I’m risking getting bashed, I know. But this thought has been nagging me for the past days ever since Joey De Leon’s gaffe in Eat Bulaga. Intensified by Nadine Lustre’s brother’s suicide, and then Ella Cruz’s “insensitive tweet”.
As a mother, I sincerely want to know how to spot the difference between a person who is clinically depressed and someone who is faking it to get what he wants. Or just being a drama queen. My son seems to grow up at the speed of light that even though he’s only 6 years old, he’ll be in his teens before I finish this blog. So I really want to know. I need to know.
I do not want to be the parent who ignored her child who valiantly fought his inner demons and miserably lost. I won’t be able to forgive myself if I become that mother. At the same time, I don’t want to be scared of non-existent demons. That because of my fear of non-existent or imagined demons, my child will always be a child who can’t–or worse–refuse to grow up.
I’ve watched numerous videos shared on Facebook about a depressed person who looked and talked like a happy and sane person. Likewise, I’ve heard so many people who allude to want to commit suicide just to gain attention (example, Me as an emo-emo, angsty teenager liked talking about death) or to get what they want.
Heck, once upon a time we even had a maid who threatened to jump off the 3rd floor of our house when we were asking her and her family (whom we allowed to build a shanty near our house) to leave (she was caught stealing for the second time). Her sister even called me and threatened me not to make her sister (our maid) leave lest something happen to her sister (our maid). Honestly, I didn’t believe she would commit suicide. She was threatening us to gain traction. Nevertheless, we called the barangay to escort them out and for the sake of peace, we gave them money more so they can easily start anew. Even after a decade, I still feel na nakaisa siya sa akin, and I feel bad that we enabled her to play the depression card.
But on hindsight, what IF she really were depressed and I pushed her to actually commit suicide? Or what if as a teenager I was actually depressed, but I was strong and I was able to fend it away? Or I had a friend or counsellor who helped me get through what I thought was a regular teenage angsty period?
I’m not saying Joey De Leon or Ella Cruz is right about his or her insensitive remarks on depression. I agree that it is clinically proven to be a disease that must be cured. After all, a sane person’s natural instinct is to keep himself alive and go on with life. And it’s saddening that there are so many people who actually committed suicide.
However, Joey or Ella may have had his share of meeting people who feigned depression just to get what they want. I’m sure you know what I mean. “Let me not honor my contract and leave my obligations because I’m depressed, hindi ko na kaya!” Or “I can’t live without you. I’ll kill myself if you break-up with me.” And even, “If you scold me in front of other people I’ll be so embarrassed I’ll go insane.”
Again, let me clarify that I do believe that depression is a serious disease. But what I’m also seriously concerned is that its symptoms may be (easily?) feigned, unlike regular physical diseases.
I guess what I’m saying here is that for the benefit of those who actually have the disease, let’s NOT do the following:
- Please don’t feign depression just to gain attention. This is why many people don’t take depression seriously. Remember the boy who cried wolf?
- Don’t make light of committing suicide just to get what you want. Again, the boy who cried wolf.
- Please remember that sadness and anger are normal emotions. And almost every teen goes through angst and the emo stage. Hindi porke may problema ka, depressed ka na. Everyone goes through loneliness and anger. As has been said, it’s a mental disease and not just a fleeting feeling because you didn’t get your way.
- In relation to #3, can we please not romanticize depression? I did romanticize it when I was a teenager, but I’m glad that at the back of my mind I knew that was it–I was just romanticizing it.
‘Yan lang. If you know the difference between faux depression/normal teenage angst and the real thing, please educate me.