Battling With Depression As A Muslim
- Lilufa Uddin
Depression is more than feeling unhappy for a few days. Lilufa, 21 shares her experiences battling with depression as a young Muslim.
I have been feeling extremely low for a few months now, but you would never have guessed it, because I’m the girl that always makes everyone laugh.
A few years ago, I remember how lost I felt. I couldn’t wait for each day to be over. So much was going on at home and at college. Everything was just getting on top of me. I’d go to college, cry my eyes out and have to leave the lesson after an outburst.
Then came a day, where I ended up in hospital after having severe chest pains. When a nurse came to my bedside to do some checks on me, as soon as he asked if I was okay, I broke down and started telling him how I had thought about ending my life. He took me to see a mental health nurse who wrote to my GP, and I was booked an appointment. It was then that I was diagnosed with depression.
In the Bangladeshi community, mental health terms such as depression, bipolar and schizophrenia are unheard of. People from my community usually associate mental health with satanic possession or lack of spirituality.
Having previously been diagnosed with depression when I was 17, I was adamant not to go on any pills. When I went to the Doctor’s surgery a couple of years ago, they put me on anti-depressants. I’d be lying if I said it didn’t help in some way, because it did. However, my problems were still there and I came to the conclusion that the highs I was experiencing were superficial. It was not the sort of happiness that made me feel warm inside, but instead made me feel weird every time I smiled. I wanted to feel real happiness.
“Putting on a front to fool the outside world was getting harder and harder.”
This time round, although there have been times where I felt so hurt and alone, to the point that I have contemplated committing suicide (but didn’t do so, because it is a major sin in Islam) I knew I did not want medical help. I did however want some sort of help.
Putting on a front to fool the outside world was getting harder and harder. I’d be sitting on the train, and suddenly feel so overwhelmed, that I would burst into tears. I felt like I was 17 all over again.
And here I am, four years later – my second time battling with depression. Things are getting easier. I am now more open in sharing my feelings and my appetite for food has gone back to normal, (I used to go days without eating.) Going to therapy sessions at a centre, has given me the space to explore my feelings. I’ve really benefited from having a professional sit down and discussing my issues.
Needless to say my religion has been very comforting throughout. When I do Salah, (my five daily prayers) I automatically feel content and at peace, knowing Allah knows my troubles and will take care of me. He is the best of protectors.