Depression

It’s completely natural to have a few bad days when things aren’t going your way however when a few bad days becomes a few bad weeks or months it is now a call for concern. It is very common to be affected by depression and occurs more frequently than one would imagine. With the number of those diagnosed with depression increasing by 20% each year it is very important to have a good understanding of this topic to be able to cope with it and hopefully be able to identify it in ourselves and in those around us.

Mental illnesses may not get as much attention as physical illnesses however they are equally as important in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

An estimated 121 million people around the world currently suffer from some form of depression and overall women have higher rates of depression thanmen (Media et al., 2005) with mixed anxiety and depression being the mostcommon mental health disorder in Britain. (Mental health statistics: The most common mental health problems, 2016)

4-10% of people in England will experience depression in their lifetime. (Mental health statistics: The most common mental health problems, 2016)

Studies have shown that about 4% of children aged five to 16 in the UK are anxious or depressed. (Choices, 2016)

So how do you spot it? Here are some of the different ways to be able to identify if you or someone close has depression.

1. Lethargy, fatigue, and the feeling that doing things takes a lot of your energy.
2. Persistent sadness, including fits of crying either uncontrollably or being set
off easily, feelings of anxiety or emptiness.
3. Feeling blue, sad, and down over a period of at least two weeks.
4. Feelings of worthlessness, self-blame and a lack of self-esteem.
5. Sleeping a large more or less than usual, or experiencing insomnia.
6. Suicidal thoughts, thoughts about dying, or attempts at suicide.

So with depression being so common amongst the youth in the U.K, what are the best ways of dealing with depression and how do you get over it if you do have it?

1. Reach out and stay connected to supportive people.

Alhamdullilah there is a strong support system at the Islamic Society in the university that are more than happy to help you out with any concerns of yours. Reach out to iSupport about your concerns and they can get you in touch with support and services that are available to you. If you are concerned about a friend or family member, then contacting us may allow us to provide you with some guidance or refer you on to services that may help you become that supportive person for them.

The messenger of Allah (PBUH) said:

The parable of the believers in their affection, mercy, and compassion for
each other is that of a body. When any limb aches, the whole body reacts with
sleeplessness and fever. [Bukhari]

2. Exercise vigorously during the day and adopt a healthy mood-
boosting diet.

Make sure to stay active with one of the many sport societies out there in the university as exercise is a powerful depression fighter. If you feel that the sports societies currently are not for you, then we may be able to provide you with suggestions for activities in the local area or sessions that may be more catered to you. Research even shows that regular exercise can be as effective as medication for relieving depression symptoms. It also helps prevent relapse once you’re well. (Helpguide, 2016)

Adopting a healthy diet is just as important in maintaining a positive energy to overcome your depression. Deficiencies in B vitamins such as folic acid and B- 12 can trigger depression. (Helpguide, 2016) Certain foods such as citrus fruit, leafy greens, beans, chicken, and eggs are high in B-12.

The final messenger of God, Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) mounted the pulpit,
then wept and said, “Ask Allah (swt) for forgiveness and health, for after
being granted certainty, one is given nothing better than health.” [Tirmidhi]

3. Increase in good deeds
Take this time to get closer to Allah SWT by dedicating ten minutes of your day to reading Quran and getting lost in its beautiful words. Also Giving for charity is a really good way of benefiting yourself in this Dunya and the Akhira.

Allah swt says in his holy book: “Whoever fears Allah, Allah will find a way
out for him (from every difficulty) and He will provide for him from sources
that he could never have imagined.” [Quran 65:2]

4. Ask Allah (swt)

The one who created everything from the huge planets that circulate the infinite galaxies to the tiniest microscopic bacteria that we cannot even see will most certainly not be hindered to replace your sadness with extreme happiness!

Allah Almighty says in the Qur’an:

“When my servants ask you concerning me, (tell them) I am indeed close (to
them). I listen to the prayer of every supplicant when he calls on me.” [2:186]

References
Pixel Initialized (2005) Depression statistics: Unhappiness by the numbers [INFOGRAPHIC]. Available at: http://www.healthline.com/health/depression/statistics- infographic(Accessed: 26 October 2016).

Mental health statistics: The most common mental health problems (2016) Available at: https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/statistics/mental-health-statistics-most- common-mental- health-problems (Accessed: 26 October 2016).

Choices, N. (2016) Clinical depression. Available at: http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Depression/Pages/Introduction.aspx (Acc essed: 26 October 2016).

Helpguide (2016) Self-help and coping tips to overcome depression. Available at: http://www.helpguide.org/articles/depression/dealing-with- depression.htm (Accessed: 26 October 2016).