Written by: Wasan
Lately, mornings haven’t been the best part of her day. She would long to draw the curtains shortly after the kids left and hide under her bed sheets.
For her, bed was a safe space, a sanctuary where only she could retreat, where no one would trespass and where she could for a while just sleep on everything, hitting the pause button in her head. After all, it was the only clock she could control.
It’s not that she was particularly miserable. Sleeping until everyone came home didn’t always seem so bad–it helped time pass and avoid overthinking everything.
She knew deep down though that sleep was not the solution; it was her soul, not her body, that was tired, and its fatigue was not in any way satiated by slumber.
Lately, she felt that everything was pretty much the same somber, dull grey. Despite the beautiful sun rays flooding her life, there was a grey cloud that hung over her. Maybe all the sleep was what caused it–or was it something deeper that lured her back to bed every morning?
There’s a difference between being physically tired and feeling that your head is so heavy you just cannot hold it up. She found that the heavier her head felt, the less she was actually using it. But in her comatose state, she was unable to muster even the slightest energy to overcome this, despite the feelings of guilt, regret, self-loathing and failure that loomed over her inability to exert control over herself.
One morning, she stepped outside her apartment and noticed it was surrounded by a thick layer of fog. She was enveloped in the clouds and there was no sign of the outside world she would often admire from her windows. The curious child within her slowly awoke as she opened the door of her balcony wider, allowing the clouds to spill right into her apartment. She took a deep breath, watching the fog shift as she exhaled, and she smiled to herself. Her inner child emerged as she experimented with the crisp, stiff air surrounding her. She toyed with the elements, and she felt her soul connect with nature once again. Something clicked, triggering her imagination, her untold memories, and her fingers, which had long been too stiff to type, began to itch for a keyboard once again.
For a brief moment she understood. There was something beneficial about hitting the pause button, something about feeling more secure in the night, in finding joy in staying awake whilst the world around her slept. In the same way, there was something mysteriously comforting about not seeing beyond this fog. She felt safe not seeing further than her hand. She felt safe in this cozy space among the clouds. It was like curling up between her bed sheets, except her eyes were wide open, and that morning she felt alive.
She felt enveloped with mercy and love as she recalled:
“God is the guardian and protector of those who believe. He brings them out from darkness into the light.” (2:257)
“He will give you a double portion of His mercy, and make for you a light by which you will walk, and forgive you; and God is Forgiving and Merciful.” (57:28)
Sometimes our brains fail to process anything beyond what our eyes can see. It is the brain’s way of telling us to slow down a little. There may be too much going on up there, and as the noise becomes deafening, we sometimes retreat to confinement and choose to be in a state of hibernation. In those moments, it is time to focus on being present, to use our senses and take it all in, and to have faith that everything beyond this point will take care of itself.
As she locked her eyes on the clouds, she knew that soon they would depart. Would she fall? She wasn’t sure whether she was ready to face the world once again.
She took a deep breath, feeling the moisture in the air around her.
Whoever knew, she thought, that this morning she and the sky would be one?
It is easy to mistake feelings of sadness, grief, and loneliness for depression. Although they may signify the initial stages of depression, we must be careful not to diagnose all kinds of negative emotions as depression itself. However, if feelings of doom, despair, and sadness continue pushing us to regress, we can easily retreat into isolation and darkness and remain there, sinking and descending into a paradigm of hopelessness and a world devoid of beauty, light, love, and hope.
It is important to remember that even in the depths of darkness there is light, and one must reach for those chinks of light, reaching with outstretched hands. If you can be that beacon of light, of hope and compassion, then be this for others.
Even for the able-bodied, depression often pushes one into a catatonic state, frozen not by physiological factors but by thoughts (https://www.healthline.com/health/depression/catatonic-depression#modal-close).
Reconnecting with our physical body through movement is vital to re-connect with our thoughts and overcome that tendency for inactivity.
Reconnecting with nature and beauty, and elevating one’s mood through appreciation to God and through sensory stimulation, helps one to escape this state.
Finally, never despair and hold on to to the symbols that give you hope. Feel your faith in The Healer, The Merciful, The Bestower of Peace and The Granter of Security (Al Jabar, Al Rahman, Al Salaam, Al Mu’min).