Mental Health Awareness: Laughters of Grief

Mental Health Awareness: Laughters of Grief

In line with the Mental Health Awareness month, I want to share another poem I wrote eight years ago (January 31, 2010) entitled Laughters of Grief.

A light of sunshine in my heart
Was given by the one I love
Suddenly the storm clouds took part
And rain came from above.

The empty soil was filled
With water ‘til it drowned
My laughter as I grieved
It is as is I frowned.

But what life could bring
As a prowler, intruder, or thief
Try to snatch the song I sing
Only, laughters of grief.

Getting First-Hand Experience: My Start of Mental Health Awareness

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I can’t remember the specific reason why I wrote this poem, but reading this now reveals how my 14-year-old self was struggling to be resilient and not showing signs of weaknesses and sadness.

In line with the Mental Health Awareness month, I feel the great need to share my experiences, so that this could help others understand what I’ve been going through.

In my previous posts, it’s now obvious that I went through anxiety attacks. They were almost leading to depression. To avoid the stress and triggers, I needed to leave my first job.

However, even a resignation was not the best solution. I thought a year of rest from the stresses of the corporate world already prepared me to become employed.

Unfortunately, the triggers of my anxiety attacks were also back with my second job. A new wave of fear started creeping in and I needed to get away from it… fast. I didn’t want this decision, but I had to leave my second job. Some people advised I just needed to be healthy, strong, and positive, but they never really helped.

Once again, I thought resignation was the solution to get rid of my anxiety attacks and depression, but after this quick exit, I began doubting myself and entered a new phase.

And because I was shameful, fearful of judgment, and tired of hearing the “stay positive” advice, I avoided telling people that I was still dealing with depression and anxiety attacks.

I continued to hide what I felt and pretended everything was already okay. Trying to be positive feels like punishment for someone who’s battling with depression. Even if we want to keep our spirits high, we know that there’s something we need to deal with deep down our souls.

Also, my friends know me for being an encouraging person. I fear that once I show them my other side, I might lose them.

However, I can’t hold this for so long. Why can’t I be just positive enough to go through the storms of life? After a series of reflections, I slowly realized I started wearing what you may call, a laughters of grief mask.

Ending the Stigma With Mental Health Awareness

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Up until now, I still encounter feelings of depression. I usually feel them when I’m alone. You may see me joking and laughing, as if nothing is wrong. But I know this is only possible by the grace of God.

Last June 2018, I joined a healing program under Living Waters Philippines. I thought depression was the number one problem I need to deal with, but it was just the tip of the iceberg.

In line with the mental health awareness month, here are some of my realizations while experiencing depression:

  1. Even if I received love and affection from my family, I still felt neglect from other people. I thought crying is a sign of weakness, and people won’t love me for being weak. To avoid further neglect, I coped by detaching from my emotions. Now I know crying is a great relief.
  2. Whenever I feel lonely, I distracted myself and focused on academic success. However, I devoted lesser time in making friends and mingling with people because I don’t want to risk feeling neglect and hurt again.
  3. I seem to have no enthusiasm in the things I usually love doing. I once enjoyed going to the gym and working out, but now I have to drag myself. Could this be a manifestation that I still experience depression?
  4. Living one day at a time is victory. Each day is a choice of sulking or living.

What You Can Do Now

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People struggling with mental health issues are stronger because it takes effort for us to move on and do normal tasks. Never underestimate the small successes of people.

I hope that these realizations serve as an eye-opener. If you’re struggling with mental health issues, it’s okay. We don’t need to hide our weaknesses because they’re part of us.

Instead, we must accept that we have them and learn how we can live with them. However, we must not focus too much on our weaknesses, but on our strengths, which should come from God. From there, we can strategize how to win our daily challenges and gain victories.

For those who do not experience mental health issues, please extend patience and understanding to the people who are in need. They are not crazy, but they just long to be loved and accepted.

This can be a good start. As Jesus Christ accepted us, we should also extend the same grace we’re receiving from Him. Mental health awareness can be our tool to understand and love people around us.

But this isn’t enough without making concrete steps to help others. Going beyond awareness means getting involved and providing support.

And if you are crazy enough, then join the mental health awareness cause. If you are brave enough, I encourage you to share your story with someone, or through the comment section below. 🙂

10 thoughts on “Mental Health Awareness: Laughters of Grief

  1. I can relate to this. Last year I feel so alone because… well it’s a long story. Everyday I always prayed to God for me to just survive a day. I detached myself from church for a while. I hated going to school. My heart always beated so fast whenever I ride the jeepney going there. I never had coffee or anything but I was always scared. I have more stories to fit in a single comment though. But God, in his goodness, never let me in my situation. He reintroduced me to the community where I can find strength and encouragement. I am not fully healed but I know God is faithful. It is so true that to persons having mental health issues, surviving one day is already tough. Let’s support and listen to them. Or just be there for them.

  2. I loved getting to hear your story, Jarys! I’ve grown up with two special needs and / or mentally ill siblings, and that had a huge impact on my own mental and emotional state. Dealing with the difficulties of a sister who didn’t seem capable of loving anyone but herself and a brother who threatened suicide regularly fostered a lot of depression for me, and as mental disorders run in the family, it’s no surprise I have social anxiety disorder. Like you said, it’s only by the grace of God I’m doing much better now than I once was. He used the difficulty and desperation of depression and loneliness to show me how much I needed him and the symptoms of anxiety to get me to pray to him and to see him answer prayer, and through that and seeking him in the Bible, I began to know him personally instead of just knowing facts about him or being able to recite the Bible stories. That close relationship with God combined wit some circumstantial stuff was what brought me out of my depression (although the social anxiety disorder is still as real as ever). Mental health is a hugely important issue to m, so I rereally appreciate hearing from people who understand and care. Thanks for writing!

    1. Hi Olivia! Sorry to hear what you’re going through, but thank you for sharing your story. I never knew you’re dealing with that, but I like what you said:

      He used the difficulty and desperation of depression and loneliness to show me how much I needed him and the symptoms of anxiety to get me to pray to him and to see him answer prayer, and through that and seeking him in the Bible, I began to know him personally instead of just knowing facts about him or being able to recite the Bible stories.

      I totally agree with this, especially for us who grew in a Christian family. God becomes real in our brokenness. We experience His saving grace in times of trouble. I hope to learn more and help you with your journey. See you around YDubs!

  3. You are not alone. You do not have to be alone. All uou need to do is recognize that you are not doing good and ask people for help. Sometimes we surprise ourselves about how people really care and are just waiting to be asked for help. Stay active in seeking your happiness!

  4. Thank u so much dear Jarys for sharing how your healing journey started. The road might be long, know that you have a spiritual family to share and walk with you. Praying for u and wanna hug u :*

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