still live with my parents, it definitely worried them).

But partying constantly exhausted me and I soon realise that, what I got was only temporary emotional comfort. It got to a point where I contemplated seeking professional help and admitting myself to the local hospital just to cope with my emotional distress and get medication for my insomnia.

“O you who have believed! Seek help in patience and prayer. Indeed, Allah is with the patient.” (Qur’an 2:153)

However, Praise to Allah SWT, the struggle didn’t last too long. A few weeks later, I received a text message from my mother, reminding me to not miss my daily prayers. It was then that I finally snapped out of it. I was too distracted by the tribulations of dunya that I had forgotten that Allah SWT is actually testing my faith by taking away a job that I loved and put so much pride in. In my depression, I had forgotten to seek emotional refuge from the one person that was able to help, Allah SWT, the Almighty. Instead I chose to neglect my daily duties as a muslim and this had led me astray.

I have forgotten that when we supplicate, “Allah SWT hears when He is called and He answers when He is invoked” (Qur’an, 2:186). During my recovery, I was reminded that when Allah SWT takes away something from you, He compensates it with something better, but only if you are patient and seek his reward.

From that moment onwards, I did a lot of self-reflecting and tried to find the silver linings in all the things that had happened. Praise to Allah SWT, I got some of the answers that I needed during the time to move forward in life.

I realised that despite the loss that I have endured, I finally have more time at home to spend with my family, which I didn’t often have when I was employed (I used to work on public holidays!). My little brother who is in his adolescence – I finally got to hear his voice slowly crack into a man’s voice.

A very good friend of mine shared this verse from the Quran:

“Do you expect to enter Paradise without being tested like those before you? They were tested with hardship and adversity, and were shaken up, until the Messenger and the believers said, ‘When will God send help?’ Certainly God’s help is near.”(Quran, 2:214)

Alhamdulillah, coming into the New Year, I am feeling much better and more empowered and blessed at the same time. Thus here I am, writing my first entry for you. For me to actually write this personal anecdote isn’t easy.

With the little courage that I have gathered, I hope that this piece of writing will help inspire others who are going through similar hardships.

Allah SWT too has promised (twice) that, “Verily with hardship comes ease.” (Qur’an, 94:5-6)