A very special guest, jokingly naming himself as “Lead in the Head” answered difficult questions about surviving mental illness, such as “what was happening at that time?”, “how did he cope?”, and “how did this change him” as he candidly reflects on his experience about depression and suicide.
He shares how, ultimately, failure led him towards a happier, more fulfilled life of acceptance.
- Today, there are about 322 million people in the world suffering from depression, making it the primary cause of disability throughout the world.
- In most cases, women are twice as likely to be affected than men.
- Every year, around 800 000 die as a result of suicide.
- In developing countries, over 75% of people suffering of mental illness receive no medical treatment
This is the transcript from this episode.
The beginning contains content that may trigger you. Please listen from 5 minutes onwards for the truth bombs and gold mines!
“You watch Terrace House? One character committed suicide. That’s why when you opened it [the topic] up, I was also thinking about that.
Watching her, you can already feel that she was not okay. You could already smell it in the air that she was going through something, and the people didn’t know what it was.
I already had an idea while watching, but you know, I was just watching. It’s not like I knew her, you know what I mean? It was also surprising because it happened [but], it was one of those things.
And you know how, being depressed is like constantly seeing rainy days, even though the sun is out…
For me it was, it was like that. It was miserable all throughout. Some days it was okay and manageable. It’s like a teapot. It’s like a boiling teapot. Sometimes we’ll see the smoke and it will whistle, but sometimes it could just be a rolling boil inside . That was it. You wouldn’t even see the sun.
I was already by then, tired of everything. So in high school, a car hit me, It was one of those moments that I decided that ” ah, yeah, I’ll just take this one day, one year at a time then”. Like at the end of high school, I was already set. I didn’t want to live anymore, my mindset was just that everything’s going to be fucked up.
I was in school, in university, I was wasting my time not knowing what I wanted. I was always, self critical. Conscious. I always kept thinking at night. At a time when many people were planning, what’s next for their lives, I was set to end mine then. I saw no value in moving on I had already decided by the end of that, I’ll just be giving myself a year , it was like a self-imposed temporary permit that expires each year. Then after a year, you would reasses your situation.
I know now obviously that, that was not a normal way of thinking. Planning for it, like a yearly rent. Back then, perhaps it was, was normal for me. It was the rainy day.
That was really depression cause it was really suicide.
WAKING UP AND YOU’RE STILL BACK… I ALWAYS THOUGHT THEN, THAT IT WAS DEPRESSING BUT I ALSO THOUGHT IT WAS LUCK. AND SINCE WE’RE ALREADY THERE, THE ONLY REASON WHY I THOUGHT “FINE, LET’S NOT DO IT AGAIN”, IS LIKE PEOPLE ALREADY KNOW THAT I WANTED TO OFF MYSELF, SO THERE’S NO POINT IN BOTTLING MY ANGER UP.
Did i find remorse? Not necessarily. Because me weaning myself out of the rut that I was in was an everyday struggle.
There’s this book by Stephen King, it’s called Lisey’s Story. It talks about, how do we bury the dead? How do we let go of the dead? Of the person who dies in our life? And the novel says death is not like turning off a switch and it’s all gone.
Death is more like turning off the switch every day until one day you don’t even notice that you’re turning off the switch. It’s literally like dying everyday.
It’s how you mourn your dead like. If someone you love dies today you will mourn that person every single day after that person is gone. And for me it was that way too, every single day was me mourning about failing cause that was the plan.
That was the plan. There was no tomorrow after that day, you know what I mean? And then I was like, you already crossed the threshold and then you’re still here so it was a constant battle every day.
That’s why in that sense, I’ve always thought for that year, I was burying the old me. (That’s why I thought it true, the construct in my head is true, that there’s a different person.)
AND THAT DIFFERENT PERSON BURIED THAT PERSON, THE OTHER PERSON, FOR A YEAR. THERE’S A BIRTHDAY THAT I CELEBRATE.
It’s not full black and white. It was around a year of meeting with doctors. Back then, the primary concern was for me not to do it again. The psychiatrist was trying to, map out my activities. Like what my daily routine was, my weekly routine, my monthly routine what are you doing now, what are your interests now? Have your interests changed?
I knew that what he was giving me was helping, but I also feel like the psychologist makes everything clear… to actually dredge up the things that caused it, et cetera, et cetera.
And for like two to three years, I kept a journal. It wasn’t a journal of my feelings. It wasn’t a blog. It was just literally, what I ate did today, what did I do? Really boring journal of what happened today, and at the end of that, I would write yes or no. It just literally meant whether or not I felt happy or sad.
So I finished like, three or two moleskins. The first moleskin was all, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no.
And then slowly it became no, yes, no, yes, no, yes, no.
And then it became yes, yes, yes, no, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes.
Until the last moleskine, it was just all yes. And that’s when I stopped journaling. It was also around the same time when I voluntarily stopped seeing the doctors, because that’s when I knew that I was better. I actually had a scientific journal. If I could find those notebooks now I can plot it. I can lay the grounds of the trajectory of it I just wrote that. Yes, no, yes, no, yes, no.
I got that idea because the doctors write in their paper literally what I said, and I would just write what I would probably tell my doctors . It’s not as much as what I felt because what you felt was sometimes just noted. What literally is written are how you described your activities.
And that’s what I did on myself. I ate this, I ate that, I disliked eating this. I disliked going here. But it’s not really “I was so sad”, there wasn’t even that rant in there or anything remotely to ressembling a tweet, you know what I mean? Or a caption or a status in Facebook or whatever. It was literally just a log of what you did and then yes or no, and that was it for three years. And then it became all, yes.
For a year, a year and a half, my life was at a pause. I only returned to school when everything was normal. The mere fact that I stopped for two years means I had less interaction with other people. I was picking myself up and seeing the doctors.
My friends knew because I always told them. I always told them that this was the plan and this is how it’s going to happen. There was no specific date.
I would think it’s normal there’s some friends that I lost. But primarily because I had to change, everything. I had to stop school and drop everything.
It’s part of life, people move on. Not everyone will hold your hand forever, some friends held my hand for one and a half year and I’m thankful for them. I wouldn’t be here without them. But I don’t also begrudge the people who no longer as close of friends I still talk to them when, when I get the opportunity.
The support that family and friends, also the other friends who don’t know about it that support you. It’s really the social structure. And your intrinsic notion that you want to be better.
Three years ago, I touched base with my psychologist on my own volition. I had just finished school. That was around the same time you returned from France? Around that time felt, I like I had and accomplishment, I guess? That I was like five, six years on from that day I was still alive.
Me looking back at it is like a detached state. The person, that’s what, nine years old now, is not the same as the one who passed away that night.
The way I process that is like the person that left that night is not the same person that woke up the next morning. The me now is more sociable, I would think . But also I have a better tolerance for difficult interactions.
The reason why I can say that I’m more confident that I will not relapse is because that person is a part of me and is me. But that person no longer lives with me.
I was reading a lot because I was trying to rationalize it. Some people find religion in moments like this. I am not that person. That was exactly the opposite of it. I lost religion because of this.
I found more meaning in living this life by, by reading anything that would distract me. It was more really like focus on something, Rationalize about it finding meaning. It was literally me building my belief system, how I’d like to see the world.
Since i’ve had this world view, this belief, this lifestyle, I’m less attached to it.
If you think about the philosophy of Albert Camus, it’s not really just existentialism. It’s really absurdism. Realizing that you’re in an absurd situation and learning how to accept it.
The myth of Sysiphus is, I think the perfect one, right? The the guy who’s pushing the boulder.
It is a punishment for having a pointless life. So Sisyphus was asked to push a boulder up a hill and then the boulder will roll down, and he has to go back down and push the boulder back up again. That was the punishment.
Now, Camus says, imagine that happening? And imagine Sisyphus smiling, knowing that that is happening. You can find meaning in Sisyphus’ act of pushing the boulder in his life.
THAT DEFINES TO SOME EXTENT THE VALUE OF LIFE, THE SEARCH FOR HAPPINESS. EVEN THOUGH IT MIGHT SEEM POINTLESS IN A PLACE WHERE BAD THINGS HAPPEN TO GOOD PEOPLE AND GOOD THINGS HAPPEN TO BAD PEOPLE.
He also said something about one logical extension of knowing that, life might have no meaningful value, is suicide. Camus pointed out how it was an awful decision to consider suicide because it makes your life even more absurd.
Kasi wala na ngang value, tinanggalan mo pa completely ng value buhay mo because you just did it. You just offed yourself.
That’s it. You must face the absurd, which means embracing all parts of it, like even the crazy parts of it. Even the things that make you sad about even if you get a fucking stormy day, just smile about it. It’s part of everyday life.
THE MEANING OF LIFE THEREFORE, IS DERIVED BY HOW YOU LIVE EVERY DAY. BEING PASSIONATE ABOUT EVERY SINGLE DAY. AND I THINK THERE’S A QUIET BEAUTY IN THAT AND QUIET HAPPINESS IN THAT.
KNOWING EVERY DAY DEFINES HOW YOU SHOULD SEE YOUR LIFE AND NOT NECESSARILY BY ITS ENDS, BY ITS GOALS, BY ANY RELIGIOUS MEANING OF AN ANY AFTERLIFE.
When before I could only just see the rain. I can now focus on other things like the dogs around , the bugs. I only notice the rain when it rains. And me not noticing or minding that it’s raining makes me notice the surroundings more.
It doesn’t make me dwell anymore. I don’t lose sleep over it. If I have a problem, I can put it in a proper library, a shelf in my mind. I can check on it later, but it won’t bother me the whole day.
I guess the reason why I don’t have episodes anymore it’s also because I think now it’s something that I learned to love and embrace as a part of life.
It’s also the support of my family and my friends that brought me here. It’s really a combination of a lot of things. It’s, it’s not just, me doing it and me moving forward from it.
It’s your internal compass, the trajectory that you have because, your friends are helping you, your family is helping four. It’s journaling. It’s the routine. It’s the dying every day.
It’s literally the pleasures of life. Being with your friends, being with your family, living for every day.
There was a time maybe around four years ago when there was a, really large flood. It wasn’t a stormy, it wasn’t even a typhoon. It was just unending rain I was stopped for a good six hours in Skyway but it was five years to that day.
So instead of most people who are like super pissed and posting videos of how angry, they were stuck in traffic I was thinking back then, five years ago to that day I was infinitely sadder and angrier than the moment that I was stuck in traffic . Infinitely sadder and angrier that I was willing to off myself and screw everyone. but it felt like walking on clouds.
I guess that’s how I see the progress that has been made eight years to the day of my rebirth.
Once again, I would like to thank my friend for his candor and truthfulness. Hearing his story all over again personally made me feel less alone, and I hope you do to.
Be brave, be kind.