Random Ramblings (2017 Edition)

2017 is the year of the Trigger.

I mean it in the most politically correct sense. I was about to write something about using the word trigger in the correct sense because let’s face it, the word is totally misused this year that it harms those who have legitimate triggers for their various disease but yes, let’s not get carried away. But wait, this is just my random ramblings so I can do anything, yey!

2017 is one heck of a roller coaster ride, we’ve had so many ups and down. I’m just going to choose some highlights because it will be too long if I write down all of it. Lol.

I started off the year okay, and by okay I mean really, okay. I was as healthy as I can be. Hooray. I got great professors, and I learned a lot. But. I just had to get triggered to ruin it all. One mishap. One bad thing. Everything went down. My insecurities, my fears, my doubts, they all came crashing down. It wasn’t their fault, no, I was just triggered. That was it. I got sick more often than not all throughout the year.

I got the result to one of the final exams, I passed. People would think I should be happy and grateful but I wasn’t. I was horrified. I got a lower grade than my stellar sibling. I was overreacting maybe but it was one of the moments where I felt less than half of a dignified person that deserved to die. I failed one subject that I wasn’t supposed to fail because God knows how many times I’ve taken that subject already but it was a blessing in disguise so that’s okay. Things happen for a reason.

I got another checkup because I just wanted to clear everything, and I had to get over my complexes. It didn’t go as I expected. I was called immature.

I thought what they labeled as immature was my desire to help people, so I got mad and rebelled. I will be nice and bloody help people even if it kills me. It’s only recently that I realized that no, my altruistic desire is not immature. What’s immature is when you have no boundaries. When you enable people to take advantage of you when you worry other people because you have no sense of self-preservation, not only is that immature, that is one of the most selfish things you can do. I did not heed the advice of my friends and family who kept on reminding me harshly, just so I can have something left for myself. It’s nice to give, but you cannot keep on giving yourself away to the point that nothing is left because how can you keep on giving.

Nothing is wrong with being nice, but there is something wrong with the fact that you keep nothing to yourself that you had to worry the people who care for you. For that, I sincerely thank and apologize to my loved ones for the reminders and the support. Thank you so much.

I was cycling between hurt and unfeeling throughout the year. I had some ups too, and I got my 2017 plot twist when I got the internship I was expecting not to get. Yey. There are a lot of things I want to write about but meh.

Most liberating moment of the year: Philippine Model Congress 2017. Nobody knew me when I joined it. No pressure from anyone. No professors to grade me, no parents to tell me what to do, no classmates to expect anything from me, no friends to keep up the happy facade. Nothing. (Except the time somebody mentioned my current occupation and I just wanted the ground to swallow me hahaha). Sure there were a lot of times I wanted to kill some ignorant people there, but here’s to hoping that they learn since I let them live. LOL.

Most awkward moment of the year: When my mom thought I was on a date. Me. A wallflower. A weeb. A cat lady. Out on a date. WTF. Hahaha. Huhu. -_-

The lesson of the year: People betray, God does not.

I would give out more awards but I’m going to say they’re too many to mention. Lol.

2017 had its ups and down.

Mental Health Act. Mental health is now gaining awareness in the Philippines. Mass actions like rally and other protests against the wrongs of the administration were held.

The Marawi Siege, Vinta PH, attacks on Rohingya, Syria, Palestine, and a lot more, they are disasters which could have been prevented or at least mitigated with proper management. They’re complex issues but we can help with simple solutions. We’re still alive, and we can do something, that’s what truly matters.

My 2017’s hashtag was #laban2017 or #fighting2017. And fight, we did. We shall continue on doing so.

So yeaaah, here’s the longest random rambling of my year.

Thank you so much to everyone. To my readers (lol. hello there) that reads my blog, to my new friends that I met, to the old and loyal friends that stayed, to my classmates who helped me, to my professors who guided me, to the people that betrayed but served as a lesson, to my family that were always there for me, and most especially to God, Allah (SWT). Alhamdulillah (praise God) for everything.

Cheers to a more hopeful and helpful year ahead.

Advertisements

Loyalty and Cruelty

I am capable of both. I’ve been described as both, but only by those I deemed to deserve such treatment.

In my relationships, be it platonic or romantic (LOL, as if I’ve ever been in such a relationship), I am very loyal to my friends. I do what I can for them, because that is what true friends are for in my mind. In fact, some say I do too much. I overreach and step over boundaries. Call it an impulse, a quirk, a compulsion, but I sometimes care too much. In Filipino, we call that “pakialamera”, or in English, a very nosy person, which I have been called since time immemorial, as early as high school.

I don’t give a f*** for other people, strangers, or people I deem to be out of my circle. My energy is not enough. I have walls for that, a wall of obliviousness, and a wall of icy politeness. My family call me a bleeding heart; my friend who really knows me calls my heart a steel just covered in cotton, deceptively soft.

I have and will apologize, for overstepping boundaries, but I will never say sorry again for caring. Never. To deny me as a person of my need to care, would be to deny me as a person. It is to deny me of my personality. It breaks me, it always breaks me when I hear people say to me to take care of myself first.

Contrary to popular belief, I do practice self-care. My self-care is sleeping, helping when I can, and doing my hobbies. Sleeping makes me feel revitalized, and helps me reorganize my thoughts, and y’all sleeping is life. I help people when I can, because it will bloody hunt me forever if I don’t. It’s not self-care for me to ignore people. It kills my conscience. It kills my heart. I do these things not because I am expecting something in return, no. I do this for my God. I do this for me. I am loyal to a fault, and I acknowledge that.

What some people overlook though, is how I am capable of cruelty. I am not a pushover. I am not a f***ing doormat. I just have a lot of self-restraint, because if and when I choose to heed my vindictive urges, I will not only hurt the person who betrays me but I will also end up hurting myself. My doctor told me that I was too patient to the point that it consumes, and yet when I told him I wanted to be angry, to get mad, and to fight back, oh dear no, that’s not allowed, heaven forbid that I attack other people.

Stop confusing me.

This is not a threat. I am just saying it out loud. What I am capable of. A promise, a warning, because even I don’t know what I’ll do when provoked or pushed through my limits. I don’t lose people. People lose me.

As for romantic relationships, I have never been in one. There are a lot of factors, mostly because of religion (marriage is the only romantic relationship I can officially enter into with another person) and personal trust issues. Main reason would be because like I said, I am loyal to a fault. I will not enter into one without a guarantee that the other person will be loyal to me, or at the very least to God, because it will break me. I will not let a person break it, not without my permission, because I know I will try to shoulder and fix it on my own, with or without the other party’s effort and it will tire me out and kill me. I believe that the nicest way to end a relationship is to never start it in the first place. I’m not closed off to the thought, I just have a very high standard.

So yes, in the meanwhile I’ll be happy living as a cat lady, and an awesome tita with my friends.

I am loyal to my friends, and cruel to my enemies. People be warned.

At the end of the day though, people betray. God does not.

Struggling

Let’s not suffer the what ifs and focus on what’s happening. Difficult, but hey, there’s nothing else to do.

I think a problem with our generation is that we automatically associate effort with success, which is definitely not true. It is disheartening, giving it your all only to receive nothing.

In a perfect world, sure, whatever effort you place you’re guaranteed results that you want. But not in this world. That is not to say we should just give up, because what’s the point? The point is in the trying, and lessening the inevitable self blame if we fail. We tried.

Which is why I will always find the saying Ora et Labora beautiful. Prayer and hard work. There is always the element of chance no matter what. God’s will is greater than ours.

Fortune favors the brave? No. Fortune favors the prepared, and sometimes the undeserving. That is life.

What will happen, will happen.

#notetoself

What?

“You’re a wonderful person,” he said, looking at everywhere. “You,” He hesitated before continuing. “A person like you is very, very rare.”

She blushed after realizing the implications of his words. He looked at her in agitation, he ran a hand through his short black hair.

“Don’t get me wrong, I’m not in love with you.” He shook his head vehemently in denial. He looked at her straight in the eyes, his voice betrayed nothing but honesty. “I’m in love with the idea of you.”

“Oh,” she whispered shyly. The girl, shocked by the confession, could only tuck her hair nervously.

He sighed wistfully, and looked away from her.

“I won’t, can’t, burden you with my feelings. You don’t know me, and I don’t know you.” He seemed to be talking to himself. “But I want to.”

“It’s not a burden,” She denied and tried to remember why she had to turn down the boy. “I’m sorry but –“

“My feelings are my own, and yet here I am, pressuring you to reply,” The boy cut her off and laughed bitterly.

“What?” She exclaimed, she was confused by twists and turns of their conversation.

“I confessed, I’m not forcing you to like me. However, I do want to hear words other than I’m sorry or thank you.” He said wryly.

“What am I supposed to say then?” She replied indignantly, she stomped her foot and frowned at him. She was going to turn him down nicely, but boy was he weird. “You do know I am in a perfectly happy relationship right now.”

“Oh I know,” The boy laughed again. “He’s really nice by the way. Nice choice.” He grinned at her playfully.

She couldn’t help but think she was suddenly transported to another dimension where social cues were a bit different than what she knew.

“Uhm, thanks?” She said uncertainly; she did not know where their conversation was going at all.

He sighed and ran a hand through his hair again. “This was a bad idea,” He groaned out loud. She pitied him for his confusion. “I already knew this was going to happen.” He muttered.

“Look, I won’t take this against you,” She said cautiously, she was careful not to provoke him. “I appreciate your efforts but like I said, I have someone else.”

“I know,” he smiled. “But would you have chosen me if you met me earlier?” He asked with a slight tilt in his head. His eyes focused on her once again.

Another curveball was thrown at her which she miserably failed to catch.

“What?” She was running out of words.

“Would you have chosen me, hypothetically, if you have met me earlier, before him?” He enunciated his question to her like she was a toddler that needed special attention.

“I know what you meant,” She haughtily replied, she turned up his nose at her. She wondered why she even entertained him. “I was just stunned. Does it matter? If I already chose him, does your question even matter?” She shot back right at him.

“Exactly!” He agreed fervently that it surprised her. “You chose him. You didn’t choose me. If we met earlier, if you didn’t meet him, if, if, if, all these what ifs don’t matter at all!” He raised his hand in the air, and she was forced to take a step back to avoid his waving hands.

“Because it already happened, and we can’t change the past,” he softly said as his hands dropped.

“Yes. We can’t.” She nodded.

“So it doesn’t matter, at all.” He continued.

“Uh-huh.”

“Hence, confessions like this are pointless.” He concluded while nodding to himself.

“Well, ye— wait, no! What?!”

He burst out laughing while she stood there speechless.

“I’m sorry, I couldn’t help myself. Rest assured I won’t be interfering with your relationship,” he placated her. “I’m not a homewrecker.” His voice took a darker turn.

She could only stare at him blankly.

“Well, thank you so much for your time. I appreciate it,” He said lightly while turning away from her. He waved goodbye as he walked away.

She contemplated running after him, the person who was obviously hurt by her rejection but tried to deal with it rationally. How foolish of him, emotions are never logical.

“Hey! Wait!”

“What?” The guy stopped.

“I could have chosen you, hypothetically,” She slowly continued. “Yes, it doesn’t matter right now, but maybe in the future.”

“We don’t know, you don’t know that,” he answered solemnly.

“Yes, we don’t.” she agreed again. “But I said hypothetically.”

With that, they could only smile back at each other.

Of Affirmations and Realizations

I have never dropped a subject before in my academic life.

I only dropped a whole degree program which I regretted for almost two years, and I’ve somehow come to terms with it.

I was in third year accounting back then. That was the time when I first thought I had an early onset of Alzheimer’s disease. It was a horrifying experience. Most of the time I was confused, and I couldn’t remember things. I know my short-term memory is poor, but when my long-term memory, and academics start to get affected, I know there is something wrong. My chest would often hurt, and I had difficulty in breathing. I often found myself spacing out or on the verge of crying for no reason at all. I was high-strung most of the time, and I struggled to keep the facade of being calm and rational because of my responsibilities. I was aware of all the doors so I could easily exit, and I knew the location of the nearest comfort room to dry-heave for a few moments and pretend nothing happened. I would often stop in the middle of a corridor, thoughts muddled, not knowing what I was supposed to do, feeling weak-kneed and lost.

The worst thing, as an idealist, was that I couldn’t see myself as an accountant during those moments. I couldn’t imagine my life where I would be happy with accounting. I felt sick to the heart. I could lose myself but never my dreams, rarely my dreams. It was one of my childhood dream to become a certified public accountant, and I’m so sorry to disappoint you younger self.

I was also afraid at that time. I thought I was unfortunate enough to have a type of dementia at a young age. More than that, I was scared of disappointing and being a burden to my family. I grew up believing that if I fail at academics, I would cause my family to fall apart and be useless. I still believe that subconsciously somehow, it’s hard to get rid of such notions. I suffered in guilt and self-hatred.

Dishonor on me, dishonor on my family, dishonor on my cows, dishonor, oh wait where was I, oh yes, dropping.

I didn’t know what to do anymore, so I confessed to my parents and ended up in a hospital where I got diagnosed. Luckily, it wasn’t Alzheimer’s disease. Unfortunately, I was sick with another disease.

I didn’t want to quit. I was already in second year when I started to feel that accountancy wasn’t for me, but I just fought and held on, to the point that I reached my third year in that state. I tearfully asked permission for my parents about my decision to shift out of accountancy, to which they graciously accepted considering my circumstance.

Long story short, I intentionally failed my final exams to shift out. I knew I could have exited gracefully by passing 114.1, a do or die subject for accounting majors in my school, but I failed it by being honest and telling my professor there was a mistake in counting of my scores. I failed by one point. The required grade to stay in the accounting program was 2.75 for 114.1. I got a 3.00 because of the correction.

Stupid right? Why did I do that myself? Well, because honesty is the best policy. Also, I knew that if I passed I would have foolishly fought and held on.I would push through believing that it was a waste of opportunity to have passed the subject and yet shift out to another program. So yes. Self-sabotage was my answer.

I was happy with my decision initially, then a few months after that I beat myself up badly. I thought that I was weak for letting go, for not studying and intentionally failing that subject. Thankfully, I have moved on.

It’s only recently that I have come to accept that I’m the type of person to know my limits. I mean it when I say I don’t want to anymore. I mean it when I say I can’t do it.

Now I’ve come to face a decision, yet again, of dropping a subject or dropping law school totally.

Again and again, life is forcing me to rethink my choices.

I have a certain degree of trauma over decision-making. I don’t trust myself fully. I don’t trust anyone. Contradicting, I know.

At first I was scared that I was doomed to repeat my mistakes. Shifting, shifting, failing, getting forced to settle for something, not that there is something wrong with settling.

I know what I want despite all that. I could still imagine myself as a professor teaching political law, or maybe a lawyer in an office helping out clients to calm down and to hear their story. I could see myself getting somewhere in the field.

So what’s my problem now? A lot, mostly stemming from self-issues.

I am on probation, I failed certain subjects because of my stupidity, and bad luck. I cannot afford to fail this time. If I don’t drop and I fail this certain subject, I will get kicked out of law school. Sure I can transfer to another law school and begin anew, but my guilt wouldn’t let met waste anymore time and resources to that. I would sooner kill myself by letting go of my dreams than be a burden to my family. My guilt is already harping on me, how could I waste more money for my tuition and my medicines.

I got another checkup before the start of my second semester, I wanted to take a leave of absence to work or to rest. Was I willing to continue at the cost of my sanity? I was starting to doubt again.

I was told by my doctor I was just confused and immature. Law school would be good for me, it would help me mature. The caveat? I have to continue drinking my medicines (which I thought I stopped for good) while studying. I was told that I would get sicker if I quit law school, and I agree with that thought. I want to continue law school, but I don’t want to be a burden anymore. Medicines are expensive. My good parents gave me another chance, told me to continue law school, and they continue to pay for my medicines. My guilt is still internally eating me, but I am happy somehow, thankful but exhausted.

I started the sem with a bang (or at least tried to), this year’s motto was #Fighting. Susuka pero ‘di susuko. (I will vomit but I will not quit.) Funny enough, I fought for a subject last semester but I failed anyway. I think it scarred me somehow, and it’s affecting my decision-making right now.

It’s not about what you deserve, it’s about what you get.

I’m proud of my decision to fight for the subject that I failed, don’t get me wrong. I just can’t fail another subject unless I want to be kicked out, like what I did with accounting.

I’m naturally a risk-averse person. I don’t like taking risk unless I know the chances are in my favor. This time I’m not sure if they are. The teaching style of my professor is really incompatible with mine. I dislike memorization with a burning fervor (I don’t know how I’m surviving law school this way, still praying though). My professor wants us to memorize each provision in verbatim. I love how we are taught to decide in favor of the laborers and in favor of social justice, but I just hate, hate, hate having to memorize paragraphs of law and labor code. I have no problems with memorization, it’s just that it had to be verbatim.

I tried. I recited, and I failed to meet the standards of the class. The midterms exam was catastrophic. I couldn’t enumerate certain (most) provisions, most of my answer had no legal basis, it wasn’t written in verbatim. I knew nothing about wages. I wanted to bash my head in. My self-sabotaging habits kicked in before the start of the semester.

I can still continue and fight. I just don’t want to anymore. I am emotionally and  mentally exhausted. I want to be selfish and to still have a fighting chance of staying in law school while keeping my sanity, or at least what’s left of it.

Drop the subject, or dropped from the rolls. False dichotomy? I don’t think so.

A part of me is thinking, am I only delaying the inevitable? Won’t I get kicked out anyway despite dropping this subject so what’s the use? What kind of lawyer hates memorization? Is law really for me?

I don’t know anymore. I am torn, what’s new. I know what I want, I don’t have what I need. I realize that I have fallen in love with law school, and it’s making me irrational. It’s making me selfish.

The point of this all, was merely to ask for affirmation, that what I’m doing, and what I’m going to do is right. I also just made some realizations, which might not be useful to you, but perhaps it may have opened your mind about the importance of mental health to avoid being like me.

Quoting again my favorite character Captain Levi Ackerman from Shingeki no Kyojin:

I can believe in my own abilities or the choices of the companions I trust. But no one ever knows how it will turn out. So choose for yourself, whichever decision you will regret the least.

Here’s another one from Captain Levi again:

The only thing we’re allowed to do is to believe that we won’t regret the choice that we made.

I’m going to regret failing another subject more than dropping it. I’m choosing my battles. I’m going to retreat, and live for another day. I’ll regret it somehow, I often do, it’s just a matter of acceptance and moving on.

Either way, what will happen will happen. I’m just hoping for the best, and praying for God’s Guidance.

 

 

 

 

Peeking out of the Closet

I’m going to hijack the term “coming out of the closet” which most say is for people who admit what their gender identity is, like the members of the LGBT/SOGIE community.

I’m not even going out of the closet fully, I’m just poking my head out once in a while to check if the people I care for are okay.

If somebody asks me about my state of mental health, I will answer depending on my mood and how much I trust you. It’s an open secret. I know people have already judged my state because of my actions. No surprise there. I don’t like being talked about, I prefer if people ask me straight up, but you know, gossip. Might as well clear things up.

Yes, I was clinically diagnosed. Yes, I am not that mentally healthy. I have lucid intervals, I have moments where I am not in control of myself. I was supposed to confess this after I have achieved something great in my life, but so far I have achieved nothing except sleep more than 12 hours a day. Yey. Aren’t I amazing?

So why am I doing this? I have no obligation to say this to anyone. Nobody has the obligation to disclose their health to anyone (except maybe the President under the 1987 Philippine Constitution). It’s a confidential matter. In fact this could go against me in the future when I apply for jobs or anything, who would accept neurotic and sick people?

Perhaps I just want to let people understand somehow what it’s like to have a mental disorder. It differs from people to people. Symptoms manifest differently. The causes are also different, there are biological and psycho-social factors. It’s a wonderful field, psychology. I used to be high-functioning. Now I don’t know anymore, perhaps medium-functioning. Look it up people.

I cannot walk you through the whole journey (check out the post THE INEFFABLE that I reblogged, it’s detailed and explicit, a friend of mine wrote it), so perhaps I’ll just give some highlights.

It’s stopping suddenly in the middle of a corridor wondering what you were doing, trying to remember what you were supposed to do. Your knees feel weak so you drop down to the floor staring at nothing. It’s a good thing nobody is there to see. So you pick yourself up again and continue as if nothing happened.

It’s being in an accident, which you have thankfully escaped from safely but you wonder why you didn’t die instead, and you feel sick afterwards for such thoughts.

It’s having a check-up with a doctor to pinpoint the source of your fatigue and difficulty in breathing, both praying and dreading that it could be anemia or asthma, only to find out that you don’t have such physical disease. Thank God. Then you realize, and you are forced to accept, that there is another reason for the fatigue and lack of energy, for the physical pain and the random difficulty in breathing. So you laugh it off and feel grateful it’s not a serious disease. You convince yourself you’re just feeling things, you’re overreacting.

It’s not like that all the time though. Sometimes you laugh and have fun with your friends. You watch your favorite series, read your favorite book, do something productive for the first time.

You smile and encourage everyone around you; hoping and praying that they don’t see what you’re trying to hide, that they don’t feel what you feel.

So here I am, peaking out of the closet, still afraid to admit, afraid to fully step out because of the stigma. There are people out there, no matter how hard you try to explain, they just can’t, they won’t understand. It’s not their fault (sometimes), it’s not your fault (probably). It’s not in their capacity to do so, or they just have different priorities which is understandable. I find it ironic, that I am a self-proclaimed mental health advocate who can’t even admit to herself what’s going on.

What’s the point of this? Well.

A little kindness can go a long way. Smile. Hug. Greet.

I move out of my closet to help those who don’t want to come out, those who feel alone and vulnerable. I don’t expect anyone to do the same, but I expect people to bloody stop banging on other people’s closets. It gets annoying and tiring to pick up pieces of people that you destroy.

Stop misusing the terms. Or at the very least, stop using it as excuses or insults, and start being proper humans.

I’m not too nice or too kind. Society has just deteriorated to the point that any act of kindness is lauded and considered rare.

I am mad because I am forced to get out of my closet to make sure ignorant people don’t hurt my loved ones. Hurt me if you will, but I will hunt you down if you dare touch my family and friends.

There’s a campaign for mental health, some people use “keep going”. Yeah. It’s nice, but I have to peek out of my closet to wonder why people are kind of threatening and guilt-tripping people to keep going. Let the person rest. But then they said keep going “;” means they can rest but should keep going in the long run. Yeah. Sure. Okay.

I think “be nice” would be better though. You can’t force someone to do something they can’t or don’t want to because they’re tired but you can be nice, and stop bullying others, minimizing, and hurting people’s feelings. Why try directing people when you can’t change yourself? We have no control over others, only our actions.

I think I’m going to retreat into my closet before I call out more people out of anger. Oh wow anger, there it is, another mental health issue too. I don’t get angry much. It’s really a rare occasion for me to feel such emotion. I’m usually just chill as a cucumber. Just don’t get me triggered.

Knock on my closet if you’re asking for help, otherwise, back off. Cheerio.

Confessions and Closure

No I will not confess
But if you will ask me I will say yes
No I will not confess
Until society let me be my best

No I will not confess
The despair, the pain, the loneliness
No I will not confess
I am not a damsel in distress

I will fight my own battles
Break my own shackles
Look away, turn away
Focus on your own day

This is not a confession
This a mere distraction
A little happiness away from depression
This is not just an allegation

I don’t need any closure
I need relief from pressure
I want certainty in the unsure
Away from the sickness, the cure

These walls, the fence, all the enclosure
It guards dark secrets, words, and more
The only thing that I confess is I am not pure
I’m simply complicated, you need not know more.

Mental Health, Society, and Law

Disclaimer: October is Mental Health Awareness Month, so here’s a little essay on my take on Mental Disorders. I’m neither a psychologist nor a health professional, just a very concerned law student. I also reside in the Philippines, so yey context.

First let’s define things. What exactly is a psychological disorder? According to Ciccarelli et. al, there are many factors or criteria to consider abnormal behavior as a psychological disorder. Usually before determining whether a behavior is abnormal, psychologists and other professionals must answer these questions:

1.Is the behavior unusual, such as experiencing severe panic when faced with a stranger or being severely depressed in the absence of any stressful life situations?
2. Does the behavior go against social norms? (And keep in mind that social norms change over time—e.g., homosexuality was once considered a psychological disorder rather than a variation in sexual orientation.)
3. Does the behavior cause the person significant subjective discomfort?
4. Is the behavior maladaptive or result in an inability to function?
5. Does the behavior cause the person to be dangerous to self or others, as in the case of someone who tries to commit suicide or who attacks other people without reason? (Cicarelli, 2012)

These can be summarized into three factors: 1) deviance, 2) maladaptiveness, and 3) personal distress. If these factors are present, most likely there could be an existing abnormal behavior which could be a symptom of a psychological disorder. It is BEST to get a checkup and have a professional explain things but those are some of the basis. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) has been updated to DSM-V, so it’s really best to seek professional help when you feel that something is wrong.

What is deviance? Deviance is social norm deviance or when something goes against the norms or standards of society (Ciccarreli, 2012). Society sets the standard for what could be considered as normal. Before, having trouble breathing, self-harm, and ranting over small things would be considered as deviant when done in the extreme but today it looks like it has become the norm with the alarming increase in social media posts regarding such things. Memes like: “Please limit crying to 15 minutes” have become rampant. This might be a joke to some, but jokes are often half-meant and it is still very alarming.

What is maladaptive? It is anything that does not allow a person to function within or adapt to the stresses and everyday demands of life (Ciccarrelli, 2012).  The person is having a hard time to cope with the daily stress and ends up with extreme or risky coping mechanism like excessive drinking, etc.

What is personal distress? It is when a person feels subjective discomfort emotional distress when doing a particular thing. (Ciccarrelli, 2012). A person who suffers from fear of social interaction would feel great discomfort and emotional distress in gatherings and events, causing him or her to not go out at all.

Worryingly, a normal healthy person shouldn’t undergo excessive daily personal distress but as Philippine society stands today, it seems like the standards are changing as more and more cases of psychological disorders are being reported. Recent statistics point out that 1 in 5 people suffer from mental health problems. These are the reported ones; a person suffering usually hesitates to ask for professional for fear of stigma or lack of resources. The numbers are increasing even as I write.

So what causes these psychological disorders? There are many theories about the causes, ranging from biological to psychosocial theories. Recently, I’ve read an interesting article regarding neoliberal capitalism and mental health, on how psychological disorders could have stemmed from capitalism. The article is titled Capitalism is Despair, and it’s Time to Start Taking it Personally by Tom Syverson. Here are some excerpts from the article:

But what if your emotional problems weren’t merely your own? What if they were our problems? Instead of treating standard-issue mental distress as a natural biological condition, Fisher proposed, “we need to ask: how has it become acceptable that so many people, and especially so many young people, are ill?” What if the real problem is that we’re living in wrong society? Perhaps Theodor Adorno was correct when he said, “wrong life cannot be lived rightly.” (Syverson, 2017)

Isn’t that an interesting premise? That the existing psychological disorders is not the problem, but rather the society itself. That is where my concern arise for my friends and the people I know, for people who comes to me and ask for help regarding their mental health. Going to a professional would help others whose disorder stemmed from biological problems, but what if the cause is the society? How do we change that? How can we help?

Relying on the work of psychologist Oliver James, Fisher noted a striking correlation between the rise of industrial capitalism circa 1750 and the growing normalization of mental distress. As capitalism became the norm, so did unhappiness. Daily misery is normal, because misery is what the system asks of you. Lifetimes spent in therapy, disastrous personal relationships, generations of hardening hearts, and private hells of hedonic narcissism: this is the price we pay for sustaining the impossible demands of capital. (Syverson, 2017)

It makes so much sense to me. I see posts on social media, complaining about the traffic, the work demand, their bosses, the insensitive and oppressive administration, other societal ills, and what have you. All those factors combined would naturally lead to a rise and normalization of mental distress.

To be sure, we court controversy with some of these points. Critiquing capitalism shades into a critique of the pharmaceutical industry, which slips into a critique of mainstream science, and suddenly one sounds like an anti-vaxxer. But the point is not to indict, as Foucault did, the entire field of diagnostic psychiatry. Rather, the idea is to consider that many forms of depression and anxiety might not be diseases with symptoms, but symptoms themselves—symptoms of a wider social disease called neoliberal capitalism. If chronic mental distress is the taboo byproduct of neoliberal economics, then it cannot be solved with neoliberal economics. Bourgeois unhappiness should be resituated as a socio-political problem with a socio-political solution. (Syverson, 2017)

As a former business administration, and economics student, I have always asked myself whether capitalism is good and sustainable. I have defended capitalism espoused by Adam Smith by saying that capitalism in its purest sense would have been better for the people right now but it was hijacked by selfish and greedy people.

Business ethics somewhat gave me hope, however, as things stand now, I am critical of the current capitalistic society that we have. Capitalism is really starting to look like despair to me, and I’m starting to take it personally.

So what now is the role of the law now regarding mental health and the society? Hopefully solve these problems. I have been a staunch advocate of the Mental Health Act since it was introduced by Senator Risa Hontiveros. The Mental Health Act (MHAct) reinforces and provides mental health care to those who would need it. I am cautiously optimistic about this because as previously mentioned before, mental health is a complex problem compounded by the current society. Execution of the laws are also an issue.

Whether the Mental Health Act would be helpful to those who are suffering or not is a question yet to be answered. Interestingly, there is an article about the effect of such special laws regarding disability. I would not delve into to the topic anymore for lack off time, and research, but the article is Plain Meaning and Mitigating Measures: Judicial Interpretations of the Meaning of Disability by Wendy E. Permett. 

I would probably write another article about it soon, if my resources (time and energy) permit.

Sources:

  • Ciccarelli, S. et. al. (2012). Psychology. New Jersey: Prentice Hall
  • Magtubo, Chrisha. (2016, September 2).  Mental Health in the Philippines: By the numbers. Retrieved from: http://today.mims.com/mental-health-in-the-philippines–by-the-numbers
  • Syverson, Tom. (2017, January 31). Capitalism is Despair, and it’s Time to Start Taking it Personally. Retrieved from: https://www.pastemagazine.com/articles/2017/01/capitalism-is-despair-and-its-time-to-start-taking.html

 

 

When I Disappear

When I disappear
There’s only three days for mourning
When I disappear
I don’t want people sobbing

When I disappear
I’m only a single star in the galaxy
When I disappear
I still want people to be happy

When I disappear
Would the world be a better place?
When I disappear
Would my loved ones find solace?

When I disappear
The world would still go on
When I disappear
They should still hold on

When I disappear
People should give kindness
When I disappear
Friends should still feel blessed

When I disappear
It’s only for a short while
When I disappear
Please still smile

When I disappear
I pray for understanding and empathy
When I disappear
I pray for peace and unity

When I disappear
Please know that I have loved and lost
When I disappear
Please remember me as I am

When I disappear
Please believe in God,
and pray for my soul
When I disappear
Please pray for everyone,
for the blessed, for the wicked