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Feeling Bad About Myself & Losing Motivation

Questioner

C

Reply Date

Apr 18, 2017

Question

As-Salamu Alaykum. I have been experiencing really hard financial problems to the point where I have no money in my bank account. I have many debts to pay. On top of that, I have been going through these feelings of depression and not feeling good about myself. I have no aspiration or motivation and I don't feel happy in my life. I have changed a lot in my life with respect to my way of dressing and alhamdulillah I no longer do the stuff I used to do. But I don't feel as if I am progressing in this life. I know I shouldn't be worried about this dunya (world) and put my trust in Allah (SWT). But I don't feel happy in the city I am currently living in. Sometimes, I get these feelings of just leaving my family and going to an unknown place where no one knows me. It hurts sometimes my family members when they see the way I am living my life. I am not doing anything in my life because I have lost all motivation. I used to be a happy person filled with excitement. I don't know if the depression has severely changed me. But what must I do if my family members wish for me to die because they think that I am worthless? I see my friends and family members getting married and they say to me that you have to get on with your life. My friends are surpassing me in this life and it really upsets me when they say such things because I am not a jealous person and I naturally want good for everyone. How do I increase my motivation and happiness? If I am unhappy living in a city that is not going for, what can I do as a single Muslim woman to live on her own and move to another city? I pray my prayers sometimes and I have been making lots of du’aa’ to Allah (SWT) to relieve me of my problems and to forgive me. My family is impatient with me because my personality has changed. I don't know what is going on with me. I am in a situation where I don't know what to do. I have been invoking Allah (SWT) to help me. But I feel as if I am getting no answer. I wanted to know what I can do to change my life around and feel happy in the things Allah (SWT) gives me. I have many goals with respect to the religion.

Counselor

Answer


Feeling Bad About Myself & Losing Motivation

Answer:

As-Salamu `Alaikum,

It seems you have some stressors in your life that have gravely affected your mood and day-to-day activities. It is very difficult and perhaps impossible to remotely diagnose you with any condition. Therefore, all I can say is that you are presenting symptoms that are usually seen with depression. They are usually characterized by low mood, loss of motivation, being lethargic, feelings of worthlessness and suicidal ideation among other symptoms. I will try to address your concerns step-by-step in the order of importance to me as a counselor.

Firstly, since we are possibly dealing with depression, it would be helpful to assess how severe your depression is. If you have had thoughts of harming yourself, then you need to seek immediate counseling in person to make sure you get the help you need to stay safe.

The next thing that is concerning is your lack of motivation and feelings of worthlessness. There are two different strategies that I can suggest to help uplift your mood and feelings.

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You seem to have lost motivation to do things you once loved to do, therefore, you feel as though your personality has changed. Make a list of perhaps 10 things that you used to enjoy doing. Pick one thing from that list and engage in that particular behavior every day for a period of 15 minutes. For example, if you used to enjoy exercising, I want you to deliberately take out 15 minutes of your daily schedule to exercise. It can be anything like taking a walk outside, riding a bicycle, jogging in the park, etc. Once you are able to do this activity for about 15 minutes every day, go ahead and add another activity from that list of enjoyable things. Continue to include these activities in your daily schedule.

At the beginning, all this will be very difficult because you have no motivation to do or complete the 15 minutes, but you need to consciously push yourself. If it helps, you can maybe find a buddy to give you company, like an exercise buddy who works out with you every day.

Another thing you can do is work on your thoughts. When you think of anything negative, write down your thoughts and then evaluate them. For example, let’s say you wrote down, “I have nothing to be happy about in my life.” I want you to evaluate the statement looking for any extreme words such as “never, nothing, no one, always, etc.”

Now, ask yourself, “Do I really have ‘nothing’ to be happy about in my life?” Nothing? Good health? Family? Friends? Life? There must be something in your life that you have and makes you happy. You need to think about these things and write them down next to that statement you wrote earlier. This activity will help you evaluate your thought and correct any extreme negative statements that you may think or believe.

You mentioned that you are having financial difficulties. It was unclear from your question as to what you are currently doing. Are you in college? Working part-time? Have you completed any college education? Without responses to these questions, this is a bit difficult to address.

However, in general, can recommend a few things. If you are unemployed and have a college degree, I would strongly recommend that you approach your college career center and request some career counseling. This service is usually free to all alumni students; you could do the same if you are a currently enrolled student.

Career counselors can be very helpful in guiding students in the direction that best suits the students’ personality and needs. You may be thinking about changing careers since you are not progressing with your current one; again, the career services can be helpful.

If you don’t have access to college career services, typically public libraries or government offices have events for helping people build job skills and find new jobs. You may need to do an internet search to find those as I’m not very familiar with the Canadian system.

Again, I am not sure if your family would allow this, but have you thought about perhaps moving to another city if the city you live in is not offering any opportunities for you? Is this a possible move? If it is, then once you have recovered from your presenting feelings, it may be a good idea to evaluate options available outside your current city. However, moving to a new city on your own requires preparation, research, money and planning. Be sure to have everything planned out before you make a decision.

You expressed some discomfort regarding your friends getting married and your parents’ dissatisfaction with you. Perhaps your parents are unaware of what your symptoms mean and they may also not know how to help you overcome it. You have done the right thing by reaching out for help via this website. Once your mood is stable, and you find your old self again, hopefully things will begin to fall back into place.

I strongly recommend that you see a counselor and get evaluated for the symptoms you are presenting with. Often universities offer free or sliding scale fee clinics where you can see counselors for a very low rate. You may have to do an internet search to find a local non-profit agency that offers low rates for counseling.

Salam,

***

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About Hwaa Irfan

Late Hwaa Irfan, may her soul rest in peace, served as consultant, counselor and freelance writer. Her main focus was on traditional healing mechanisms as practiced in various communities, as opposed to Western healing mechanisms.

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