“I’ve Been There”
I just want to start by saying: I’ve been there. That moment, where giving up on life seems like the best option. This started after university for a number of reasons: from moving away, the stress of my degree, arguments with friends, family and living conditions that just pile on for weeks, simmering, until you realise you might be that unspeakable word, ‘depressed’. ME? You must be joking, I thought. I saw depression as a condition that’s that deep, that real, when there’s no one to talk to. Little did I know that person suffering in silence all along was me.
Alhamdulillah, Alhamdulillah, Alhamdulillah. I know there are people out there suffering far worse than and Allah has made things easy for me. But despite this downcast opening, I have found a mind-set, a mentality that has helped me cope and adapt to insha’Allah, even my darkest days.
1) I have no time to be depressed. When I actually started to become selfish about my own well-being, I realised with my studies, travel and everything else in between, there was mentally and physically NO time to be depressed. It suddenly did not become an option. I was so busy with studies and falling ill, if I let my emotions get the better of me, I may as well have stopped adding to my student debt, pack up and leave. I realised there comes a point in life, where you are actually too busy DOING LIFE. The practical part of your mind kicks in and says ‘‘do I really need these unnecessary emotions?’’, ‘’is it worth the effort?’’. In truth, it requires thicker skin to walk away from the abyss of depression for someone going through the full force of it. However, once I detached myself, thought of the past episodes I had, how it never led to anything but being miserable, this time, for once, it didn’t look so appealing. So much to the point I could look mental illness in the eye and say ‘’not today’’.
2) I am going to die. I will never forget the lung cancer clinic I sat in, where a man was so bluntly told he had stage 4 terminal cancer and less than 10 months to live. Hard manual labour was all he had known and once it finally came to his retirement years, his world had already ended. Life is harsh, life is full of surprises, but most of all, life is short. It has no obligation to be kind and wait for you to get your act together, it will rush over you like a tsunami while you idly play by the beach. It made me realise, yes I will be sad some days, but I don’t have time to be sad forever. Yes, I might be depressed enough to wish for death, but now I realise that was the ultimate foolish lie. The breaking of his death sentence was my re-birth. I will forever cherish and stamp that memory into my mind. It kept me grounded; it was the reminder that no matter how hard things are, we are all going to die. Remember it and never forget, because our problems and worries are so insignificant to the greatest gift of all, our lives. Every day is a blessed gift, it cannot be wasted in despair. It would truly be the greatest injustice not only to ourselves but also our Lord. I feel like everyone’s journey is unique, but these reminders work for me. The first is me being truly honest to myself and the second when life is brutally honest to you. I sincerely hope anyone struggling doesn’t feel like they’re alone. I’ve been there: suicide, depression, self hatred, yet still managed to find my hope again. Where there are trials there is always hope, and once you have hope, trials will follow to test it. May Allah make it easy for everyone struggling and never give up!