Can You Make the Most of Ramadan with Depression?

Editor’s note:

Many of us are expecting this Ramadan to be different as we try to cope with great pressures of lockdown, quarantine and social distancing. It’s very important in such circumstances to remain positive and take more care of our mental well-being.

This article was previously published in May 2019. It’s re-highlighted due to it’s importance and relevance.

As the blessed month of Ramadan approaches, many Muslim communities across the globe are buzzing with excitement on social media.

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Ramadan is a month filled with blessings; it is a great opportunity for Muslims to seek forgiveness, to earn plenty of rewards and to change themselves for the better.

There are copious amounts of helpful posts that are going around social media these days, catered to people of all ages, which offer beneficial knowledge on how to stay productive and make the most of Ramadan.

Seeing people making their goals and planning for a Ramadan filled with productive tasks and reading reminders of the importance of Ramadan is always inspiring and it can certainly motivate one to do more but it’s not the case for everyone.

Ramadan & mental health issues

Many Muslim individuals who suffer from mental health issues find themselves in a difficult position during Ramadan. Mental illness won’t take a vacation during Ramadan and it can hinder one’s experience of a fruitful Ramadan.

What’s more painful is that the high level of stigma and ignorance around mental illness within Muslim communities pressurizes individuals into a shell and to quietly live with their struggles, which can be extremely burdensome.

Living with a mental illness like depression can make things particularly difficult in Ramadan.

People with depression can find themselves demotivated and are often unable to feel any of the excitement and joy that Ramadan brings with it. They join in and make great goals such as completing the entire Qur’an, memorizing, studying Tafseer, Hadith, attending lectures etc; but keeping up with them can be tiring and become difficult.

Other people around them don’t really understand why and think that the best way would be to guilt or shame them into being a better Muslim. This can make someone in depression feel worse and give up on their goals altogether.

Ramadan is a very blessed month and it’s extremely important that we make the most of it. However, everyone has their own capabilities and a different level of Imaan. So making the most out of this month can mean different things to different people.

We know our own capabilities. If someone knows that finishing the entire Qur’an in one month may not be possible for them, it’s okay for them to not make it a goal. Your friends have planned to take study Tafseer for a certain number of juzz in Ramadan and you know that it may take you much longer to complete and take up much of your energy; it is okay to take a step back.

This doesn’t mean that you make no goals and use depression as an excuse to not do anything. Yes, it may be tough but you are capable enough but you must grab hold of the opportunity you’ve got and do your best.

I’m not an expert but I’d like to share some tips that I feel would be helpful on making the most of Ramadan when you have depression.

Can You Make the Most of Ramadan with Depression? - About Islam

1. Make one major goal

Even it’s the only one. Think hard about one thing, only one thing that you’d like to improve this Ramadan. Perhaps you haven’t been able to pray obligatory prayers on time or have found yourself missing some from time to time or maybe you’ve found it difficult to read Qur’an as much as one should.

Then make it the ultimate goal. Download a printable chart or make one with someone to help you keep track. This goal will be your main focus; don’t think about whether or not you’ll be able to make or complete other goals.

Your main goal should have your complete attention. It’s the one you must try your hardest to complete.

2. Make goals that are more realistic for you

Perhaps studying the Tafseer of many juzz is difficult for you. That’s okay. If you can only do one, no problem, make Tafseer of one juzz your aim or maybe you can’t finish the recitation of the entire Qur’an, it’s okay, make 15 juzz your goal.

3. Take care of yourself

People with depression can lose their appetite completely or over-eat. Depending on their symptom, an individual may not have a proper portion of food during Suhoor or Iftaar.

So it is important that they keep track of how much they’re eating and drinking. Don’t forget to drink plenty of water.

 Try and get plenty of rest at the appropriate time so you can make the most of your day.

If you’re taking medication for any illness mental or physical, please consult your Doctor and ask if fasting may have any negative effects on your health.

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