Question

I am not too sure where to start, I am a female in my fifties, and have generally had a happy and contented life. Looking back I can recall perhaps half a dozen odd days where I have inexplicably been in a very low mood, feeling very down and getting upset for no apparent reason. This state only lasted a few hours and as these days were rare I just dismissed them. I am writing now as in the last few months I am having more and more of these days, and sometimes they are not just odd single days, but two or three days in a row. The feeling is a “heaviness”, a sadness that makes me cry, accompanied by an anger inside. I am not a person that swears, and in this state, I swear in my mind at situations. Sometimes it feels that I want to tempt someone to say a few words that will then trigger me to react in a strong way. I imagine my work manager saying something upsetting to me, giving me the chance to react back and then not do any work for a few days. Sometimes it makes me feel as if I should keep myself in check as I don’t want to say anything I will later regret. Also when I am feeling this low I remind myself to be nice to others and to talk to them rather than stay quiet. All along I have no explanation for this, one day I am happy and the next day I feel like this. I haven’t been to the doctors yet, but I feel I should, maybe a simple blood test will actually find something is out of balance and is causing this dark mood. Thank you, it is nice to have the opportunity to share this.

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Response

Assalaamu alaikum – peace be with you,

Thank you for taking the time out to contact Ask IM, we appreciate that it can be challenging to be open about such difficulties. I would like to begin by saying that it sounds like you have a really good sense of self-awareness, being in tune with your emotions will really help you on your journey moving forward.

Feeling low in mood is a normal part of the range of complex emotions we feel as humans. We all feel upset, angry and frustrated from time to time. However, if episodes of low mood persist for prolonged periods of time then it can be a problem, at which point seeking help would be advised. Low mood can also be a normal response to difficult life events such as a bereavement or a relationship breakdown. Low mood and anxiety can present when there are major life changes such as marriage, birth of a child, change in career, starting university etc. Try to reflect and think about whether there have been any major life events or changes that may have contributed to why you feel this ‘heaviness and sadness’. Have there been injustices in your life that may have contributed to why you feel angry and frustrated?

In your message, you also mentioned that you have generally had a happy and content life, Alhamdulillah. Often people may think that this means that you have no reason to feel low in mood, however low mood or depression can sometimes also occur without rhyme or reason.

Moreover, as a woman in her fifties, could these changes in mood be in relation to the menopause? During the menopause women experience a decline in the hormones oestrogen and progesterone. These hormonal changes can lead to some women experiencing anxiety, low mood and problems with sleep due to night sweats. Again, at this life stage there might be other factors overlapping with the menopause such as looking after aging parents or a sense of loss in role, as children grow up to leave home.

I can only imagine how scary it must be for you to feel these unfamiliar changes in mood. Despite these difficulties, it is clear that you are trying to be mindful of your reaction to others and appear conscious of showing compassion towards the people around you. You display a kindness which Insha‘Allah you will be rewarded for, as Prophet Muhammad ﷺ said, “Every Act of Kindness is Charity.” [Sahih Al-Bukhari 6021] Try to exercise this same tolerance, kindness and compassion towards yourself whilst you are trying to support yourself through this difficult time.

Please also remember that you do not have to deal with this problem alone, we would advise that you speak with your GP, consider medication or talking therapy. Counselling or cognitive behaviour therapy can be effective tools to help you explore the trigger for your low mood and provide you with coping strategies.

Thank you for taking the time to look for help and we hope that you have found some clarity from the above response.

Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you need any further support.
Allah knows best and Insha‘Allah we hope this helps,
Duas always,
IM Support Team

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Ask Inspirited Minds is a safe, anonymous and confidential space for you to ask specific questions or seek advice around your mental health and wellbeing. We will publish your question and our response on our website but will make sure to make it anonymous and change any identifiable details. If you are going through these problems, then it’s highly likely someone else is going through something similar and we hope our advice can also be of help to others in a similar situation.

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