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Save Me from Depression!

Questioner

M

Reply Date

May 30, 2018

Question

Salam. Thanks in advance for your answer. For the last year or so, I have been feeling very depressed. Everything is a massive struggle. I'm at university, and this has a massive impact on my studies. I can't concentrate, my sleep and appetite are awful. I'm very negative about everything; even if there are positives, I don't see them and I can't see any light at the end of the tunnel. I just want some advice about how to improve my mood and as a result everything I feel and do. I know there is no easy fix. What do you suggest Islamically (i.e. duaa's and prayers, which I have been doing), but also otherwise. Should I consider seeing my doctor? I know a lot of this is from shaytan. Sorry for being so brief! Jazak Allahu-khayr

Counselor

Answer


Save Me from Depression!

In this counseling answer:

• The best treatment outcomes are when the treatment includes medication and counseling simultaneously.

• Pray and make du’aa’ that Allah keep you safe from anyone’s envy.


Salamu ‘Alaikum dear brother,

It seems you display some typical symptoms of clinical depression. It is very difficult for me to be certain and diagnose you remotely; however, I can provide you with some suggestions on what to look out for and what you can do to help yourself through this difficult time.

The essential feature of a Major Depressive Episode is a period of at least 2 weeks during which there is either depressed mood or the loss of interest or pleasure in nearly all activities.

  • The mood is often described as sad, hopeless, discouraged, or “down in the dumps.” The loss of interest in activities is nearly always present to at least some degree, especially in activities that were once very enjoyable.
  • Appetite is usually reduced and one may feel like he has to force himself to eat. Sometimes appetite can increase as well.
  • Insomnia can also be seen where the person may have difficulty staying asleep and falling asleep.
  • You may see impaired ability to think, concentrate, or make decisions.
  • The sense of worthlessness or guilt associated with depression may include unrealistic negative evaluations of one’s worth or guilty preoccupations over minor past failings.
  • Frequently, there may be thoughts of death, suicidal ideation, or even suicide attempts. If you have ever had thoughts of harming yourself in any way, I would strongly recommend an immediate consultation with your physician and a psychiatrist.

Check out this counseling video:


As we begin to make sense of how you are feeling, it is important to also take a moment and think about when all these feelings of depression started; was there a major life-changing event in the past? Any stressful event? It is important to understand triggers so we can plan for any relapse in the future.

If you believe that you are unable to function at your potential because of these feelings, then you may want to consult with your family physician. From what you have mentioned above, it seems to reason enough for you to consult a doctor.

Now I’d like to point out that a doctor may write you a prescription, but that pill will not be magical. First of all, it takes roughly two weeks to see the true effect of an anti-depressant. Moreover, medication is not recommended as the only form of treatment. This brings me to the discussion of how some people fear that one may get addicted to the medication. This is a major concern that several people have.

Research suggests that the best treatment outcomes are when the treatment includes medication and counseling simultaneously. Taking medication alone will not solve the problem, and going to counseling only may not solve the problem either. The combination of these two treatment modalities is what leads to successful treatment of depression.

Counseling is the answer to your concern about becoming addicted to the medication. Counseling will provide you with appropriate coping mechanisms to help regulate your mood and with new thought processes to help you continue to work out of your depression and be prepared for any relapse in the future.

Eventually, when you start to wean yourself off the medication (which is very much possible and common), you will have enough coping strategies and resources. Therefore, counseling is a very important piece, especially in the case of possible depression. It will help you start organizing your life again, prioritizing, and indulging in things you once used to enjoy.

Our Muslim communities still hold a very strong stigma against mental health and counseling. However, it is important to understand that mental health dysfunction is a science, just like any other science. We need to take care of our mental health by consulting a mental health clinician just as much as we need to consult a medical doctor when we have an infection or illness. A person is made up of his mental and physical health; they are both equally important. As you live in the UK, I am sure there are several resources out there for counseling. Your family physician may very well have a referral for you.

Islamically, my recommendation would be to continue to pray and make du’aa’ that Allah (swt) keep you safe from anyone’s envy. We Muslims fail to realize the power of zikr in our daily lives. I’m not trying to say that doing zikr alone will rid you of your depression. What I’m saying is that it will certainly be helpful in the long run.

I would also encourage you to involve your family and close friends in this process, if you feel comfortable, and if they are supportive. Having supportive and encouraging family and friends is an enormous help during such an emotionally troubling time.

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.

Read more:

Natural Cures for Depression

On Depression: Can a Real Muslim Be Depressed?

A Dua to Say When Depressed and Worried




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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