Finding Hope Amid this COVID-19 Pandemic

Travel plans were cancelled. Meet up with friends were put on hold. Family get togethers are no longer pushed through. So many plans have been thwarted, trashed, by this pandemic.

And it is hard, seriously hard. Seeing news about increasing cases of people who contracted the virus, dying, if not fighting for their lives.

Businesses shut down, ordinary people were laid off from their jobs despite they have mouths to feed.

And for those who have depression and have just only seen a slight motivation to pursue their dreams, only for that drive to come to an end because this pandemic did not allow it to happen, it sucks.

It could be a sport you just have thought you might want to get into, or a project you want to build. It could be going to school or looking for a new work. Or it could be visiting your loved ones, reuniting with your families across oceans.

All of these were gone for the mean time. How awful it could get for those who lost people dear to them.

Dear, there is still hope. It may be hard to see this time, but there is. This is something I am constantly telling myself amid everything that is happening.

It hurts but one thing is for sure: This virus will come to an end.

God will save His people. A vaccine will someday be made available. A cure could someday be found.

God holds tomorrow, so keep holding on to Him. And surviving this pandemic means there is still something to look forward to.

The dreams that were planted in our hearts would eventually turn into reality. There is hope, and for now, all we could do is pray.

We can also find something else to work on. Read books, browse the net. Call your friends and family.

Make sure to find something worthwhile amid this chaos.

And find your peace in Him amid the storm.

When the oceans rise and thunders roar, I will soar with you above the storm. Father, You are King over the flood, I will be still and know You are God.


God Gave Me My Long Time Dream

More than a decade ago, that is exactly how long my heart was caught by this guy whom I saw as a partner material — a man of faith, street-smart, simple, hardworking.

I didn’t have romantic feelings for him, but over the years, I have always admired him. I saw him as a friend, an older brother, and I could only wish that someday, I get to meet someone like him.

He already migrated and we have lost communication for quite some time.

Many things have happened to me and it was really because of that that I had to battle with depression everyday.

Regular visits to the doctor / therapist, and taking antidepressants, as well as talking to my family and friends, these have been my new normal since I got diagnosed with major depressive disorder.

I was pleading to God to give me a reason to live, to love life. Everyday, I just kept crying. I felt so hopeless. Everyday, I had to force myself to go to work, only because I need to get paid, to buy my basic needs. I was no longer motivated, despite that I am working for a company which I really consider as almost perfect, if not perfect.

They provide a good package, and more than that, a good environment, even good bosses. But my depression has been eating me up.

I felt I lost all my dreams, my ambitions. I lost all reasons to make myself want to breathe.

Then this guy, whom I had always admired over the years, suddenly chatted me, out of the blue.

Long story short, we started online dating. That’s more 10 years of me hoping to find someone LIKE him, but poof! There was him. As in him.

And this might be trivial for some, but for me, I consider it as God’s provision. I consider it as God’s way of reminding me that He knows the desires of my heart and that He takes notes of each of them. It was God telling me that I have a reason to hope, to want to live, because not everything was lost.

And should he came years ago, I don’t know if I would have the same appreciation and gratefulness I have right now.

God’s timing was never too early, and never too late. He’s always on time.

Surviving in a Anger-filled House

Take note, I used the word “house” instead of “home.”

It can never be called a home unless it is full of love, unless it is the place where you can find your peace, where you can see yourself physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually safe.

And if you are asking yourself how can you survive in this kind of set-up, the answer is there is no way you can survive in this kind of environment. Maybe yes, physically, you can. But it will be to the detriment of your whole being.

It’s true that your parents may have provided for you financially but getting financial support from them is not a valid reason for them to abuse you mentally and emotionally.

It is not a valid reason for them to disregard what you feel. It is not a valid reason for them to tell you that they have already done their responsibility.

It is not a valid reason for them to discredit your depression.

Talk to them, open up what you really feel toward them, in the nicest way you can do it. If they listen, good. If they don’t, leave.

The everyday pain will not make you better in the end. The struggles will not improve you as a person.

Anger is a poison and taking in so much of it will not just poison you but will make you poisonous to others too.

Sometimes, You Just Really Have to Leave

Often times, we expect the people we love to understand us, and to be there for us especially in our rough times.

We count on our friends and family, the latter as people say, “blood is thicker than water.”

But we have to face it, not all the time they can understand us. Moreso, there would even be times that they are the ones causing us to feel depressed.

They blame it on us how things could be messing up in our lives even if they are the greatest factor to our distress. And fighting back will only result in more emotional impact to us, because we would all the more realize that we are alone. And all the more we hear them say negative things about us, the more we will feel unloved, causing us to really lose appreciation of life.

As a Christian, it is definitely giving us guilt to walk away from people, especially that the Bible tells us to allow our other cheek to be slapped when hit on one. We must be able to forgive not just seven times but 77 times, which could be translated as infinetely as well.

We should be the bearers of God’s love, the love that is willing to give His one and only Son to die on the cross for the redemption of those who do not even deserve it.

But sometimes, you just have to accept it, that you must just leave. Yes, even your own family, if it is already so toxic for you.

Leaving them does not mean totally abandoning them. You can still love them from a distance and give all the help you can give them. However, you just need to create that wall so that they won’t anymore be able to hurt you that much.

It could mean moving out of your family’s residence or not talking to them for the mean time.

When it comes to friends, the same rule applies. If you think that the friendship is bringing out the worst in you than the good, then create some space.

You can still be there for people without making yourself so vulnerable. But in order for you to do that, you have to leave.

And there’s nothing wrong in wanting to preserve your mental health because a bad one will just create a more bad experience for those around you.

Enduring Depression During Quarantine

Governments of different countries around the world have already ordered a lockdown to contain the spread of COVID-19.

For normal people, this is already something. It’s hard not to be able to do the things you are usually doing such as dining in restaurants, strolling at the park, going to the cinema with friends, attending classes, and many more.

How about for those who are just on their way of recovering from depression and have just started becoming normal again, only to be quarantined inside the house, with the same people everyday?

It’s hard, right? But I think this could also be an opportunity to reflect on things and bond with your family members, the first group of people you should be sharing your life with.

How about those who live alone? Thanks to the Internet, you can do Skype with your loved ones, who I supposed are also staying in their homes, unless they are working for the essential sectors, or are considered as frontlines.

If they are, this quarantine season is also your chance to pray for them more often.

Meanwhile, you can also use this quarantine season to learn new things. Learn a new language, draw or paint, be creative with the food you cook everyday, write a book, a poem, or a blog.

There are still a lot of things that you can do despite that you cannot go out of your house. Be productive and proactive.

I am so Unstable: Can I still do something great?

Your emotions could be fluctuating, thus, your momentum in doing things is hard to be sustained. In these instance, you begin to question if there is still something great you can do, or this depression would just really paralyze you and you simply have to accept that you are not meant for greater things?

Well, here is the thing: No matter how emotionally unstable you are, you can still always create a good future for yourself.

Having depression is no different from others who have their sicknesses and weaknesses. It’s just that while depression could be a kryptonite, you have to find the areas where your passion is, or where you are good at, and that is where you will thrive.

Many times, God has implanted these desires in our hearts. Sometimes, they are just buried there, which you have to discover. And once you discover these, the momentum would not be that so hard to maintain because everything will become so natural. And there could even be times wherein your depression could play a big part to make things going.

An example of this is becoming a poet, or a song writer, or a painter. No matter how emotionally unstable you are right now, you can use those emotions to write a beautiful poem or lyrics or to move your hands to create a lovely painting.

Emotion is one thing but that is not your whole being. You can use your emotions, even if they are unstable. Just don’t let your emotions use you, and that is an art you have to learn.

You are destined to do something great. What is that something great?

You just have to ask God to reveal it to you.

God Uses Broken People

In your despair, you might be wondering if God has still has a plan for you, more so, if He can still make use of you to impact the lives of others.

As impossible as it may seem, the answer is YES. He can. And He will. Only if you are willing.

I have been battling tough with depression, but amidst this, I kept praying to God to show me a reason to live, to use me for His glory.

And just as I was praying for that, a stranger I came across in the mall opened up to me about her deep, personal problems.

It was a time I have been losing hope for myself, but here is a stranger in front of me, confiding to me her issues even if she does not know me.

And to my surprise, I responded to her that God is a faithful God, encouraging her with words from the Bible.

We exchanged contact details, and her confiding to me continued. I offered to meet her to pray for her, and she said yes.

We met, had coffee. And later on, she was already asking me how to become a Christian, how to listen to God, and other matters about faith.

And this is a testimony that God can use broken people. And He really does use broken people.

And it is in encouraging others that I also find healing for myself, because I see how nothing is impossible with God and that He is faithfully working in and through those who are earnestly seeking to be used by Him.

Facing the Triggers: Why Avoiding Them Will Not Go a Long Way

It hurts to be reminded of the things you do not want to remember, of the trauma that they caused you.

It may be the killer who murdered your beloved, the gunman who open fired at your school, the once trusted man you had but sexually abused you, the well-known volcano that ruined your hometown, or maybe some relatives, family members, and/or friends you severed ties with.

It can be the social media wherein people witnessed criticisms about you.

Whatever it is, avoiding such trigger for some time would help, but sooner or later, you would have to face it and be able to handle it.

Everyday, I ponder what would happen to me when my doctor would have to tell me to stop taking antidepressants.

For now, I am completely aware that I am functioning well because of the drug. I am able to work, socialize, hang out in different places, do house chores, etc. because the drug is effective in making me numb to my negative feelings.

But to clarify, it does not only make me numb to negative feelings but also to positive ones.

I am like a zombie, living, with no emotions. The antidepressant acts like an anaesthesia, numbing me emotionally, only to send me down once its effects wear off.

And no, I don’t think taking the drug for a lifetime is a solution. For now, it is, until I learn how to handle these triggers without crashing me.

But how?

Moving forward in life is never easy, but we have God to help us. It is important also to have a strong support system to remind us of who we are, that our identity is not hooked with whoever or whatever we encountered in our lives.

Tragic events really happen, but life has so much more to offer than that. There are two kinds of mess, one that life creates and one that we, ourselves, create.

But whichever of that we are in, we always have the choice to get back on our feet and take the first step to move forward.

Only we can choose for ourselves. Medications and mental health professionals may be there, but it takes willingness for us to recover.

It takes forgiveness of other people, or even ourselves, to accept things. It takes realizing that nobody and nothing in this world is our own, if it is a loss that we are dealing with.

It takes faith to say yes, I am moving on with life, with the God who created it.

It takes trust in Him to face these triggers and begin to see them no longer as triggers but a memory of what made us stronger, because without them happening, we would never have realized how strong we really are.

Seeing the Good while You’re Depressed

It’s hard to be positive when all you see happening around you are negative stuff.

It’s hard to lift your head high when life drags you down, and you cannot see anymore the light.

But remember, in whatever trials you are in, God works for the good of those who love Him, for those who have been called according to His purpose.

And you are one of them. You believe in Him. You love Him. But you cannot deny that your faith is also shaking.

You ask if God is true, or does He even hear your prayer. You ask why do you have to experience all of these.

The thing is, depression could be a tool by the enemy to ruin your faith in God, but because what the enemy has meant for evil, God can turn it into good — Your depression could be used by God to draw you closer to Him.

Depression could be a way for you to realize that you should not rely on yourself but on Him. Depression could be a way for you to realize the value of community, of the people around you whom you used to neglect unintentionally or not during your happy days, of the people who truly love you but you failed to see before.

You can see the good even while you’re depressed. Depression is a way for you to realize the few people and things that really matter.

I’m taking anti-depressants and I feel emotionally detached

While taking anti-depressants have helped me cope up with my depressive and suicidal thoughts, I realized that I also became emotionally detached.

I cannot say I’m really happy despite that I do laugh when there’s something funny. I do smile to people. But deep inside, I feel nothing. I’m like in a bubble, floating.

I also forgot the feeling of being in love. I see no man anymore as attractive. I no longer experience having a crush on someone, or that feeling of having butterflies in the stomach.

I made a Google search and I found this article: Can SSRIs make you fall out of love?

SSRIs work by raising your levels of serotonin, but they also lower levels of dopamine. Dopamine is the neurotransmitter responsible for all those feel-good emotions you get when you fall in love. When dopamine levels drop and those feelings disappear you may mistakenly believe that your love has also disappeared.

And this is what exactly I am experiencing.

On another hand, I realized that it could also be good that there are no too much emotions right now.

It’s a time we could pray, talk to God, without really relying so much on our feelings. We could reach out to Him, not because we feel good or we feel bad, that we feel we want to thank Him or we want to cry out to Him, but because it is purely out of faith, and not our feelings.

We could also make the most out of this situation by making decisions based on logic and values. We could choose the people we will decide to love and be with, not because of our feelings for them but because we know that it is right to be with them.

We can take a look at things without our hearts getting in the way.

It is not really good to be emotionally detached but somehow, sometimes, it could be useful too, especially when we want to do what is right.

After all, the Bible also says that “the heart is deceitful above all things. Who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9)

Since it is less of emotions this time, we can ask God more to help us heed to the leading of the Holy Spirit without our feelings overpowering us.