Gab Valenciano can relate to reports that the coronavirus pandemic is likely to have a profound and pervasive impact on global mental health as billions struggle to cope with isolated living and anxiety spikes.
Recently, the celebrity talked about depression and how it can be mistaken by some people as just severe sadness.
“(But) it’s far from it,” he pointed out in an Instagram post. “It can simply be described in one phrase; a dead end.”
“It is defined as a severe feeling of despondency and dejection. Despondency is defined as loss of hope or courage. Dejection is defined as a state of gloom, disappointment, and low spirit. Now combine the two and multiple it by ten, that is depression.”
He cited situations to give clearer picture of how heavy it could bear on the mind.
“When you wake up, nothing makes sense. You look at yourself in the mirror and wonder who it is you’re really looking at. You question everything. You can’t eat. You can’t sleep. And getting up from bed never felt so tough. You’re paralyzed physically, emotionally, and mentally. Nothing seems to work. Nothing seems to lessen the darkness. And you now find yourself in a black hole,” he said.
And the trigger is different for everyone.
“Some are triggered by the past, by current events that trigger the past, by events happening right now, by an uncertain future or by painful and traumatic memories that linger,” he explained. “But then sometimes, there is no trigger, being clinically depressed himself, this is the part that I hate the most. When everything seems to be fine, then you wake up the next day feeling absolutely worthless, blind, and unable to see beyond the next day.”
It can get exhausting that sometimes giving up becomes an option.
Still, Gab reminds people with mental health problems to never give up and never let the condition define them.
“It can affect you, it can impact you, but never define who you are in this world,” he said from own experience. “It is what you do after the fact that points you to the right, or wrong direction. The choice is up to you. In this case, I tend to isolate myself and shut the world out, and yes I still do this from time to time, which I call my ‘regrouping or recharging’ time, but after a few days, I make a decision to always surround myself with the right people and consciously make an effort to choose to be better next time around.”
He assured people with mental health issues that they’re not alone.
“This goes out to everyone who is struggling to make sense of it all at the moment. To those who seem okay on the outside, but are dying on the inside: You are not alone in this fight, my dearest friends,” he reminded. “The road is dark, the way is unclear, but your heart is beating which means you’re meant to be here. Who you are will always be enough and I genuinely believe that this is an avenue and opportunity for us to understand each other more. To emphasize and help one another. Because sometimes all we need is someone who may not necessarily understand what it’s like, but understands what I mean to genuinely and unconditionally be there for you.”
Liza Soberano also talked about the toll the COVID-19 crisis has taken on her mental health.
In an interview with South Korea-based media Asian Boss, Liza divulged being put under community quarantine has been giving her “anxiety attacks.”
“Because we are just at home, we’re isolated, we don’t get to see a lot of people all the time and talk to different people which I’m used to on a daily basis because I’m an actress and I worked with a lot of different people all the time. I mean there’s a feeling of hopelessness sometimes because there’s so much going on in the world and you wanna help but you can’t really do anything,” she said.
“I was having anxiety attacks because like I said, there’s a sense of hopelessness going around because of COVID, the pandemic, and a lot of the trials that we are facing here in the Philippines….”
How does she overcome the feeling?
“I like to read books, I like to go online and just talk to my friends or play games with them. I like to cook because it’s like the time I have to myself to just really think about life because you just get to focus on the food while chopping or while stirring. Your thought is just all to yourself.”
She advises people going through the same thing to just keep themselves busy.
“When you try to learn a new talent, technique, or skill it really helps to ease or forget in whatever you are thinking about at that moment because you really have to focus on learning so that helps with coping with anxiety and boredom during quarantine.”
In an eight-minute video she posted on her social media account, Ynna Asistio shared how, in just 10 days, her life changed when she started doing a devotional.
She said that in days when she felt vulnerable days, she asks the Lord to change her, her ways, her life.
“Kasi pagod na akong maging sinungaling, pagod na ako sa sins ko, pagod na ako sa secret sins ko, pagod na ako sa buhay ko,” she said.
So, she surrenders everything to Him.
“Ikaw na ang bahala,” Ynna prays.
In doing so, a veil was lifted.
“Nasanay ako na kaya ko sarili ko mag-isa. I can live my life. Kaya kong ayusin ang sarili ko mag-isa. I can get away with everything that I was doing. Pero mali pala ako kasi Siya lang pala ‘yung makakaayos sa akin. Sa Kanya ko lang pala mahahanap ‘yung peace at sa Kanya ko rin napakita ang lahat ng mali ko na sobrang indenial ako for so long. Naging numb na kasi ako, numb na ‘yung puso ko. But ngayon I can feel that this is my turning point. Naramdaman ko na may tunay na peace.”
Ynna is stronger now, ready to face challenges anew.
“I know it won’t be easy but with God’s grace alam kong kakayanin ko. I’m not scared anymore because I know this time hindi na Niya ako pababayan. None of my ways workout, ngayon His way naman. He will provide for me ngayon.”