I remember telling a friend how I feel, and the reply came instantly: “But you are so blessed, why do you feel depressed?” At that time I was aware of my blessings, I was aware of the love I receive from people, but I was unable to make my brain understand this. The questions that were bugging in my head all the time were “How do I come out of these dark thoughts? How do I make myself see the blessings?”
Feeling melancholic, grief and sadness do not weaken your Taqwa and Tawakkul. The pious policing people do whenever someone opens up to them is definitely not what Islam teaches us to do, instead, it actually gets toxic for the person who is struggling. It makes them question themselves even more. “Am I a bad Muslim”? “Is my faith not strong?” Those were the questions in my head as well when I first experienced those horrible days.
You don’t know – maybe this person who is struggling, feeling numb, and experiencing the darkness is actually crying to Allah every night and asking Him for a remedy. After all, with difficulty comes ease. Stigmatizing mental health and telling people to get over it is not the help. It makes them fall deeper into the pit of misery.
In the history of Islam, we have a very beautiful example of Prophet Ya’qub (PBUH) who was experiencing such intense sadness of losing his son that the grief cost him his eyesight and his sons told him “Can you get over it already” and he says “I am only crying to Allah this is between me and him.” Similar examples can be given of Hadhrat Maryam, who too expressed her pain and anxiety to her Creator and her concerns were not dismissed in the slightest.
Sometimes blessings are not the things we see and possess as materials, your inside gets hurt, and then no blessing, no comfort or human can actually make you feel good or content. The lingering darkness crawls at you when you least expect it and you try really hard not to let it take over you, but it does, it takes you to a place where daily tasks get overwhelming and exhausting.
Islam never denies this beautiful yet draining emotion called sadness. It’s okay for people to be sad, to cry, and feel this unknown pain. Your hope might be lost but your faith that always saves you from everything is still there. After all, Allah did not create robots; he created people with emotions and even Prophets had these emotions and they are validated in the Quran
Islam is a very beautiful and peaceful religion, as a believer, I find solace in reading Quran when I get anxious or feel like I am living in my head more than in the reality. I cry and ask for help from Allah. To my relief, that horrible feeling does stop at times and yet, sometimes it does not and I struggle even more. Earlier I used to feel, maybe I am suffering because my faith is not that strong but now, after reflecting and reading about it I realized that dark thoughts, bad emotions, and anxiety do not make you a bad Muslim or a bad person. It is your anxiety that feeds lies to you. Depression has a way of convincing people that no one cares about them and unfortunately for some people that is their reality. Allah literally says He’s closer to us than our jugular vein, then, how are you alone or how does nobody care for you when you have your protector as Allah? People might not understand you but Allah does and He would never want you to struggle mentally, and not seek professional help. As Prophet Mohammad SAW said, “Allah has given us a cure for everything except for old age, so go out and seek that cure.” You sitting there depressed is not what Allah wants for you.
So next time someone pious polices you that it is all in your head and the concept of mental health does not exist in Islam, remember that Islam is all about kindness and acceptance. It is between you and the Almighty. Let them think what they want to and seek professional help if it is required, because Islam validates your every righteous emotion.