With the signing of the Philippine Mental Health Law by the president, I just realized I had to write something about it.
No, I am not depressed – or none that I know of, I never got myself clinically checked. But I believe I know a portion of what it is like and how painful it is. Here, I shall share my accounts with two depressed people and of course, I shall keep their names unmentioned.
On our way home, one of my friends suddenly asked me “You attract them, noh? The depressed and well, problematic. Di ka naman sana naa-ano.”
I guess what she meant was I am not being influenced to be depressed and problematic. Yes, I am not. Although, I feel sad and even mad whenever I talk to these two people. People are not depressed for no apparent reason – it could be a toxic environment, presence of toxic people, and a combination of everything else piling up until is heavy and unbearable.
Most encounters with my depressed friends involved sleeping late at night, hidden group chats, panic and calling the attempting friend. If lucky, they will pick up. If not, it means you’re on the blacklist. My friends and I have gone to great lengths – to the point of contacting a friend’s ex at midnight (who is a friend of the depressed friend) to personally check how the person was doing. I also remembered calling and hearing sobs – then the person dropped the call.
The both mentioned of pain that is hard to explain, weight on the chest that makes it hard to breathe, tears that they cannot cry – death as the only answer.
I have cried many times for them, prayed and wished that their pain will go away sooner than later. Oftentimes when it felt too much, I wrongly blamed them, calling them selfish and insensitive – what about me? Why do they come to me and hurt me with the pain they carry? Then I remembered that I am not the center of this narrative and that their pain is something that we both want to address. And that I opened my doors for them.
Caring for them is very tiring. They will tell you what they are doing, how they are planning to do it – as if they are narrating on their journals. Except here, another cautious soul listens making sure that they are feeling at least the slightest fine.
As I write now, I am talking to one of my two depressed friends, she is okay but planning again. I will not go into details as that is a big trigger. All I said was “Hoyy, plano lang ha,” and some other jokes. Nope, I do not consider the situation a joke. Of course not, I treated her just as how I would treat my “not depressed” friends – with sincerity and humor. You do not have to treat them as if you pity them; you are enabling them if you do because they will think they are pitiful.
THEY ARE NOT.
They are the same as us, just someone carrying a baggage that they cannot carry alone. Extend your hand and help. Be there for them- your presence and understanding matters most rather than expressing remorse. Most of all, educate yourselves. It is not something made up, it is not a joke; depression is real. Everyone, please check on all of your friends how they are doing – when something seems off, it is better to ask rather than not bat an eyelash. Do so with so much caution; do not force them to say so much if they do not want to. Remember, you are there to help them, to keep them safe.
To those who have depression, reach out – to your family, friends, a psychologist, anyone. The road to healing is a long process and has a lot of inclusive factors. As all roads, it takes one brave step to get where we are headed. The stigma has not ended, but we are on the way there for #HelpIsHere.
For those who would want to know what the Philippine Mental Health Law contains, here is a link to an article by the Inquirer.net for your better understanding: http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/1003171/admin-opposition-united-for-mental-healthcare