Nalzaro: Anxiety and depression

I DON’T know lawyers Jamaal James and Sarah Calipayan. But I pity the couple because they are being ridiculed, criticized and condemned especially in social media. This, following the unfortunate incident where the husband reported to the police Tuesday evening that his wife was missing.

The husband was worried when his wife did not go home. Her last text message was that she was on her way home. But she did not arrive. Her cellular phone was later put off. The following day, the husband looked for his wife and found her car abandoned in a parking area in Banilad Town Center. The car’s doors were locked. When authorities opened it, Sarah was not inside. The police flashed a “missing person” alert.

A few hours later, Sarah appeared in the parking area. She said that she had slept in a hotel because she was drunk the night before. That sparked the uproar in social and even in mainstream media. Among the questions asked: Why did she sleep in a hotel when she told her husband she was going home? Was she lying? Is she a heavy drinker and who were her drinking buddies? If she got drunk, why did she not ask her husband to rescue her or ride in a taxi going home? Who was with her? Is the couple’s relationship rocky?

Others even went to the extent of making insinuations. Poor Atty. Sarah, she was criticized and many netizens didn’t believe her story, which is unfair. We are too judgmental. We raise suspicions and draw conclusions even without basis and verification. Anxiety and depression are not ordinary ailments. These affect the mind. It is psychological and if not properly handled might lead to insanity.

There are more than 200 classified mental illnesses, according to research. Some of the more common disorders are clinical depression, bipolar disorder, dementia, schizophrenia and anxiety disorder. Symptoms may include changes in mood, personality and personal habits and/or social withdrawal.

Anxiety disorders are characterized by significant feeling of anxiety and fear. Those who have it worry about future events. The feeling may cause physical symptoms such as fast heartbeat and shakiness. Child abuse, drug addiction, poverty and genetic and environmental factors can trigger anxiety. But this can be cured.

Depression, on the other hand, is also a mental disorder characterized by at least two weeks of low mood. It is often accompanied by low esteem, loss of interest in normal enjoyable activities, low energy and pain without a clear cause. People may also occasionally have false beliefs or see or hear things that others cannot. Some people have periods of depression separated by years in which they are normal while others nearly always have the symptoms present.

The suspect in the killing of two persons in a drug rehabilitation center in Talisay City the other day and who also killed himself was suffering from anxiety and was an outpatient client of the center for behavioral sciences at the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center.

With this explanation, I hope the public would not judge Atty. Sarah. Let’s give her and her husband privacy.


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