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The Missing Ingredient

We often find ourselves asking: Why’s my life so messed up? or the like. What I’ve learned over the past few weeks – from IOU – and from this article is that the key ingredient that you need to make life more meaningful and fulfilling is: gratitude.

I recently came to terms with the fact that depression is mainly due to the evil whisperings of Satan, and so whenever I’m blue, I recite a couple of du’a (supplication) to ward off Satan: in particular, A’oodhubillah, and the Mu’awiddhatayn – i.e. Surah Nas & Surah Falaq, the two Surah’s of refuge, as stated by Allah’s Messenger (saws). I also turn to close friends and family members whenever I’m having a hard time. Annnd the results are fabulous: I feel much happier and less depressed these days.

Try thanking Allah – through thick and thin – for the countless blessings that He has bestowed on you. In sha Allah, life won’t seem so messed up anymore.

Amelioration

Earlier, in one of my posts, I had mentioned that I have no friends. Well, I take that back. Allow me to explain myself.

I had written the post while I was very depressed, and, while in that state, evil thoughts preoccupy me. Satan whispers all sorts of false, deviant thoughts into my muddled mind. It’s true that I’m very bad at maintaining human relationships but it’d be awfully ungrateful and delusional of me to say that I don’t have friends. I do have a few friends. It’s just that I’d gotten out of touch with them (for the most part) ever since I had depression.

But now, I’m trying my best to reconnect with them. It all started when I started this blog. Through it, I got to know / read about many ordinary people with extraordinary lives. Their stories touched me, moved me to the verge of tears and made me realize (perhaps for the first time in my life) how blessed I am. Just like Allah said in the Qur’an, Sūrah al-Nahl, Verse 18:
And if you were to count Allah’s favors, you would not be able to number them; most surely Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.

I used to think that the blessings in our life are countable. Now that I reflect on my naïveté, I finally realize the wisdom of this verse. SubhanAllah!

Once I realized that there are people much, much worse off than me (Palestinians, anyone?), I recommenced to have an optimistic outlook on life, like my old self.

Consider this priceless piece of advice from Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him):
“Look at those below you (less fortunate than you), and don’t look at those above you, for this is better.” [Sahih Muslim, Tirmidhi, and Ibn Maja]

[Do check out this wonderful, elegantly written article on 10 Steps to Happiness!]

OK, back to what I was saying – on friends. Once I got around to reconnecting with my friends, I discovered that their lives are not as flowery as I had thought. Rather, they each have issues of their own. Thankfully, they didn’t judge me for my complexes, and neither did I for theirs. Instead, we reached out to each other – like true friends should. And by talking about our problems / stumbling blocks, we learned to appreciate life better.

Things don’t seem so bleak anymore. After all, I have a supportive group now whom I can turn to whenever I need someone to talk to, or a shoulder to cry on. I promise to cherish my friends (they deserve it!) from now on, in sha Allah. Their presence in my life makes a huge difference!

When Psychiatrists Go Nuts

Sometimes I wonder if I have bipolar disorder. Lately I’ve been in high spirits – feeling blessed, optimistic and overall content with life – which is awkward, really. I’m so used to being dejected that I feel something’s amiss when I’m in a good mood. Curse you, depression! (Or whatever mental illness that you are)

Truth be told, I don’t know whether I truly am clinical depressed or not. I deduced this “fact” based on a number of Google searches and after identifying myself with the warning signs and symptoms.

For instance, based on the following guide, I am “suffering from clinical depression”.

Are you depressed?

If you identify with several of the following signs and symptoms, and they just won’t go away, you may be suffering from clinical depression.

  • you can’t sleep or you sleep too much

  • you can’t concentrate or find that previously easy tasks are now difficult

  • you feel hopeless and helpless

  • you can’t control your negative thoughts, no matter how much you try

  • you have lost your appetite or you can’t stop eating

  • you are much more irritable, short-tempered, or aggressive than usual

  • you’re consuming more alcohol than normal or engaging in other reckless behavior

  • you have thoughts that life is not worth living (seek help immediately if this is the case)

The only point that I can’t relate to is the one about alcohol-consumption. Yes, I may be mentally ill, but that doesn’t mean I’ve lost it. I can clearly differentiate right from wrong, halal from haram. Alhamdulillah!

Regarding the last point, I did seek help regarding my recurrent suicidal thoughts. Only that my parents don’t seem to consider it a weighty issue, and the only psychiatrist I’ve visited had the nerve to ask me “Did you ever attempt suicide?” right in front of my parents. That may not seem a biggie… until you realize that it was the very first question s/he asked me, and that I don’t share such intimate details with my folks. Right, s/he also substituted counseling for a bunch of antidepressants.

Needless to say, I’ve lost faith in shrinks ever since I visited Dr Rude.

Status

Yesterday was Eid day and I, for one, had a bad day.

I could not begin my day blessed with Eid Namaz – slumber had overtaken me.
I could not paint my hands with henna – I had none at home.
I could not feel the same excitement as everyone else – instead, I agonized over not having a new dress.
I could not have a single meal together with my family – I was too busy sulking.

Late at night, as I watched news about Gaza’s only powerplant being bombed (by Israel) and Gaza consequently being shrouded in darkness, I wondered about how insignificant my issues were compared to theirs. SubhanAllah! Just think about their Eid. (Read about their Eid here)

I marvel at their strength, hope and courage to fight on, to live on, amidst the ceaseless oppression and slaughter of their brothers and sisters, not to mention virtually zero support from world powers. All they have is people power… and Allah.

#SupportGaza #FreePalestine

May Allah give respite to the Palestinian people and free them from their aggressor. Ameen ya Rabb!