Pursuit to Happiness

When I received my edited draft, I thought I finally made an editor proud. I thought all the hard work I have invested in an article would finally pay off. Little did I know, I was about to experience what it was like to be hit by a yellow bus through painful words and unfortunate events. On the same day that I lost my phone, I also lost my confidence in writing.

For a week or two, I had trouble writing even just a sentence because the comment “reading your article was a chore and a bore” kept replaying in my head, which caused me to press the backspace button more and have a staring contest with my laptop screen.

When our professor in Speech 183 asked us to create a blog, I was excited and nervous at the same time. Excited because I have experience with blogging already, and nervous because I was afraid I might read or hear hurtful comments again.

However, what made my anxiety in writing fossilized within me was when our professor asked us about the things we can immediately write about. The past me would have said so many things but the present me just stared into the distance while experiencing a mind block. I blurted out ‘people’ and my professor answered “What about people?” and I clearly didn’t know what to reply.

In my head, I was just repeating all the criticisms I got that paralyzed me from doing anything. I guess that’s why writing this blog entry took me a long time to finish.

After that incident, it took me how many nights to figure out how to escape from my negativity. But because the comments had a nagging effect on me, I felt my depression cripple in again. It was a scary sight, as if a ghost from my past visited me. I couldn’t help but cry myself to sleep since I thought my dark cloud was gone.

I thought the grey substance that was following me wherever I go has already halted from haunting me. It turns out it was time for it to return since my depression was a season that is inevitable to experience.

To be honest, it’s so weird for me to write about all these stuff when people view me as a positive, cheerful, and friendly person (I got this by asking a friend to describe me in three words). I wouldn’t discredit that since I admit that I really am happy at times. It’s just that my depression is lying dormant that can be triggered anytime.

I guess that’s why writing this blog entry took me a long time to finish.

But if people are wondering if I’m okay now, I can say that I’m a lot better today as compared before. I used to have a shrink whom I would visit every Saturday in order to survive a week. Before, a little stress would send me to the hospital but now, it would just send me to the canteen and I would just buy food and coffee to ease the pain away.

Having depression isn’t just an ordinary feeling nor is it just a mood swing. It’s a mental illness that the society should start recognizing more. It’ s not something that would be gone overnight. Maybe it’s not even something that will be total gone, ever.

Students who have depression shouldn’t be afraid to talk about their stories. People who are suffering from it should feel the need to share every bit of their narrative because that’s how I survive.

In writing this, I’ve experienced a lot of topsy-turvy decisions. I was supposed to write about “mediocrity” or the people of UP but somehow, something always managed to pull my hands from writing about these things and instead, write about who I really am right now and where do I fit in all of these things.

I guess what’s pushing me to move forward and leave my insecurities behind is this:

“The challenge is not really to keep up with people better than you. I think the better challenge is to keep up with the things that are going on around us, by involving ourselves and working with other people,” said my first editor in the Philippine Collegian, Victor Limon.

Mustering the courage to talk to people everyday even when I’m experiencing anxiety attacks at times is already a huge step. And in this step, it started my path towards happiness.

I realize, thinking about the things that make me happy doesn’t really make me happy. In fact, thinking about them makes me even unhappier, according to debater Kip Oebanda. I think the right question to ask is if I’m making people happy. Because with this, at least I know I’m contributing to something bigger than myself.

All in all, I know that I’m not truly healed but I know, somehow, I am happy. Just by seeing my mom post my small accomplishments on her Facebook or hearing my friends laugh because of my jokes (which rarely happen because I really am corny) make me somewhat happy.

I try to be grateful for everything and as much as possible, I try to find something funny everyday. In making myself happy, somehow, everything falls into place. I am able to breathe more easily and I am able to work more efficiently.

There are times when my dark cloud appears but I know, I have the choice to acknowledge it and still live a happy life.

With all these demons inside me, there is still a greater and a far more powerful force that knocks the negativity down. For me, I think that’s passion. Regardless of how hurtful those comments were, I know that they are just as powerful as I would like them to be. I know that my passion to write for the marginalized is more powerful and I know that my passion to make a difference is far more important.

Through all of these and everything in between, this is how I keep up.



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