The Down-Low on Depression
It's been almost a month since the news of Robin Williams' suicide broke and a lot of us are still reeling. He was a constant presence in our collective childhoods, so funny and such a joy to watch in his movies that it's difficult to imagine that he could be as sad as we can often be.
His death is a terrible thing but I think that there is some good that came out of it: a lot of us are now a lot more aware of how serious depression really is, and that our misconceptions can sometimes be dangerous especially when we've got a friend or family member suffering from it.
- Depression is a very real illness. Sometimes we use it to refer to having a case of the sad, or tell our friends that they're overreacting when they say that they're feeling depressed but it's important to remember that we can't be dismissive of it. According to Dr. Dinah Nadera, a consultant for the World Health Organization, depression is "a very common mental disorder characterized by sadness, loss of interest or pleasure, feelings of guilt or low self-worth, disturbed sleep or appetite, feelings of tiredness, and poor concentration." These are all emotions or feelings that we tend to struggle with at certain points in our lives but what turns it into a disorder is if these feelings linger and prevent us from going on with our daily lives.
- Depression can sometimes manifest in physical symptoms. How do you know that it isn't just a bad day? If your feelings of sadness come with feeling tired or weak, or having vague aches and pains all over your body, it might be time to talk to a professional.
- Depression is treatable. A lot of people are scared to seek help for their depression because they worry that they might be judged as crazy or mentally disturbed. Overcoming depression isn't always as easy as trying to distract yourself from your problems or willing the bad thoughts to go away. Remember that there's no shame in seeking professional help for your depression.
Spot the Signs
If you're worried about a friend or family member who’s suddenly acting a lot differently, a little extra attention is all you need to spot the warning signs. Remember that the difference between depression and a bad day is in how long the bad feelings last. Try observing them for a week and asking yourself the following questions before approaching him or her about your concerns:
- Has anything serious happened to them recently? Depression is a result of both internal and external factors so watch out for triggers like a death in the family, a bad breakup, or even a bad grade in class.
- Have they stopped doing things that they loved doing?
- Are they quieter or more withdrawn? Conversely, they can also be hostile if you ask them what's up and they’re feeling judged.
- Are they especially or critical of themselves? Have they mentioned feelings of hopelessness or that they can't seem to get anything right?
A 'yes' to these questions isn't necessarily a 'yes' to depression, but they are signs that he or she may need somebody to talk to. A good way to open a conversation would be to say, "Hey, I noticed that you've been feeling down recently. Is there anything I can do to help?" Open up a line for communication, but don't pressure them into talking if they're not up to it yet. Feeling alone or isolated often adds to the sadness so the most important thing is for them to know that you're there to listen when they're ready.
The same goes for you if you feel that you may be suffering from depression. Open up to somebody you trust like a parent or a close friend. If you're worried about being judged by your family or friends, you can also talk to your guidance counselor. Chances are these people may have observed your feelings and that they're willing to listen.
Love, Love, Love
The most important thing to remember when struggling with depression (or helping out somebody else who has it) is that care is the key.
Take care of your body. It’s tempting to binge on junk food and lounge around in your pajamas all day when you're feeling down but studies have shown that healthy food makes for a healthier mood. Getting your endorphins up through exercise can also keep the blues at bay. If you're not particularly active, taking a walk (by yourself or with a friend) will help just as much.
Be aware of your moods. Keep a journal to write down your thoughts. Sometimes they don't seem as destructive when they're down on paper. You can also take note of the things that make you feel better, like watching your favorite movies, or spending time with a pet.
Do little things. Remember that it's important to make people feel that they aren't alone. Show your depressed friend how much you love them by making them a playlist of their favorite songs, or treating them to a day of pampering. Even something as simple as offering to go with them to therapy will help.
If you need someone to talk to but aren't comfortable going to your friends or family, here are some places where you can get the support you need.
- In-Touch.org has a crisis line with free and confidential 24/7 telephone counseling. Call 893-07603, 0917-8001123, 0917-5067314, 0922-8938944, 0922-3468776
- 7 Cups of Tea and I’m Alive are websites where you can chat anonymously and confidentially with a listener trained in crisis intervention. Visit 7cupsoftea.com and imalive.com.
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Bored this quarantine? Ever heard of the #chloetingchallenge? Since you got a lot of time in your hands, why not try Chloe Ting's workouts for free? YES! You heard it right. For FREE!
Aside from the fact that you can do it comfortably inside of your home, it doesn't require any equipment. You just need to be present! If you don't have any yoga mat, you can use a towel instead. For weights you can just use your body weight or water bottles.
Don't worry, based on my personal experience (and for others who already tried it) it's quiet effective. Tho the 2 Weeks Shred is a bit repetitive but some of the programs are not. If you are already curious about Chloe's programs, here's the link: https://www.chloeting.com/program/
This is a drawing and a poem I’ve made for a summer love. Our time together was short-lived but the feelings were not.
On a platform we stand
Faces seen all in a blur
Relentless searching led by a spur
To find someone, to feel something
Aren’t we fools to waste away time?
To look for one man’s treasure
Somewhere as ephemeral, as fragile
As a bond built in crime
But aren’t we just like every weary heart?
Hoping for an oasis
In the midst of the desert
Wanting to quench our thirst
Aren’t we all like frosted windows
Of old and battered houses on winter?
Wishing for the sun to give us warmth
To melt the facade so we can show what the inside is made
Aren’t we maven pretenders?
A Casanova? A Temptress? Who made us this way?
A sly fox? A ruthless hunter?
Let down the walls, It’ll be okay
Rushed for a hug, now no hesitating
Engulfed by a sense of bliss or was it longing? Eyes wide-open,
Stepping on a quicksand I embraced the fall into the deep end
Gazed at you lying there unaware With you, found something rare I swear
Realization dawning as loud as a thunder
As the Beating of your heart put me into a deep slumber
Waking up from this reverie
Truth slapped me back to reality
Two worlds so different, now I see If only I could I’d be anything and anyone you need me to be I’m the ludicrous clown, you see
Thought if I ruin it first I’d be free
From the doubts brought by my own insecurity I was so wrong,
What a tragicomedy Brought by the month of April
We rushed the ticking of clock to May Hands interlocked
Weaved skin to skin on a rainy day But when June came to say hello, all went dark grey
What was once there ceases to exist Like the wilting of a flower
Once so beautiful, so full of life Now turned into dust by death’s kiss
Unbounded joy brought by your presence
Paralleled with the perennial ache of your absence Yearned for and offered seventh heaven
Now the heart weeps for evanescence
A mirage, to be the fair maiden The sorrow to find out I’d end up our own villain
But all’s well for you are but a distant dream Gamaliel, You are, I knew it from the very beginning .
Written by me, the one-shot story
Coffee is about a girl who used to cherish moments with someone in a cafe. Sometimes, a simple drink can leave an imprint on someone's mind. ____________________________________________
It's been a year since my boyfriend and I broke up. I love him and he loves me too but things just didn't worked the way it should be. Now I'm heading at the cafe where we started and ended. I have no choice but to go there after all it was made up of both happy and sad memories. But that's life , right? We can't be happy all the time. Challenges come and hearts can break. But it doesn't just end there.
"One signature coffee , please." I said as I ordered from the cashier.
"What size?" she asked.
"Small." I said.
Then she took my payment and I headed towards the seat near the window. A window seat.... for two. The cafe was surprisingly full tonight unlike the past few days.
Again, I have no choice but to sit on that window seat. It is where we sit often. It is our seat. Our place. There are a lot of couples at the cafe and wow I'm alone. There's a part of me which says you should be happy because he's not the only guy in this world. Another part of me says you're still hurt so don't pretend to be happy. The truth is , I am both happy and sad. I'm happy because we're both free and we can focus more in our careers. But I'm sad because I'm not the other half of his heart anymore. I'm sad because I let him go even though I still love him. I'm sad because I can't see him. I'm sad because I can't share this relaxing coffee shop where we can chill with the aromatic smell of the coffee.
"Small signature coffee?" the waitress said as she serves my coffee.
"Yes. Thank you." I said.
"Since you're a regular customer here, we would like to give you this item for free." the waitress said. She handed me a purple journal with the name of the cafe on it and a pen.
"Oh thanks." I said .
"Enjoy your coffee!" she said.
I took advantage of using the freebies from the cafe. A window seat is also a bonus in inspiring me to write something. While sipping my coffee my brain and my heart began to function smoothly.
And so I wrote: My coffee has been cold lately, I can't feel anything after taking a sip and there's no heat to leave a pain on my lips. And it was a relief. But then, I remember one thing about sipping a cold coffee instead of a hot one: cold coffee doesn't leave you any marks when you sipped it, just like a blunt feeling. But a hot coffee will leave you a remarkable pain from the heat which reminds you that you are alive to feel....
I closed the journal and stared at the window. He was the coffee. The hot coffee. No matter how our breakup hurt me, he left me a mark and a lesson to learn. A hot coffee can be a challenge too or an obstacle. They all made you feel that you are alive. That you can go on with your life. You can still stand up. Love taught me to move forward. He taught me to be stronger. He is love.
WHAT IT'S LIKE TO BE A BROKE FANGIRL/FANBOY
One of the proudest things as a fan is the feeling that you are part of their growing fandom and stardom. From streaming their songs online, watching their music videos, TV guestings, collecting photocards, albums, lightsticks, attending to their concert and fan meetings surely, you're a fan! But there's a problem, MONEY.
It's really heartbreaking when you hear that members of your favorite band are coming and their concert is just around the corner but here you are thinking of how to sell one of your kidneys just to go to their concert (kidding).That no matter how much you try to save, it will never be enough for a ticket because you are only a student who has limited resources or if you're an adult, you have bills to pay. So joining a "team bahay" livestream is your last resort, but sometimes even those links don't work!
Of course if there's team bahay there's also "team airport/ team labas", fans who waits at the airport hoping to see their idols upon their arrival. How we wish we could also attend and be part of it, something like shouting their names, fanchants then cry out of happiness while waving their lightsticks or banners. What a concept isn't?
Hey, cheer up! being broke doesn't make you any less of a fan. Know that there are other ways to support and love them. For sure our idols have the same and equal love to us no matter what "team" we belong (team concert, team airport/labas and team bahay).Maybe for some people, they might think we are being overly dramatic without knowing that for us fans, their existence itself and music saved us and made us happy once in our lives. -Gwy June 16,2020