depression matters

Q: Asalaamalaykum,

May Allah swt reward you for your noble efforts for answering our questions, and helping us better our selves.

Imam,

I have been feeling depressed, and just not happy.  I have good days and bad days, and most days so far have been bad.  I feel like things have not been going the way that I have planned, my parents are not proud of me, I didn’t do anything haraam or inappropriate, I just haven’t done much that has made my family proud of me.

Allhumdulilah I have a job, I have a family, food, a shelter, but I feel like my life is going no where right now, I would like to go to graduate school but It’s been real difficult for me to study for admission exams and I have so many things going on right now as far as my work goes.

My question is, what is the Islamic remedy for me to just be happy, feeling good, and etc.  I understand we should read Quran, and do more ibaadah (worship) but where does one start? If you can please explain what Allah swt has prescribed us to do during hard times, and times where we feel low, depressed, and nothing is going the way we would like it to, that would be helpful.

Jazakhallah khair

Time: Saturday September 25, 2010 at 1:56 pm

Q: Imaam, I suffer from depression. Whenever I go out and come home I feel sick. My parents poor and so i feel depressed? Why am I not in school. Why do my sisters do better then me.  sometimes i do not eat for day and just feel depressed depressed Can you help. (text)

Q: Does islam have a cure for depression? Anxiety? (email)

Answers:

Depression and losing hope in modern times is partly as a result of lifestyle choices and expectations we have set in motion for ourselves due to the impact we have let our environments have upon us.  When we let our environments control our values and belief system, it contributes to an internal as well as spiritual chaos. It is essential that you evaluate all your choices/needs in light of religion and be content with your lot in life while seeking to be the best you can be in all of what you do. This would require an evaluation of academic choices, friendship bonds, employee/er relations, etc. Not doing so would gradually diminish the quality of your life, resulting in spiritual/physical ailments that could well be prevented with correct diagnosis and choice making strategies. (Kindly read up on the literature as it relates to what is termed as QOL)

*Hints to eliminating depression: In worldly matters we are directed to surround people that are simple in comparison to us so we can appreciate life more. In spiritual matters go towards the most pious (taqwa) oriented people. By contrast, when around affluent folks, remain thankful to Allah for the bounties He has showered upon you. Likewise, rather than seeing others in a positive light, you should be thankful for the blessings Allah has bestowed upon you. Yes, the wealth others have may seem good to you, but they may lack health which may not be apparent to you, or they may lack children that love them for who they are. By contrast a poor person may lack wealth and health but may possess better grades, manners, prayer habits, generosity, etc. Knowing who you are in relation to others and understating well what the Creator demands also part of the definition of assisting the self in being grateful. (Being happy and grateful would lower your level of depression.)

*Some are just attention seekers: Some people get sad because people just do not praise them enough, fulfill their wants, etc. The feeling of ‘let down’ should be as a result of not getting enough pats on the back. As we mature, we must train ourselves and our young ones that everyone is not going to give us a gentle pat on the back for every little (big)  thing we do. Thus, we must learn to become stronger. Grow up to the realities of the world and not be fragile beyond the point of necessity.

*Sometimes families are not proud of their young ones for personal/selfish reasons. Some parents have unrealistic expectations push to attain that which they (parents) have failed to attain in their youth. Other times they want their child(ren) to keep up with the status-quo they have conjured.   Yet some parents are justified in their criticism because the child is not living up to the child’s maximized potential. If you have done your best is all that relates to you, then continue doing good things for yourself and Akirah (Hereafter), do not let people pull you down. Keep your eyes on your goal(s) and do not move away from them. At the same time, keep your options open as it relates to your education/career choices.

*The feeling of ‘going nowhere’ can work both – in your favor as well as an impediment. It is good to feel ‘you are going nowhere’ if seeking higher goals is your route. ‘Feeling that you are going nowhere,’ when in reality you have a proven record of success is not good. While I agree that you must be proud of your accomplishments, you must set new realistic targets to keep yourself positively occupied.

* Possible spiritual remedies: Islamic requires accepting your condition whilst striving for constant betterment. This is achieved with reading salah with devotion, listening and reading to the quaran, tasbeeh, keeping a smile, remembering the small/big favors people have done for you, giving help to a needy person, etc. These little things can take away the sulkiness s well as the gloom of the day. These are things that you should try and do everyday, no just one day!

Additionally, start to exercise, read things that are part of your field, get a good Islamic book that makes you feel good about yourself – a favorite Muslim author of the past (Gazali, etc.) and read it every day for 10 minutes. Act upon whatever you have read to the best of your ability. The idea is not to read a different book each day. Just one good spiritually motivational book for life for 10 minutes a day. I think this would do you wonders. Reduce your intake of junk foods for this makes your body weak over a period of time, also lead to unwanted ills. Try the above; we are sure you would go a long way, Ameen.

Allah Certainly Knows Best.

P.s. Medically related imbalances can also be a cause of depression as well, for this you can go to your favorite doctor.

One response to “depression matters

  1. worried mother

    As-salaam-alaikum. Being a mother of two teenagers, my heart bleeds to hear a youth in this state. Depression is all of the things the Imam stated plus, can be a chemical imbalance. Although, I am not an advocate for medications to solve our problems, if you are suffering from depression for more than a year, than I would like to suggest that you seek counelling from a psychologist. I know, it has a negative conotation in our community but, so what? Often as college students a counselor is available to help talks things out with you and listen and help. Also, if you belong to a mosque, seek to speak with an aunty in your community you trust to support, to speak with the Imam for continued guidance and pray to Allah (swt) for he will surely help you and it will be a good form of meditation to get away from your depression when you thank him (swt) for what you do have and not what you don’t. Often, I am grateful but the physical things in life are not worth it versus your health. Only when you suffer from illness do you realize the importance of good health and your youth. Always look at the glass half full not half empty but, never hesitate to resort to medication if prescribed by a doctor however, excericse creates a chemical in your body that is the same as this medication and it will help you out of depression. You are also what you eat, so eat healthy, eat halal as prescribed in the Quran and you will see a difference. I am advising you this because I have suffered from depression and no one knows and may think I have everything. I am depressed because I can no longer do the things I want to do because of my health. I have done the above advise myself and it has helped me tremendously. Please do not wait to seek help or to talk to someone for I would not like to see any youth suffer. If you live in Utah, come volunteer at Sunday school and you will feel useful and have a purpose and cheer up being around other people.