Depression drains our energy, hope, and drive, making it difficult to do what we need to feel better. In today’s world, many factors are contributing to the rise of depression. This depression is common both in the East and in the West, while it is evident among the youth; it also affects the older age brackets, due to the widespread political, economic and social problems of modernity. Allah says:
وَلَنَبْلُوَنَّكُم بِشَيْءٍ مِّنَ الْخَوْفِ وَالْجُوعِ وَنَقْصٍ مِّنَ الْأَمْوَالِ وَالْأَنفُسِ وَالثَّمَرَاتِ وَبَشِّرِ الصَّابِرِينَ
“And surely We will test you with something of [the] fear and [the] hunger and loss of [the] wealth and [the] lives and [the] fruits, but give good news (to) the patient ones.” (Surah Al-Baqarah 2:155)
In essence, sadness is part and parcel of human life and part of being “human”. It is a normal human emotion that more or less all human beings experience in different phases in their lives. Depression, on the other hand, is characterized by hopelessness, loss of meaning in life, self-worthlessness and feeling of sadness without being able to identify the cause of the gloominess in life. Allah says:
الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَتَطْمَئِنُّ قُلُوبُهُم بِذِكْرِ اللَّهِ أَلَا بِذِكْرِ اللَّهِ تَطْمَئِنُّ الْقُلُوبُ
“Those who believed and find satisfaction their hearts in the remembrance (of) Allah. No doubt, in the remembrance of Allah find satisfaction the hearts.” (Surah Ar-Ra’d 13:28)
The two states of crying and laughing are unique to the Human being, that no other animals shares and its purpose is to make us reflect on the realities of life. Everyone experiences symptoms of depression, but when the symptoms remain for two weeks or more it is called clinical depression. However, the Quran teaches us, we have to be careful of many of the symptoms of depression even it is for a short time. Depression is the result of not being able to do what we want. It is a sense of loss of freedom & control. Allah says:
مَنْ عَمِلَ صَالِحًا مِّن ذَكَرٍ أَوْ أُنثَىٰ وَهُوَ مُؤْمِنٌ فَلَنُحْيِيَنَّهُ حَيَاةً طَيِّبَةً وَلَنَجْزِيَنَّهُمْ أَجْرَهُم بِأَحْسَنِ مَا كَانُوا يَعْمَلُونَ
“Whoever does righteous deeds whether male or female while he (is) a believer, then surely We will give him l a life good, and We will pay them their reward to (the) best of what they used (to) do.” (Surah An-Nahl 16:97)
The earliest signs of stress are irritability, mood swings, difficulty in sleep, lack of concentration, abdominal distress, extreme sensitivity to criticism, weight gain weight loss, fear of failure, poor appetite, or hunger, and increase dependence on tranquillizers or alcohol for sleep.
Here are some basic truths:
- No human being is burdened with trouble and difficulties they cannot bear. The Quran teaches “(God) will never place a burden on a soul that it cannot bear”.
- After every hardship is ease. Life is one difficulty after another. One task after another, one issue after another.
- Suffering purifies our humanness. When we go through difficult times, when we have a financial loss, when we lose a loved one, when we are struck by bad times, it brings out the real humanness in us.
- You are not in control but can choose what you want to do. Depression happens because of a feeling of helplessness. A feeling that we are not in control; you should embrace that you are not in control at the moment.
- Three Days. The past is gone forever. The Present is all you have, and the future; leave it for when it comes. Life in this world is short, our time for this life is constantly running out.
- Everything is in a Flux, and Most Change is Spontaneous.
- Belief is the Greatest Cure. No pill, counselling session, techniques to cope can compare to a strong belief in God. As long as one believes in a loving God
- Fear of the unknown, and our inability to recognize foresee and control it.
- Loss of things, and people in our life dear to us, and our inability to recover these losses or accept them.
- Our inability to see through the future. We might be more stressed if we do see the future.
- Take up or join a charitable cause
- The first thing to think about is if you need to be in a healthier environment. Never stay in an abusive place.
- As a family; try to do activities together like eating, going out to the park, taking a walk, doing something spiritual, etc.
- Help someone; especially someone in your situation
- Help the family member admit there is a problem
- Journal and/or find a hobby
- Take a holiday trip together
- The husband and wife should make a list of their grievances and share it every night or at least every week. Know your triggers. Focus on YOUR responsibilities, rather than YOUR rights.
Solution: If you find yourself in this situation then:
- Rebuild relationships you have lost over time from your family, relatives, high school days, etc
- Do not let yourself become overstressed, and if you do take a break
- Join any sports club, gym or volunteer at a place
- Attend a seminar on a topic you like
- Spend a day doing good deeds
- Get a pet
- Create a schedule
- Read a book
- Hang out with friends
- It’s ok to ask for help (friend, spouse, a support group, self-help for working mothers or single mothers)
- Know yourself and your body’s limits. Eat properly, sleep properly, give yourself personal time, exercise, etc.
- See what are the responsibilities you.
Islamic Solution to Depression:
- Defining Goal of life: Islam teaches us that we should focus our goal on succeeding in our life to come after this life. If we emphasize the transitory nature of this worldly life-then most of our problems of this life lose their importance in our lives and subsequently lose their power of hurting us.
- With difficulty, comes ease.
- Everyone needs a support system, and everyone needs a best friend, and everyone needs role models.
- A depressed person needs a source to turn to, turn to God for help, support, mercy, and forgiveness.
- If there is a God, and there is, only goodwill become of the negative situation one finds themselves in.
- Find out purpose and value in your life and in everything that you’re going through.
- Incorporate prayer in your schedule at least twice a day. Talk to God.
- God never burdens a soul more than it can bear.
- Develop gratitude for the blessings that God has given you.
- Always Hope in Allah’s mercy.
- Live one day at a time.
- Each one of us came to this world for a purpose
- Surrender your unmanageable problems and things over which you’ve lost control of to God.
- Get involved with your religious organizations, charities, or some other volunteer work
- Sleep well
- Write a Journal
- Spend time in nature
- Reconnect with your lost relationships
How to Deal with Depression and Anxiety According to Quran and Sunnah:
We should have faith in Allah Almighty in every aspect of life. A couple of steps that can help to deal with depression and anxiety are mentioned below:
- Ask Allah Almighty (Dua): Turn each anxiety, each fear and each concern into a Dua. Look at it as another reason to submit to Lord and be in prostration, during which you are closest to Allah.
- Read Surah Ad Duha:
- Remember Allah, Do Dhikr: Keep your tongue busy with the remembrance of Allah that is Dhikr. Remembering Allah comforts your heart and removes your depression and anxiety. Allah says in the Holy Quran: “Those who believe, and whose hearts find peace in the remembrance of Allah: for without doubt in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find peace.” (Quran, 13:28)
- Offer Salah: Those who keep their prayers on time and pray with focus and shyness will find peace. “O you who believe! Resort to patience and prayer; surely, Allah is with the patient.” (Quran, 2:153)
- Recite the Holy Quran: Quran is the best form of remembrance of Allah Almighty it brings comfort and peace to the heart. Our beloved Prophet (SAW) said: “Quran is the best remedy for the illness of the soul” (Bukhari).
- Reciting Surah Nas: Consistently reciting Surah Nas will safeguard one from depression and cheer the mood of one who suffers from depression.
- Seek Help Through Sabr: “Seek help through Sabr and Salah” (Quran 2:45).
- Rely on Allah Almighty (Tawakkul): “When you have taken a decision, put your trust in Allah” (Quran 3: 159).
- Seek Forgiveness for Your Sins:
- Don’t Procrastinate: Laziness is one of the most common causes of stress because a person sees that he is not finishing his job. The Prophet (SAW) used to seek refuge in Allah from laziness.
مَا أَصَابَ مِن مُّصِيبَةٍ إِلَّا بِإِذْنِ اللَّهِ وَمَن يُؤْمِن بِاللَّهِ يَهْدِ قَلْبَهُ وَاللَّهُ بِكُلِّ شَيْءٍ عَلِيمٌ
“Not strikes any disaster except by (the) permission (of) Allah. And whoever believes in Allah, He guides his heart. And Allah of everything (is) All-Knowing.” (Surah At-Taghabun 64:11)
Most of our depression happens due to high and sometimes unrealistic expectations. If we can lower our expectations, we minimize the risk of going into depression. If we can minimize our expectations from others-then we put ourselves in a position of strength and fortify ourselves from being exposed to feelings of being let down, betrayal and rejection-which are strong precipitating factors for losing self-esteem, feeling low and going into depression.