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In the Name of God بسم الله

sister going through depression..Help needed

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lilibolt

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AOA,

I hope everyone is doing well.

My elder sister is going through a phase in her life that she can’t seem to overcome. A few years ago she suffered from an eating disorder called 'binge eating' this went on for about year, then slowly she stopped binged eating but went onto the other extreme and was diagnosed with anorexia 2 years later. Along with all this she slowly went into severe depression and developed anxiety disorder. It’s been over a year since she is fighting anorexia, depression and anxiety. She has seen nutritionists, psychiatrists, psychologists but none seem to work and finally they prescribed to her medicine for depression, which us as a family would not like her to take because of its immense side effects....

It’s true that life in general has been hard for her, she failed 2 times in university because she made the wrong degree choice in order to save money and live with family but eventually had to change her degree. This is what we think have mainly lead to her severe depression, being a A* student all her life and suddenly having a failing grade in all her exams, seeing her friends succeed, becoming doctors, younger sisters being ahead of her, her not being able to achieve her dreams etc. 

My father is spending A LOT of money on her now so she can complete the degree she wants, sending her a lot of money to spend on herself etc. He is doing anything he can, but nothing seems to work, from time to time she cries her eyes out, she says she can’t stand looking at the mirror. She also has this hate towards marriage, saying she would never marry and cannot imagine anyone approaching her that way. Also its been over 7 months she hasn’t have her Menstrual cycle.

Me and my family don’t know what to do…I see her cry, I see my mother cry because of all this.

She has tried listening to lectures, reciting duas, she prays regularly...nothing seems to work..

I remember her mentioning that if a religious scholar talks to her through hadith, help her by talking to her and mentioning relevant saying of the Quran and Ahlulbayt, basically doing the job of a psychologist  but through a religious point of view it might help her…but we don’t know anyone who can do that L

Does anyone have any suggestions, any advice? Anything? Any Sheikh you might know that is willing to help? Any of you who is experienced in this?

Please help we are really worried…

Wassalam

 

 

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Guest silasun

Salaam Alaikum

InshAllah all gets better soon. I will pray for her.

What is a very good idea is to speak to a religious scholar who is well qualified, trustworthy and well aware of the circumstances you live in on a regular basis- this is actually mentioned as a key part of the successful upbringing of a Shia Muslim in the West!

If you are in Europe, the best you could maybe do is ask to speak to one of the English speaking Sheikhs at the Islamic Centre of England (via phone).

I would suggest you speak to/phone centres wherever you live and ask them which scholar would be best to discuss this issue with and then get in contact.

Also, do not neglect that there are mental illnesses which require medical treatment. 

And make sure you verify the credentials of a scholar you speak with lol. You don't want somebody who will give a false treatment.

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:bismillah:

"Indeed, Allah will not change the condition of a people until they change what is in themselves." [quran 13:11] 

I'm currently on my psychiatry block, so I'm relatively new to all of this. I've had some exposure to mental health conditions as well as individuals with behavioural issues and learning disabilities. Medication of any kind leave you with side effects. Some are reversible, other's aren't. Some side effects can be extremely distressing too. I find the side effects of typical anti-psychotics most shocking (tardive dyskinesia). 

Going back to the aya I quoted, this is true even in the medical field. The mind is a mysterious thing. Psychiatry is still a relatively young speciality. We realise the prognosis of patients suffering from mental health conditions is greatly influenced by our state of mind. Medication is supposed to help remove some of the walls that stand between you and your enthusiasm to bring about this change. But they truly treat the condition. It's a form of management, unless there's an organic cause (e.g. tumour, metabolic diseases- hypothyroidism etc.). Point is, no one can help your sister but herself. You can guide her, but true change comes from her.

I find, what helps patients most is realising their triggers. Sit your sister down and try to work out what it is that makes her feel depressed. Go for detail. Developing eating disorders can be a consequence of depression but ask her concerning that too. Perhaps there's a separate root problem there. Does she have body image problems? If so, why? If she's overweight/obese, why does that worry her? and what is the cause of that belief/reason, etc. Once she realises the cause/s, she can begin to work towards removing them. How can she work to get rid of all that worries her. Make a rough plan. Perhaps start with small goals like eating healthy portions for a week. Then for the next, add two-three days of exercise. If she worries about her degree, create a week long timetable to assign certain study hours. If she worries about money, reassure her that money comes and goes. It's there to be spent. You can buy a calendar and sit down with her for an hour or two to organise a trip for every week to go some place fun together (or let her go by herself). I find collecting pictures of places I visit very fun :) 

When you do speak to her, talk as little as possible. Listen and only talk when necessary. Don't criticise no matter what she says. Validate every feeling she has even if you think it sounds ridiculous. We all experience life differently. What seems like a pathetic reason to you (e.g. my nose is big, I don't want to ever go out. i hate life) can actually have a vast damaging impact on another person (body dysmorphic disorder). Try to comfort her wherever possible, but don't overdo it. She may realise you're not being sincere. It causes distrust. 

For example, 

"I hate looking in the mirror!" "Why do you hate looking into the mirror?" "Because I'm ugly." "What makes you feel that way?" "I don't know. I just am." "If you're ugly- though I disagree- what about being ugly makes you worry?" etc. Just try to find out whether she's afraid of anything in specific. Being rejected by society or disappointing her future spouse etc. Then try to persuade her otherwise. For instance, there are many severely disabled and scarred woman (burn victims and multiple limb amputees) that have found love. If she tells you to go away, don't approach the matter again. Try to approach her in a positive manner. Invite her to do activities with you. Something as small as baking a cake together maybe, etc. Maybe start a project together? Read up on and collect hadiths about mental health. We have all the information we need at our fingertips; the internet is vast! Encourage her to start a blog perhaps =D 

All the best to you sister :) 

:ws: 

edit: With regards to the use of medication and it's effectiveness, i was speaking of depression. For other mental health conditions, drug interventions can be profoundly necessary. Though it all amounts to the therapeutic index of the drug. 

Edited by yusur317
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I think your family should allow your sister to use medicines. Millions of people use them and they work. I will also suggest that she should go for ziyarat. She may need to go every year but your family is already spending a lot of money on her. It's a good thing that she doesn't want to get married. Married life involves bigger challenges. If she is not able to deal with her challenges now, how she will be able to take care of her kids? It's common sense. Often people think that marriage can cure depression. I hope your family doesn't make the same mistake. 

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I have witnessed a similar situation with someone I know. The issue I see is Family image and pressure, and comparing herself to set universal standards of success.

Unfortunately, family and society can contribute to this sort of behaviour, as they seem to a set a fixed forumla for success.

I see too many people see their success tied to university, not to mention, alot of degree holders, in absolutely irrelevant fields to their study, or jobless, or too stuck up because of a piece of paper.

This mindset of success needs to change, and your family should take a step back, and stop panicking, and trying to fix the issue with her studies or degree, but ensure her that you all love and support her, regardless of anything!

university, great career, marriage, nothing will make her feel fully whole, as with every step we take higher in the material realm their will be always someone higher, and the cycle never ends.

She has to realize herself worth as a human is nothing got to do with a degree, and even without any degree , job or fame, she is a worthy person.

Once you truly make her feel a worthy person, help her be realistic in her decision making. Help her to find what she is good at, not what others are good at and put her self under pressure. Even if that thing is as simple as handicraft making or being a simple school teacher.

The very fact she is comparing herself to her peers as doctors,and sisters doing better in studies is detrimental.

Life is not one dimensional, there are other aspects to life, which are more important to have a feeling of success.

Supervised medication with inspirational videos, along with unconditional love may help. But as a former poster said, she too should be willing to Change herself.

 

Edited by certainclarity
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Guest silasun

I've gone through phases of being made to feel unwanted by other people. Someone suggested for me to contribute.

It is important that you treat your sister as your best friend. Spend a lot of time with her. Some people find it acceptable to "rib" each other (on issues of appearance, etiquettes etc- even as a joke it is wrong)- whether it is their parent, child, sibling etc. We definately need to avoid that- it may not have physical appearances but it might hurt deep down. I mentioned this because on the flip side, filling a person with self confidence is a key to their improvement. 

I guess I used to suffer a lot from people treating me like dirt. It was only when I acquired a real "zeal" and pride in who I am and what I believe in (my faith, my beliefs on social issues) that I felt able to push aside the haters... and in short serve them a good dose of hatorade lol.

Belief in Islam made me proud. Before I felt weak and wanted to suck up to others. I am proud of who I am now, and that really helps deal with people who treat you like rubbish (although it can still sometimes kill you on the inside- but you can get over it).

Self confidence is an important step in her improvement. Every family member, every friend of hers needs to do this. Make her feel a sense of belonging to something. She also needs to realise that what she has is way better than what anyone else has.

I don't know where I would be today without pride and a sense of belonging in what I am.

In summary:

One needs to acquire that certainty that what they have is better than anything in the world. That, I would guess, is really driven by your sister herself. If she wants to be proud of being Muslim then she has to understand why she should be proud. If she wants to be proud of her appearance then she ought to realise why.

May Allah accept your sincere concern and bless her with success.

 

Edited by silasun
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I want to add that success depends a lot on luck also. When I went to karbala for ziyarat, I was able to get a really good job. My interview was really easy and I got the job offer in few hours. I was able to stay there for 2 years. Many people have said that going to Haj is also good if you are having financial difficulties. 

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11 hours ago, lilibolt said:

My elder sister is going through a phase in her life that she can’t seem to overcome

Salam. Your sister's lack of menstrual period (while under doctor's care) might be caused by stress, depression, poor nutrition and extreme weight loss from the anorexia or all of these. Your family loves her and wants what is best for her, so they should not put any pressure on her at all. Is your sister living alone or with your parents? I hope that she is with them. Your sister needs to stop thinking about getting married or failing her exams because these are not important for her right now. She needs to gain weight and get physically and mentally healthy. She should only concern herself with her daily prayers, then rest and relax so that she gets out of her depression.   

Sorry, I did not read any of the other replies. I'm sure others gave you good comments. InshaAllah.

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Salamm alkium,

mashallah all replies were really good.

can I just add that from personal experience with life. I am currently going through a lot of stress, but you don't realise that the level of the situation I am in is much  bigger than your sister is going through.

i also get down but I force my self to getup for the sake of my children.

I think your sister bless her has to realise that although she might have failed in her education,mane is alhamduallah lucky enough to have her family supporting her and loving her.

living in current situation you see people and children being killed in the worst possible way just because they are the followers of ahl al bayiet pbuthem

what I am trying to say, your sister should do now is:

1.suspend her studies as clearly as you have stated its what's causing her the stress. She can always continue anytime after she feels better inshallah.

2. Take time out maybe by giving to charity volunteer in hospitals, humans always feel better by helping others its human nature.

3. As above suggested do ziyarah or even umrah.

4. Get healthy , maybe you can join the gym with her.

5. Be grateful for what she has, Mashallah she is lucky to have a dad who is willing to spend all this money to make her happy. Remind her that there are people who have nothing and are still grateful to Allah. It's important that she sees how others are going through much more bigger struggles in their life. You see people who suffer with cancer , some physically and mentally abused. 

See these are all tests from Allah , she had to submit to Allah and realise nothing is worth it in this life. Life is just a journey to the akhyira, no need to be materialistic and think about the dunya .this is not our permanent life, this is a temporary journey that we all take. We face with these trials and tribulations for a reason, to make us realise that we shouldn't fall and suck into this life, but a reminder that the aultimate goal is worship Allah and battle with our inner soul to find Allah in us.

hope this helps. Sorry if I came a bit too harsh 

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On October 15, 2016 at 5:15 AM, lilibolt said:

AOA,

 

I hope everyone is doing well.

 

My elder sister is going through a phase in her life that she can’t seem to overcome. A few years ago she suffered from an eating disorder called 'binge eating' this went on for about year, then slowly she stopped binged eating but went onto the other extreme and was diagnosed with anorexia 2 years later. Along with all this she slowly went into severe depression and developed anxiety disorder. It’s been over a year since she is fighting anorexia, depression and anxiety. She has seen nutritionists, psychiatrists, psychologists but none seem to work and finally they prescribed to her medicine for depression, which us as a family would not like her to take because of its immense side effects....

 

It’s true that life in general has been hard for her, she failed 2 times in university because she made the wrong degree choice in order to save money and live with family but eventually had to change her degree. This is what we think have mainly lead to her severe depression, being a A* student all her life and suddenly having a failing grade in all her exams, seeing her friends succeed, becoming doctors, younger sisters being ahead of her, her not being able to achieve her dreams etc. 

 

My father is spending A LOT of money on her now so she can complete the degree she wants, sending her a lot of money to spend on herself etc. He is doing anything he can, but nothing seems to work, from time to time she cries her eyes out, she says she can’t stand looking at the mirror. She also has this hate towards marriage, saying she would never marry and cannot imagine anyone approaching her that way. Also its been over 7 months she hasn’t have her Menstrual cycle.

 

Me and my family don’t know what to do…I see her cry, I see my mother cry because of all this.

 

She has tried listening to lectures, reciting duas, she prays regularly...nothing seems to work..

 

I remember her mentioning that if a religious scholar talks to her through hadith, help her by talking to her and mentioning relevant saying of the Quran and Ahlulbayt, basically doing the job of a psychologist  but through a religious point of view it might help her…but we don’t know anyone who can do that L

 

Does anyone have any suggestions, any advice? Anything? Any Sheikh you might know that is willing to help? Any of you who is experienced in this?

 

Please help we are really worried…

 

Wassalam

 

 

 

 

"Immense side effects…"

Sister, please listen to me when I say this. I am Bipolar and take medication. It took five medications to find the right fit for me, one with no side effects such as weight gain. You can ask the psychiatrist for one with little to no side effects. There are tons on the market. 

Please, please let her take antidepressants. Trust me when I say they help immensely. Your family must take the pros and cons into account, and when depression is this severe, medication MUST be taken. 

Your sister sounds a lot like me. I had binge eating disorder, lost weight, became suicidally depressed and stopped going to college for a year, barely ate 800 calories per day due to depression and anxiety over emotional eating, lost weight and lost my period due to stress, had anxiety/panic attacks, and was eventually hospitalized for my depressive/manic symptoms. I felt like I was dying and didn't want to live. I cried my eyes out everyday and was scared to death about getting married. All my friends are getting their degrees and getting ahead while I still live at home.

With the medication, I can FUNCTION now. I'm back in school, no longer depressed, and again at a healthy weight for my height. It took one year for me. One year of therapy and whatnot to get my life back. 

THAT'S the key. Sis, I know EXACTLY how your sister feels. She can't function, and without the medication, she won't be able to for much long time.

PLEASE show your parents this reply. And you can PM me if you want. I'm here, and I want to help you all get through with this. 

The stigma of mental illness must end, and medication will HELP the person more than HURT. 

 

I know you want to help, but YOU CAN'T BECAUSE YOU ARE NOT A PROFESSIONAL. YOU ARE NOT A PROFESSIONAL. 

Have your parents put her into in-patient for eating disorders and depression and eventually outpatient. She needs to connect with others, connect with people's pain and she can find the light through treatment. She can get stronger. It happened to me. I know it WILL work for your sister. PLEASE have her take the anti depressants. They WILL help. 

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