‘He abandoned me, but I chose to move on. I was so good at hiding it, nobody knew I was already suffering.’: Mom shares journey with depression, toxic relationships

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Disclaimer: This story includes mentions of domestic abuse that may be triggering.

“The truth and nothing but the truth.

Today I decided to speak up as a mental health advocate. I want to inspire others through my life story. I want to share the whole truth about my depression, the reason behind it, and how I was able to pick up the pieces. I was at the peak of enjoying my life as a young adult when my ex (the father of my son) and I reconciled. He was a good friend, someone I turn to when my long-time boyfriend in college argued. He introduced me to his friends and relatives.

We even planned to get married. I was blissful during those times until I got pregnant. Prior to that, we had an argument that lead to our break up without knowing the following month I’d get pregnant. I had mixed emotions then. I was happy, scared, and confused in a way I didn’t know what to do with. I tried reaching out to my ex, but he has his ways of evading and running from his responsibilities. He abandoned me and has never supported my son for almost 16 years now. He even accused me of things I didn’t do. Whereas I should be the one doing so. It is a long story: I kept the truth a long time out of ‘respect’ to the father of my son. I’m now ready to expose the truth and nothing but the truth.

My depression started when I gave birth to my son. I had postpartum depression, which nobody knows because I was good at hiding it. I can fake anything. I remember being stressed and depressed within a few months of having my son. There was a time I remember I was just staring at my computer screen without realizing I was sterilizing my son’s bottle, and it burned.

As a tough mama, I choose to move on with my life. My son’s father did cause me a lot of pain. Fate must have its plan, as I was searching for my ex-boyfriend on Facebook just wanting to know how they were, and at the top of my search was my ex. They got the same name right. I decided to add him and say, ‘Hi.’ That is where everything started.

The father of my daughter was my high school sweetheart. One day, he paid me a visit and started courting me. I was happy with the attention I was getting from him. The 12 white roses he gave me most especially make me ‘kilig’ (swoon). It was a short-lived relationship because I found out he is a married man. I told him from the start that if he was married, I wouldn’t have a second thought about ending our relationship.

I likewise had a bad experience with him. The worst was when he hurt me when I was 3 months pregnant. I turned cold to him after that. God indeed loves me so much that he wouldn’t let me be trapped in that wrong relationship. One night, I prayed he would give me the courage to break up with him and end the relationship as well. It was early dawn, a day after my daughter’s 1st birthday when my ex’s best friend informed me my ex was gone. He had an accident. This was when my severe depression started. Little did people know, I was already suffering from depression then. It was 2012 when I decided to go back to Manila and try to start a new life there.

It was also those times when I was diagnosed with schizophrenia, which is actually a wrong diagnosis. They call me b*tch-y, but I even corrected my psychiatrist about it. I know what my symptoms are, and I even researched about them—I was clinically depressed. During that year, my depression progressed to very severe. That was the year when I wanted to die—commit suicide and end my life. Little did people know, I was at worst during those times and was likewise tormented.

My mom asked me to seek professional help, so I started consulting one and started to take an anti-depressant. Things were going well, my mom, and my brother went back to the Philippines without me knowing what their plans were. It was February 27, 2012, when they placed me in a rehab-recovery center (Life Change Recovery Center), and I felt so bad then. I had my downtimes inside the facility I felt like my depression worsened because I was away from my children.

God has a reason and purpose for everything. Before Christmas, I was released and spent Christmas with my children. Picking up the pieces was never easy. I went through programs set up by the rehab. I spent years as a stay-at-home mom, and it was my mom who supported us. In 2017, I was given a scholarship and was able to study at CCNY online. It was that time when I started to pick up the pieces. I was working as a Medical Biller, ESL teacher, and call center agent, and I learned lots of new things.

I never had any regrets about everything I went through in life. I choose to live each day with a grateful heart. I’m grateful, thankful, and blessed with everything. My experiences molded me into a person I never thought I would be. I’m much stronger and wiser now and have learned to leave everything to God.

I chose not to be in a serious relationship for 11 years. I focused on my kids and on finding ways of improving my life. I want the best life for my children, and I would do whatever it takes to achieve it. Depression could hit anyone, and if you happen to have a friend or a family member who is depressed, I highly suggest for you take time to listen to them. Talk therapy is a way to lessen depression. We all want to live a happy and fulfilled life. Life matters, so never let anyone end their life because of depression. Your simple acts of kindness could change lives. Choose to be compassionate. I’m sending prayers for those who are struggling with depression, anxiety, and all forms of mental illness. You won’t stay in that situation forever. I can attest to that.

I’m living my best life now, pursuing my passion, and doing what is right and best for my children and future family. Always learn to be grateful because life is just a temporary assignment.

I wrote this to inspire people and to remind them that,

‘Life is beautiful and worth keeping!'”

mom with her two kids smiling
Courtesy of Jean Louise de Jesus

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Jean Louise de Jesus. You can follow her journey on Facebook. Submit your own story here and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.

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