Our most daunting enemy

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By Gingging Avellanosa-Valle

Bahin sang Bubay

Sunday, August 17, 2014


NO ONE, not even the fiercest and the strongest army with the most advanced weaponry can take us down but ourselves. The moment the great hulk of a shadow of doubt befall us from within, it becomes necessary to heed the yellow sign of warning, that we would need a helping hand from the people who have nothing but love and understanding for us, and our frailties, and that there can be no one but our family.

The death of Robin Williams, a most revered actor/comedian of our time, has opened many the eyes among us peoples on the seriousness of this quite illness, which are often hidden because of the taboo connected to it.

I have learned about how fatal depression can get when a very close kin decided to do away with his life without even giving us the chance to bail him out from the quagmire that he found himself in, almost two decades have passed. The hurt did not left me for years, as I inevitably thought that I could have helped him somehow, he could have been still with us, enjoying his jolly company.

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Each time I thought about him, some kind of misgiving would envelope me, even when I thought I have already forgiven some people who could have pushed him to the edge. All through the years, I found myself trying to accept that he had been responsible for his actions and no one else, and each time, the ugly head of doubt would pop up to taunt my resolve.

The sore in my heart has refused to heal, even as most of his loved ones have moved on with each of their own lives. And then, one day, I have made myself believe that he was not gone forever but just taking a long vacation. I have to think about it that way just to move on.

Through all those years, he taught me a lesson that I have never learned from the narrow confines of my thoughts, and even from the great walls of the educational institutions that taught me values and all. In his death, he showed me what it means to really love without asking to be loved in return.

They call it UNCONDITIONAL love. Sometimes, romantic love makes a person long to be loved in return, some even demand that such be the case, and most often, such kind of approach fall short of breaking relationships. But then perhaps it is the 'rootedness' of relationships that made them last.

Depression can be a tough wall to break. Even some renowned psychologists were not spared from the scythe of this dreaded ailment, mainly because the enemy is entrenched within.

It is a reality that is yet to be addressed by so-called experts in this field. Though I have gone through the quagmire myself, and I also found myself trapped not inside visible prison cells but within the dark corners of my mind where the shadows of an invisible monster lurked.

But thanks to my parents who literally cradled me in their arms and protected me from myself, I was able to survive and live fully again.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on August 18, 2014.

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