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Sarah G, et al: Success, depression, and the longing for God

Sarah Geronimo. INQUIRER FILE

Sarah G’s breakdown during her recent Las Vegas concert tour and her emotional confession were a disturbing revelation to many. Thereafter, she tearfully revealed that she still felt “empty” after building an almost perfect image. She still felt “unhappy” in spite of being idolized by millions.

Famous and empty? Something is lacking?

On her part, Nadine Lustre opened up on Instagram about her own struggles with depression. “I have days where I’m just sitting in the tub, asking myself a lot of questions, confused… I felt like I was just looking in someone else’s life through a window.”

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Sexiest Filipina depressed?

Fame and fortune bringing about happiness: A myth

Paul Castle, a property tycoon who rubbed elbows with the Queen of England and played polo with Prince Charles; Peter Duff, 80, chairman of Alcohol in Moderation society; Eli M. Black, an affluent Jewish American businessman; British Jonathan Wraith, 35, one of the youngest millionaires in the world– all of them cut their lives short.

They chased after fame and fortune, thinking that these material treasures would bring joy and fulfillment. But these didn’t.

Philip Seymour Hoffman, and Robin Williams? Unfortunately, they were celebrities who did not fear death and made a drastic decision to escape from human emptiness.

Like Mark Antony (30 BC), a Roman politician and general of ancient history, the highest ranking Filipino Armed Forces chief and defense secretary Angelo Reyes shot himself in front of his mother’s grave at the Loyola Memorial Park in Marikina on February 8, 2011.

Because depression afflicts both the body and the soul, the remedy of firing up neurons into synapses, or balancing chemicals in the brain, is not enough. Does the human heart crave for something more, say, of a spiritual kind?

800,000 depressed people commit suicide yearly

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Russian artist Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840-1893) is acknowledged as one of the greatest composers of all times. The legendary composer of great ballet and orchestral classics like Nutcracker, Sleeping Beauty, Romeo and Juliet, 1812 Overture, and Swan Lake suffered from manic depression and was self-tortured by an unbearable guilt about being homosexual.

Nadine Lustre. INQUIRER FILE

Michael Jackson had depression, his daughter Paris Jackson, 20, told Rolling Stone – as she revealed her own struggle with both depression and anxiety.

In the new millennium, seven Filipinos take their own lives every single day, that is, one depressed Filipino committing suicide every three and a half hours. And for every suicide carried out, there are a hundred more who attempt to end their lives.

Suicide is the very opposite of the normal survival instinct to discover a cure for cancer or hopelessly search for the fountain of youth and the chalice of immortality. What if the fountain of youth is found, will the emptiness be filled?

Personal, professional, and spiritual help

  1. PERSONAL HELP. “Depression is like wearing tinted glasses,” writes Stephen Altrogge. “Everywhere you look, things look dark. Bleak. Black. Hopeless. Helpless. The waiting room for depression says, ‘Abandon hope, all ye who enter here.’

When mind and body are in pain, the soul is pulled downward, “like a heavy weight tied around the ankle.” You have to fight back. After surviving several attempts at suicide due to depression, Peachy Rallonza Bretaña now says: “I choose to fight. I choose not to be afraid. And today I choose life.”

  1. PROFESSIONAL AND FAMILY HELP. Nadine Luistre talks about “family who will always be my strength. Friends who will always pull me up.”

After seeking professional help to overcome postpartum depression, Brooke Shields learned one thing: To cry all you want – and turned her diary into a book “Down Came the Rain.

  1. SPIRITUAL HELP. Human emptiness is not completely satisfied by medication, guidance counseling, the BFF’s care, or physical exercises. This is where, believe it or not, God comes in, for He is the One who placed that burning yen in the deepest chamber of the human heart and the only One who can satisfy it.

From addiction to prison to finding God, Hollywood celebrity Mark Walberg always says: “The first thing I do is to give thanks to God.”

If truly we are finite creatures-of-this-material-world and the spiritual soul in us is relentlessly searching for the ultimate happiness, then I conclude with the famous words of Saint Augustine (354-430): “Our heart is restless until it finds its rest in God.”

Jose Mario Bautista Maximiano talks candidly about death in his book The Beginning and the End (Claretian, 2016). Comments to jomaximiano@gmail.com.

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TAGS: celebrities with depression, manic depression, Mental Health, mental illness, Nadine Luistre, opinion, Sarah G, Sarah Geronimo, spiritual life
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