Feeling lonely and depressed: overcoming Ramadan woes

Loneliness has always accompanied me like my shadow. For most of my life I recall feeling lonely and depressed. I didn’t know I could get help for depression; I didn’t even know if it was a real mental illness or just one I fancied was real so I could feel better about being oddly different. I suffered in silence, especially after becoming a single mum.

As a Muslim, Ramadan was hard for me. Fasting from sunrise to sunset for around 17 hours is hard enough without having to spend it alone. The meal times are special; Muslims spending it with loved ones before participating in prayers, both obligatory and optimal for the month of Ramadan. So, being alone can be very isolating. My children, were too young to fast and by 9pm they were in bed. The following post, is one I wrote a few years back when I was feeling lonely and depressed which was a normal state for me, then.

After not having slept for 2 days straight due to my trapped nerve; I awoke on the first day of Ramadan to find out I had missed suhoor (the meal before sunrise)  My alarm was set to Tuesday.  I am still tired, having cramping pains and my 7 year old daughter is whining and the kids have started fighting already.  I’m already fed up and the familiar pain in my head is returning so soon. Start as you mean to go on eh?

It’s now late evening and my hand is cramping badly.  I just discovered a horrid looking bruise on my arm that I don’t even know how I got and I’m exhausted and weepy.  I knew today was going to be tough so I decided to get fresh air.  Seeing as I missed my fast and then found out I couldn’t fast anyways, I decided to take the kids to the cinema as they finished school at 12.  I thought to myself that this will really be the only treat they can have this summer so I may as well take them.

I excitedly broke the news to them after I collected them but they started whining pretty much straight away. We got home and I had to take a phone call, this made them madder and they started playing up and when I told them we had to take my mum to the hospital they lost it.  My son uttered some very mean words to me and angrily I told them the deal was off.  The whole way to my mum’s, my son screamed and cried in the car and all the way to the hospital. I begged my mum, on the verge of tears to take him as I just couldn’t cope and I left my daughter with a neighbour.

I kept thinking how this should have been a peaceful time for me, where I was happy and excited about Ramadan, but I felt nothing.  I feel lonely and depressed.  I dread Ramadan because I know I will be shattered and not just physically but mainly mentally.  I know I will have the kids all day and they will keep screaming and crying and saying cruel things to me and I will end up doing pretty much the same back.  I know my depression will be almost at it’s worst because I am run down and exhausted.  I have spent the last 2.5 years in a constant state of agitation, despair and exhaustion waiting for a break down.  But most of all I dread Ramadan because I am envious of everyone who is excited about this month and talks about how good they feel and how at peace they feel because I don’t have that feeling and I feel like there is something wrong with me and wonder why it was seemingly denied to me.

I don’t feel peace, I have no motivation, I just hurt…

If I could go back to that time I would remind myself I am only human and that it’s progress and NOT perfection I am striving for. And my OWN progress not by anyone else’s standards. I would tell myself that whilst I was certainly feeling lonely and depressed, I was never truly alone it was just my mindset; I had 2 kids after all! And I would tell my old self to start a gratitude journal to remind myself of my blessings.

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