Do you know anyone suffering from thoughts of suicide and depression? I was reading an article from The Asian Parent about a local celebrity, Nadine Lustre, and her letter to her brother who recently passed away due to suicide when all of a sudden I found myself crying.
My own brother, about 15 years ago, almost took his own life right in front of me by stabbing his chest with a knife and I guess the article just brought back many of those dark memories. He is quite okay now, a dad of 2 kids with a 3rd baby on the way and living with his second life partner. From time to time, he still expresses sadness and depression about his first failed relationship and has had major outbursts of anger and depression, but overall, he is much better now.
I myself, dealt with major feelings of depressions and thoughts of suicide growing up. I had severe teenage angst, anxiety and panic attacks due to the pressure I was put into by my grandparents to consistently be on top of my class that carried well over into my adulthood, which I think contributed to the demise of my first marriage. While I’ve been so much better at handling negative emotions since I’ve been with my current partner of 3 years now, I must admit that it’s just lately that feelings of depression started settling in again.
Is it hormones… again??? Is it postpartum depression??? It’s been almost 2 years since I gave birth! Though I admit that it’s no longer as severe as before, it was still very hard. I know I’m still adjusting to our new way of life, to our new environment, to building our new dreams… but I was also contemplating leaving my partner, taking our baby away and God knows what else.
WE’RE HUMAN. THERE WILL ALWAYS BE UNSPOKEN ISSUES.
I’m a mom to a hyper toddler, I am always tired and of course, I have issues…
- We’re sleep training our 22-month old toddler. Sometimes it’s successful for a few days, then we’re back to zero and he would sleep until after lunch like the image below (which means he’s going to be awake until dawn). I know it’s our fault that we didn’t do this sooner due to my own body clock that is permanently on US Time Zone. And now, I am overwhelmed with physical fatigue.
- I wanted to help out more at the farm, learn how to innoculate mushrooms and start growing our organic vegetables. But I couldn’t get anything else done because my time and energy are spent running after Tuz all day. Good thing that the mushroom farm is slowly being built now by local carpenters in the area. Soon, I’ll have to do my part but I don’t know if I would still have the energy to do that too.
- We decided to get help (yaya) but I was not 100% okay with it because of financial constraints and spatial constraints (if you remember, we now live in a 22-sqm studio down the mountains and our budget is very limited at the moment). I’m not used to having strangers in my house, more so in a very tiny space and the thought just makes me so uncomfortable I want to cry. How can we all fit in here?
- The rental money we got for my house in Alabang that was supposed to be for our day-to-day living is now being used to set up the mushroom farm because Mahal was not able to foresee all the expenses it entails. This makes me worry. Should I get extra jobs to cover this extra expense? Where will I get the extra energy and time? Tuz is so hyper and loves the outdoors, I can’t keep up with his energy at times!
- I couldn’t tell Mahal these things for quite some time because I didn’t want to get into an argument with him about something that might seem petty. And so I kept these things to myself, slowly eating me and further clouding my thoughts and judgment, knowing fully well that it’s turning into a full-blown resentment followed by depression.
COMMUNICATION, NO MATTER HOW HARD TO INITIATE, IS ALWAYS THE KEY
I was already spending nights in bed crying myself to sleep because of overwhelming emotional and physical fatigue (I do this when Mahal and Tuz are already asleep). Good thing that I was able to force myself to finally communicate these things to my partner. I needed to take responsibility for my emotions and thoughts. The personal issues I have been harboring were finally released, acknowledged, discussed and resolved. In just less than 24 hours after having those turbulent thoughts, I felt much better. I know I’m still healing, but I’m no longer thinking sordid thoughts. My mind is a lot clearer now too and all of a sudden, I know what to do.
It really does help to be able to let it all out and have someone listen to you. Looking back, I think that has been one of the major problems with my first marriage. We never really talked about the issues cropping up in our relationship until it was way too late and everything exploded in our faces. Hence, the petition for annulment. I can’t explain it all here now, but just trust me when I say that it is indeed all those little things that never get talked about, never get acknowledged, never get recognized, never been let out in the open. Before we know it, more than a decade has passed; we no longer know each other and boom! The end of a relationship.
I didn’t want that to happen to me and my partner now. So as much as possible, as much as I can change my personality, my disposition about things, my negative beliefs… as much as I can change myself for the better, I do it. Instead of letting the annoying things slide, I force myself to eventually tell him, if I can, tell him as soon as I think it or feel it, and we talk about it. It has been a learning experience for Mahal as well. He listens but not so well especially if he feels like I am attacking him (which I’m not). But through the communication skills we learned from reading relationship books of John Gray particularly Men are From Mars, Women are From Venus, Together Forever, we are able to turn our differences into something helpful and complementary.
For instance, that day when I told him all about my issues contributing to my feelings of depression, I told him that he just needs to listen to me and perhaps, by letting me explore my sad thoughts and emotions, I will feel better. So that’s what he did. If before, he would just say “ayan ka na naman (there you go again)”, a retort that causes me to further close myself and build resentment, this time, he just listened and let me talk about my feelings. By the time we had dinner, I was already feeling better about myself. I no longer felt heavy and I told him so. I also thanked him for not contradicting me and for just listening because it really helped. That’s basically what John Gray’s book is teaching us — how men and women can communicate better in their relationship despite their differences. If you’re having communication problems in your relationships, I suggest you read this book. It really worked wonders for us!
Anyway, going back to thoughts of depression and suicide, communication is the key. If you or someone you know is struggling with depression and suicide for whatever reason (sometimes, there is no reason, it just happens and the feeling is so palpable), there are always people to talk to, if not your own family, spouse, partner, friends, then get in touch with organizations who can help.
Natasha Goulbourn Foundation – contact them at:
Information and Crisis Intervention Center
(02) 804-HOPE (4673) (0917) 558-HOPE (4673) or (02) 211-4550 (0917) 852-HOPE (4673) or (02) 964-6876 (0917) 842-HOPE (4673) or (02) 964-4084
In Touch Crisis Lines
(0917) 572-HOPE or (02) 211-1305 (02) 893-7606 (24/7) (02) 893-7603 (Monday to Friday, 9 am to 5 pm) (0917) 800-1123 or (02) 506-7314 (0922) 893-8944 or (02) 346-8776
Life is very precious. Time is gold. I would like to instill these values of communication, openness, love, and life to our little toddler hoping that he would someday grow far more strong and much happier than his mother and that for every problem he will face, we will always here for him and that there is always a way. ❤