In this counseling answer:
• Counseling and often medication are very effective treatments for depression.
• Support groups for depression are empowering.
As Salam Alaykum sister,
Thank you for your question. Yes, depression is very real. According to the NIMH, “An estimated 16.2 million adults in the United States had at least one major depressive episode. This number represented 6.7% of all U.S. adults.” This is for the US only. Can you imagine what the statistics are worldwide?
Depression is one of the most commonly diagnosed mental health disorders. There are many types of depression sister and it can be a long-term (chronic) depression or an acute episode (short term, intense). Whatever kind of depression you have, please do seek help.
Counseling and often medication are very effective treatments for depression.
The questions that you asked regarding “how to find hope; how to find the value in living; how to be motivated to participate in life” are all questions that depressed people ask. Why? Because they are in a state of a deep, chronic sadness.
Depression can change the neurotransmitters in our brains. MentalHelp states that “Depression has been linked to problems or imbalances in the brain with regard to the neurotransmitters serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine”. While this hypothesis is not a definitive it is supported by the fact that antidepressants which work with these neurotransmitters help alleviate depression and “help the brain” to heal and restore it back to its “normal state”.
You are not weak, sister. Quite the opposite. You are strong in your determination to overcome your depression. That is why you wrote to us. I admire you for that. It takes strength, which you have.
Having depression isn’t related to how much of the Qur’an you read or how pious of a Muslim you are. It is a very real medical condition just like diabetes or high blood pressure and must be treated.
Sister, I am not sure if you have seen a therapist, or have had counseling or medication for depression but I highly recommend that you seek out a good therapist in your area for an assessment as well as treatment. You will be surprised insha’Allah by what a big difference seeking the correct treatment can make.
I also urge you, sister, to reach out to others who have gone through depression to see how they have successfully dealt with it. Support groups for depression are empowering. You would meet with others in a safe space wherein you will hear others talk about their depression, what helped, what didn’t as well as how they coped. You can gain valuable coping skills as well as be able to share your feelings (if you choose) with people who understand as they are going through or have gone through the same as you.
Sister, the hope lies in being open-minded and trying new ways to heal-it lies in the fact that Allah loves you and desires for you to heal.
The value in living can be understood as a joy and a gift given to us from Allah and the motivation to participate lies within your hearts desires.
What is it that you desire, sister? Well, you may not know right now as you are in a state of depression, but insha’Allah when you are on the way to healing, you will feel like a brand new wonderful person, filled with hope, aspirations, plans for the future as well as an appreciation for life. Allah wants that for you as do the people who love you.
Please give yourself a chance, give those who love you a chance to see the real you come shining through. Millions of people have conquered depression and you will too. It will take a first step of reaching out and getting help and being open to healing modalities. But you can do it.
I feel your strength and your desire to feel good, alive and joyful coming through your question.
Sister, please do get in touch with a good therapist as soon as possible to begin your journey towards healing.
Please do insha’Allah let a family member or friend (a safe person) know how you are feeling. Make a promise to yourself that you will not harm yourself, that you will reach out to someone should you feel suicidal and you will not act upon your feelings. Put this promise in writing.
If you ever do feel suicidal, please contact your safe person and call the suicide prevention hotline at 1-800-273-8255. If this is not for your country, sister, please do look up the hotline number for your country.
There is hope, sister. Your success is the hope that others are waiting to hear.
We wish you the best,
Disclaimer: The conceptualization and recommendations stated in this response are very general and purely based on the limited information provided in the question. In no event shall AboutIslam, its counselors or employees be held liable for any damages that may arise from your decision in the use of our services.