My faith helped me get out of depression
“Why are you smiling? What are you listening to?” were my family’s words when they looked at me with curious and concerned eyes, wondering why I was laughing on my own or smiling at nothing.
Recently, I was paralyzed with depression, as I watched myself “fail” in life. (READ: I have depression and it feels good to admit it)
The existential crisis which has loomed over me since I was a sophomore had caught up with me in my final year in college. I found myself entrapped in the same state of depression, lack of motivation and simple lifelessness I struggled with after having kept myself busy and accomplished for the last two years.
Those feelings had made me introspective and self-absorbed. I admitted defeat, feeling the overwhelming confusion and chaos. I wanted to isolate myself from the rest of the world, in fear of nobody understanding what I’m going through. They might dismiss “it” as drama.
I made the conscious effort to seek help. I tried taking action, but my efforts were futile. People tried to talk to me and give advice but, at the end of the day, I was left battling with my demons.
Finding myself again
We didn't have the resources to consult a therapist, so I fared on my own. I found myself in a state of inaction which led to my inability to continue my responsibilities as a student, leader, and daughter. Waking up was a struggle; smiling, a strain.
I thought a relationship would lift me up, but it only pulled me down. Many times I found myself hiding in the chapel, just to burst out in tears, asking God, "How?" (READ: Dealing with depression)
I remember being taught religious practices as a child, as I was raised with Catholic ideals and sent to a private Catholic school. These ideals were questioned when I entered college; although it was hard to reconcile, I eventually patched it up.
I was becoming less of a Catholic by practice, as I sought other religions.
When I failed to graduate last semester, I moved through the days that followed by doing menial tasks. My family and friends helped and I am grateful. Not being able to graduate was enough of a burden for a family of 8, but my family has been such a strong support system.
One day, I tuned in to a Christian podcast. It was a prayer. No, it wasn’t like the ones I recited. It was simpler, quieter. I continued listening to that podcast and I felt my faith - the faith I have long forgotten to nurture since I got lost.
Psychologically, the response to my situation could perhaps be explained by the power of positivity – which somehow explains the necessity for the invention of religion.
That day, however, when I finally felt something good within me again, I chose to let all my thinking and rationalizing go. It was though letting go and having genuine faith – that there is a higher purpose – was the only thing that I have to do to free myself and gently put myself back together.
And the magic turns out to be effective: I found myself back on my feet. I’m back to hoping, dreaming, and believing that I can bounce back in life.
Here I am, writing again.
It wasn’t being a Catholic that helped me cope with my situation, it was the forging of my faith, no matter which religion I’m in.
I have now learned to trust. — Rappler.com
Allison Danao is currently finishing her thesis in Communication Arts at the University of the Philippines Los Banos.