Surviving Depression: How I Battled The Phantom Killer With A Pen And A Notebook

Words and photos by Danielle Castillo

TRIGGER WARNING: Mentions of suicide

Back when I was still a child, I used to love watching Detective Conan. I was astounded by the way the plot unraveled before me, how the truths were exposed in manners that I would have never guessed, and yet still made perfect sense. Like many,  I fiercely anticipated the unveiling of the phantom killer.

Little did I know that these fond childhood memories would become my reality when I grew up.

I have always been very awkward with people. Socializing, to me, was an incredibly difficult task. Add that to the fact that I was a severe perfectionist and you’ve got yourself a recipe for anxiety and insecurity. I had issues with my body, grades, relationships, and many more that I can’t further elaborate. Maybe I was simply bound to crash and burn, I do not know.

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Then, I met depression.

It started off slowly–like it was courting me, holding my hand with every gentle nudge and sway. I didn’t know that the silence was a prelude to a storm, that I was dancing towards the far end my mother warned me to stay very far away from.

Like a true murderer, it attacks where you are weak. It suggests that I should focus on my academics, lest I become a huge disappointment to my family. I wouldn’t want that now, would I? Why should I have to sleep? Or eat, even? Shouldn’t I be studying to make up for that failed grade in History?

RELATED: This is How Depression Feels Like

Depression has made me feel that I am not worthy of love and effort — that no one would want to listen or help me in my woes. My fingertips felt cold and numb, as if devoid of blood and soul; chest heavy to the point where I struggled to breathe. Then, it points out to me and says: Why are you still alive if you’re in so much pain then?

At one point, it told me to just get on with it. Just get rid of yourself so that you don’t continue being a burden to others.

Thrice. I managed to survive with help from my friends and family, but it was no easy task.

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One thing that I did to get back my will to live again (something that I truly recommend to other people who are suffering from depression too) is a life list.

The idea crossed my mind after my friend and I discussed something about bucket lists. However, this life list was different from all the other life lists I’ve known.