The fact that we’re encountering the word “depression” more often nowadays has both a positive and negative side.
Yes, it means that a lot of people are going through depression. On the other hand, it also means that more and more people are becoming more open about their condition which results to more people becoming aware of what and how serious it is.
And that’s the first step into overcoming depression and helping the people you love get through it. Winning the battle against depression starts with awareness and understanding.
Thus, here’s an open letter written by Julia Buenviaje from the perspective of someone who lost a precious person to depression. The message may be lengthy, but through reading it, we can somehow save lives.
Please take the time to read this. PLEASE. pic.twitter.com/8RURL2vwQm
— Julia Buenviaje (@jubuenviaje) December 28, 2016
Here’s the full post:
“I’m not speaking as someone who suffers from depression. I’m speaking in behalf of those who were once ignorant and misinformed. I’m speaking in behalf of those who failed to save a life of a loved one. I’m speaking in behalf of those who were one step behind. I’m speaking in behalf of those who lost a precious person to depression. I’m speaking in behalf of all the people who carry the burden of being left behind.
A few days after my best friend passed away, I back read our conversations on FB. I figured that she first told me about her depression back in 2012. She said she’s been constantly feeling low and and thinks that she is suffering from depression. At that time, I had no idea what depression is. I thought it was an emotion. Guess what I told her? “It’s all in the mind.” “Think happy thoughts.” “Be positive lang. It will get better.” “You are a lucky girl, you shouldn’t be feeling that way.” “Ano ka ba? You have everything.” She has good grades. She was surrounded by friends. She was studying in a good university. She was adored by many. She is beautiful. I didn’t even try to Google what depression really is. I thought it was just sadness leveled up. I carelessly gave her those “words of encouragement” without fully understanding what she’s been going through. I was three years late.
Learn from my mistake. If someone who has depression opens up to you, and you don’t know what to do, just listen. That person trusts you. Listen very well. Consider every word a cry for help. When they talk about suicide, do not be frightened. Ask them questions you are afraid to ask. “How often do you think about taking your life?” “When do you usually have those thoughts?” “What method are you planning to use?” “Do you have the materials prepared?” This will help you know how far he/she has thought about committing suicide. This will serve as a cue. Ask him/her if he/she wants to seek professional help or if he/she needs help in telling his/her parents. Assure him/her that you are with him/her all the way. (I was a student counselor and we had a module about suicide prevention.)
Usually, people with depression mask it really well. They aren’t vocal about their negative thoughts, unless they trust you. They go around showing people that they are okay. They have brights smiles on their faces. They try to be there for you, because they know how it feels like to be alone. They are among us. They are the people we usually take for granted. We reject their invitations thinking there will always be a next time. There might no be next time. Be there for them.
To the parents, it will be hard to understand mental illnesses, but please do not deny its existence. If your child goes to you and says that he/she thinks he/she has depression, let your child know that it’s not his/her fault. Assure your child that he/she is not alone in this battle. That is when your child needs you the most. Please be there.
On a separate note, Julia shared, “We can’t take this matter lightly. We are losing real people here. Really good ones.”
Depression is a serious thing that should not be taken lightly. Let’s go and save those beautiful lives.
Share your thoughts/experiences with us in the comments.