“Why don’t we talk about it?”

It is on repeat in my head. I am asking silently, over and over, why people don’t express their emotions. Surely, if we talk about how we are feeling we would not get to the point where we will leave our loved ones behind in a most tragic manner.

Then, I realized that it isn’t as easy as being open about what we may be going through.

But, not me, no! I talked. A lot! I talked to colleagues and friends. I talked to my boss and colleagues who would listen. I talked to my GP. I talked to my psychologist. Yet, in August 1998, after contemplating it many times every day, I attempted to end it all.

I was fortunate… although, perhaps it was more cowardice. I wasn’t brave enough to be serious about calling it quits. I was acting like a proper spoiled brat who wasn’t prepared for a failed marriage after my then husband cheated on me, first with a married woman and then with a younger one a year later.

It wasn’t my time. It wasn’t my destiny. My destiny, it seems, is to tell those who’d care to listen that it isn’t so easy to keep it together even when your cup is filled with loving support.

Why am I talking about my old clinical depression (major depressive disorder) out of the blue?

Depression, notwithstanding its cause/s, is not merely deep sadness. It isn’t the same as when someone says, “I’m [feeling] depressed.” It is a mental disorder. You cannot shrug off the sorrow. No amount of persuasion can make the gloom go away. There is no magic or fairy dust that can erase the melancholy. You do not simply replace the mournful look with a smile.

The truth is the smile hides the inexplicable pain from the hollowness inside. I used to always say, and I still do at times, that I laugh or else I’d cry. I laughed a lot. I had a smile permanently plastered on my face. Strangers might even think I had a swell life. I weighed a paltry 38 kilograms though. People close to me knew the truth.

Do you know what’s worse than knowing someone is suffering from depression? Not knowing that someone is suffering from depression.

Everyone in your world sees you as the smiley person. You are the epitome of a happy person in their eyes. Oh, you blessed one, born with a bright and cheery disposition!

An old colleague and friend is that person. So, despite the years we hadn’t seen or spoken with each other, when I found out a couple of hours ago that he took his life this weekend, I couldn’t believe it. A successful and happy family man couldn’t have possibly succumbed to depression. I’m not the only one who found this piece of news unbelievable. The people working with him were also shocked. They didn’t know.

Why? Why? Why?

I taught myself not to ask too many whys especially without asking why not, too, but I have so many questions right now that I will have to excuse myself. I will ask.

Why do we hide our depression? Is it because a valiant man cannot and must not admit to suffering from a mental disorder?

Are we embarrassed of mental illnesses? But, why?

Do the people who love us secretly want us to not talk about our depression? Why?

Why is so hard?

I actually can’t go on writing right now. I am so very sad. I can’t…

When did he stop seeing a meaning to his life?

8 thoughts on “Why?

  1. This is a profound existential question you’re asking here, Anne. And, unfortunately, the objective answer isn’t all that reassuring.

    We live in our own minds, creating our own realities, seeing the world through our own filters. So that as much as we might want to be a part of each others’ lives and to find personal value in our abilities to make others happy, it’s simply not always possible. You can’t possibly see into another’s thoughts, feel their feelings, or personally know their joys… or their sufferings.

    I went through this same thing just last year, and with someone whom I considered as a pretty good friend. It hurt that she didn’t let on to me, knowing that I would have cared… that I did care. But in the end, it wasn’t about me or what I was feeling. At some point, a person trapped in a downward spiral has to reach out with the intent to survive. Ultimately, you were the one who made the decision to survive, and you should recognize yourself for your own strength of character in that regard. And at the same time, you can’t possibly know the reasons for another’s inability to do the same. Only that person can truly understand “why”.

    Medical interventions and psychiatric approaches are certainly a way to help for some, but not everyone. The software of a spirit isn’t something that can just be updated with a bug-fix. As I suspect you are well aware, it’s something that takes time, and a lot of work.

    Good wished to you, and to your family.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, thank you so much for sharing this with me, for the kindness. I’m still processing. I’m trying to figure out if I was feeling guilty that I got lucky…? I don’t know if I feel some sort of guilt because I got something he didn’t. Or perhaps I was just triggered in some way and the only guilt I’m feeling is my usual Filipino Catholic guilt.

      I’m just gonna have to allow myself to be. I’m re-reading my old books: Man’s Search for Meaning, Why am I afraid to tell you who I am… I’m back on search mode, for now.

      Thank you! I truly appreciate you. Much love.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. My Annie…. I have read this and sitting with some tears in my eyes.

    Firstly, I must just compliment you on the beautiful, concise and yet indulging way you have expressed yourself. Very articulate…I am impressed my friend. Your writing is really a fine piece of art.

    Second to that…wow! This is so sad. It touched me to the core. Think we need a coffee/catch-up.

    Lastly, I want you to know that you are in my thoughts and prayers (always).

    Love, always! ❤
    Me x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, my darling friend, I hope you have an idea how much that means to me. You’re gonna bring up the waterfalls. 🙂 Thank you so much! It helps a lot to have someone who understands and can feel how I feel.

      And thank you for the compliment. I am humbled. I love you so much! Please, let us do. It’s been too long. We can even have the men and they can talk nonsense while we talk sense. ❤🥰🤗

      I think you might just be the one valuable asset the book club I am starting needs… if you have time. 🤗😘🤗


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