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Depressed & Unsatisfied with Life; What’s Wrong with Me?

Questioner

Anonymous

Reply Date

May 14, 2017

Question

As-Salamu Alaykum. Lately, I have been feeling depressed; I'm unsatisfied with life in general and with myself. I feel like I have let down and hurt many people in my life and that I am not living up to my full potential. I have many dreams for myself and for my future which are more focused on personal development goals and not necessarily materialistic ones. But I fear of the future and when I encounter obstacles, I get anxious a bit and try my best to run away from the problem instead of tackling it. I recently spoke to a non-Muslim psychologist about my personal and family problems. I usually avoid talking to anyone about my problems because I feel that it would be insulting to Allah (SWT) if I became too emotionally attached to His creation for support, therefore and I usually try to just ignore my fears (which could simply be a case of Satan’s whispering, Allahu A'lam). I felt a bit better after talking to the non-Muslim counselor. However, soon after, I felt very guilty about having the conversation with the counselor because I don't think I put Islam in a very positive light by disclosing all of my personal and family problems with her. And now, I feel even more guilty and worse about myself than before. I think a lot of my misery stems from the fact that I feel emotionally unfulfilled and depressed studying at university in a subject that I struggle at. I like the subjects, but they aren't my strengths. This insecurity and fear of not doing as well as the others that hurt me so much emotionally. I also think that I'm blaming others for my own lack of motivation to put my life to productive use by studying. I feel like I've lost my willingness to improve myself for the sake of Allah (SWT). Sometimes, may Allah forgive me, I feel very suicidal. I don't know how to help myself. What is wrong with me? I hope you can help me with this. Jazakallahu khayran.

Counselor

Answer


Depressed & Unsatisfied with Life; What's Wrong with Me?

Answer:

As-Salaam ’Alaikum sister,

In sha’ Allah, I will try to address your major points to help you feel more at ease in your depressed mood.

You say, “I feel like I have let down and hurt many people.” Do you have a reason to feel this way, or do you assume that you have let people down? What we think about things is not always the same as the reality of things. If you have let people down, ask yourself in what way?

Sometimes, we do not live up to other people’s expectations of us and, thus, we feel like we let them down. Your focus, as you said, should be on your personal development and focus on school and life path. The meaning of everyone’s life is to invest in the Divine relationship and find your gifts that God (swt) blessed you with. The purpose of life is to give those gifts away.

Anxiety and fear about the future is not uncommon. However, it can become a disease of the heart when our understanding of trust and reliance of God (swt) is weak or underdeveloped.

If you believe God (swt) is in control of everything, and everything happens by the permission of God (swt), then it follows that whatever happens to you, there is wisdom and reason to be attained. You can only attain these learning lessons of you by actually facing and living through your fears and struggles.

If you keep avoiding life obstacles then your anxiety will only increase due to all of your fears piling up psychologically and pushing you further into feelings of depression. The point of obstacles in life is to make you stronger and resilient; this is part of the Divine program for you to grow. When you turn away from obstacles, you are turning away from opportunities to grow and learn to practice actual trust in God (swt).

“If Allah helps you, none can overcome you; and if He forsakes you, who is there after Him that can help you? And in Allah (Alone) let believers put their trust.” (Quran 3:160)

It is great that you went to seek to counsel, and I am glad you felt better afterward. This is a sign that you are releasing tension by sharing what is going on for you.

When we name our issues, we can objectify them and have greater power over them and understanding. A counselor often helps you drive to more balanced conclusions. Sometimes, we need to do mental check-ups and make sure our modes of thinking and acting are healthy and sound. I encourage you to continue going to counseling; there is nothing wrong with getting support. Depressed & Unsatisfied with Life; What's Wrong with Me? - About Islam

We cannot expect God (swt) to help us through miracles, sister. We must take the means and use resources available to get through what we need. If you have cancer, you are not going to just pray and hope you are cured; you will go get medical treatment. This does not make your faith any weaker. We know everything is from God (swt) and the means are there for us to use.

Perhaps, your feelings of depression are rooted in your life purpose and sense of self. Once you are able to flush out your goals and values and what you believe in, you will feel more whole. This is why you should continue doing counseling.

You should also learn more about what Islam means to you. Sometimes, when we focus too much on studying a version of Islam, we fixate on the path and not God (swt), whom the path is meant to lead to. If you feel God (swt) is not the main objective of what you practice and learn, then perhaps your path needs a tune up by reexamining what you are doing and what you actually believe versus what you have been taught to believe.

If you feel thoughts of suicide, call a suicide hotline; they are very supportive and can help you in times of need.

You must learn to rely on yourself and persevere through your growing process, sister. You have a long life ahead and much to learn. As you learn, you will make many mistakes along the way that is the whole point. May God (swt) give you patience, wisdom, and strength,

Amin,

***

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.

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About Karim Serageldin

Karim Serageldin, founder of Noor, completed his BA in psychology & religion, followed by an MA in east-west psychology with a specialization in spiritual counseling. He is a certified life coach with years of teaching and community outreach experience. His practical work and research includes developing a modern framework of Islamic psychology, relationship, family and youth coaching. He provides seminars and workshops in the United States. You can contact Br. Karim at: http://www.noorhumanconsulting.com or facebook.com/noorhumanconsulting


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