Monday, August 9, 2010


I used to suffer from intense bouts of depression. It came in waves; there would be months when I was normal and happy, followed by days (or moments) of crippling loneliness. At some point I learned to anticipate it. Every time it happened, I locked my room, turned off the lights, and wallowed.

There is always a certain poetry in the experience of emotional, abstract pain. It is distinguished from the physical kind in the extent of its subtleties: sadness is not just sadness; there are depths and layers. When you wallow in your pain long enough, you learn to discern the differences.

When my depression came, it usually didn't last very long. The worst was three days (I skipped school and just slept. Sometimes I played video games). In one case, after 24 hours of not moving, I got hungry, so I started to look for something to eat. I rummaged through my kitchen (I was already living alone at the time) and found nothing. I saw this box my friend gave me two nights before. Nothing was left in it except for the few paper cups that used to contain cupcakes. I scraped off the few crumbs remaining and had that for lunch. I even chewed on one cup to get some of the cake out. Because I forgot to buy water, I drank directly from the tap. I crashed in bed, and slept until midnight. By the time I woke up, the depression had lifted, so I took a shower, went out, and had goto in Chowking in Salcedo.

The depression was not always triggered by something. Sometimes it just came, and I had no choice but to deal with it.

I had a conversation with my friend Ron a few years ago. He was telling me that maybe my depression was not legit; that is, it's not clinical depression. I told him it's possible; that maybe I'm addicted to the pain because I considered myself a writer, and I wanted experience in order to be able to have something to write about.

Another anecdote: I was much younger, and I was writing my first short story called "A Few, Unimportant Things". I had a soft spot for neurotic, emotional and quiet characters with a lot of internal struggle. In my early short stories, nothing really happened in the physical world; the issues were mostly in the character's head. I found dwelling in their psyches emotionally thrilling.

Anyway, I wrote that short story in three weeks, inhabiting the character of the protagonist fully: his life was constantly running through my head. At that time, a different type of loneliness settled in my life. It was subtle, but the world, and everyone who inhabited it, seemed sadder. It was as if every person I met was being crushed by the weight of mysterious, depressing circumstances.

Fast forward several years later, and my depression is practically gone. At the very least, I haven't wallowed in a dark room not eating for years now. When asked about it, I tell them that I realized at an earlier point in my life that my happiness was more important than my art. One day I woke up and I decided to be happy. It didn't happen immediately, but I got there. I explained that I still understood why young men would want to go through such sadness: a lot of great art are produced everyday, all over the world, because these artists have such a profound well of experiences to draw inspiration from. I said I used to dream about that, and then I realized it's not worth it, at least for myself. I was content with being content.

Photo taken here.


  1. At a certain point, I decided that angst was a young man's luxury.

    And yes - art doesn't have to come at such a steep price.

    "Content with being content." I like that.

  2. @rudeboy: wow, ang bilis mo magbasa. Haven't even finished editing. And thanks!

  3. Maybe that explains why there are a lot of emo kids nowadays. They want to produce Art; they are drawing their inspiration from their 'sadness.' Nice one.

  4. Happiness also produces art. :)

    Being happy is a choice. It's great you chose to be one. :)

  5. this reminded me of the photographer kevin carter, the man who took photo of a malnourished boy crawling on the ground and waiting for the child to die was a vulture...hehe he killed himself out of depression because of that picture

  6. I used to be a sad girl, full of angst. I tend to savor those moments and yeah, wrote often. I felt misunderstood or was convinced no one understands me and what's in my heart & head. Am such a dimwit in thinking people are psychic, that they should understand w/o me telling. So am past that. Yey! It helps that I have a fun loving of a gf who makes things less dramatic (being the drama queen that I am). Hehe.

  7. u must be hearing my mind, writing this entry. lol

    seriously though, u just made me realise my addiction --pain & sorrow. but unlike you, i don't know how to quit it.

  8. @shane and novie: thank you.

    @davidrockens: had to google kevin carter, didn't know who he is. that's some messed up shit.

    @firewomyn: i knew it! lesbians are happier than heterosexual women. :-p

    @db: hey you're young (i think). just go with the flow. it all comes together at some point.

    @ew: very.

    @joel: true, true.

  9. A person does not need to feel depressed in order to write the most wondrous, most heartfelt, most magnificent of words.

    When everything seems crumbling, remember, every emotion felt, is a state of mind.

  10. that's why i like art, writing to be particular, because i have an outlet for whatever feelings i go through. when i write i feel like i have unloaded a baggage of dumbbells off my back.



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