Down

Sun.Star Cebu - - ‘ZUP! - QUASI-WRITER JEDD UY @quasi­writer

Iam dour, mo­rose, and see the glass half-empty and the dark clouds sur­round­ing the sil­ver lin­ing.

It made me de­cent at my course (In­dus­trial En­gi­neer­ing) be­cause IEs are al­ways look­ing for things to im­prove and tak­ing note of ev­ery minute in­ef­fi­ciency.

I’m not the best per­son to have around at par­ties, which is okay since I start think­ing of “smoke bomb” ex­its an hour into any so­cial gath­er­ing.

So this con­fes­sion may feel like an at­ten­tion-grab to oth­ers: for the past few months, I’ve been feel­ing de­pressed. This is not to make light of de­pres­sion or any men­tal ill­ness; it is sim­ply a state­ment that I have been go­ing through de­pres­sion-like symp­toms at a time when we are all sup­posed to be happy “see­ing boys and girls sell­ing lanterns on the streets.”

This isn’t a science post; it’s anec­do­tal ev­i­dence from some­one who has had close per­son­ages suf­fer from full-blown de­pres­sion and seen the proof in the pud­ding. Al­low me to share a few take­aways from my so­journ.

No one wakes up say­ing, “I want to feel sad to­day!” I’ve tried to nar­row down the cause (cir­cum­stances, men­tal state, so­cial me­dia) and have come to find that some­times the chem­i­cals in our brain cause us to feel de­pressed even when all seems okay.

Don’t even start the “there are peo­ple worse off” ar­gu­ment; that’s in­sen­si­tive and a cheap way to blow off some­one who could le­git­i­mately be suf­fer­ing.

Every­one pro­cesses things dif­fer­ently. One of the sur­prises that have come with open­ing up about this is the shock—and even in­dig­na­tion—that a well-off chinito should even deign to feel de­pressed and can’t “pray it away.”

The book of Job in the Bi­ble con­tains chap­ters where Job cried out in mis­ery, guys—don’t mess with a for­mer Sun­day schooler. I’m not like oth­ers who are serene like Je­sus in their “storms,” but I’d like to meet the per­son who set the bar for who is and isn’t al­lowed to feel down—we need to talk.

On the flip side, re­ceiv­ing sup­port and un­der­stand­ing from un­ex­pected sources re­minds me that hope comes in the strangest forms (and is al­ways wel­come).

Peo­ple need to do what they can. Men­tal (and phys­i­cal) ill­ness is dev­as­tat­ing, but I am re­minded of re­cov­er­ing can­cer pa­tients do­ing their best to ex­er­cise de­spite their con­di­tion. “What you can” will vary; it may be as sim­ple as reach­ing out and say­ing you need help. For me, it’s con­tin­u­ing to hus­tle in work and forc­ing my­self to get out even if I would rather reread “Lies of Locke Lamora” 10 times. Never un­der­es­ti­mate the power of “lit­tle”—didn’t Je­sus praise a widow giv­ing her last two cop­per coins be­cause it was all she had?

In the light of Christmas, the great­est gift some of us can give is be­ing there for friends who are feel­ing down. They may not say it, but they ap­pre­ci­ate it from the bot­tom of their hearts—I know I do.

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