Islamic marriage advice and family advice

Suffering from Depression and Anxiety

depressed girl woman

Assalaamu alaikum my brothers and sisters!

Things are better in my marriage and my husband is working hard for the both of us, but  I guess I was hard on him because of how I feel about myself. I became sick with a mental illness at the age of 19. I suffer from depression and anxiety. Currently, I am on disability and not making that much money. I want to go back to school to become a speech language pathologist, but I feel I could not handle it being that it's a very tough program and the job itself sounds very demanding with companies requiring you to meet productivity levels for medicaid and medicare billing. I am now a housewife, but I would like to help my husband make more income and feel a little more useful in society. I feel there are most jobs that I can't handle the stress and responsibility of, especially since I am shy. I have thought about becoming a health information manager, since that is a job where you simply work with medical records and don't have to interact with people, but I heard it is not easy to break into the field and in addition to education, you also need a lot of experience as well.

You see, I am very much interested in the medical field, but feel I cannot handle the work or stress of the job. If I do speech language pathology, I feel I would fail the classes or have severe anxiety when the program requires presentations. Also, the actual demands of the job sound scary and having a supervisor watching you doesn't sound easy to deal with. Just thinking about all of this causes me so much anxiety. In my undergraduate studies, because I suffered from depression and anxiety, I had to take a two year leave of absence. I don't know what to do with myself. I am 32 years old and have never been able to hold down a job because of my illness. Plus, I suffer from extreme fatigue, and it is very difficult to wake up in the morning and do anything. My bachelor's degree in psychology is completely useless. Please brothers and sisters, help me find a solution to my problem. I am trying to also get pregnant, but no luck there! It looks like I will never have a worthwhile career or have any children. I feel so depressed and sleep all day and cry because I feel my life will never get better. Both me and my husband live with my parents because there are waiting lists for affordable housing. I have applied to several affordable housing places, but still no luck. I would like to be able to make more money for my family and also feel useful in society. That is why I am sleeping all day because I am depressed. Please help me! My anxiety and depression get worse and worse with each passing day. I feel like I am dead inside. Your help would be much appreciated. Thanks!


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15 Responses »

  1. As-salamu Alaykum,

    Insha'Allah you will find relief from your troubles.

    If you enjoy writing, you might consider a career as a freelance writer. With your background in psychology, you could write for any number of publications, including prominent ones like Psychology Today:

    If you want to be productive and be useful in society, you have to create these opportunities for yourself. No one is going to knock on your door and invite you to your dream-career. These days, there are many things you can do from home to earn money. Besides writing, you can start a business. A friend of mine, for example, sells herbs and natural beauty products on-line, and she is pretty successful at it. Consider your hobbies and interests, and start from there. If you really want to do speech language pathology, though, it would be a shame to give it up so easily. Take things one day at a time, and don't think too far into the future. Other students will also be nervous about giving presentations, but the more you practice, the better you will get. You have already received a BA in psychology, which means that you are capable of more than you give yourself credit for. Also, if you have studied psychology, you are certainly aware of the various treatments for anxiety and depression. Do not discount these as they may be useful in your situation.

  2. aslamamu alaikum,

    sister i know you going through hard time. depression is a silent killer. first thing to do is put a hold on looking for work. because in your condition it will be only put a burden on you more, even if you find employment.

    second, over sleeping is not good that will worsen your condition. sleep and wake up during certain time and eat your regular meals on time.

    third, exercise, exercising is very good for your body and mind, this will also help you release stress. 1hour 3-4 days a week.

    fourth, pray your salaah, be patient and ask Allah to cure you and make things easy.

    just because you didn't get pregnant please don't lose hope. i remember this one couple after 15 years had their first child. so never lose hope. trying to do too many things at once will drain you, which can lead to depression.

    try that for few months and see how you feel, you could also go to your doctor and get some medicine for depression.

    don't think about anything else, your health comes first.. i know you want to be useful towards society but i think being a supportive wife to your husband is the most important and the best way to be useful.

    if after few months your health improves and feel you are ready for work, you could look for a part time job at a factory/warehouse packing garments or so. just for the time being that is to get you going i know it may not be ideal but any income is better than no income right? you wont have to talk with people since your shy, you work on your own with no much interactions.

    when you go through hard times remember their are other people who are going through something similar or worse.


  3. AOA sister,
    It sound you are intelligent person with lot of potential . You are giving yourself hard time by negatively thinking about you.
    You need to prioritize and your health comes first.
    Your extreme fatigue could be sec to depression but medical reasons need to be ruled out first.
    Anemia and hypothyroidism needs to be checked.
    It could be chronic fatigue syndrome and as suggested above graded exercise is the answer.
    You being interested in medical field and psychology major is plus point for you to have insight about self grooming and be physically and mentally fit.

    Once you come out of depressing and fatigue, you will see lot of doors will open itself for you regarding profession with whatever degree you hold currently .
    Good wishes.

  4. Thank you very much, my brothers and sisters! I want to say, that my marriage is doing very well. I give my husband a lot of support, and am currently helping him pass his citizenship test. I was very hard on him in the beginning, and I feel ashamed of myself, but I think it was because I wasn't happy with myself. You see, I am taking medications for depression and am on disability. It isn't where I want to be in life because I think I'm destined for so much more. I have no clue how to start a business. I would think you would need start up money for that, or take out business loans. Also, I worry about not having healthcare insurance, which I currently have on disability. I get free medical care (I have both medicaid and medicare). My problem is very low self -esteem and I'm worried I will have a nervous breakdown because when I was pre-med and 19 years old, I had a nervous breakdown because I couldn't handle the stress. I have thought about careers in nursing ,occupational therapy, and speech therapy, but nursing seems too physically and mentally demanding, and occupational therapy requires heavy lifting of patients. Speech therapy seems like the perfect field to me. Currently, I tutor for ESL and basic literacy at my public library every Saturday. My only income source is disability. I need to make more money. I plan to go to my local unemployment office to get help with finding a part time job. I plan to apply for scholarships so that I can do my speech therapy classes online without going into debt. I am very worried about going into debt for school because debt payments can be a lot when you're paying them month to month.

    My father went to the eye doctor (optometrist), last week, and it rekindled my desire to go into optometry. However, again, I worry about taking out loans and having to pay them back. I also worry about having health insurance since I tend to get depressed a lot and need my psychiatric medication. I also think it's very important to have health insurance, and unfortunately, a lot of people in America do not have health insurance and have to forgo going to the doctor. The healthcare system in America is horrible. It causes me a lot of anxiety because I have so much desire to open a private practice as either a speech therapist or optometrist (whatever I choose), but I am scared about having to provide my own health insurance and paying high premiums and deductibles for health care. It can be very expensive, even if you are making good money and Obamacare is EXTREMELY expensive if you're self-employed or don't have insurance and make good money.

    I worry a lot and I feel I don't move forward because of it. I've thought about a lot of medical careers but I doubt my abilities and am very afraid of going into a master's program or any program, because of the requirement to do presentations and public speaking. I am so shy and I would rather crawl in a hole, then do any kind of public speaking.

    I hope Allah SWT can help me with my problems. I am indeed a very intelligent and capable woman. I have been very supportive of my husband. Through me, he passed his written and road test for his driver's license within three months of immigrating to the US. I think I am a really good teacher, and I'm also helping him with his citizenship test and resume writing. I know I made a lot of complaints about my husband, but I was wrong. I was just frustrated with myself because I feel like I'm not where I want to be in life. My husband also recently bought a nice good quality used car through Craig's list (we saved up the money), and we are making plans to one day buy a home. We do fight from time to time (what couple doesn't), but we love each other a lot and our marriage is working out. I hope Allah SWT will bless us with a child, as we have been trying for 3 years and still haven't been successful.

    There are a lot of challenges that I'm facing, and sometimes, I feel very hopeless. I thank Allah for blessing me with parents who have provided me and my husband with food and shelter. Once we get on our feet, inshallah, I hope we get our own house and make it in this world. I have been a housewife for a number of years after obtaining my bachelor's degree, but I feel it has made me more depressed because I feel I have other things I have to offer to the world, as I am a very smart and capable woman. I have no idea how to start a business or private practice, so if someone can explain the process to me, I would appreciate it. I have become a really great cook as a housewife and I have learned to maintain a clean, tidy home, but I feel I want to do so much more with my life. To be a freelancer, you would have to research and know your topic very well, which isn't an easy thing to do. I really doubt my abilities and what I'm capable of, and I'm hoping the unemployment office can direct me to the right career, since I feel so lost. I know I enjoy helping people and want to do healthcare, but I doubt my abilities. Although I major in psychology and have my BA degree, I struggled a lot in my science classes because of ADD and not studying effectively for those classes. If I want to be a successful speech therapist, I have to do very well in sciences. I also had dreams of being a doctor, but my husband doesn't want me to be a doctor because he worries that it will cause me a great deal of stress (maybe even a nervous breakdown again and worsen my depression), and also cause a strain on our marriage.

    Please, help me brothers and sisters, as I don't seem to know what I'm capable of as a career and I'm struggling to give birth to a child. I cry many nights to Allah SWT, but it seems my prayers go unanswered. I hate being depressed like this, and I sleep a lot because I have so much free time on my hands. I just don't find being a housewife that fulfilling. I need to have a career also, and help my husband in making more money, especially because we live in NJ where both spouses have to work to manage the finances. It's impossible to live on one salary. I feel so lost and don't know what to do! Help!

  5. Right now, me and my husband are low income because I am not working. If I helped him with the finances our income could definitely improve a lot. However, I am scared to risk getting off of disability and I constantly think I can't handle the stress which is why my husband never pressures me about it. In terms of having anemia or hypothyroidism, I had blood work done, and my lab reports are normal. I guess I am just suffering from depression, but a lot of times I feel very weak and tired and it's hard to push myself to do exercise. I am really suffering in my life now and I cry every day. Having a career and knowing that I could handle it, would be great. I just am not smart when it comes to science classes. I find that I have major ADD and have a very short attention span when it comes to reading science textbooks. What should I do? I feel so sad and lost right now. I don't want to suffer a life of poverty and defeat. Will Allah ever help me?

  6. Good to hear from you sister .
    Triad of normal labs, chronic fatigue and depression leads to possible diagnosis of chronic fatigue syndrome.

    Despite taking anti depressant your symptoms are not well controlled.
    You need proper follow up with doctor with progressive changes and adjustment in you meds so you feel better.
    You do need CBT that help remarkably with depression as well as fatigue syndrome.
    In summary you need good doctor with proper follow up.

    Don't be afraid of class presentations as medication are available to take before presentation that control adrenaline so you can talk confidently without shaking or racing heart .

    No need to be sad. Allah is already blessing you with good husband, and parents,good education,normal labs,enough means to survive comfortably .

    Grass is always greener on other side. Research shows that working women envy house wives and vice versa.

    Enjoy leisure in your life. No amount of money, job or status can guarantee happiness.
    Contentment of heart with your current blessings will give you immense happiness.


  7. Thank you so much for your kind words. Yes, I also believe I may have chronic fatigue syndrome. The primary care doctor doesn't seem to be much help though, since she just runs blood tests and finds nothing wrong. Should I see a specialist? I worry with public speaking that I will go blank, even if I take medication. It seems no matter how many hours of preparation I put into the presentation, I always get very nervous, and my mind goes blank. I can't seem to make a speech from my mind with my main points written down to guide me. I need to have my speech written out on notecards word for word, and then I end up reading off of them, glancing ever so often at the audience. I am not a housewife by choice. I suffer from depression and anxiety, and can't work. My husband's income isn't enough for us to survive off of. So, if I worked, it would be a lot of help for our financial situation. However, I probably could only work part-time. I have also applied for affordable housing, but haven't had any luck with that.

    Please, pray for me to have a better life. I would like to live a comfortable life with my husband and have one or two kids. Although I have an education, it is very hard to get a job in this current economy. My husband is lucky he has a job, even if it is only a retail position! We are blessed to be living with my parents and have a roof over our heads and food. I hope one day, inshallah, we can buy a house. Please pray for us. Life is so tough and many people are losing jobs and losing their homes. A lot of people are unemployed. It's not easy out there, and bachelor's degrees are the new high school diplomas. I hope Allah SWT will help me to find a part-time job and eventually a full time job with excellent benefits. Please pray for me. I am so scared.

  8. Another problem I encounter is dealing with discrimination because I wear a head scarf. I would like to become a speech language pathologist but I worry I will deal with a lot of discrimination, people feeling uncomfortable working with me because I'm muslim. I have encountered discrimination when I shadowed an occupational therapist. An elderly woman wanted me to sit in another room and not look at her. She felt uncomfortable being around a muslim woman. Now, I want to go into speech therapy but I'm afraid I will deal with discrimination from parents who don't want me near their kids or with even adults. Usually, it's white people who have a problem with me and I can definitely tell by the dirty looks they give me. What should I do about this? I think these fears are what are stopping me from doing speech therapy, or really any career.

  9. I know it's easy to use discrimination as an excuse, but I've experienced it so many times, it has caused me to have serious PTSD and I feel like I am scared to do any careers. Please help me, to overcome this, my brothers and sisters.

  10. Discrimination is the price we have to pay if we want to live in foreign countries.

    Choose between either to be first rated citizen in 3 rd rated country( home country)
    oR 3rd rated citizen in first rated country ( Europe, USA)

    It is not just your scarf, it also include color of skin, accent, nationality etc, etc.
    You are not alone. Million of people are facing this discrimination .
    You cannot change people so only way you can help yourself is by changing yourself . Toughen up!!

    Ask your primary care to refer you for CBT and graded exercise program.
    For CBT you will come across psychologist, share your issues with them.
    Read self help book on improving self esteem in mean time until you see psychologist.

  11. Thank you so much Gracias. I would discuss this issue with a social worker that I am seeing now, but she is white and would probably brush it off like it doesn't exist or take offense. You know how white people are. So, how do I overcome these issues because this is what is stopping me from pursuing a career. Please help.

  12. Dear sister all whites do not discriminate at least openly .
    Expand your comfort zone and talk to them about your concerns. May be help by white is better to reassure .

    Try not to dwell on how other treat you. Improve your self esteem in your own eyes.
    Once you have healthy self esteem, it won't bother you much how other treats you or what people are thinking about you.

  13. Thank you Gracias. Yes, I do think I have very low self esteem. I hope I can learn not to be bothered by those who are racist. I have been a homemaker for several years and although I enjoy it (I have been able to help my husband with so many things since he immigrated to America), I feel like I have more to offer society in addition to being a homemaker and supporting my family. I will work with the social worker to get my confidence up. Please pray for me and thank you so much for your support. I appreciate it. May Allah reward you for your kindness.

    • Salam,

      Sister how are things going now?

      • I'm still struggling and dealing with black magic. I still have fears and feel paranoid. I wear hijab and feel like some Americans give me dirty looks. I have anger issues. I react very negatively to insults and verbal and emotional abuse. I try to ignore, but my brain is messed up from years of abuse. Please make dua for me.

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