Giving Life A Twist
To Forget Depression
By Apolinario Villalobos
Depression resulting from monotony in life can kill, literally. It can also result from misfortune brought about by loss of loved one, job, finances. We sometimes come across items in tabloids and broadsheets about people who commit suicide because of depression. Highly developed countries consider it as a disease. Well-earning professions have sprouted because of it. For third-world countries, however, it is merely equated to sadness, a feeling which is hoped to pass in time.
In the Philippines, few people go to Psychiatrists or Psychologists, who as doctors of the mind, are conceived to treat only the lunatics, this is aside from the hefty amount involved for every minute of consultation, much more for actual treatment. Those, however, who understand the real situation and can afford the sky-high fee of these professionals, never hesitate to run to them at just even a slight detection of signs of the mental illness.
For the ordinary Filipino, on the other hand, to check the downtrend of emotion is a simple rest, a new environment, or a new activity – something that will divert the focus of the mind from a misfortune. It is like adding a new condiment or spice to a dish to give it a twist, making it more palatable.
I have a friend who I met after two decades of interlude, and found him to have doubled in size. When I asked why, he simply told me that his family has had two deaths in a row in a year. I did not understand what he meant, until he told me that rather than wallow in sorrow, he diverted his attention to food. That’s my first lesson in how to fight depression. I thought, it’s better than drowning his sorrow over bottles of beer.
Another friend who was receiving six digits compensation as Finance Consultant has been vocal about his restlessness. He seemed not happy despite the big pay. Twelve years after, we met in a mall and found his already youngish face to have looked younger, and he was vibrant, no longer sporting a sullen look. He treated me to mugs of coffee and over them, he told me about his job – manager of a small dive “resort” in a far province. So, that is the reason for his glowing and healthy tan skin, as well as, slim athletic physique. As close friends, I did not hesitate to ask if he’s happy with the pay, to which he smilingly replied with a smile and an honest confession of a figure less than thirty thousand pesos, though with free accommodation and food for him and his family, which is a far cry from his former more than two hundred thousand pesos per month take home pay as Consultant in a well-known consultancy firm in Ayala.
Still another friend who used to work as a Vice-President of an Advertising firm now maintains a small vegetable stall somewhere in Pasay City, but he is happy waking up at three in the morning for a trip to Divisoria with his son to buy vegetables in bulk, and to be retailed in his stall at Pasay at seven, after which they would enjoy their simple breakfast ordered at a nearby carinderia.
I have other friends who have changed their direction in life before reaching retirement age or even beyond. Some even say that they took a risk, with the rest admitting that they did it deliberately. The common result however, is the contentment and happiness that they are now enjoying.
In my case, when I left the airline to which I owe so much gratitude, after twenty years, friends asked why. I told them that I wanted to try another field, that of writing which has been my passion ever since. Perhaps, that reason, they may understand, but there is one important passion that I could not share with them at first, as they will surely not understand…my reaching out to others who are less fortunate. This advocacy knows no time or day, so I will not be able to do it if I have a full time job. For the latter, I invested my sincerity as I know with all honesty that I am wanting, too – inadequate in finances like them. So, what extras I have, I share with them.
Resigning from my job for which some friends envied me, is a big twist that I gave my life. But since I was feeling the onset of depression which I knew would eventually affect my job, I had to do it. It did me good, as I was able to do many things afterward despite the meagerness of what was left after the government ate up a big chunk from my separation pay.
I made use of what I learned from my twenty years of stint with the airline, where I was able to hone my writing and office administration. Immediately, I got consultancy jobs at my own time, designing operating manuals for companies and organizations. I was also, able to finish my first book and be with my friends at depressed areas for as long as I wanted – listening to their happy and sad stories, eating with them. I also learned to blog and share what I feel and think through the hi-tech and intricate social network.
At the end, I am happy. And, that is what I am trying to say now. The twist I gave my life made me realize that I have many God-given gifts in me that I must share with others. I must not fail Him in what He gave me as His investment so that I will become worthy of his noble intention when He gave me life. Simply said, it is my way of paying Him back, but through my fellow creatures.