Discovery / Featured Article / Mind

Overcoming Depression on My Own

I lived in the city all my life and struggled with bullying when I was in elementary until first year high school. I was always pressured to follow a certain norm, act a certain way, and be someone I was not. I did not have the freedom to choose what I wanted. I did not have my own money, nor did I have the power to make decisions on my clothes, where to eat, where to study for college, etc. I was sexually abused when I was 10 years old and never told anyone about it.

I struggled with depression all my life. I’m 33 now, and slowly but surely, recovering and fighting. The thought of suicide came to mind at least 4 times in my 20s. My friend, my only best friend, moved out of the country, and I had nobody to share what I was going through. I would eat alone, go to the mall alone, get my pedicure alone; in short, I was living my life by myself. At first, I did not believe it could happen, but I actually survived.

I have friends, but I am very careful with whom I share my life with, and I was able to work in a very big multinational company and only cared about myself… but I was a team player when the situations called for it. I turned to music, sports, reading books, and volunteering. I learned to care less of what other people thought of me. I learned to love myself more by focusing on the good things in the world or even the smallest thing that happened that day.

When I was 14, we moved back to the province because my dad wanted us to. It was so hard because I had to leave my comfort zone. It meant I had to give up things like my friends, my favorite place in Cubao, and so much more. With a heavy heart and eyes full of tears, I embraced life in the province. I went to a co-ed school for the first time, was bullied by a guy, blackmailed for money, and the worst, targeted by teachers because I came from Manila and an exclusive school for girls.

By God’s grace, I was able to graduate without any professional help or any medication at all. I woke up, dragged myself to go to school, and waited until the final bell rang to go home and eat, and then I would lock myself in my room. My parents and relatives were very curious about what was I doing inside my room. They didn’t know that I was reading a bunch of books about depression and mental health instead of focusing on the negative aspect of my life. I turned to music, books, and prayers too.

At 16, I was able to read 68 books in total about mental health and depression. When I had extra money, I would go to a doctor and ask for advice about my condition. The doctor did not give me any medication at all. I learned to embrace my situation. I studied the history of hip-hop and listened to all John Williams soundtrack at that time. I’d go out during the weekends to volunteer at a public school nearby to read stories to the kids and teach them how to write. I attended environmental causes in our town and was surprised to be active in that field.

Fast forward to today, I am working from home and currently going through several health conditions. I started a small group of women in our community that focuses on mental health and wellness. Most women in our community have 6 or 8 kids, and they don’t work. You often see them outside the house looking from afar or gossiping. They are not fulfilled, and they feel so demotivated. But they have no education on mental health. One mom committed suicide because she did not know how to handle a financial crisis. When help is not available and information is not ready, most people like them get into depression and anxiety.

With my little resources and knowledge found online and in books, I try to impart to them what the meaning of mental health and wellness is. Now, we have a sharing session, a Zumba session, cooking class, and business class to teach them how to make brownies, peanut butter, and gourmet tuyo. As hard as it may seem, I did try to teach them about faith as well. It was difficult, but through grace, they are now believers and reading the bible and putting it to practice.

I hope and pray that our government will have more information and resources to reach out to the small towns and barangays all over the country, and relay that mental health is not something to be scared about. Feeling lonely is not bad, and in times of loneliness, everyone should not be scared or ashamed to ask for help. I am one survivor, and I did it. I overcame depression. I pray that whoever gets to read this may be inspired as well. You are stronger than depression. You can get through this. It is hard, but we will go through this together. You are not alone.

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5 Thoughts

  1. KG says:

    Glad to know you overcame depression and am so proud of you. Still battling it but like you said, I can do this. Thank you for your words of encouragement.

  2. Kristine Jean Blando says:

    When I read your story, I can relate to it. I also isolate myself at my room when I was young but as I got older I learn to socialize especially in our church and also in my family. I think it’s healthy to open ourselves to our families since they are the ones who will be at our side when we need it the most. You are very brave since you manage to keep your secret about the sexual abuse but I think it’s not healthy to keep it on your own but to open up to your mother, I believe she will understand you and will listen to you, it may also become a source of your depression. You will feel the weight being released when you tell it to someone whom you trust. I am not sexually harassed but I have friends who testify their dark past and now become a encouragement from those who suffer the same. I can relate to your depression, I take medication but good thing is that I have friends who accepts my mental condition and encourage me to move forward and fight for life. I also attend talks about depression and it’s empowering to know that you are not alone or watch videos and also read books. I may never be healed from my illness but one thing I do is acceptance and do the most that I can to savor the goodness in life with my family, friends, partner and of course God. I admire you for being an instrument of hope to your neighbors, continue your passion in doing it but never forget to take care of yourself. Let’s fight for life. GOD Bless you more <3

  3. Sza says:

    Hi. This is very inspiring. Can you share what books you have read about mental health and depression? I am so eager to be better and I need to take steps on my own. I would love to hear from you. Thanks!

  4. JM says:

    Battling with depression through most of one’s life is hard. It’s amazing how you’ve overcome everything by yourself.

  5. Albert says:

    Thank you Kristine foe this article. I’m happy with the life you have right now. May God continue to bless you and give you peace. Happy New Year!