For Those Of You Who Know Me

CW/TW: Suicide ideation, depression/mental illness

If you’ve been following me on social media these last two weeks, you may have noticed that I haven’t been very “present” lately, in terms of posting as myself. Most of the posts I’ve made have been retweets, and if I was posting any original content it was usually 1) little things that caught my attention, 2) emotional mega-threads, such as my (possible) last MIBF with Visprint or angry reactions in general, or 3) makeup. In the context of the grander scheme of things, I’d been using my voice for nothing more than trivial nonsense.

The truth of it all–and an ironic one, considering that it was World Suicide Prevention Week last week–was that I did hit a low point, and I actually considered suicide. Again.

Note the emphasis on the word “again.” These thoughts come and go, but they hit me almost on an annual basis, and I’ve been able to talk myself out of it all the time. But this one was different.

I don’t want to go into the particulars of what triggered me; suffice it to say that, as much as I want to open up about my mental illness, I have my reasons to keep the circumstances to myself. I also know that this isn’t the kind of moment that would have people rushing to my side to tell me that everything was going to be OK, even when it’s not. (There’s a reason why I rarely post personal stuff on Facebook and Twitter anymore, even when I’m asking for prayers.)

While I did bounce back from my thoughts, just in time for MIBF, it didn’t mean that the depression completely went away. There were times when I would cry in my room all alone, or spend entire afternoons getting lost in YouTube. I was in a perpetual state of mourning, not just for who I am as a writer, but also for who I was meant to be as a person. Every inconvenience, from a broken laptop to a malfunctioning air conditioner, served to pull me down deeper and further into the abyss.

When I talked to my therapist this week, she mentioned that this was not the right time for me to go back to writing, or be on social media. Right then and there I could feel the sharp pain in the sensitive spots in my consciousness, because that meant the very things that defined me for years had been hurting me during this dark moment. Believe me, I do want to write all the stories in my head (like all ten billion of variations on #CrushFic–sorry, oppa, but you’ll have to wait) but the energy isn’t there; if anything, the thoughts have only crippled me, not unlike the leg infection that left me unable to walk for two weeks. Likewise, I still feel the pull to participate in the greater discussion online…but that’s been burning me out, too, and I end up picking even more fights, posting more nonsense.

And so it goes.

It’s not that easy. It might never be that easy. I keep telling people–and myself–that I’m taking it one day at a time, but there’s also a part of me that wants x things to happen at y time in order to take care of z. (Blame the latent academic in me; I didn’t spend years memorizing scientific research and statistics concepts for nothing.) And yet, it needs to happen, lest I start hating everything and everyone around me to the point of relapse. I’m lucky because I live a relatively comfortable life, but I’m also proof that it’s no guarantee that the demons will go away that easily.

It’s time for me to heal. And this time, I hope it sticks.

Love, Stella

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Stella Torres

is the author of the adult contemporary romances Save the Cake, Crushingly Close, and Nine Years Away, as well as the short story “Be Creative” in the anthology Kids These Days: Stories from Luna East Vol. 1.

In her previous life, she has worked in public relations, taught English as a second language, and even attended graduate school (twice!). She has lived in Indonesia, Honolulu, and Quezon City before moving back to her hometown of Los Banos, a few hours’ drive (with traffic) from the heart of Manila.

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