Depression: No one is safe

We are a proud race. We are a nation of brave and proud people. We are known to the world for our ability to laugh in the face of adversity. To the world, we are optimists and we were brought up as such. There is always a silverlining, a rainbow after the rain. We are a race that never seem to lose hope, faith or happiness. As a nation, we have a lot of characteristics that we proudly showcase to the world.

We also have a rather primitive perspective when it comes to mental health issues. But of course, we do not talk about that.

There are a lot of things we do not talk about. Depression, anxiety…name every mental health issue you can think of and chances are, we do not talk about that. The same way most our parents don’t talk to us about the birds and the bees.

In my opinion, the Philippines is not the best country to be at for people suffering from mental health issues such as depression. It is not a question of capability to take care or assist people with mental health issues because I believe we do have highly qualified psychiatrists in the country. It is more on our attitude towards the issue.

In our country, there is a stigma associated with mental issues. People automatically think that when you go to a psychiatrist, you are crazy. Our understanding of these issues are very limited.

I remembered years ago someone in my grandmother’s village commited suicide. Nobody wants to talk about it and if they do, it’s in whispers. I didn’t understand why and assumed that it is because the Philippines is a very religious country and suicide is a sin. It is only later that I realized that it is more than that.

Our attitude towards depression in particular is quite depressing. No pun intended.

We are a nation known for our resilience and so it has become a habit for us to laugh in the face of problems. For someone suffering from depression, this is an additional nail to the coffin. Often, we are afraid to tell people what we feel because we do not understand it ourselves. Even if we understand what is happening to us, the stigma that it brings with it and the fear that no one would understand is enough to stop us from telling anyone.

We have a tendency to downplay our problems or keep it to ourselves. When we see a sulky, mopy teenager we assume they’re just acting out.

We are not capable of determining if someone is just sad or is at the brink of suicide. I know this inability to recognize depression is not limited to our country only, but for me, it is worst because of our attitude towards it.

When someone is depressed, it doesn’t mean that they are crazy. You cannot just tell a depressed person to be happy and expect them to be happy. There is no on or off switch for it. It is involuntary. You do not ask to be depressed, it just happens.

All the cliches about rainbows and hope and tomorrows only succeed in making a depressed person even more depressed. Telling a depressed person to “be strong, you can do it!” is not really much of a help either.

When you are desperately clinging to life and you don’t understand what is happening with you, it becomes very frustrating that everyone else sees the silverlining and all you can see are dark clouds and shadows.

Depression is like a vacuum that silently and sneakily sucks you into the abyss. It’s like a deadly gas that slowly creeps into the room. You do not see it, but you feel it. If you are not aware of it, you wouldn’t know what it is. All you will know is that, you feel hopeless and numb.

The people around you will not notice unless they look closely and they know what to look for. You feel isolated, misunderstood. Everyday feels like a dark and gloomy day and nothing makes you happy. You laugh, oh yes, you laugh. You smile. You even tell jokes. But inside, deep inside, you feel empty. You laugh but you don’t feel anything. You start hurting yourself to feel alive.

The sad clown sydrome. People sees your smiles but not the pain you are hiding.

We are afraid to ask for help. We are afraid to tell anyone anything. Or if we do ask for help, nobody hears it.

It is great that our suicide rate is not as high as other countries like Japan, for example. But do we have to wait until it starts raining bodies from buildings and cliffs before we start changing our attitude towards this?

Depression is a silent killer. Anyone can be a victim. If you think you are suffering from it, please ask for help. It is not easy to talk about it but it is the first step. Talk to a professional like your counselor or approach your doctor. Talk to your friends and family.

If you are reading this and you feel that you can’t talk to anyone around you, send me a message. I am not a professional nor an expert but I’m willing to listen. You are not alone.

Posted via Mobile.

*I apologize for any spelling or grammatical errors. Proofreading via mobile is a challenge for me.*


Those Days When The Sun Doesn’t Shine As Bright

I do my best to be positive all the time; to look at the bright side of things while doing my best to figure out how to get past the trials I am facing at the moment. It is never easy but I survive.

Sometimes it becomes too much and all you can think of is how hopeless it all seems. There are days when everything that can possibly go wrong, goes wrong and you feel like a mute and hopeless audience as you watch your life slowly break into pieces in front of you. There are days when you feel that there is no way out, your life is a mess and you are a mess. You desperately try to grab on to anything that can keep you afloat while keeping a smile in your face. Sometimes, you can only sit in a corner and cry. Unable to tell anyone anything not because you don’t trust them nor because you want to appear brave but because you just don’t know how to say it.

Isn’t it amusing how you can talk to you friends about the silliest things and yet, sometimes on things that truly matter, you freeze?

I have always known I am prone to depression and that is why I do my best to be logical and analytical all the time. Some people thinks I am cold and distant when I choose to see things in a different perspective. What they don’t know is that, it is my coping mechanism. A defense I have created to protect myself against myself. I have to detach myself from a situation that is hurting me or making me sad because if I let my emotions get the best of me, I would be so depressed and harm myself.

I don’t want to go through those dark moments again. Those moments when you feel like you are drowning and everything seemed so empty. Those days when you feel so numb and the only thing that reminds you that you are still alive is the pain you inflict to yourself. A little bit of danger here, a little slice of that flesh, a little drop of blood. It is crazy. But perverted as it is, the pain is in the only thing keeping you alive.

You know what is worst thing about it? When you desperately want to ask for help but instead of asking for one you find yourself laughing with your friends or telling them silly jokes, all the while feeling empty inside. When you retreat to your own world and the rest of the world go on living, minding their own business and never noticing that silent cries for help. When you silently sew your own torn pieces while being simultaneously torn apart by the world. When you wrestle demons in the dead of the night, fighting a daily battle against your self. When the rest of the world only sees your smiles but not your tears. When they see your broken pieces and choose to look past it but never realizing how those broken pieces are cutting you into a bloody mess.

Sometimes, the demons come back to visit. When they do, I write. When they do, I think of all the happy memories like Harry did when he faced the dementors. When they do, I pray.

I guess it would be folly to believe that you can be completely happy for the rest of your life. We can only do our best to stay as positive as we can and be happy while we can. We can only do our best to fight the demons that haunts us and the shadows that threatens to swallow us. We can only pray that we survive another battle. We can only hope that when the darkness comes again, the world will hear our cries and pull us back before we let go.

I promised myself to be happy as much as I can; to see the beauty of the simplest things and to be happy with it. I promise myself that for as long as I have that ray of sunshine inside me, I will not let go. I promise myself that when the darkness comes again, I will fight it and I will not harm myself again.

So help me God.

Posted via Mobile.

*I apologize for any spelling or grammatical errors. Proofreading via mobile is a challenge for me.*