Coping with Depression

Not a day goes by that I don’t think about dying

It’s 5 in the morning. Just woke up and just like yesterday, I thought of dying.

It’s not what you think! There’s no need to call Suicide Watch on me. As if. We don’t have one in the Philippines

I don’t think of dying as if I want to die at this moment. Since my dad’s passing in the summer of 2019, not a day goes by that I don’t think about death. I stare at our bedroom ceiling, lie supine with eyes wide open, and I would have questions streaming in like lyrics of a song into my head:

  1. How do I make this day special?
  2. How do I make this day memorable to people I care about?
  3. What do I teach my kids today about survival?
  4. What do I teach them about love?
  5. What can I learn today?

And so on. Just to clarify, I am as healthy as people my age can ever be. I had my physical and annual health exam last November 2022 and everything is normal. It was a requirement for medical clearance prior to a geological fieldwork in Bicol. Good health does matter to me. I treat my body like a temple – I keep it clean. I don’t have a vice – I never smoke, rarely drink, and regularly exercise. The only time I got rushed into a hospital ER was because I ate too many shrimps which almost got me into an anaphylactic shock. I was 13 years old then.

I lost too many loved ones since my dad’s death in 2019. I lost three aunts, two friends, and my beloved thesis adviser. Each death hit me hard, I don’t even have the words to explain the pain. Each death leaves me grateful for the life that I was given, but also had me asking those questions above each time I wake up. The loss of my thesis adviser in particular was hard for me to accept because it was sudden. I don’t think I have recovered yet from the shock and loss as it is pretty recent. One friend simply stopped sharing on Facebook. Thinking it was because she was busy with work and business, I let her be. I just found out this month that she passed away, within weeks after she was told she had breast cancer, stage 4. It happened just over a month after my thesis adviser’s death.

I guess death comes to us differently. It’s like the Grim Reaper would sometimes take his time before coming to you and sometimes he just hyperdrive and surprise you. For dad, he was sick for years. For my two friends, death came in hyperdrive.

The thought of death is like a catalyst to my existence, a catharsis from moments of depressive state. The thought of death makes me get up from my bed, brew my favorite coffee blend, eat whatever is available for breakfast, then grab my diary every single day. I plan out my day from 8 AM to 8 PM down to every hour. I want each hour to be fully lived, well-spent, or maximized. This routine started around the time of my dad’s death. I don’t know what this is but I’m guessing it’s my way of coping from all the loss.

I teach my kids certain skills now that I hope will help them survive when I’m gone. For example, this year I’ve started a notebook of recipes of food that they absolutely love. I even paint each food in watercolors, just for added flair. Take note, I write the recipes in archival papers to ensure the recipes and artwork stay for a long period of time.

recipe for fluffy pancakes by scientistgrass modified from Cafe Delites

I’m also slowly starting to teach my youngest son how to cook. I noticed that he takes interest in whatever I do in the kitchen, especially when I’m cooking. I learned how to cook from dad who used to be a chef in a huge hotel in Manila. It’s also the reason why cooking can be a form of therapy for me. Sometimes I imagine that he’s watching, giving me the smile of approval.

mango crepe by Chabibi
Here’s a mango crepe that my youngest son prepared for us a few days ago.

I live for my art too. Since start of this year I’ve painted almost every day with manic energy that surprised even me. Here’s a crazy thought – someday my paintings will amount to something and pay for my kids’ wedding or college, or whatever. I don’t paint to make a living but maybe, just maybe, they will amount to something someday. Who knows?

My most recent landscape artworks that reminisce of the days in the province.

I hope I made sense to you today. It took some months before I could say this on here. I’ve kept the thought of dying to myself because the topic seemed like taboo for most people.

Today I have this courage to share how traumatic the death of a loved one can be. I guess I wrote this blog for my kids too. So they would understand why I’m like this – a walking body of energy each day. I live each day as if it’s going to be my last because death is inevitable.

At the end of the day when I’m in the sack, I contemplate about the highlights of my day:

  1. My kids’ smiles.
  2. The frowns they have on their faces when I call them out for misbehaving.
  3. The lessons learned for the day because I acknowledge that I am not perfect.
  4. The paintings I finished and the lessons learned from mistakes.
  5. The love and kindness that I get from my friends and family.
  6. Congratulate myself for choosing kindness, often. (I’m not perfect, like I said.)
  7. The attitude I had over things that should be evaluated and modified if necessary.
  8. Gratitude for the life I was given, even if that blessing can be snatched from me anytime.

“What do we say to the Lord of Death? ‘Not today.’ “

― George R.R. Martin, American author.

2 thoughts on “Not a day goes by that I don’t think about dying”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s