Since I have shared my story and experiences battling with anxiety disorder (and depression years ago), I have been receiving a lot messages asking for advice how to deal with these mental illnesses.
I have written a lot of blog entries about it. If you have anxiety or depression (or you suspect that you have), please read them. Please also read the comments section kasi ang dami natin pwede matutunan there.
- Anxiety, Please Go Away
- Doing Things I Am Thankful For List
- No Change
- Look For Something Positive Each Day
- More Awareness Sana
- Know The Difference: Depression vs. Sadness
- A Quick But Relaxing Getaway
- On Depression And Suicide: RIP Robin Williams
- RIP Kate Spade
I am writing about mental illness again because I have two friends who are presently battling it.
One is a career-woman-recently-turned-stay-at-home-mom with two kids. She was diagnosed with MDD (Major Depressive Disorder or simply depression). She messaged me a few weeks back for advice to mothers who have this mental illness.
My other friend recently drank a lot of medicine all at the same time. Good thing, one of her friends found her and was able to bring her to the hospital on time. I asked her why she wanted to die already. She was young, ambitious, driven, smart and pretty. She said she didn’t wanted to die. She just wanted to sleep and end all the bad feelings that she was having. Hindi daw kasi siya makatulog for days na and she has bad feelings she can’t understand. I talked to her to see a psychiatrist, drink the medicine that they will prescribe and pray.
It’s been 9 months since I started seeing a mental illness specialist. I can say I am a lot better than I was in November. Ang layo ko na. I feel so close to normal already. Like I told my friends, if you have gone through that hellish ride and survived, gugustuhin mo tumulong sa may mga taong ganyan din.
I have compiled here my thoughts, advice and learnings during that journey.
One, see a psychiatrist. Parang awa niyo na. Hindi niyo kailangan tiisin yan and then magworsen lang. Have yourself treated. If you are feeling unexplainable sadness, laging gusto na lang matulog, cannot function, iyak ng iyak over sa smallest, irritable, lost interest in things you usually like doing, cannot sleep and cannot eat for two weeks na, consult a doctor.
Two, make sure you are not surrounded with idiots. Itong mga idiots na ito are the people who constantly put you down, degrades you or nagsasabi na nagiinarte ka lang because you think you have depression. I’m sorry to say this but either to you talk to them and tell them to read up about mental illness so they know how to deal with you or stay the hell away from them. They will not be able to help you get better and you definitely do not people like them in your life right now.
Three, you have to pray a lot. Magmakaawa ka kay God to make you better, at least, that’s what I did. I read the Bible twice a day. I was either in a church or at the adoration room praying in the morning and at night. I started feeling better when I decided to let go and offer everything to God. I realized si God lang ang isang Divine Being na makakatulong sa akin. I believed in Him. I had faith. Sabi ko, bahala na siya. I trusted him to heal me.
Four, you need to have your person. This person will be the one who will listen to you say things over and over again. Kailangan mo ng kasama. Kailangan mo ng kausap. Kailangan mo ng somebody to perk you up. You need somebody who will constantly remind you to fight. You need somebody who will take you out para malibang. You need somebody who understands (or at least try to understand) what you are going through without judging you. In short, you will need a lot of support. Ask for it. Lower your expectations a bit kasi there are still a lot of people out there who do not believe in depression. They will say maarte ka lang, narcissistic, abnormal, weirdo, mahina ang loob etc. Don’t mind them.
Five, you have to know that all these feelings are temporary. With the help of the counseling, doctor and the medicine, you will get better and be the same person you were before. Promise yan. Tried and tested yan. It may not feel that way now pero hindi permanent yung feeling na yan. During the hellish times, paulit ulit ako sa sarili ko, “This is not permanent. Gagaling ako. Trust the process. Be patient. Everything will be okay.”. Just think about me, guys. I have been there and I’m okay na now. That means, gagaling ka. That will give you hope and not give up.
Six, set realistic goals everyday. While recovering, magsteady muna. Don’t think about so many things. They can wait. The important thing is you get well.
Seven, try learn how to meditate. This helped me a lot during the lowest of low times. You can check out Jbittersweet in Youtube. Or you can download different meditation apps online. I did this every morning upon waking up because the bad feelings were the hardest to deal with upon waking up and before going to sleep. I still try to do this as often as I can. It helps me to me mindful and in the moment. Inaayos kasi ang breathing eh. Malaking bagay yung deep breathing when you have anxiety. Mga 3 minutes lang ng deep breathing when your anxiety attacks can help you a lot.
Eight, mothers, especially stay-at-home moms, should always find time to have their me time. If not, masisiraan kayo ng bait, mga bakla. Talk this with your husbands. Tell your husbands if things start to feel overwhelming so he can help or take over. Wag na magpaka-martyr. Hindi na uso yan. Wala kayong mapapala diyan. Me time can be as simple as a manicure pedicure session in a salon. Or maka-jebs lang while surfing the internet without being bothered for a few minutes is enough.
Nine, keep a journal. Or a blog (it doesn’t need to be set in public). It’s nice to write down your feelings. If you have anxiety and depression, ang kalaban mo diyan is yung overwhelming thoughts and feelings. If you start jotting them down, it kinda helps in putting things into perspective. It helps you be calm kasi you get to identify specifically what you feel tapos nage-gets mo siya.
Ten, cuddle. Ang needy ko sa ganyan dati and it really helps. If I can’t sleep or if when I wake up, sobra yung heartbeat ko, I ask Alvin na hagurin yung likod ko. Nakaka-kalma siya. Then after, I cuddle and snuggle with him. Naka-fetus position ako na naka-akbay sa body niya then si Alvin naka-yakap sa akin while lying down. If wala ka naman jowa, wag kumuha ng jowa dahil lang diyan. You can cuddle with a friend.
Lastly, remember these things too. Exercise. Exercise releases happy hormones. You need that. Drink plenty of water. Pilitin niyo kumain so you won’t get sick naman of other sickness or para hindi bumaba immune system niyo. Pagnagkasakit kayo, lalo kayo mahihirapan. My doctor said that caring for a pet helps a lot. Think about happy things. Iniisip ko lang nun, at least papayat ako. Hehe. Do things that you like doing. Don’t do anything stupid like killing yourself. I know it must feel like hopeless case na kayo but please believe me when I say that things will get better. Nasa babang baba na kayo. There will be no other way things will go but up and get better.
Wowa always tell me that there is nobody who can take care of you but yourself. Totoo yun. Ang lakas maka-feel alone but with the help of faith, ikaw lang din talaga ang makakapag-pagaling sa sarili niyo when you have mental illness. You will be your own coach para gumaling.
If you need someone to talk to, try Center for Family Ministries. Hindi mahal ang consultation nila. Donation lang. Anytime, you can call also the In Touch Crisis Hotline: 893-7603 / 0917-8001123 / 0922-8938944. They are available 24/7.
Read also these two articles. It can help you too.
I hope there will be more awareness for Mental Health. Ang dami pa kasing kamote out there, who until now, hindi naniniwala sa mga ganyan. For the meantime, let us help each other. Allow others to help you. And always remember, you will get better, I promise you that.