I am told that 40% of the population of the US suffers from Depression. Even during the time from my Residency till now Depression is growing its tentacles and many names are being placed on each arm.
While almost half the population of the US suffers with one form or another mostly women and children, ther is nothing substantial to offer in the understanding of it, control of it, or methods of pre-empting it.
Sophisticated studies continue to expound the theories on the change in neurotransmitters in the brain and give drugs to try and correct these changes which begin as a transient change and become permanent with time.
Qualified psychiatrists who primarily treat complicated depression have become rare as hens teeth in the US because they are not reimbursed enough to even pay their overhead expenses by the uneven method of payment of cognitive services versus procedures in the US.
The point of crisis has come when a depressive patient not only commits suicide but also kills his or her dependants……..
I am thus impelled to write this article and share what I have learned about the treatment, management and shedding the suffocating blanket of the depression of grief all of which I experienced after Tariqs death.
I wish I could tell you to take an antidepressant or a faith pill and go home, but unfortunately it is not quite as simple.
Grappling with Depression and wrestling it down to a vanquished state or a weakened state while remaining alert of awakening signs of it , requires knowledge, understanding, and change. All the while with maintenance of a depression deterrent lifestyle and a constant state of mental and physical alertness, for sneaking signs of it.
Someone who is acutely clinically depressed can do none of this. Thus step one is to get medical help and take what is needed to get out of bed and into the library and the sunshine.
- KNOWLEDGE OR ILM: Knowledge and wisdom are both needed to self study the possible causes and symptoms of depression.
- SELF EVALUATION
- Make a list of things that you do each day including a food diary and put a check mark in front of those things, people, food, menstrual cycle, pre or post or actions or inactions that make you depressed. Do not change anything until you have enough data to graph the ones that do (a reason that is associated with the depressive symptoms, enough times which is your rough P value (in statistics)
- Grade your depression on a 0-10 with 10 being severe, if you can drag yourself out of bed to do it. If it is above 6 you need to seek medical help a.s.a.p.
- Write down the things over which you have no control that depress you.
- Write down the things over which you have control (but no energy to change them) that depress you.
- GAUGE YOUR LEVEL OF FAITH
- How often do you commune with God or your Creator?
- How often do you carry out the physical acts of worship
- What percentage of food that you eat is halal and tayyab
- How often do you study the Quran with meaning and understanding?
- How often do you make a checklist of actions to do from the Quran?
- How often do you bypass your Salah for what you feel is a duty to someone close to you? (Spouse, children etc.)
- How often do you disobey Allah:
i. With your ears?
ii. With your eyes?
iii. With your mouth?
iv. With your body?
v. With your limbs
vi. With your private parts?
- On a 0-10 scale (10 being most difficult) how easy is it for you to forgo a worldly halal entertainment for Salah or an act of ebadah?
- How many obligations to Allah do you fulfill daily?
- How many extras do you do for the sake of Allah daily?
- GAUGE YOUR RELATIONSHIPS
- WITH YOUR RELATIVES (spouse, parents, siblings, children etc.)
On a 0-10 scale (10 being very harmonious) what is the level of harmony in your each of your relationships (Harmony: being defined as that when you interact with them, they do not impose on your rights and you do not impose on their rights.
How you feel after interacting with each of them (your close relatives), most of the time: energized or drained?
- WITH YOUR ENVIRONMENT: (Your home, your place of work, your garden, your friends home, your mosque or place of prayer, the place where you spend most of your time?
Where do you feel energized and or drained (list each one and then keep a count for a month at least).
- WITH NATURE:
How do your feel about being in nature? Are you irritated or at peace?
Do you squash each insect you find outside your house or let them be?
Do you let plants die and not even notice them? Or does it bother you?
- WITH FOOD
i. Are you obsessed with food, using it as a crutch?
ii. Can you fast without yearning for a particular food?
iii. Is most of what you eat halal & tayyab or is it mostly processed and reconstituted onto food form? (Read the omnivores dilemma)
- WITH INANIMATE OBJECTS OF GRATIFICATION: Such as the TV, Internet, social media, Netflix, movies etc. watched in the privacy of your home with no interaction or feedback from anyone other than critics on line.
- WITH WORK
How do you view work? Is it a necessary evil to make a living? Is it a joy or a duty? Is it an obligation from Allah?
- WITH INANIMATE OBJECTS OF DAILY USE:
How do you view the utensils, gadgets, disposable and non-disposable plates, paper etc.? Are they there to serve you and trash, or are they an amanah or a trust given to you to use frugally and return whatever was not absolutely essential, to your Maker.
- GAUGE YOUR HABITS
Are your habits:
- Self centered
- Sensitive to the feelings of others
- Irritating to others
- God conscious (with taqwa)
- Frugal or wasteful
- GAUGE YOUR RESPONSES TO SOMETHING YOU DISAGREE WITH
- Self doubting
- Taking it at face value
Inshallah a pattern will evolve from these responses; the sea of depression can be charted to approach the shoreline of steadiness, harmony and joy in life until death.
Allah Subhanawataala states that he has made a treatment of all ills………. we just have to search for it!
More on that later……..