Adonis Diaries

Archive for June 6th, 2016

Depression: Not to be taken lightly

Depression; it’s one of those things that affects millions of people, for a million different reasons.

Mental illness should not be taken lightly, and we should take all the necessary steps to help those affected. If you’re currently suffering from it – please, talk to those who can help you and find avenues in which you can hopefully, make a bad situation just that little bit better.

For my Muslim brothers and sisters out there, a Sheikh once reminded us to always say a lot of zikr, including saying ‘ لا حول ولا قوة إلا بالله’ being one of the benefits of it being that it can cure depression, in sya’ Allah.

As an initial step, it is very important to talk to someone trustworthy to help you towards the road to recovery – this can include your family, friends and those whom you trust want the best for you.

Vincent Van Gogh’s talent was indisputable – he painted his life (the good and the bad), and as an artist, he’s one that I greatly admire and look back on when doing my own paintings.

Vincent’s life was brought short by his depression, and eventually, his suicide. I pray that whatever talent we have, we use it in ways that can benefit ourselves and others in this life, our barzakh and especially in the hereafter.

Amanda Leventhal posted:

We Cannot Continue to Overlook ‘High-Functioning’ Depression

I first saw a psychiatrist for my anxiety and depression as a junior in high school. During her evaluation, she asked about my classes and grades.

I told her that I had a 4.0 GPA and had filled my schedule with Pre-AP and AP classes. A puzzled look crossed her face.

She asked about my involvement in extracurricular activities. As I rattled off the long list of groups and organizations I was a part of, her frown creased further.

Finally, she set down her pen and looked at me, saying something along the lines of, “You seem to be pretty high-functioning, but your anxiety and depression seem pretty severe. Actually, it’s teens like you who scare me a lot.”

Now I was confused. What was scary about my condition?

From the outside, I was functioning like a perfectly “normal” teenager. In fact, I was somewhat of an overachiever.

I was working through my mental illnesses and succeeding, so what was the problem?

I left that appointment with a prescription for Lexapro and a question that I would continue to think about for years.

The answer didn’t hit me all at once; rather, it came to me every time I heard a suicide story on the news saying, “by all accounts, they were living the perfect life.”

It came to me as I crumbled under pressure over and over again, doing the bare minimum I could to still meet my definition of success. It came to me as I began to share my story and my illness with others, and I was met with reactions of “I had no idea” and “I never would have known.”

It’s easy to put depression into a box of symptoms, and though we as a society are constantly told mental illness comes in all shapes and sizes, we are stuck with a mental health stock image in our heads that many people don’t match.

When we see depression and anxiety in adolescents, we see teens struggling to get by in their day-to-day lives. We see grades dropping. We see involvement replaced by isolation. People slip through the cracks.

We don’t see the student with the 4.0 GPA. We don’t see the student who’s active in choir and theater or a member of the National Honor Society.

We don’t see the student who takes on leadership roles in a religious youth group.

No matter how many times we are reminded that mental illness doesn’t discriminate, we revert back to a narrow idea of how it should manifest, and that is dangerous.

Recognizing that danger is what helped me find the answer to my question.

Watching person after person, myself included, slip under the radar of the “depression detector” made me realize where that fear comes from.

My psychiatrist knew the list of symptoms, and she knew I didn’t necessarily fit them. She understood it was the reason that, though my struggles with mental illness began at age 12, I didn’t come to see her until I was 16. Four years is a long time to deal with mental illness alone, and secondary school is a dangerous time to deal with it.

If we keep allowing our perception of what mental illness looks like to dictate how we go about recognizing and treating it, we will continue to overlook those who don’t fit the mold.

We cannot keep forgetting that there are people out there who, though they may not be able to check off every symptom on the list, are heavily and negatively affected by their mental illness. If we forget, we allow their struggle to continue unnoticed, and that is pretty scary.

If you or someone you know needs help, please visit the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. You can also reach the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741-741. Head here for a list of crisis centers around the world.


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Jane Goodall’s Touching Email to Director of Zoo that Killed Harambe will Remind You of the Larger Issue

As the world has been up in flames arguing every possible side of this issue, Jane Goodall, famed primatologist sent a very simple and precise email to the director of the Cincinnati Zoo in response:


Rather than lashing out at Thane Maynard for his choice and feeding into the scandal that this has become, Goodall’s response is one that has been so sorely missing from every conversation about this topic.

The tragedy of the gorilla’s loss and the world’s reaction to it has been turned into pure media fodder and cocktail conversation, but no one seems to want to get to the heart of the matter.

A gorilla, in a zoo, was killed because of the potential threat he posed to a child who fell into his enclosure. The gorilla didn’t ask to be put in this situation, and certainly the little boy didn’t want to be the cause of all of this, but regardless both came to pass because of decisions that neither were a part of.

What Jane does in this email is connect with Maynard on a human level, empathizing with the gravity of the choice he made and highlighting how this sad event must have also affected the gorillas that knew Harambe.

 Patsy Z shared One Green Planet‘s post.

Right or wrong in this situation can be debated for the rest of time, but we would be remiss if we didn’t acknowledge the dual tragedy here:

1.  the fact that a gorilla was killed and also that he was in captivity.

2. The wrongdoing, in this case, began the day this gorilla was placed into a cage and stripped of any potential life in the wild. Inevitably, he was in the wrong place at the wrong time when the little boy entered his created territory.

This isn’t about the fault of the gorilla or the people who killed him, it’s about all of us and our failure to see this animal and ourselves as Jane does in this email – sentient, feeling beings that do not deserve any of this treatment.

If instead of arguing with each other about this event we turned that energy to solving the larger issue here, we could come to a much more positive resolve.

One where we could ensure that no child or animal ever need become the victim of circumstances that neither was meant to be in.

What do you think Green Monsters? Is that the sort of future you want to see?

Since the tragic killing of Harambe the 17-year-old gorilla at the Cincinnati Zoo, there has been an incredible amount of debate on either side as to whether or not shooting the animal, after a young boy fell into his enclosure, was the right thing to do.

With footage from the event plastered across nearly all news outlets, many have rallied in defense of the gorilla, stating he looked as if he was protecting the boy, while others have boisterously insisted the gorilla needed to be shot due to the threat he posed to the child.

If you’ve been on social media or turned on a TV in the past few days, chances are you’ve been hit with a deluge from both ends and perspectives.


The Book. Burning The Book 

Note:  This poem was written more than 15 years ago and is relevant any time, anywhere.  

In any upheaval, books are burned first.  Next comes burning of people.


1. Friend, I don’t resent that you found the Truth,

The whole truth, in a book, The Book, or a few books.

I don’t mind that your book is

About faith, sciences, or philosophy.


2. I want you to know that

I do enjoy total Certainty,

Certainly not for a lifetime.

I do enjoy complete comfort in the mind,

One night at a time.

I cherish reading a different book a day,

To disturb my soul a bit longer;

To sharpen my suspicion,

In your stand, a tad deeper.


3. I hear that you don’t mean

To abridge my liberty for seeking knowledge,

To impinge on my freedom of opinion,

To impress your truths on me,

To burn down my libraries,

To limit my range of personalities.

I like to believe that you don’t mean it;

But if you don’t, what do you really mean?

 Obama on Muhammad Ali passing away
The White House's photo.

The White House

“Muhammad Ali was The Greatest. Period. If you just asked him, he’d tell you. He’d tell you he was the double greatest; that he’d ‘handcuffed lightning, thrown thunder into jail.’

But what made The Champ the greatest—what truly separated him from everyone else—is that everyone else would tell you pretty much the same thing.

Like everyone else on the planet, Michelle and I mourn his passing. But we’re also grateful to God for how fortunate we are to have known him, if just for a while; for how fortunate we all are that The Greatest chose to grace our time.

In my private study, just off the Oval Office, I keep a pair of his gloves on display, just under that iconic photograph of him—the young champ, just 22 years old, roaring like a lion over a fallen Sonny Liston.

I was too young when it was taken to understand who he was—still Cassius Clay, already an Olympic Gold Medal winner, yet to set out on a spiritual journey that would lead him to his Muslim faith, exile him at the peak of his power, and set the stage for his return to greatness with a name as familiar to the downtrodden in the slums of Southeast Asia and the villages of Africa as it was to cheering crowds in Madison Square Garden.

‘I am America,’ he once declared. ‘I am the part you won’t recognize. But get used to me—black, confident, cocky; my name, not yours; my religion, not yours; my goals, my own. Get used to me.’

That’s the Ali I came to know as I came of age—not just as skilled a poet on the mic as he was a fighter in the ring, but a man who fought for what was right.

A man who fought for us.

He stood with King and Mandela; stood up when it was hard; spoke out when others wouldn’t.

His fight outside the ring would cost him his title and his public standing.

It would earn him enemies on the left and the right, make him reviled, and nearly send him to jail. But Ali stood his ground. And his victory helped us get used to the America we recognize today.

He wasn’t perfect, of course. For all his magic in the ring, he could be careless with his words, and full of contradictions as his faith evolved.

But his wonderful, infectious, even innocent spirit ultimately won him more fans than foes—maybe because in him, we hoped to see something of ourselves.

Later, as his physical powers ebbed, he became an even more powerful force for peace and reconciliation around the world.

We saw a man who said he was so mean he’d make medicine sick reveal a soft spot, visiting children with illness and disability around the world, telling them they, too, could become the greatest.

We watched a hero light a torch, and fight his greatest fight of all on the world stage once again; a battle against the disease that ravaged his body, but couldn’t take the spark from his eyes.

Muhammad Ali shook up the world. And the world is better for it.

We are all better for it. Michelle and I send our deepest condolences to his family, and we pray that the greatest fighter of them all finally rests in peace.” —President Obama

Annia Ciezadlo shared a photo
Muhammad Ali is seen here praying at a mosque in Beirut, Lebanon with Jaber and Richard Herschfield in this February 17, 1985 file photo. (UPI/File)
Dr. Jana added a new photo.
Dr. Jana's photo.




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