DEPRESSION VS SADNESS
Let’s start by pointing out some basic differences between Depression and Sadness. 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. Even holy personalities like Moses, Jesus and Muhammad went through deep sadness. This is just like if a bee comes and stings someone, there will be an immediate reaction. The Quran, the holy book of Islam, provides ample examples from the lives of different messengers-who were the greatest of all human beings-that they all went through pain, suffering and the resulting sadness in their lives. From that perspective, we can conclude that sadness is “normal”. According to Islamic teachings, God Himself claims that it is HE who bestows happiness and sadness:
“IT IS HE WHO MAKES YOU LAUGH AND CRY” (QURAN)
But still that immense sadness of Prophets and Messengers (PBUT) didn’t stop them from pursuing their missions even more vigorously. Their sadness didn’t result in hopelessness nor in a state of inaction-in other words, they went through periods of sadness but not depression.
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. 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.
Below we will discuss different types of depressions, and will have solutions to the hopelessness, meaninglessness, self-worthlessness and daily dysfunctional life from an Islamic perspective. All change begins by sees things in a new light. By embracing these truths you will be able to bring light into the gloom of your life.
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 can not bear”. This shows that the human being can bear many unthinkable burdens, that one initially feels that they cannot bear. How many times in your life, you felt you cannot take it anymore, but you lived through it? How many humans go through great difficulties in life but live through it? After every hardship is ease. Life is one difficulty after another. One task after another, one issue after another. However, it is important to know that while life tests us, there is ease after hardship. There is the ease of death after the hardship of life, there is ease of sleep after the hardships of the day, there is ease of retirement after the hardship of a career, and everything has a high and a low. What goes up, must come down, likewise, Tough times only mean, the times of ease are near. The Quran teaches,“The morning light after the stillness of darkness”….when its dark everything seems still as if it will never go away. The fact is nothing remains forever and nothing remains the same. So, after every time of difficulty there is ease. The Quran teaches, “There is ease after hardship, Indeed there is ease after hardship.” Suffering purifies our humanness.
When we go through difficult times, when we have a financial loss, when we lose a loved one, when we struck by bad times, it brings out the real humanness in us, and we begin to ask the very questions that are most fundamental to us, “Why are we here?”, “What is the purpose of life”, “why me”, “What happened to all my plans and dreams, etc. We learn the frailty of our humanness. The Prophet of Islam, Muhammad (peace be upon him) said, “LOOK AT THE ONES WHO ARE LESS FORTUNATE THEN YOU, NOT AT THE ONES ARE MORE FORTUNATE THAN YOU.”
Hunger attracts food. Hunger is a spiritual experience, it is good for the soul, and food is an experience of the body. In the same way, ease and happiness is good liked by the body and is welcomed, and hardships and difficulty are disliked by the body but are very good for the soul. It forces the soul to deal with the difficult questions of life. It helps us to grow as humans, to find and deal with our human frailness. And our human frailness helps us to find our inner most nature.
It’s not the events, which take place that cause happiness or depression-but it’s our inner reflection of our situation that determines our spirituality and our emotional maturity.
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. You should embrace your lack of control over your situation. Most depression occurs because of external situations and how we allow external situations to affect our insides. It’s a good time to turn to the One Who does control everything. All we ask is you is to, try this… pray to ALLAH, even if you don’t believe in God, pray to Him, talk to Him, and you will feel so comforted in your heart. Tell ALLAH that you know He is in control. Cry to him. We are taught that by turning to God, we restore ourselves like a dying plant becomes green with water. As an experiment, do this on blind faith and see if it works, say, “All admiration belongs to you, if good comes to me its from you, and if some trouble comes to me its from you, I submit to you, and this situation to you.” Second, you can take action regarding your situation.
Life is all about choices; a choice is like putting a seed in the ground that may bare fruit. You put the seed, and the unseen forces bring the rain. Work on what you can do, you can sow the seed, you can make the right choices, and you can start to work in a direction that you want to move in.Three Days The past is gone forever. The Present is all you have, and the future; leave it for when it comes. The life in this world is short, our time for this life is constantly running out. One of the great scholars of Islam said,“There is only one day separating me and the Kings. As for the yesterday, their taste of it has vanished, and both they and I equally fear what tomorrow will bring. Thus, there is only today. What will today bring?” Everything is in a Flux, and Most Change is Spontaneous. Nothing stays the same. The atoms, the celestial bodies in the heavens, air, water, etc, nothing stay the same from one moment to the next. Everything is in a flux, this means people in health will soon face illness, people in illness will soon have relief. Those that are happy today will soon undergo some sadness, and those that are sad will have happiness.
Most changes in life are spontaneous; losing a job, death of a loved one, an accident, a terminal illness, etc. This means that your situation will not be the same forever, if you are not in control today, there will come a time where it is. Belief is the Greatest Cure No pill, counseling session, techniques to cope can compare to a strong belief in God. As long as one believes in a loving God, one has a reason to be optimistic. Belief can give you the ability to handle all sorts of difficult situations. It can give a person the ability to see the positive in the overwhelmingly negative situation. If you do not believe in God, I would suggest to believe in Him, give it a try and see if your outlook on the situation changes for the positive. We all need a something to keep us focused and keep us going, we all need something that bring clarity to our world, all need to hold on to something for support. If there is a God, and there is, there is nothing stronger then the knowledge you can hold on to him to help you cope with your situation. Also, there must be good in what you are going through, you may not understand that today, but if we look at our past situations in life, we will see how the hard times, made us grow.
There is a saying, “God does not create trash.”—Humans being the greatest creation of God, and YOU were an idea God had that came into existence, so your worth is that God thought of you to begin with. Also, God does not forsake His care over his creation and you are His creation.Expectations 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 expectation from others-then we really 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.