Dear girls of the world,
In 2014, my life was shaken when my parents wanted to separate. I was just starting to pave my career path when this news broke. I had just moved out of the house and was living with relatives. I had my mindset to do well in my job so I can increase my value and income in the corporate world. I distracted myself through my job, put in more hours and days in the office so that I didn’t have to go home in the weekend to deal with it. I had to do what I had to do in order to survive. And that was to shut myself… from everyone.
I was the youngest among three siblings, but it felt at that time I was the eldest. I had confronted my parents several time about each other and why the relationship wasn’t working anymore. I became the reality that slapped them, showing them how dysfunctional we were as a family. Funny though, because everyone actually looked up to us as a role model.
I didn’t realize that I was greatly affected when I decided to end my relationship with my then boyfriend. At first I didn’t believe it was true about what they say that adults are more affected by parents splitting up compared to kids. When I started questioning my childhood, I doubted everything we were as a so-called family. My depression and anxiety just blossomed from there.
2015 I began my journey, I started traveling locally to get away from it all. I just wanted to be under the scorching sun getting a tan, and enjoying the sight of the ocean. The next year 2016, I was still running away. This time I had moved to my own place in the city. I wanted to build a home for myself, where I can retreat from all the troubles of my family. It was also the same year I went to New Delhi, India to visit my best friend. I had the pleasure of staying with her family, try home-cooked Indian meals, visit the Taj Mahal and Agra Fort, and see the Akshardam Temple. It was the highlight of the year! But when I arrived home, news came in as well that my Mom was diagnosed with cancer. It was an emotional moment for the family, but truthfully I was thankful it happened. We may not have mended our problems outspokenly, but we all knew that we had to set aside everything and just be there. My family had become one again.
Come 2017, I was able to score a good job as an account manager for hotels in a huge ecommerce company. I was relieved of my mental issues, and was back on my feet. I thought I was done with that phase, but apparently it wasn’t that simple. My depression and anxiety stuck with me, this time the source came from my work and relationships. I had countless sleepless nights because my anxiety would attack me and torment me with work. It made me feel I wasn’t doing well, or I could never fit in. My depression would drain me to the very last drop, keeping me unmotivated to work and do whatever comes to mind. The cruelest my anxiety would do is to make me cut any relationship I try to create.
It was there I realized that I had to keep moving, I had to keep traveling because it eases my mind, it distracts me enough to keep myself focused on the goal which to see more and learn more about the world. Traveling also helps me express my suppressed feelings towards myself and the people around me. Here I am now, 9 countries down and onto my 10th and in between circling the islands of the Philippines. I am lucky to be able to pull myself up again and again, I know there are those who are still in that dark place fighting it every single day. That is why I promote traveling among my family and friends, it’s always been more than just sight-seeing for me, it was therapy. The more your eyes are opened, the more you feel hope to live, the more you appreciate yourself and what you have, the more you feel the need to extend help to those who need it.
It sounds easy I know, but when I began my journey I had so many fears and worries, I almost didn’t go, but I knew had to do something for me otherwise I would have lost myself completely.
We all have our own ways of coping with our mental stability, you may relate to what I do, maybe it’s through music, or art. Whatever that may be, dear girls I encourage to keep on doing what you need to do for you. This fight can only be won over by yourself. You are stronger than you think, and there people who will perpetually care and love for you.
So don’t give up just yet.
I am a stranger, but in this battle we are sisters. I believe in you.