"Never underestimate the pain of others. Because the truth is, everyone is fighting their own battle". – Anonymous
I graduated from high school with high remarks. I was able to enroll for university under a scholarship. For consecutive academic years, I was an academic scholar. I participated in events and competitions. I was an active member of different organizations, too. I tried my hardest to showcase my skills, talents and abilities. Still, my family, relatives and friends wanted more. They expected more. A dark and cold feeling started to consume me, slowly and silently.
I saw how the tiny world I moved in turn into an evil’s den. Shady people, narcissists and abusive and destructive one-sided relationships destroyed me and corrupted my inner being. I started feeling like a puppet. I felt manipulated and used by other people for their personal goals. My success didn’t taste sweet anymore. It no longer felt fulfilling, and I felt like I was never enough. That my efforts weren’t enough. That I didn’t belong anymore. I felt abused.
My efforts and hard work have all been disremembered because of a single mistake. Everything became a mistake – my actions, decisions, even my existence. I was on the verge of stepping into a realm which I thought could best fit the damaged me. But I found comfort in the memories of the best episodes of my life. They were what kept me hanging on. They were what kept me on the line. For two years, I battled depression – a battle I fought alone.
One day, a soul responded to my silent call. As I was Facebook-scrolling, some stranger messaged me. She invited me to join their sisterhood – a group of women who inspires other people to embrace themselves as who they are. This group of women – who I just met on social media – became a family to me. They taught me how to love myself, to love life, and to embrace the darkness that once consumed me. They helped me get back up again. They are the people I do not share the same blood with, strangers who speak foreign language, people I do not know and who do not know me, yet understood what I was going through. They taught me to recognize my true essence and honor myself in everything I do. They taught me to choose myself, to prioritize myself, and to turn my weakness into strength. They taught me how to embrace my gifts.
I learned a lot with what I have gone through. I’m now so grateful in life, and I’m indebted to those who once pulled me down because it made me grow.
I am currently an active member of online groups that support healing of depressed people. I know how it feels to be alone. I know how it feels to struggle seeking a way out of the darkness, unsure if someone’s ever coming to pull you out from the trap. I would like to be a light, a voice that will tell people to keep going, and I hope that this challenge isn’t for me alone, but to every soul out there. Depression is not a joke. It is not an act. I hope more people can realize this and can work together to respond to the silent calls of the depressed.
– Andreline Familaran, School of Teacher Education