In this counseling answer:
“Long-term depression is not something that can be stopped just because one desires to. The body is finely tuned to the mind, and physiological aspects like how you sleep or eat, metabolism, heart rate and your immune system are affected by long-term depression. If you can consider a sport like swimming, or any other sport that is physically demanding, this would help undo what your depression has caused.”
As Salamu ‘Alaykum my dear brother,
We thank you for sharing with us your concerns, but I must say you give us very little to go on. So the following can only serve as a guestimate of your situation.
You say that you have suffered from depression for the last 18 years of your life. Given the offline details that you have provided for us, I would guess that your depression began when you left your formal education. It seems that you were not able to go on to further your education, and there could be many reasons for that; however, what needs to be established here is the cause.
Depression is a natural reaction to not have control over one’s life. It is a sense of powerlessness that when prolonged becomes abnormal because its effect is to leave one with the belief that one is powerless. This happens more so when one spends a lot of time on one’s own, depriving one’s self of the external information/feedback from others which would help to counter the negative feelings that contribute towards one’s depressed state. The longer one does this, the more entrenched the depression becomes until the situation becomes clinical.
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Leaving school can be a daunting experience, especially if one has not left school with the educational and social skills that one needs to establish one’s place in the world. This is even more so when one lives in the type of community that replaces self-worth with the level of one’s certificate. As a young man, there is the additional burden of establishing the kind of job that can provide for a marriage, and if the hope of achieving this is severely undermined, then naturally one is bound to feel depressed. This might not be the case for you, but it is an example you could use to explore how your depression began.
It is often therapeutic to write down what you remember because this is a way of projecting all that you feel and understand within you. By projecting your feelings and your fears, you objectify the emotions that have led you to feel as you do. This is only a beginning, but an important beginning, if you have no one whom you can talk to.
However, long-term depression is not something that can be stopped just because one desires to. The body is finely tuned to the mind, and physiological aspects like how you sleep or eat, metabolism, heart rate and your immune system are affected by long-term depression. If you can consider a sport like swimming, or any other sport that is physically demanding, this would help undo what your depression has caused. Also, realize that in some cases it is people’s reaction to mental illness that often prolongs mental ill health, thus it is important to be around the kind of people who do not make you feel worse.
When it comes to schizophrenia, you must first realize that it is a term that covers many affectations of the mind, and as such, differs from individual to individual as a well as the treatment thereof. The standard list of symptoms includes:
- Strange behavior
- Disorganized speech: i.e. fractured sentences with no apparent connection between sentences
- No motivation, deteriorating cognition
I must say, amongst all the clients I have personally dealt with, the one shared factor between them all was the level of sensitivity to what society today deem as normal, and their personal struggles on the spiritual level. Whereas most people are firmly planted in the physical world, ‘schizophrenics’ are caught in a rift between the physical and the spiritual worlds. I have not come across one who was not capable of a highly intellectual discourse on the mind-body relationship.
Studies have shown that the recovery rate from schizophrenia to be much greater in your part of the world than in the West. It is because the attitude and extent of medicalization of the schizophrenic entrench the illness in the West, whereas the community-based approach in your part of the world brings schizophrenics back to normal. However, with the spread of globalization in the form of Westernization, this is less likely to happen.
What causes schizophrenia is open to debate, but usually there is an extreme difficulty of the schizophrenic to relate to. There are also underlying neurological factors which undermine their ability to cope with stress factors. Given that the nervous system and the glandular system are the physiological interfaces between the mental and spiritual attributes of the human body, it is logical that these are what should be addressed in the aim to regain balance.
Because schizophrenia affects each person differently, it is only natural that the treatment should be different for each person. To ascertain the personal needs, an assessment should be done on the psychological, emotional, cultural, social, and physical level. In other words, the whole person is taken into account, and one is better able to measure in which way the ‘schizophrenic’ is overly sensitive. Treatments that address the body-mind rift include:
- Chiropractics (affecting the nervous system, and the alignment of the body physical)
- Osteopathy (affecting the nervous system)
- Bach Flower Remedies
- Social environment (acceptance)
- Physical environment (calm, nature, sociable)
Dear brother, I have probably given you more information than you desire, but the aim is to provide you with information that you will be able to digest and connect with. See how the information relates to you and given your circumstances and your environment, how you can begin to address your health within the context of the available professional help. Just to say, one professional who can help you in the long term, in your region, is a fully experienced Unani medicine practitioner. Medication can help you, but only in the short term.
May Allah (swt) help you,
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.