by Chrysteen Joy Sabijon
Have you ever felt like your life is sinking?
Have you ever felt so low that you didn’t have the same energy as before?
For once in your life, have you ever had suicidal thoughts?
I used to think life was full of rainbows and butterflies. You did not shed a single tear of sadness. I used to believe that the definition of life was as sweet as candy.
Then suddenly, reality hit me hard. It hit me hard enough to go down the rabbit hole where I could no longer see the rainbow and colorful butterflies. I could no longer taste the sweetness of life, the sweet melodies that kept my heart alive, suddenly vanished. What used to be a sweet, loving, and carefree girl’s life turned into a life of bitterness and tragedy.
Growing up in a healthy and loving environment with my family around me, life was okay, life was good. I did not know things like anxiety, depression, and other mental illnesses existed because my life was so good. Too good to be true. My parents were very supportive of me, they never pressured me to have the highest grades, or graduate with the highest honors in high school. Until one day, I lost someone I love, my grandfather. That day, changed my perspective on life. I used to write sweet poems and stories, but now, I am only writing stories about death and mourning. I lost someone I treasured so much that it broke me, it scarred me and created a hole in my heart. I cried in silence when everyone was asleep. I pretend I am okay even though I am not. I keep telling myself that I have to be strong, but in reality I am a mess. Did my family know what I was going through? Of course not, until now they do not know how damaged I am because I do not want them to worry about me. I am the second eldest of the third generation in my family, I should be strong, I am their “ate”, their role model, their shoulder to cry on, so how can I possibly tell them?
Now that I am in college, I am really excited to be in a new environment where I can temporarily forget about my sorrows in life. For a while, I thought my life was slowly turning back to what it used to be but then the pandemic happened. I had a feeling of being trapped, of being slowly suffocated and being utterly alone. I kept overthinking about things that happened before, full of regrets and bitterness. Nothing was going my way even if classes were resumed, because it was held online. The set up is very different from the physical classes, we don’t get to study together in a café or in the library, hang out during weekends, or see each other physically. My course and my classmates are one of the reasons why I am still hanging on, but my family is my top priority and why I did not quit school. Despite, how depressing and suffocating the class set up was, I tried my best to hang in there and eventually will become a pharmacist, but recently life has been testing me alot. I lost all of my senior dogs due to a distemper virus. It was really heartbreaking because I could not do anything for them and had to watch them die right before my eyes. My dogs were my babies and they meant so much
to me, as my grandfather was very close to them as well. For months, I cried myself to sleep and blamed myself for everything that had happened years ago and until this day.
Again. I fell down the dark, bitter, rabbit hole. Alone. Suffering.
While I was living inside the hole, unexpectedly, I found a tiny light.
I followed the path heading towards the light, and slowly, I noticed I was getting out of the darkness.
What is light?
Why did I ever see a light?
The light was my hope. My family is my hope. My dream of becoming a Pharmacist is my hope. Getting to meet new people all over the world virtually through pharmacy student organizations helped me realize that I have high hopes. It helped me slowly embrace the new normal, which is accepting that, things, humans, and life are temporary.
Life can be tough, I know. I have experienced a lot of darkness in my life that no one knows but myself.
Every one of us has demons to fight. Maybe you’ve shared it with someone or you might be alone just like me.
Just know, that if you ever fall down the rabbit hole. There is always a tiny ray of light that shines through the darkness.
You are not alone. I am with you. By promoting mental health and fighting against the stigma. By showing you right now my life story and some of my demons.
This is me, being vulnerable and open. Do not be afraid, talk to someone, a friend or family member. Let us start breaking the stigma.
I have not fully fought off my demons as I am still halfway through getting out of the rabbit hole but I am doing my best.
So, if you ever feel like you’ve lost hope and the world is against you. Just know, I am here and you are not alone.
Depression is not a joke. Anxiety is not a joke. Mental illness is not a joke.
Life is not always full of rainbows and butterflies.
Let us help each other escape the rabbit hole of life.