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When I Get Depressed, I Do Not Feel Like Praying

Questioner

A

Reply Date

Jun 19, 2017

Question

When I get depressed, I do not feel like praying. I do not feel connection to Allah. Why? What shall I do?

Counselor

Answer


When I Get Depressed, I Do Not Feel Like Praying

In this counseling answer:

Depression is the 4th leading cause of disability worldwide. Therefore, the counselor advises people struggling with depression to always seek Allah’s help, to seek counseling, and to begin journaling as it’s an effective way of getting out the feelings and examining issues in your life which may be causing depression.


As-Salamu ‘Alaykum,

Thank you for writing to us. I am so sorry to hear of your depression. While I am not sure if you have seen a therapist yet, or how often or how long you have experienced depression, I do encourage you to seek to counsel. Your feelings of a disconnection and detachment from Allah (swt) during times of depression are part of some of the symptoms of depression and are common. Often times, when people are depressed, they feel detached from everything.

With that said, depression is very common. In fact, according to NCBI, “The World Health Organization (WHO) has ranked depression the 4th leading cause of disability worldwide.” Symptoms can range from mild to severe including feelings of sadness, loss of interest, decrease in social activities, withdrawal, overeating/not eating; sleeping too much, not being able to sleep; feelings of failure, hopelessness, crying, feeling numb, feeling detached from others, loss of motivation and sometimes suicidal thoughts.

While this list is not inclusive, I do urge you to seek counseling to determine what type of depression you have and to receive treatment. If you are experiencing feelings of suicidal ideation, please DO speak with a parent, trusted friend or imam, or go to the hospital. Please also call the suicide hotline in Iceland: 1717

Please, in sha’ Allah, take the Depression Questionnaire to gauge your level of depression. Often it can be very helpful to get an idea of where we are with our depressive state. Additionally, journaling can be a very effective way of getting out your feelings and examining issues in your life which may be causing depression. The act of just writing your feelings every day is very powerful as it releases pent-up anxieties, sadness, and can help in sha’ Allah in rebalancing your thought processes as well as act as a de-stressor.

Also, I suggest that you begin to practice stress reduction techniques which have shown to be effective in some cases of depression as you are re-focusing your mind, releasing tension, learning new coping skills as well as retraining your brain to focus better. This will help you, in sha’ Allah, to regain feelings of attachment to Allah as strengthen your connection.

Additionally, even if in the beginning you do not feel attached or connected, continue to seek out Allah’s help and mercy through prayer, du’aa’, Qur’an recitation and dhikr. All these efforts will be recognized in sha’ Allah. It is when we give up, leave prayer, and stop reaching out to Allah that we become hopeless. So I urge you to keep seeking Allah even though you do not feel connected. Things will get better, in sha’ Allah, you just need to take that first step in getting help. You don’t have to suffer through depression, there are effective therapies.

You are in our prayers; please let us know how you are doing. Also, know that Allah loves you, and Allah knows what you are going through, and He is most merciful.

Salams,

***

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About Aisha Mohammad-Swan

Aisha Mohammad-Swan received her PhD in psychology in 2000. Aisha worked as a Counselor/Psychologist for 12 years for Geneva B. Scruggs Community Health Care Center in New York with a focus on PTSD, OCD, depression, anxiety, substance abuse, marriage/relationships issues, as well as community-cultural dynamics. She is certified in Restorative Justice/ Healing Circles, Conflict Resolution, and Mediation, and is also a certified Life Coach. She is currently studying for her certification in Islamic Chaplaincy, and takes Islamic courses at SHC. Aisha works at a Women's Daytime Drop in Center, and has her own part-time practice in which she integrates counseling and holistic health. Aisha also received an MA in Public Health/Community Development in 2009 and plans to open a community counseling/resource center for Muslims and others in the New York area in the future, in sha' Allah.

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