I remember suffering from depression last year until the first few months of 2016. I wasn’t clinically diagnosed, but I knew I didn’t need a doctor to confirm it when I almost lost the will to live and had difficulty looking for reasons to do so. I went to sleep praying for God to just take me away and dragged myself out of bed when I woke. I made selfish and careless decisions which ended up hurting a lot of people. I guess nobody noticed it because I always forced myself to put on my usual jolly front and still went about my day as if I weren’t dying inside. Come to think about it, I didn’t live during those times; I merely existed.
When things were already too much for me to handle, I knew I needed help and I sought it. I gathered whatever courage was left in me to share it with some who I considered my friends, but sadly, most of them dismissed it as a quarter life crisis or a temporary phase. There were others who were sympathetic enough to listen but eventually told me to just get over it. I was left even more devastated that I started talking to complete strangers about my condition and just the same, they listened, but of course, backed away because who wants to talk to a depressed person? I was in my dark bubble of pessimism and I never felt so alone. I felt hopeless.
This hopelessness drove me to the edge. I constantly thought of suicide and running away. I contemplated on my existence and wished that I never lived. That time, I didn’t tell anyone about those thoughts. I kept it to myself because I didn’t want to burden people with my condition. I didn’t want to be the toxic person everybody would avoid. I also figured everyone will just tell me the same cliché things without even trying to truly understand where I was going from. To most of them, I was just having a series of bad days. They did not take me seriously, and I’m sure they judged me incessantly.
I’d rather not delve into more depressing details, so to make this long story short, I got better. It took a long while and the journey sure hasn’t been easy but I eventually got through it. I can’t say I’m completely well as I still have bad episodes from time to time, but unlike before, my mind is now steered towards positivity. I now lean on the thought that things are going to be even better in God’s perfect time. My depression became the ultimate tool in restoring and strengthening my faith. It didn’t occur to me when I was praying for death that I should have prayed for a renewed life. God has restored me and showed me all the wonderful things I shut out while I was wallowing in misery.
Having a great support system also largely contributed to my well-being. It is also important to know that it’s okay to get rid of toxic people and get out of unhealthy environments. You deserve to surround yourself with people who exude positive vibes, and to be with people who inspire you and make you strive to be better. Without the help of my parents and a few true friends, especially my dog, Kisses, I probably wouldn’t be writing this right now.
It’s sad living in a world where mental health issues are not being taken seriously. Based on my experience, most people shrug it off as something that can be solved overnight. They do not understand that it is so much more than just a broken heart or a failing grade or a mood swing – it’s a disorder and the people affected need so much more than ice cream and a hug to make them feel better. Never tell them some people have it worse because we all deal with different kinds of demons. Never tell them to just get over it because if it’s that easy, they wouldn’t be in that ditch. Never tell them it’s just nothing because you have no idea what pain they’re going through.
They need real, genuine help.
If they refuse to seek medical assistance, be there for them. Listen and be empathic. People cope with mental health problems in different manners so try to see and understand what works best for them. I learned from this experience that we just really need people to hear us out and accept what we’re going through. We just need to have comfort in knowing that we will never be alone in our fight, regardless if we win or lose.
This experience has opened my eyes to the reality of mental health issues and I will forever be an advocate. I just hope that more people will be educated about it, and more importantly, I pray that people would learn to accept that it is more than just a swing of emotions and more than just a passing phase; it’s an actual illness that just like every other sickness, requires proper attention.
So to you, my friend, Don’t be afraid to open up. I know it seems difficult to trust people right now but I assure you that there is at least one person in your life who you could depend on. We are not completely hopeless; I know there are days when all hope seems lost but trust me when I say that everything will eventually fall into its rightful places. It will always be our own personal choice that we will follow in the end, and believe me when I say that choosing to be happy and to be better is the best thing you could ever do to yourself.