Ever since the news of Kate Spade’s suicide broke out, I’ve been thinking more about what could have been a possible reason for well-accomplished women to end her life. According to sources, she had developed mental illnesses after her husband filed a divorce and moved out. She had however been actively seeking help for depression and anxiety over the past five years, her suicide was an utter surprise to her family and friends.
Kate Spade, Anthony Bourdain, Avicii, Robin Williams and many of our favorite icons were reported suffering from mental illnesses which urged them to take their lives, although they had been seeking treatment.
Depression is not a choice; it is an illness but just like every other disease, there are causes. Some of the common causes of depression result from personal problems, losses, tragic past events, traumas or broken relationships, not all depression cases are a result of serious mental illnesses or medications, which in that case, is clinical depression which is not my topic of discussion.
When we talk about depression on social media, the only thing people seem to keep emphasizing is on clinical depression, what about the depression you give someone when you hurt them? Or the depression and stigma after a rape, sexual abuse, child molestation, domestic abuse? What account do we have for the depression after you find your loved one cheating on you, Depression is not cancer, it does not emerge from when your cells grow uncontrollably and don’t die. It is not always an error in your genes. It is mostly the situational depression that leads to complex mental illnesses.
Depression and Faith
“Faith is not believing that God can, It’s knowing that God will.”
Faith is a complete trust and confidence in something, whether it is God or your doctor (if you want to), for me, it’s God Himself, no matter what, faith and a good belief system always pay off. This is because it gives you hope, a reason to keep fighting and a validation that things will be alright. A depressed person needs much more than medications, he/she needs love, support and most of all, a purpose to live.
Islam, as a religion gives you a purpose of life, more or less, a family system, comfort, protection, brotherhood unlike in societies where the concept of this doesn’t subsist, you are nurtured, cared and looked after in a Muslim family.
Illnesses, diseases, loss, and trials are all from Allah, and a firm belief system helps one fight through without taking one’s life, this is because one develops hope, an urge to get better, to recover and there is no possible place for depression in his/her life anymore.
Islam and Faith are similar yet not the same, having faith in Allah and trusting Him does not mean that you have to be an upright Muslim, it means that no matter who you are, what you do or wherever you are from, you trust Him to ease your problems. Instead of planning a suicide over a loss of a job or killing your children in fear of poverty, a strong faith helps you survive, depression and grief are inevitable, but you worry less, you work your way through the solutions, trusting Allah that things will turn out. This is what faith is,
It’s a misconception that sinners don’t have faith, they don’t have Allah, anyone can turn around and change their perspective on life, an alcoholic requires a rehab, and when we say that, we believe in throwing him/her in a rehab leaving it all on the doctor to treat. The fault begins from within, you don’t have to be religious to have faith. Christians have the same God, they believe in the concept of God, they don’t have to be Muslims to have faith.
It’s not a walk in a park to treat depression, although medical help is important it never saved anyone who had lost all hope. This is why people attempt suicides even though they are seeking treatment.
In 2017, a couple happily married for 20 years suicided because one of them was diagnosed with cancer
Do I blame their faith in God? Not really, because they were unaware, they were not Muslims to have a concept of God, they were so naive and so true, They did not battle any mental illnesses, it was their decision to die. Isn’t that suicide too? I don’t think they required a psychiatrist. If you are a non-muslim reading this, know that having faith and Islam does not make you blow people up and turn into a terrorist, Islam is peace.
yet, on the other hand, Ali Banat, who died this Ramadan, battling cancer for the past 3 years, did not turn to depression or suicidal thoughts,no one wants to die,he could blame Allah for the trial on him and turn to seek possible medical solutions to combat his disease, but he had faith.
He had trust in Allah and above all, he had hope. He called it a “gift” from Allah. When diagnosed with cancer, he was given 6 months to live, upon which he gave up his lavish lifestyle to work for his hereafter. With the blessing of faith, he lived 3 years with cancer and in this extended lifespan, became an example for the entire ummah.
He carried out many charity works, one of which was Muslims Around the World.
The bottom line is, he was not someone with strict religious beliefs in his life before being diagnosed, neither was he a Quran Hafiz and a mufti, he had firm faith in Allah, this did not call for depression, it gave him the energy to do better.
Depression is more than a chemical imbalance in the brain
We can’t always blame the chemical imbalance in one’s brain for the major causes of depression, to me, the major source of displeasure to most people are other people. Your attitude, gesture, language, expression and how you treat people matters. Most of the teens suffering from depression are basically battling anxiety due to the growing societal standards. Moreover, people fall prey to seeking love and attention in the wrong places. This could be relationships with no grounds or an attachment to things or certain habits. A strong faith helps in this regard too if only one has a complete knowledge of what religion forbids.
Muslim Society and Depression
It is rather ignorant to deny one’s faith while calling oneself a Muslim, when told to keep faith in Allah, it does not mean to go over to a depressed person and put it all on God, just like it’s completely a waste to direct a battling person to medications alone and never lend a helping hand or a shoulder to cry on.
The problem with our society is not that we have forgotten what spirituality is, not that we have lost our trust in Allah and have become more prone to science in the name of modernism; it’s that along with this, we tend to find excuses and someone to blame.
People are more concerned with pretending to be good and helpful rather than actually taking our time to go help others. On a pursuit to shift the blame we should be taking, we rather blame the chemical hormones in one’s brain or how God doesn’t help unless the chemical hormones are not treated. You are not helping, you are just creating noise.
A few days back, a boy committed suicide in Centaurus, Islamabad; It could have been clinical depression but I believe parents and society tend to pressurize teenagers into doing what they are not willing to.
“One of the reasons why he was like this was that he was bullied at the college people made fun of his voice as he had a thin voice called him ‘kalay’. He was a science student as his mother wished, but he wanted to go in arts as it was difficult for him. He changed many schools but it didn’t help” – Sources
“Depression comes from different places, but it’s all the same darkness.” — Wish I Could Tell You, New York Times
According to Psychology, Clinical Depression is often said to be caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain, and this is what most drug treatments are based on. Certainly, in many cases, there is a reduction in the number of certain neurotransmitters found (monoamines such as serotonin and norepinephrine) in depressed people.
Seeking medical help is essential, visiting a psychiatrist is as important, medications do help and mental illness require serious treatment, however. Avoiding treatment and suffering in silence is never a solution, seek treatment and keep the faith. There is more to life than losing hope; the purpose of our creation is more than that. Suicidal thoughts could be due to clinical depression, one may not be in complete senses in that case, however, thinking of ending your life just because you have gone through a breakup or a loss, is waste of your creation. Human beings have the tendency to forget, after a day or two, a dead person is forgotten.
You are Not Alone
The reason why most of the people nowadays are so insensitive to the word “Depression” is that we all have gone through it at least ones in our lives. Whether it’s because of bad grades or a loss in business, we are well aware of the concept. This is more than sadness, it’s depression. The only way out is love, consideration, empathy, and tolerance.
” People who have and are dealing with current suicidal ideations are frozen, forced to either listen to a group of people shout nothingness in a crowded room or instead feeling obligated to confront and discuss your own relationship with the concept of voluntarily taking your own life, without your valid consent.
Everyone is loud on the internet — but some are quiet too. Nobody knows what to say, and nothing is real enough. The age-old shitty viewpoints arise: along with the shaky and superficial advice on how to deal and who to call, what to do and who to turn to. It drives me fucking insane. ” That’s Your Personal Problem, Thought on Depression
If you are going through depression and reading this, whether you are a Muslim or a non-muslim, know that you matter. Seek treatment if required, and find your purpose. If you have all the riches in the world, help those who are deprived. It always feels good to help others.
We cannot blame the non-Muslims since they are not aware of what spirituality or faith is, but being a Muslim and degrading ones faith is rather distressing. Our beliefs should be on Allah, If He wills to cure, He says be, and it is. He does not require a doctor or medication to give or take life, He is the sole creator.
If you are on the move to help people with depression, the first and foremost thing you need to be doing is to control your urge to ridicule others. Some people are sensitive and this could lower their confidence in themselves. Body shaming, judging, cheating, harassing, social stigma, peer pressure is how you could be a source of depression, while personal habits such as envy, greed, jealousy, and ungratefulness could get you upset as well.
Lastly, kindness begins with you, be kind to yourself and you will be kind to others.
All opinions presented above are my own, you may differ or disagree based on your different views and belief system.
Images source: Google