Forum Ilmiyah 2017 : Dealing with Stress and Depression

Assalamualaikum everyone! I hope Ramadhan is going well for all of you so far and I sincerely wish you nothing but to be showered with endless blessings.

I’m really happy to be able to squeeze some time in to continue blogging. So, as part of being a panelist on Forum Ilmiyah, I was instructed to answer two main questions…

1. How does Psychology relate to Islam and,
2. How to deal with stress and depression.

First things first,
Stress is well known to cause tension mentally, physically and emotionally. Some mild, some are just twice as terrible.

We are all bound to experience stress but us as intelligent human beings, often or not, once stress occurs, we start stressing about stress itself.

This is normally the part where you feel like you’re at the edge, because once you feel SO overwhelmed by the amount of stress, it makes you have more worries than you originally had to begin with (I.E – you were stressed about the assignments now you’re stressed out about THE stress) and it can lead you to slowly losing hope.

Untreated worries and decreased in hope can lead to Depression.

Honestly, It is completely okay to be stressed. It’s normal to have stressed, in fact I’d rather know that you’re stressed than having no emotions at all. It just means that your brain is working and that you’re thinking. In other words — you’ve accepted and noticed something is wrong.

It is OK to be stressed , but it all comes down to how you deal with it.

As for us students and living abroad, the anxiety, stress and depression can occur not only from the workload of assignments, deadlines, exams. What else? It could also be due to the feeling of distant, loss and loneliness where you’d feel homesick and empty.

The causes of stress and depression are normally associated with the idea of Loss.
Such as :

Loss of hope (Giving up and backing out)
Loss of connection (People back home, friends and family)
Loss of coping with health (losing the ability to focus and the ability to function in everyday life)

Key point – Don’t bottle it up.

If it comes to the point that you want to let it out, but you also don’t want to disturb people because you know that everyone is going through the same thing, don’t ever think that’s the end of it and that you’ll just bottle your emotions up.

Have the courage to let your feelings and emotions out because the most honest words from you are the words you’ve never really said out loud. The ones that you prefer to keep in because you’re too afraid to voice it out.

Often or not, you will ponder upon moments where you feel worthless and think; “oh.. I’m alone at this” No no, you have the option to turn to Allah instead.

Ask him. Talk to Him. Cry to Him.
He heard you, just be patient.

I live my day with by dad’s advice of :

  1. Do’a – Turn those worries into du’a
  2. Usaha  – then turn them into an action plan where you make an effort and do something about it.
    Don’t just make do’a and then tawakkal, you still have to do the effort to make it happen.
  3. Tawakkal -Sabar. It’s never a quick process.

To be honest, people normally get stressed out and upset due to having high expectations.

Yasmin Mogahed mentioned in her book of “Reclaim your heart” on hardships and expectations where she quoted –

 ; Have we ever stopped to consider the possibility that it may have been for our own good? Allah tells us in the Qur’an: “…But perhaps you hate a thing and it is good for you; and perhaps you love a thing and it is bad for you. And Allah Knows, while you know not.” (Qur’an, 2:216)

Point is, if you’re stressed — Usaha, do something about it.

For example, you’re stuck and don’t know what to do with your assignment. Search on google, look through articles, text a friend, check your notes. nah, baca tia.

Make an effort.

You have a choice to complain or turn to Allah and as mentioned on my previous post, help has to come from you. Which means that effort has to come from you.

After that, give yourself a break to have tawakkal. You’ve done your best. You’ve done your part. You’ve given in all you’re effort.  No more “I Should’ve” “I would’ve” “ I could’ve”.

You’ve done your best and thats where your usaha is.

As for university – You know it’s going to be hard, If it was easy anyone can do it.

It is okay to struggle and have a breakdown and turn to Him. Ask Him. Allah wants you to ask Him for what you want. It’ll bring you closer the moment you even thought of turning to him.

Be specific in your du’a and you’ll find relief because you have asked for help rather than torturing yourself with irrational thoughts and repressing your emotions.

It is also important to be aware that the problems in the world are temporary, the world itself is temporary. True – Dunia ini hanya sementara. So dont worry, you’ll be fine.

Stresses are not bad. Really, to even experience anxiety and depression is not all bad.

Like I said about “Loss” (for example, Loss of hope or connection) – when you feel the loss, eventually, you’d be searching for bonds.

Know that He knows you the most and He will never put you in any situation that you can’t bear.

You have to be ready and realistic that things aren’t always going to go your way or how you thought it’d be. He’s the best planner, so just because an incident has happened, don’t automatically start hating and questioning why you’re so unlucky.

Normally when we have hardships – Dont complain and think “Why is this happening to me”

You should feel lucky, Allah puts you through hardships because He loves you, He notices you and you shouldn’t hesitate to want to turn to Him.

That’s why there are hardships, stresses and tests, so you can turn to him and strengthen that relationship even if you’re battling those difficult situations.

Tbh, you’d appreciate happiness more if you’ve gone through sadness because you know what it’s like.

My point is, It all matters and depends on your mindset to have faith and tawakkal in Allah.

As mentioned earlier, stress is normal but its how you deal with it.

Personally, I am not the most religious person nor am I the best. I am still practicing and I make mistakes along the way, a lot of them. So don’t feel bad about yourself and think I am “all that” judging from what I’ve written on this post, trust me,  I am just like all of you, struggling to become better.

Forum Ilmiyah went well and I’m glad this topic helped a lot of you who came, but here’s to the people who didn’t get to attend the forum and I hope I helped.

Tootle-oo, kangaroo!, til the next blog! (which is probably about how I surprised Hazwan by coming back home to Brunei weeeeeee)  —  Stay tune, also Assalamualaikum & Happy Ramadhan ❤️