“I Wish That I Thought Differently”

Dear Survivor,

Guess what??? You’re not a helpless little girl anymore.

I know it has been difficult adapting to the challenges that this coronavirus outbreak has brought all over the world. Everyone is doing their best to overcome this considerable degree of fear and worry as the pandemic continues to rapidly sweep and affect our lives.

It was completely devastating to witness people who started losing their sanity and the rising levels of loneliness, depression, and self-harm or suicidal behavior. Moreover, the shock and grief that consumes you after knowing that some people you personally knew have lost a family member to suicide or the virus itself.

If there’s a single thing that you would fit in and worth advocating for, it is to support mental health awareness. I know you have this toxic trait of not speaking up and instantly distancing yourself whenever you are feeling huge emotion that makes you catch your breath and lose sleep with anxiety and worry. But I also knew that you are able to bounce back stronger, every single time!

Remember, your only dream before was to find the courage to speak up and communicate your feelings? And as you grow older, you came to realized that what had happened in the past silenced you and made you anxious about almost everything? You are confused, irritated, angry, scared, startled easily, ashamed, and have negative thoughts and beliefs as a child. You are shattered even before you see the beauty of this world.

You do not have a better understanding of where all “those” emotions were coming from. You burst into tears alone whenever you have flashbacks of those unwanted memories. The worst part? It is not a single incident. It repeatedly happened until you reached your teenage years. In. Every. Chance. He. Can. Get. Sexual assault was something that’s too embarrassing to discuss. Those unwanted touches alone make you resist talking about what had happened. Why? You never want to go through that every detail, again. When you are instructed not to tell it to anyone? confused, but the 7-year-old you willingly obliged. Typically, the abuse came from someone you knew. A relative who is welcome inside your home, a close relative you have at family gatherings. It is a painful and traumatic family secret that even your sisters and cousins encountered and were forced to keep. That is how your old generation handled it.

Remember how you cope? You cope singing worship songs at church even if it means going alone. It is like pouring your heart out because only God sees your pain. You cope telling yourself that you are still lucky you did not end up getting raped. But still, it felt disgusting.

Do you recall the 11-year old you who curled up on the corner, heart pounding fast, and was too scared because you are left alone at home? He was trying to convince you to open the door, saying mom has left a message for you. You are too worried and scared. What if he successfully breaks in?! You felt relieved that he gives up trying. Good thing you are growing up and knew better at the time. You also physically grow up that you were able to protect your own self in every encounter.

But what you fail to protect was your feelings. It manifested a lasting effect on you. Sometimes you are okay, and the other time not. You are drowning with depression and cry your heart out and nobody knew. You become highly emotional. You struggle to manage your feelings. You struggle to maintain relationships even before they get started. You always run. You avoid emotional conversations and fail to express how you truly feel. You turn your back from everything whenever you experience recurrent flashbacks and unexplainable emotions. You create difficult scenarios in your head and wind up alone. You detached yourself because you overthink too much and refused to be a burden. And from overthinking comes a feeling of unworthiness and distrust. You ache for a lot of reassurance.

During those times, no amount of inspirational quotes or “this too shall pass” ever worked. What you needed is time alone, distancing yourself to regain your sense of self-control. And as you bounce back, the world is still waiting for a fresh start with people who choose to stay even if you kept on pushing them away.

But, you know what? I know you never quite fully heal. I can tell because it still weighing you down. You are still afraid to be alone with your thoughts because it repeatedly comes back. You still cry, a lot. And I am telling you now, learn to accept and release all your pain. The problem is, you are still insisting to deserve a better past rather than accepting what had happened. You still wished that it should have happened differently. You still wished that your younger self has someone who sits in with you and helps you NOT to suppressed all your pain and emotions.

Healing requires a lot of work and effort. You are now brave enough to share this struggle and advocate overcoming mental health challenges. I say I see you, and I’m here. 💙

Now go and help the world normalize seeking help for a mental health professional to heal and stabilize emotions. Together, let’s learn how to communicate and reach out. Remind everyone that we need to keep going and keep on surviving whatever life throws at us. We got this.

This story is an entry to ComCo Southeast Asia’s “Write to Ignite Blogging Project Season 2: Dear Survivor”. The initiative continues to respond to the need of our times, as every story comes a long way during this period of crisis.  The initiative aims to pull and collate powerful stories from the Philippine blogging communities to inspire the nation to rise and move forward amidst the difficult situation. The “Write to Ignite Blogging Project” Season 2 is made possible by ComCo Southeast Asia, with Eastern Communications and Jobstreet as co-presenters, with AirAsia and Xiaomi as major sponsors, and with Teleperformance as sponsor.

13 thoughts on ““I Wish That I Thought Differently”

  1. I agree. Mental health is truly something we must advocate to. Physical struggles are obvious thus can easily be helped. But mental health and emotional help is difficult especially with lockdowns and distancing. Isolation makes people think more negativity instead. You are strong mommy. The world will surely benefit from that, and your advocacy.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yep, one can easily get help when it comes to physical struggles, but it is uncommon for us to reach out with our mental health issues. Some may think that the person just “crave” for attention and we fail to extend our help.

      Like

  2. Mental health is an issue that some people always take it for granted. Everyday, suicide cases are going up in numbers because of the lack of attention and education from our government and public awareness regarding this very sensitive subject. I guess, we have to add this as part of our education curriculum to spread more awareness!

    Like

  3. Mental health is an essential part of a person’s overall well-being. Mental health affects how we think, feel and act. It plays a role in our ability to handle stress, to form relationships, and research suggests that it can even affect physical health. Regardless of a person’s age or background, This advocacy is such a good read to those whose experiencing similar situation. Thank you for sharing

    Like

  4. There are so many people going through emotional and mental struggles nowadays and I can’t blame them. It’s expected because the times are unsure. Yes, normalise seeking professional help. We should reach out when we need help, we can’t go through this alone.

    Like

  5. Ibang usapan po talaga pag mental health na ang issue. Lalo na sa panahon ngayon at sa pandemic na kinakaharap natin. Maliban sa health problems dapat mas tutukan ang mental health.

    Like

  6. The emotions are jumping right out of your post. I can feel them woven through your words. I do agree with you that we should normalize seeking help regarding mental health. I’d do it, too, given the chance but I think what hinders most people is the cost. A consultation with a professional can really eat up on one’s budget. Anyway, I pray for your complete healing. And good luck on the contest!

    Like

    1. True. The cost, but I think it will be all worth it. But there’s also some org who advocate this and giving free services. Now, all we have to do is reach out, find our people and be ready with the process =)

      Like

  7. I support this campaign! I have a lot of friends who are clinically depressed. Oftentimes, the most that I could do is to be there for them. It’s impossible for everyone to fully understand what they are going through so I think this campaign will serve as an eye-opening for people.

    Like

  8. No matter how tough we are, there comes in our life that our mental health will weaken. Being surrounded by support groups and family helps to overcome this struggle. Every person has different ways of coping.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s