Sometimes we look at an individual and the first thing that comes to our mind if they are smiling and enjoying themselves is, "I wish I could live that person’s life, they seem so happy, free from problems and hardships."
The truth is that nobody has a life free from hardships. It is easy to hide what we have been through and to keep the pain that continually adds up inside without opening up and discussing the problem. One of the most important things I have learned is constantly keeping things to yourself can lead to a more severe anxiety and depression.
Depression has become a very serious and common illness among teenagers in today's society. We face certain temptations and are pressured to get no less than an A+ in school. From personal experience, I have to admit that depression is very hard to overcome and recover from. You cannot simply wake up one morning, go to a therapist for a 45 minute session, and feel happy and cheerful again. Recovering from depression, anxiety and panic attacks takes a while, for some people it may take weeks, and for others it may take months or even years depending on how hard they are willing to work with the therapist, psychiatrist, and anti depressants.
The hardest part to getting through depression is not knowing who to turn to for help. It becomes very hard for us to trust people and take advice because we have isolated ourselves completely from the people we love. It becomes extremely hard to control our emotions as well. The first step is to discuss your problem with the parent you feel most comfortable with. Letting out your emotions is one way of reducing depression because emotions will eventually control you if you let them build up.
While I was attending my regular session with my therapist in Ann Arbor, Michigan one day, she said to me, "one of my other patients describes depression as a beast that has taken over you."
After my recovery, I realized that was exactly what I felt. The reason I had realized that afterwards was because while experiencing depression, it becomes almost impossible to explain your feelings. You feel hopeless and when the therapist asks questions, you have this constant thought of, "what is the point in discussing this, I'll never feel happy and normal again." That is not true.
Although I have had a history with antidepressants and therapy, and later on ending up in the hospital for an eating disorder, I am completely against them. I have learned from this experience that religion is the ultimate cure for depression. Allah will never leave his servant helpless with a sincere intention of wanting to change and live a faithful and prosperous life. Staying in the hospital for a few days gave me time to reflect on life, its meaning, and my goals. It was at that time when Allah guided me and showed me the right path, without the antidepressants and therapy.
I remember one day I was eating lunch in the dining hall, and I looked around the dining room and saw a young boy, at the age of 9 or 10, sitting alone. My family was in the dining room with me, and I saw that as the young boy's father walked into the room, he ran for his father to hug him as if he hadn't seen him in months. After lunch my family went home, and I later found out that this young boy had a disease, which I do not want to mention the name of, and all he wanted was to spend time with his parents but they are busy with their business. They visit him once a week for a few minutes.
At that moment I asked myself, "why is it that I am so ungrateful to have loving parents who came to spend time with me every single day I was in that hospital?" That is when I remembered the verse in the Holy Qur’an, which tells us that "very few of My servants are grateful."
From this experience, I would just like to say that there is truly nothing worth being depressed over in this world. We need to put our faith in Allah and trust that he will protect us from anything and everything. Let us make the hereafter our main priority and if we focus on that alone, and I can guarantee that depression will not be a problem.
*The purpose of this article is to provide an Islamic perspective on a medical issue and is only intended to be informational. It should not be considered a substitute for professional medical or psychiatric assistance.