Depression Made Me Harsh and Unfriendly

15 December, 2017
Q Salam. Since I’ve became depressed, I’ve become anti-social and unable to form and maintain friendships. People I meet don’t seem to want to be friends with me. I don’t know how to be a good friend anymore. I’ve been told I’m controlling, harsh, and lack the ability to hold conversations with others. I’m always feeling down. I feel lonely and on most occasions angry for no apparent reason. My mum is very critical and negative of everything; she feels that everyone has an ulterior motive and never thinks the best of people. I feel lost. Please help!



As-Salam ‘Alaykum Sister,

It is important for you to investigate the source of your depression. Loneliness is a place to start. Also, you are in an environment where you may have difficulty working through your own private feelings and emotions. Being easily irritated and isolative are symptoms of depression. If you clear up the depression, chances are these symptoms will also clear up.

The first step is to inoculate yourself against the triggers in your toxic environment. By that, I mean to identify the things that your mother might say and do, as well as other family members or people in your immediate environment that can trigger you to have a negative mood, thought, or feeling.

Then practice using affirmations, thought stopping, and new responses to reduce the affect that the triggers have on you. If you can get this far, then you can create a safe place for yourself to go inward and seek to know yourself better and work through what is bothering you.

Depression has many different causes. It is a state of mind and emotional being. It can be caused by having unresolved conflicts within one’s own self, by grief (whether you are aware of the grief or not), by anger turn inward rather than being expressed outwardly, or even by a chemical imbalance in the brain.

So, once you are able to create a safe place for yourself, you can explore that cause or source of your depression with the intention of healing and experiencing feeling happy and well. Allah would have all of His creation being happy and well, for in that state we are best equipped to bring about peace and harmony and complete His will. Thus, this is indeed a worthy project. Not only will you benefit, but those around you will also benefit.

Do not be afraid of the process. The main point is to create a safe place for you to join this journey. Include Allah, turn to Allah, and ask Him to lead the way through the journey. You will want to prepare yourself to feel the whole gamut of emotions, and indeed you will, so you do want the presence of our Lord with you at all time.

With that said, it is also often quite helpful to use the services of a psychotherapist if you have one available in your area. The psychotherapist can facilitate your process of recovery and wellness.

Think of the journey of exploring the source of your depression and walking through it as both learning and a molding process. Once you are on the other side of this, you will be renewed in mind, body, and soul, and empowered to carry on with your life and the will of Allah. Don’t be afraid.

After absorbing my words, write to me again, and tell me what you feel might be bothering you on the inside. Yes, I understand that you are upset about the decline in social skills that often accompanies depression, and how it is leaving you lonely. But I want to hear more. Perhaps we can find some ways to alleviate some inner conflicts.

Finally, consider keeping track of your “triggers”. You said your mother is critical; write down how you respond, and what your thoughts and feelings are when she says specific things or does specific things. Then we can talk about using some techniques to protect you from this negativity.

One day at a time. You are not alone. Allah is with you. I am here too, so please write soon.



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About Maryam Bachmeier
Dr. Bachmeier is a clinical psychologist who has been working in the mental health field for over 15 years. She is also a former adjunct professor at Argosy University, writer, and consultant in the areas of mental health, cultural, and relationship issues.