#Voices of Hope: The Dark Shadows

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My name is Megan. I’m 22 years old. I’ve been living with Bipolar 2 disorder for ten years. I was raised by a young and extremely disciplinarian tiger mom, and a colder-than-ice dad in an upper middle class household. I have an elder sister and I’m the youngest. I grew up being beaten by my mom for the slightest infraction. A- in math? Punishment. The plates aren’t squeaky clean? Punishment. Not in the top ten of the class? Punishment. Every time I cry, she would take out the stingray’s tail and whip me to shut me up. That’s how I learned to repress crying. My only safe haven was the book room at home. I would spend countless hours reading and reading. When I ran out of books to read, I read my dad’s law books and files.

High school came. I was excited because it might be a new lease on life. I was disappointed. If it weren’t for my barkada, I wouldn’t be here. A lot of people made fun of me and I felt ashamed that I was affected by their teasing. My grades went down. I almost got flunked. As my grades went down, so did my mom’s treatment of me. She found new ways to punish me and it was so effective — I still bear the scars of it today. It went as bad as the barangay chairman almost detaining her for locking me up in a dog cage for almost two days. I felt dead inside. My friends and my sister were the only things keeping me sane.

When the story of my mom’s abuse leaked to the school, I became the subject of ridicule. I was being dubbed as papansin, sinungaling, and a lot more. My barkada did their best to shield me but to no avail. Amid the turmoil of high school life, an abusive mother, an indifferent father, failing grades, bullying, and adolescent hormones, I snapped. It’s like something in my brain just simply switched ticked. I tried to kill myself. I was 12 years old. I tried so many times and I failed. I almost succeeded. After that last attempt, I passed out. When I opened my eyes, I was in the ICU. I didn’t care who was around or where am I. For the first time in years, I cried. I bawled my eyes out. After that, things happened so fast. Authorities, social workers, psychiatrists, relatives all whirred in front of me. I just remember that it was a fine sunny day when this really nice doctor explained to me what Bipolar 2 meant. After it was explained to me, everything started to make sense.

If you told 12 year old me that I would end up like this, I would have laughed at you. I never imagined that life would be better.

I am now a graduate of architecture, and I have just started taking up BSIT, major in web and mobile apps. I have recently completed a project in Cavite. I have traveled around the world. I have a dog who resides with my boyfriend of 4+ years. I take an antidepressant, a mood stabilizer, and I go to USTH regularly for therapy with my psychiatrist. If you told 12 year old me that I would end up like this, I would have laughed at you. I never imagined that life would be better. Of course, I still get bouts of suicidal ideas and feelings of meaninglessness, but I try to manage by religiously taking my medications everyday, going to therapy, abstaining from alcohol 85% of the time, and learning to appreciate myself. The last ten years have been tough. My road to functioning better is littered with tears. Until now, I struggle with anger issues. I struggle to forgive my mother, my father, and all the people who hurt me when I was vulnerable. But I’m slowly getting better. I learned how to love myself and appreciate others. I’m learning to forgive myself.

At the moment, I enjoy being in school again, since I am finally able to study my dream course, while being funded by my relatives. I think I’m doing pretty fine, and I do have friends who are genuine to me. My bond with my sister is stronger than ever. So is my bond with my high school barkada. I used to be afraid to share my story in fear that what happened in high school, will happen again. Today, I am openly sharing my story and I try to live by example so that others who also share the same or similar struggles, will find the strength to carry on.

If this gets posted, whoever you are who’s reading my post, I want you to remember that it is okay to cry. Don’t be like me, who took ten years to relearn the skill. Crying is how we know that we are hurt. And it is only when we know we are hurt that we can begin to heal ourselves.

-Megan


#MentalHealthPH believes that you and your story will help empower other people living with mental health problems and fight the stigma linked to it.
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