My Own View of Depression

It’s funny how some people perceive sadness as depression. We see it on social media: people ranting about how depressed they are when in truth, they are merely sad. Depressed people usually don’t go around telling everybody they are depressed. Most of the time, these people are so good at hiding it that no one will ever suspect that they are suffering.

I view depression as a very serious matter.

It is when you see everything as gloomy and bleak. It’s like watching a black and white movie of yourself because you can’t seem to see the world for how it is supposed to be: colorful.

It is crying over small things and bawling over not-so-big ones. Or simply crying for no reason at all.

It is being so happy one moment and very lonely the next. Depression is very unpredictable that when it comes, you will always be caught barefooted.

It’s when you feel down all the time. Not the sad kind of down feeling. It’s the feeling of being useless, unimportant and insignificant.

It’s when you feel that you don’t want to do anything anymore. Being productive is next to impossible.

It’s when there seems to be no way out and the pain is just so unbearable. You feel hopeless, so the thought of just ending your life seems like a sweet escape.

It’s when emotional pain seems to be a part of your everyday life already to the point that physical pain no longer exist. Or if it still does, you inflict this physical pain upon yourself. It has become something that brings comfort because it calms the monster that’s inside of you.

It is when you know you need help but can’t find the words to tell people what kind of help you need for fear of being labelled insane.

It’s when you know you are dying inside and there seems to be nothing you can do about it.

If you experience any of these, know that there are people out there who are willing to help. YOU ARE NOT ALONE! This may sound cliche but hey, it’s the truth.

There is always someone who is willing to be there for you…a friend, a family member, a relative, a loved one, or even a help line that you can call. Do always remember: YOU ARE NOT ALONE!!!

As for those lucky ones who don’t experience being depressed, be a kind human being and help out. Sometimes, depressed people just need someone to listen. Be that friend. Be that life-saver.

Writer’s Block

I usually do my writing every Sunday evening. Usually, my mind is brimming with thoughts during this time. But the previous Sundays of the previous months were different.

On the first Sunday that it happened…yes, my mind was still brimming with thoughts… and yes, I already had an idea on what to write on my blog. But, something was off.

So, I opened my computer, went to my blog site and…

I couldn’t write anything!

I knew what to write but I couldn’t put my words into sentences, and my sentences into paragraphs. So for a long time, I was just looking at my laptop screen.

Blank…blank…blank…just staring at the screen for a long time. Until finally, I just gave up and I ended up just closing my laptop.

Today isn’t like any other day. The moment I went to my blog site, I knew what to write and I had the words to put them in writing so…I just started typing away.

Way back university days when I was still writing for our school newspaper and for some community newspapers in our city, it was easy for me to compose my thoughts. I could write about my whole day in just one sitting. I could write a poem in less than an hour. I could write a news story for a very short time as long as I had all the facts at hand. But after my graduation, and as I faced the “real world”, writing had become a tedious task. Most probably, it was because the work I ventured into didn’t involve any writing at all. Then life had become very busy that finding the time to write had become difficult as well. So gradually, I lost interest.

But, when life became harder, or when I needed to let go of whatever pent up emotions I had during those harrowing days, I wrote down all the feelings that I was feeling at those moments. Sometimes, there were poems that I had to write just because I felt that long sentences were way too much to express how I felt.

Writing had become my outlet. The sad part was, during those “dark” times in my life, after writing everything down and after reading what I had written, I would throw the paper away. Why? It’s because during those times, I wasn’t honest with myself. It was the time when I was trying so hard to be a good person by trying to please the wrong people not knowing that I lost myself in the process. So when I wrote my feelings down and after reading what I had written, I felt bad that it was what I felt. It was wrong! It was very wrong that I had to feel the need to change the real me just so I would fit in. I hated the fact that I had to feel the need to belong.

Now, I am different. I learned that I don’t need to please anybody just to show that I am a good person, and so I had become more honest with myself. In turn, I have become more honest with how I feel. So when I write something about my feelings, my emotions, or my sentiments, I like what I am reading.

Presently, my flair for writing is slowly coming back as shown in this blog. I am happy that I now have this blog — and it makes me happier that through my blog, I can share a part of my life with you.

Daydreams

When I took my second course in college, which is Education, one of our subjects in school was Child and Adolescent Development. One time, we were discussing about early childhood (about 2 to 6 years old) and late childhood (about 6 to 12 years old).  I found out from that particular lesson that one of the favorite amusements of those in the late childhood stage is daydreaming.

When I was at this age, I remember that I was daydreaming a lot.  Actually, mine went even past late childhood stage — until my sophomore year in high school, I think.

Daydreaming for me was a hobby then.  At night, to lull myself to sleep, I daydreamed (or night dreamed??!) instead of counting sheep. I daydreamed of things that I didn’t have and would want to have.

I daydreamed about me being so wealthy that I have so many luxury cars and a very big house with a very wide and spacious garden. In my daydreams, I was so wealthy that I could buy EVERYTHING I wish to have and visit ALL the places I want to go to.

I daydreamed about being so famous and popular that ALL the people I know will know me too.

I daydreamed about me being perfect.

All these years, I almost forgot about these daydreams until a couple of nights ago when I couldn’t sleep and I suddenly found myself contemplating on them. I suddenly thought about how stupid and shallow they were. But hey…I was young back then! At that time, I didn’t have any idea of the realities of life.

A little more contemplation from that sleepless night and I came up with the following realizations, after having lived the life I have now:

Realization No.1: Being super wealthy is not so impressive at all

I used to work in a bank and I have seen how problematic rich people are.  Wealth and riches are things that I can’t bring with me when I die.  So these are really very temporary and very complicated at the same time.  Money is so hard to gain (or earn) yet so easy to spend.

I realized that in real life, what matters most is that I have a place to live in, I have a stable source of income to provide for my family’s needs, I have some savings for rest and recreation, I  have enough for emergencies, and most importantly, I have good health. Yup, I don’t really need to become super wealthy or super rich to have all these. I just have to embrace the simplicity of life.

Realization No.2: Being famous and popular is not really a good thing

Why? I have just three words: LOSS OF PRIVACY. If I were super duper famous, people would be looking for skeletons in my closet.  They would be digging for secrets and information about myself for their own personal gain. I would be pressured in doing what the public wants or expects me to do. In other words, the public owns me! Wow, that’s not a very good thought. If it were to happen, I would most likely be banging my head on the wall while telling myself over and over again about what a chaotic world I have put myself into.

Realization No.3: It is perfectly all right if I am not perfect

Nobody is! Perfection is shallow and boring. Well actually, it is unreal.  What really matters is that which is inside the heart.

So, did I stop daydreaming?  As a matter of fact, I didn’t.  But now, my daydreams are the reflections of my hopes and dreams for a better future.  They are somehow attainable, especially if they are what God plans for me.  Some of these are:

I daydream about my children being all grown up and so successful in life.

I daydream about old age without regrets.  This means that whenever I look back, I will be thinking that all has been well and that I don’t regret any single day of my life.

I daydream about me— old but happy and contented.  I will be sitting by the beach, watching the sunrise from the horizon, and thanking God for another beautiful day.

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Oops…this isn’t the old me yet. But I will be doing more of this as I grow old. I love nature. I love sights like this because it calms me…it calms my restless soul.

Determination

It was in 1999 when I first came to Japan. My reaction: I was totally astounded by how clean and beautiful Japan is. (Well, until now, I feel the same way and I still think that I am lucky for the chance to live here.)

I was excited and happy the first couple of weeks.  But as the following weeks went by, culture shock, homesickness and the language problem had set in. I couldn’t read and speak any Japanese at that time so it was always a frustration to go out of the apartment to do anything.

It was the time when computers were not popular and the internet was nonexistent. My mobile phone was a small rectangular device that can only do two things: to call and to receive calls. Touch screen phones were still a thing of the imagination. So, in short, I had no way of translating anything instantly. My only help then came from a pocket-sized Japanese-English dictionary that was with me all the time. The people I knew were so busy to help me out that most of the time, I was left to do things by myself.

In spite of the frustration, I forced myself to be useful and to learn the basic. And as expected, experience (mostly embarrassing) was my best teacher. Like that one time when I didn’t know that I took the express train instead of the local one or that one fateful day when I went to the wrong train platform at the Shibuya Station. Of course, in both instances, I didn’t reach my destinations so I had to go back to the station where I came from and board the correct train.

When I did my grocery shopping, there was a time when I was supposed to buy salt but got the sugar instead. So just imagine how sweet my chicken adobo had become. Yes, I know what you are thinking…I made the mistake of not tasting it before I put it in the pot.

So to avoid these blunders…one day, I decided to stay inside the supermarket for as long as I needed just so I will remember which one is which. And when I was done memorizing the grocery products at the Tokyu Store, I felt this deep sense of fulfillment! Yay!

So many times, I had thought about going back home out of frustration. But I didn’t. I was able to surpass all the obstacles through determination.

If it hadn’t been for my determination to make a life in Tokyo, I wouldn’t have been here with a job which I realized just a few years back was the job that I really wanted: teaching kids.

So how did I end up being a teacher? That’s another story.