Last time, when I wrote about depression, many brothers and sisters turned to me to write about "how to overcome it". From that very time I've been trying so hard to come with something that can help. I sought help of my colleagues, some seniors, tried to gather Islamic knowledge from teachers about it but nothing worked out. Some ignored me, and I couldn't ask some for the second time. I felt out of place, helpless and hopeless. It was much of an experience. As a matter of fact, we haven't yet conquered the psychological trauma.
What actually is mental health and why should it be a major concern?
Every single person has its own definition of mental health but little do we know what it actually is. Basically, mental health is considered as our conscience towards surroundings, the way we react to different situations and handle the stressful events, our behaviour towards crests and troughs of life. The way we look at our lives, the way we receive people around us and our thoughts about their lives, combining all the parameters we reach out to mental health. Mental health is wellbeing of social, emotional and psychological conditions collectively.
Why is mental health a mediocre subject? Why do we stereotype people who talk about it? From the early childhood till the later age in life, enduring mental health has its importance and we don't really look after it. I've been depressed, suffering from different psychological disorders and even suicidal ideation. I tried every possible remedy but was lost at the end of the day. Eventually, I realized that there's nothing wrong with surroundings, people, emotions etc. The disease lies within, somewhere deep inside. This inner world is intricate and all its facets are placed perfectly. But, when an inner crutch slips, it creates labyrinth. This predicament creates voids which homes sadness and abhorrence. Sometimes, it's exacerbated by the environment we live in and eventually a person feels haunted.
Undoubtedly, the survivors know how to endure the catastrophe, but not every savior works same. I found that when we, the humans, distance from our instincts, enthusiasm starts to fall off. When this innateness is lost, we're lost. Every little thing starts to bother which takes shape of mountains and we're crumbled and bruised under this ponderosity. The only antidote, the remedy to this malady is Allah. It often happens that we long for someone to speak good to us and be concerned about us but we forget that Allah is there and I think nobody needs proof for that. Every second verse of Quran is saying it and indeed Quran is the Word of Allah to us, to each one of us.
Allah reassured, “Have no fear! I am with you, hearing and seeing"
Allah has kept cure to every ailment in Quran. But it needs faith and belief. If a heart puts its trust in Almighty, He'll not only cure but guide it. He, the Giver of Peace, sent His messages to us saying;
Say, "It is, for those who believe, a guidance and cure."
And when a person truly believes, Allah, the Almighty, the creator of Heavens certainly rewards.
“Indeed, those who have said, “Our Lord is Allah” and then remained on a right course – the angels will descend upon them, [saying], “Do not fear and do not grieve but receive good tidings of Paradise, which you were promised.” [41:30]
These verses serve as consolation for the steadfast and sincere. The significance of these verses is that we learn that the angels can be one’s guardians and companions, and at the time of death impart glad tidings of the end of bad things and the advent of good things. These verses acknowledge the grief mankind experiences in this life and once again shifts perspective to an optimistic outcome free of depression and anxieties. Also, Allah never abandons a believer and the showers of His mercy never go off. Once, you'll learn about the love of Almighty for you, you'll never feel forlorn again infact you'll be filled with joy and happiness.
Resuscitate. Don't let your heart die. Ibn Al Qayyim [May Allah be pleased with him] said, "A true Believer doesn't fear physical death, rather he fears the death of his heart". Believe in yourself because you matter a lot, you matter for Allah who created you, for yourself who keeps breathing no matter what. Allah has created nothing without it being useful and productive. Console your heart and let the seeds of faith grow in it. Reclaim your positivity that you've lost. A Human has three major components, Body, Soul and Mind. Our biggest concern must be all the three not just one. "Man is a Social Animal". The problem with us is that we've excluded Social from it and have started behaving like animals because like animals only have to feed themselves and save their bodies as it's their only aim, we too have reduced ourselves to that perspective and ruined all other factors that make us Social Animals. It's because of this that we've lost balance; we don't look after our Soul and Mind. If our attitude, behavior or thinking isn't good and beautiful, it makes living miserable. It makes us sick mentally and we're depressed.
Ma'shaa Allah, those one billion neurons (more or less) in brain aren't futile. Brain has vast working capacity and most of its functions operate unknowingly. It's a source of logic, intellect, vision and much more blessings. And beyond the physical working of brain comes mind. It includes the consciousness, imagination, memory, behavior and it's believed that mind resides in brain. Every time a person starts to learn something new, new wirings and connections start to form. Different parts of the brain start to regrow and become stronger. This is called plasticity of brain. And on the other side, if brain isn't healthy and isn't working good, the parts of brain start to wear out and deteriorate. Positive attitude plays major role in building a strong brain. When the brain is powerful, mind broadens. It's only with a positive thinking that a healthy body and a healthy soul develop. When all the three, a healthy mind, a healthy soul and a healthy body, come together in a person, whatever he/she thinks, whatever he/she wants, he/she can achieve. An emotional ability grows and a person can conquer even his/her biggest fears. We define people according to their mind for example, he is a humble man, that person is arrogant, someone is lazy, innovative etc. All these attributes is mindset of a person through which we define him/her. Mindset defines personality and his/her activities, achievements as well. SubhanAllah, this subtle thought, the mind, has the power to reshape the Brain and the life of a person as well.
Iqbal says for a sturdy mind, soul and body,
Chahe to badal daalay haye'yat chamanistan ki
Ye Hasti Daana hai, Beena hai, Tawana hai.
If it wishes, can change the shape of the world
This being is wise (sturdy mind), a visionary ( Soulful), robust (perfect body)
The essence of mental wellbeing is summed up in this couplet. A person who can acquire self resilience can change the world.
If you really want to retrieve your positivity, work on your attitude and behavior and if you're ready to reshape your brain and your life, be steadfast and conquer your agony. When you'll set on this journey, Allah will be your companion, you'll never feel blues. Melancholies will change into mirthful breezes and hopelessness will vanish away.
Arbeena Altaf Bhat studies medicine at SUMS, Iran