It was during Savasana when thoughts of I’d rather die than be here entered my mind. It just came out of nowhere. Thoughts are like clouds, they just float from the subconscious mind. I saw myself leaving this earth. The faces of the people that I love slowly came into the picture. One by one, I reminisced about the memories I had of each one of them. After this series of thoughts, my mind organized on how I needed to fix things especially when it came to Fin. Who’d take care of him if I am no longer here?

Depression is an ugly state to be in. You’d know if you’ve been there. You will know if you know someone close to you who is suffering from it. Our mental health is very important. I even think it is much more important than how we take care of ourselves physically. Because when the mind is healthy, everything follows.

I was conscious about the dark place I was at. The psyche has been my great interest back in nursing school. I read a whole book about it. The last exam during the nursing board was the easiest. It was about psychiatric nursing. Out of a hundred, I scored a ninety-eight. Not to brag but that’s how much I find it interesting. After nursing school, as if it wasn’t enough I took units of psychiatric nursing as my masters. So I knew something was wrong.

My coping mechanisms went berzerk. That’s how a life-changing experience breaks us. Trauma is real! Please don’t belittle people when they tell you about a traumatic experience. Others don’t even realize that they were already traumatized. It affects us so much and these mechanisms help us cope. But others just can’t cope. That’s why they act on their thoughts. They end their life because, for them, the pain was unbearable.

When I was in that dark place, I felt so alone. I knew I was depressed because I just wanted to sleep. I looked forward to nighttime because I could sleep longer. For someone who gives premium to eating the healthiest food there is, I disregarded that too and opted for a cup of coffee and a piece of bread. I went OMAD (one meal a day). Every time I practiced yoga, I’d feel a sense of relief after, followed by the ugly feelings again of betrayal and rage. It was a roller coaster of emotion. The kinds that you wouldn’t want to ride. It felt like the last stop wasn’t in sight.

Depressed people usually hide behind a smile. A kind of battle you wouldn’t see unless you look closely. I knew I was depressed but I hid it but I just got tired of pretending. My friend told me you were fine when he left, why just now? Maybe because the dam just couldn’t hold the water long enough, it just had to open.

Feeling the pain is not a sign of weakness. For me, it is a kind of strength like no other. The courage of actually facing it, talking about it, being open about it and all its ugliness, is not something one needs to be ashamed of. I think it is a part of healing and just being the authentic self. I also cannot be anyone’s sunshine when in my world my sun isn’t shining.

For some reason, after acknowledging everything and accepting what happened to the relationship that I thought was a fairy tale just like the weddings that I photographed, I have fully taken account of why it failed. I deserve what I tolerated! When it comes to loving someone, I do not have the eighty-twenty rule. I am all in or none. Another lesson learned in this journey we call LIFE.

When you know someone is depressed do not be quick to dismiss them. Please don’t tell them it will be alright because that’s not what they need to hear. Don’t tell them to be strong because that’s what they want after all. To be strong after a heartbreak! Do not tell them to just keep it to themselves and choose people with who to share it. When you are in a dark place, you won’t know this. All you would feel is you want to unburden. Do not also tell them that your tribe cannot fix your broken heart.

Instead, just listen and be there. You don’t have to do and say something. Your presence is more than enough. I am just grateful to be surrounded by friends that I’ve had for so long that even if we don’t see each other often, during a crisis they rally behind me. Their words of encouragement have always been my source of strength and reality check. My stupidity about my life choices never bothered them but they always saw it as a part of me. They make me laugh because they have a way of making a sad situation funny. I hope, for you, who is at a dark place, you will also find people who will lend you their presence and battle with you. Count me in!

So tread gently! Do not be quick to judge. Be someone’s sunshine when their life is full of rain clouds.