(I started this post last Sunday and the show aired last November 6, 2011.)
While getting my much-needed (home service) massage, I watched last night’s episode of “Cheche Lazaro Presents.” The topic was on suicide. It was my first time to watch Lazaro’s show which is still similar to her former “Probe Team.”
Tonight’s topic hits close to home. Those who read my blog from when it started know my struggles with depression. I made most of the old entries about the topic private ever since I began making friends with people from Plurk and my online life drifted to real life. I decided I need more privacy so I hardly blog about personal matters anymore. The show made me break that though because I have a lot to say on the topic.
The first segment was about a family with 6 siblings, 4 of whom committed suicide. I was shocked that such situations exist in our country. I believe the depression in the said family is genetic…or they might be victims of kulam. I think it’s more of genetics though. The daughter of one of the siblings suffers from depression as well and she mentioned that she warned her friends that if they don’t hear anything from her within 3 days, they should try to contact her family or find her because she might have committed suicide. She wants to heal but it’s something she couldn’t control. She regularly sees a psychiatrist at that. I’m envious of her because of the open communication in her family and she has her friends as support group for her depression. We talk in my family but not about very personal matters. And my depression is often ignored here. As for friends, I have them naman but most are acquaintance or the friendship isn’t very deep. I only have a few close friends and one of them is mad at me and I don’t really understand why. It’s good that I am surrounded by people now but I often wish I am more sociable so I will have more friends. I also wish I could count on more people during bad times because most of the people I hang out with, we hang out just to have fun. I don’t mean any offense and I’m sorry if the wording sounds like I’m an ingrate but I really need people I could call when I’m down.
The next segment was about about a community in Palawan, the Kulbi people, who has a different look on suicide. For the Kulbi people, suicide is natural and not a result of depression. Almost every family in Kulbi has a member or a relative who has committed suicide. They committed it either to save face, to ease burden on the family, they didn’t get what they want, or because of love matters. Surprisingly, those left behind see the act as a source of pride, even heroic. Here is where you might think I’m really a nut case. I envy their community. I want to be able to choose how I die. I even admire those who have committed them because suicide is hard to do. It takes a lot of courage and guts of steel, contrary to people’s notion that it’s a coward’s way out. Believe me, I’ve tried a few times in the past but I didn’t have the courage to do it right. In the segment, there’s a Christian teacher who wants to change beliefs of the Kulbi people. She wants them to learn that suicide is bad, that it’s against her God’s teachings. But the Kubli people aren’t Christian and although they are very poor, they seemed satisfied, even happy most of the time. I really hate that woman who wants to impose her Western ideas on the poor community. Not all of them think of suicide, it just so happens that a large number who do. But what’s wrong with that? Why change if the people are content and have a different view on death? The government needs to give the Kulbi people more financial and educational support but should leave their beliefs alone!
The next segment was an interview with the mother of Natasha Goulbourn, a pretty and privileged girl who committed suicide because of depression. The mother ignored the signs of depression manifesting in her daughter. In the end, Natasha took her life at such a young age. The mother, Jean, has come to terms with what happened and has founded the Natasha Goulbourn Foundation whose aim is to spread awareness on the disease as well as to prevent more suicides from happening. I’ve read about the foundation before and I commend them for their efforts. The country needs more organizations/foundations such as hers.
The last interview was with an eccentric man whose depression manifested when he was in 3rd year college. Mine was officially diagnosed when I was in 3rd year college, the time when I had my first breakdown. But I’ve known that something was wrong with me when I was still in grade school. The eccentric man narrated that he always thinks about suicide but never actually tried. He also mentioned that he attends Mood Harmony (or whatever it is called) which is a regular gathering of doctors and depressives and they talk about whatever they want to share. I think I want to attend the gathering, just to see what it’s all about and if it could help me.
My depression has been with me ever since I can remember but I’m more stable now. I’m not sure if my psychiatrist is the right one for me but at least the medicines seem to work. I also try to go out regularly with friends and do projects/hobbies, anything to occupy my mind. I still find it very hard to sleep but I’m pretty much “normal” lately.
I commend Cheche Lazaro for doing a show on suicide and depression but I wish it was shown during prime time. People need to be aware of this disease. Normal people just see depression as pag-iinarte or that it will go away just be being positive and thinking happy thoughts. I wish that were the case. Depression is hard to beat alone, it’s almost impossible to beat without the help of medical professionals. Positive thinking is easy to say but for depressives, it’s next to impossible to do. You see, those who are having depressive episodes have little energy. We/they are very sensitive to the littlest emotions and there is a tunnel vision of me against the world. Most see it as selfishness but that is not the case at all. The tunnel vision and the heightened emotions cannot be controlled without external help. It is easier to just follow the downward spiral and not fight the depression. Suicide is not an easy way out, contrary to society’s opinion. Suicide is very hard to do. Believe me. I’ve been there several times. It takes courage and iron will to successfully do it. I honestly admire those who have done it successfully because I can’t. I know this is so taboo but that’s how I really feel about the issue. I want to be able to choose how I will die and maybe when I feel I’m ready, even if I’m not depressed at that time, but I feel that it’s the right time to go, I hope I will have the courage to do it. I don’t think what I just said has anything to do with my depression. It’s just the way I think.
The impoverished who suffer from this disease are really victims here. Seeing a psychiatrist and the cost of medicines are very expensive. Very very expensive. The poor’s only hope is through a few foundations, maybe their religion, and the National Mental Hospital which is full to the brim and couldn’t accommodate or entertain all sufferers. And what about the sick who doesn’t live in Imperial Manila? Where can they go for help? There should be more help available for those who want to be healed. At least the show is a good start because they made people aware of the disease and that it’s manageable. This problem should be tackled during prime time though, not when Philippines is asleep and the channel needs a filler for late airtime.