By: Laiba Muhammad Aamir
How to Stop Struggling, and Start Living?
“A depression can be a golden opportunity given to us by life to face head-on issues that matter greatly to our hearts, but which, out of haste or ignorance, have been swept under the carpet.” This is a beautiful and encouraging piece by Elif Shafak in her book ‘Black Milk’. Depression is mostly avoided but it is a serious mental illness that adversely impacts a person’s thoughts, speech and actions, and fills him with grief and desolation. The depressed individual takes unprescribed bed rest for days and months then, and starts living in a tunnel with no light at the end.
Major causes of depression include hormonal changes, use of certain drugs, failure, sufferings, and the list goes on. In my opinion, depression takes hold of us when we are unaware of our potentials and take a minor problem more seriously than it deserves. Such dark clouds surround our world only when we forget that there is also a bright sun which shines right above.
Most of the times, this dejection goes unnoticed or else we start looking for a psychiatrist, a measure somehow good than just being ignored. However, we forget the fact that our very own self is our best doctor.
Here are a few tips that we can do on our own before consulting a specialist to treat depression:
1. Seek Inspiration from Religion
Being a Muslim, it should be our strong belief that whatever happens, good or bad, is all predestined. However, the story doesn’t end here because it falls upon us to learn from every step in our life. The main reason why many people experience depression is the distance that has come between our religion and us. We have started getting inspired by those things which are not worthy at all. Each word of Quran is a remedy in itself. And, even science proves it. Allah Almighty says, “Verily in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find solace.” (13:28). This world is full of trials and tribulations, and you should go through them and test your capabilities.
Read More: Understanding Human Being
2. Meet Yourself
If you have decided to commit suicide, congratulations! Why? Because it proves that you are a brave person as you have to be really fearless to even think of taking your own life. Let me explain. There is a difference between decision and performance. You are brave if you have taken this decision, but a coward if you commit suicide. Taking decisions is always more important and requires a lot of energy than doing something actually. It is a process of self-examination whereby we know about our powers and abilities. Once you come to know how valiant you are, then why not to use this skill to make life worth living, instead of finishing it. This time between decision and performance is when you meet yourself and find if you are a lion-heart or a mouse to end your life. A bit puzzling, but think about it.
3. Challenge Yourself
You need to keep your good self awake to be superior to your bad self as they are always in confrontation with each other. This is how we polish our self. Trust in oneself is a secret tool here to come out of depression. We cannot challenge our self to come out of its comfort zone without trust. The road is not always smooth and wide; so, start walking barefoot. You will hear many whispers to stop but you must keep on expanding your chances and broadening your horizon. This is how we grow and push our limits. Let’s challenge our self and taste the victory.
4. Read, Write, and Cook
Depression is all about not having any motivation; reading cures here a lot. Reading profusely changes and expands our perspectives. We only need to select a good book, open it and here we are! Out of grief, in a new world! In such a situation, reading inspirational biographies helps you know how other people overcame their state of depression. So let’s take our prescription not to a drugstore but to a bookshop. In the same manner, writing assists too. Our irritating thoughts are real demons. So, write all of them on paper and see how they are dancing in the form of words. Then make a paper plane out of it and make it fly. If it still doesn’t work, get up and start cooking. What else would you want than to add spices of your choice and proportions to a dish and it will turn out to be completely of your wish. It is a way to see how brilliantly you can create things.
5. Say ‘No’ to Isolation
I trust this statement according to which “Man is a social animal.” We are born to live not alone, but in a community. Isolation helps in learning deeply but not sharing which is only possible upon interaction. It is natural that depression leads to isolation but interaction is a path to conquer it. It always feels light when we share things. And, believe me, there is always someone around us who listens to and understands us. So, speak your heart out, all aloud.
6. Look for Positive Vibes
Tell your friend that a black cat crossed your path in the morning and (s)he will start cursing that cat and will instruct you to take care. Seriously? It was just a lovely black cat but she put you and herself in depression for the rest of the day. Why to always replace ‘posi’ of positive with ‘nega’? Start thinking and let others to think positive. This is what I learned from Rhonda Byrne’s ‘The Secret’ which says that thoughts are sending out magnetic signals that is drawing the parallel back to you. So, if you see it in your mind, you are going to hold it in your hand.
7. Be Thankful and Love Yourself
We are so busy in our routines that we have almost lost our self. We do not have any time to appreciate our own efforts. Every day, take a special moment to say ‘thank you’ to your own self; for giving a body to your lingering soul, for reminding you each day what your goals are, for giving you a wake-up call when it goes awry, for not laughing when you say a bizarre thing, for being with you always, and for being your best friend and secret sharer. The best part is that it doesn’t say welcome but ‘thank you’ in return.
Let’s hit the shell of depression to open it evenly before it cracks and hurts us with its sharp edges.