Health: Depression and humor: the hidden struggle

“The higher you climb, the harder you fall.”

Kung gaano ka kasaya, ganun ka rin magiging kalungkot.

depress

This seems to have been the most logical explanation why comedian Robin Williams ended his life, in spite of his bubbly and sunny disposition and personality.

According to reports, Williams was depressed kasi may Parkinsonís disease pala siya.

Although marami nang studies in the past relating depression with humor, the connection is not yet clear.

What is clear is that both are extreme and contrasting emotions and that a person experiencing both may be overwhelmed and confused, and may therefore experience stress or pressure.

Sa case ni Williams, nakakapagtaka talaga how he was able to appear happy and make people laugh but he has been depressed na pala for a few months according to his family.

The show must go on

Well, sa isang banda, laughing can benefit those who are depressed.

“Laughter can be one form of coping. Laughing and laughing at your self are good things,” according to Dr. Bernadette Manalo-Arcena, an adult psychiatrist.

Laughter does not serve its purpose lang when it is used to cover up what one truly feels, so hindi rin natin malalaman kung ano talaga yung mental state ng isang tao.

“Hindi lahat ng laughter, senyales ng pagiging masayahin o okay. Pwedeng ginagamit itong pang-mask ng nararamdaman,” sabi ni Dr. Arcena.

Williamsí story mirrored the reality of showbusiness, its ups and downs, its happy and sad moments.† Remember the symbol for showbiz, yung smiling and frowning masks? Parang ganun ang nangyari kay Robin Williams.

Dahil comedian siya, he was expected by his fans to be happy all the time. Yun naman din ang pinakita niya.

Pero kung ano siya in public, pwedeng ibang-iba naman siya pagdating niya sa bahay.

This is when family members should keep an eye on people who may be undergoing depression.† Kasi, baka walang signs na pinapakita yung patient.
Ayon sa Department of Health (DOH), dapat bantayan ang mga sumusunod na symptoms:

  1. drastic weight loss or weight gain
  2. lack of sleep or oversleeping
  3. fatigue o loss of energy
  4. excessive feelings of guilt or worthlessness
  5. hindi makapag-isip o makapagdesisyon nang maayos.

More importantly, dapat bantayan kung may attempts to commit suicide ang taong suspected with depression.

Seeking help

Sabi ni Dr. Arcena, malala na yung depression ni Williams kasi sinubukan na niyang maglaslas ng pulso bago sakalin ang sarili using a belt: “Baka hindi na-observe ng family (na meron nang tangka noon pa.) Two attempts to commit suicide is a sign that he could be under a severe form of depression.”

Family support is very important. But sometimes, hindi ito enough para sa mga taong nasa severe stage na ng depression.

Mula sa Natasha Goulborn Foundation, http://www.ngf-hope.org/

Mula sa Natasha Goulborn Foundation, http://www.ngf-hope.org/

“You (depressed person) have had enough; nasa endpoint ka na, na kahit family support is not enough,” dagdag ni Dr. Arcena.

Going to a psychiatrist or a mental health professional may be the best solution.

But the depressed person will not likely seek help on his or her own dahil in denial siya. Kaya family members should be the ones to bring the person to the psychiatrist.

Aside from talk therapy, makatutulong din ang gamot sa mga depressed.

“Neuro-protective ang gamot para hindi magkaroon ng attack,” kwento ni Dr. Arcena.

Dito sa Pilipinas, awareness and understanding about depression is very limited. May maling paniniwala kasi na sakit lang daw ng mga Amerikano ang depression.

Social stigmas are also a major factor in this lack of understanding. Going to a counsellor, clinical psychologist, o psychiatrist is taboo, kasi para sa mga mentally ill lang daw yun.

Growing problem

The DOH hopes this perception will change.† Thatís why every year, the DOH observes National Suicide Prevention Week (September 9-13) to help those undergoing depression or their families to understand it better or watch out for the tell-tale signs of suicide.† World Suicide Prevention Day naman ang September 10.

The World Health Organization (WHO) says there is 1 suicide attempt around the world every 3 seconds. There is one successful attempt naman every 40 seconds.

Kung hindi ito maagapan, depression will be counted as one of the leading causes of death around the world sa taong 2020, according to WHO.

“Once depression hits you, it hits you hard, unless maagapan. Hindi dapat maging hadlang ang paggagamot (sa mga walang kakayahang magpagamot) dahil may mga public hospital na nagbibigay ng psychiatric treatment and management, kabilang na ang National Center for Mental Health at Philippine General Hospital,” payo ni Dr. Arcena.

Aside from hospitals, there are institutions or support groups that are ready to help persons with depression. Here are some HELPful numbers:

– National Center for Mental Health

>† (632) 5319001

– Philippine General Hospital Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine

>† (632) 5548847

– Hopeline ng Natasha Goulbourn Foundation Mobile

> (632) 804-HOPE (4673)

> (0917) 558-HOPE (4673)

>† 2919 (toll-free number for GLOBE and TM)

– Department of Psychiatry, Medical City

> Tel. (02) 6898278

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