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“I think the saddest people always try their hardest to make people happy because they know what it’s like to feel absolutely worthless and they don’t want anyone else to feel like that.”

This quote, coming from the greatest actor and comedian – Robin Williams. This quote, ever since I came across this, stayed with me until now. I personally know this feeling, the feeling that I am worthless and I want to disappear – every day for the past 10 years. Robin Williams, a personal hero of mine, who showed the whole world what a beautiful and lively place this is – but on August 11, 2014, my great hero, took his own life. His death took a great hit on humanity itself, and of course me. Even the greatest of comedians, who wakes up every day to make people laugh, died because of depression. Signs that he was depressed was shown only after his death. An example of which would be the film “The Angriest Man in Brooklyn” where Robin Williams said the lines, “By the time you see this I’ll be dead. I hope you could forgive me.” These lines, although from the film, was acted with full sincerity. Some people said that this movie foreshadowed his death. The reason is that this film, as well as his death, came in the same year. And that the scenes from the film foreshadowed his death. It makes us think that he was asking to be saved, to be helped, and to be loved. But unfortunately, his depression took over and took his life. Depression is the most underestimated and is never really understood by most people.

As I have stated above, depression is the most underestimated illness. An example would be Joey De Leon, a comedian’s words regarding depression, “Yung depression, gawa-gawa lang ng mga tao ‘yan. Gawa nila sa sarili nila.” Even though he apologized for his mistake, his remark should not be forgotten. Because depression is and will never be a joke. If fever and colds are illnesses on the body, depression is the illness of the brain. You cannot tell someone that “Stop overreacting; no one ever said that life was unfair; will you stop with that constant whining? What makes you think that anyone cares; and lastly, you’re useless.”  Some close friends shared (I too, experience this) that parents are guilt tripping their children that have depression. Like the words of “Napapano ka, di mo ba alam na may nag aalala sayo?” These words, when heard by an individual with depression, plants in their mind that they are a bother to their families. This will lead to a severe level of depression to the extent that the person may commit suicide.

The best way to ease the pain for them is to share it with someone. However, sharing takes huge courage, it will never be easy – based from experience. I just hope that if someone who wants to share something with you, I hope that you listen, and stay near that person. Let’s face the truth, once a person knows the pain and struggle of the other, there will always be a high chance of the other person, completely blocking the person who shared his or her experience. This is the reason why they do not want to share these things – these thoughts, sorrows, and griefs.

The recent passing of someone I knew back in high school was unexpected and tragic. He committed suicide and was found in his room. To me, he was this energetic guy that really excelled in sports. Everyone that knew him knows that he’s really a great guy. If I were to describe my relationship with him, it’s already on the idea of brotherhood. I had the chance of reconnecting with him when I was in the same research group as his girlfriend. The moment we talked, I knew, he never changed, he was still this energetic, happy-go-lucky guy that really loved the world as it is. So his recent passing was really unfortunate, especially on how he passed away. As I read through my timeline – reading through the posts of people that knew him, saying how they loved him, missed him, and hoping that they could see him again. It really showed how people loved him. Looking at these posts, I started thinking – will anyone love me as they love him? Or rather, are there people who love me? As these words surround my mind, I can’t help but think – no, there is no one.

I, myself, suffer from depression.  I remembered that on the day Robin Williams died, I started to cut myself. My numbness grew stronger and I cannot differentiate whether or not I am alive. These were the days that I came to an understanding that this illness would never leave me. That my demons will always be a part of me, and will never leave me alone. My anxiety, my low self-esteem, and my despair may leave me one day, but somehow or someway, it creeps back in silently and attacks. Probably, if I were to describe my personality, it would be an energetic, happy-go-lucky guy who lives the way he wants and never lets anyone make his choice. But I guess, everything is just a façade – a mask that I show so that I would not bother anyone with what I am thinking and doing. That I laugh and smile at problems, happy times, and bad times – everything. Even if it hurts so much inside, even if the alcohol cannot stop the feelings flowing, the old tears I have thought, dried up, flowed again. I just continued to smile through it all. Continuing with the façade, fooling the whole world, that I. Am. Okay.

The only moment people knew what I was going through was the week I constantly cut my arms. This particular day, I was having class and all, this particular classmate suddenly turned around, and asked me the words, “Do you cut?” my first reaction was a self-defense mechanism saying “What do you mean?” this person just looked me in the eye and said once again, “Do you cut?” I never did intended to show my cuts to anyone, especially the person who just asked me those words. Those words left me speechless, all I could mutter was the word “Yes.” After those moments, I’ve driven myself in the corner. I never liked drinking, never have, and most likely, never will. But these are the moments that I need to consume alcohol. The moment I came home, I opened a bottle of liquor, and drank. Even after drinking, I still felt that I fell down in despair. That I have lost all hope. This was the night, I almost committed suicide. That I thought this is enough. I never wanted anyone to see these cuts. I sliced my wrists, this time, it was deeper, more painful than ever. The scars are still on my wrists until today. The only thing that stopped me from cutting any deeper was the pain that I would miss on life. I know this is somehow confusing, fighting my pain with another pain. Somehow, it worked. Negative and negative, somehow, made positive, which is the reason why I still breathe today, writing my story.

However, it still came back, but now, I know what to do. I asked my friend for help. I asked a personal friend of mine these words, “If I disappear, would anyone look for me?” this person just said, “To answer your question, yes. A lot of people will.” The moment I heard those words, tears started falling on my cheeks, I asked my friend again, “You remember when I asked you if you knew someone who cuts? Well, me.” My friend looked at me and said, “I know.” While raising my sleeves. At that moment, I knew he saw them. My friend asked me, “Why do you cut?” I told my friend, “I want to die.” He just paused for a moment, and asked why. I just told him, “I do not know, I do not know what I am feeling. It’s just that, I go to school, study, go out with you guys, then once I come home, alone, lay on my bed, all these thoughts are coming in so fast that I could not keep up. Thoughts that it would be better if I disappear on the face of the earth. My friend looked me in the eyes and said, “I have one motto in life: belief is the greatest superpower. It’s up to you if you’ll believe in your thoughts pero remember na we, your friends, believe in you na you’re someone worthwhile and has a purpose. Sometimes yun medyo harsh kami at times pero we do that so you could actualize the most of your potential so you could level up kasi gusto naming nakikita yon. So yun, remember people still believe in you kaya believe in yourself too.” After hearing those words, I knew, I just knew that people will look for me if I ever disappear. Only a few know of what I feel, and I feel thankful for them. No matter what I say or do, they are always there – just there, listening. I think that eases the pain deep inside and a ray of light shines on me – reaching for the deepest part of the abyss – my soul, my life, and my humanity itself. Their words of “Kaya mo yan, nandito lang ako” help me ease the pain of loneliness, which in turn pushes me to wake up another day.

For the people suffering depression, your thoughts, feelings and self, matter. Do not let anyone trash or set you aside. You. Do. Matter. In this place, in fact, in the whole world. The moment you think that you do not matter, this will be the end of life – your life. Hold it dear to you, even if others will not. Keep fighting your demons – our demons. If we cannot defeat them, we learn to live above them. That they have no right to ever take over our lives and destroy who we are, what we are, and what we want to be!

For the people who stood by people with depression, accepted them, and love them, I would love to say, thank you so much. That you did not give up on them, no matter how difficult they may be. I thank you for these simple things and I hope more people would be just like you, helping friends, or love ones that are in need.

As you read these lines, I hope that my story, my struggles, and life would make an impact in your life. That life will always be beautiful, no matter how unfair and difficult it may seem. That those struggles are only a short period of time, that happiness in fact, will always be there. That everyone deserves to smile, that someday, depression will never take a life once again. That the light may penetrate the shroud of darkness surrounding us. That you and I will only smile and never shed a tear alone once again. #

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