End the Stigma, Please

Today (or yesterday as it’s past midnight already), Facebook exploded after Joey de Leon (a famous Filipino celebrity) made comments about how depression is not really a disability or illness, and people should not sympathize with those who have it or are going through it. According to him, it’s just something that these people make up and they or it should not be taken seriously.

I was beyond speechless.

I was annoyed. I was disappointed. I was—am fucking pissed off. But mostly, I’m just sad. The reality is, there is a stigma around mental disabilities and illnesses here in the Philippines. And people joke about and around it like it’s such a tiny matter to deal with; like it doesn’t even matter; like it hasn’t taken lives of millions of people around the world.

Most Filipinos associate depression, anxiety, panic attacks to nothing but “pag-iinarte” or the mere act of seeking other people’s attention. And that’s just bullshit, and it needs to end soon, if not now.

I’ll let you in on a little secret.

When I was in high school, I was diagnosed with Atypical Depression and was later on diagnosed with Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD). I was constantly struggling with even the simple act of getting up from bed and going to school, or anywhere for that matter. I was always down and lonely. I was irritable and experienced severe mood swings. I was constantly having anxiety and panic attacks. I was suicidal. (Actually, no, scratch that was as I still am all of these things.)

But nobody noticed.

I was the quiet one then but also the one who was always the attention whore or the papansin one. I didn’t know what to feel or how to feel most of the time. And more often than I wanted, all I really thought about was just disappearing and not coming back.

I would often “daydream” about what it would be like if I died. And in between those daydreams, I would cut or hurt myself.

I wanted so badly to just get over the whole thing, but I didn’t know how. I didn’t even know where to begin. Antidepressants helped but only to an extent.

After years, I surrounded myself with friends. I joked around a lot, laughed my ass off, and pretended that the voices in my head didn’t exist. For the most part, I could manage and continue pretending that nothing’s wrong.

Until I no longer couldn’t and all that’s in my head are ways on how I could end my life—end it all.

Nobody knew, then. And only a handful of people know now.

I’m the person who jokes around a lot and often laughs her ass off. But as much as I try to push it off, as much as I want to not feel it, I still do. And it’s not a figment of my imagination. It’s not something that I made up in order to get people’s attention and sympathy (because if I did then I should have told every person that I know).

This is my life. This is my daily struggle. And for someone—anyone—to step on that and condemn me and people like me who go through this rough road on a daily basis, is beyond words. It’s beyond disappointment. It’s beyond anger.

You, Joey de Leon, are nothing short of an imbecile. You, sir, are a disgrace to the human race.

If you’re curious, below is an excerpt of what he said.


  1. mental illness is so complex and i understand how some people may think that it’s not as serious as it is, but i completely agree with you. i am beyond devastated that mental illnesses are vilified simply because people aren’t educated enough on it. i get that people might not bother learning about it, but at least don’t be negative or deny its existence. people live such confusing lives, feeling a sort of pain and not knowing why or where it’s coming from. i’m glad that more people and organisations are educating the community on this matter these days though, at least it’s not as obscure as it used to be.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I saw tweets regarding this issue on my timeline the other day and I honestly think it’s sooo dumb. It makes me sad to call myself a Filipino sometimes when we can be so close-minded about so many things. Despite living in America, my parents are still stuck in that conservative mentality and it’s just sad sometimes. I suffer from anxiety and I can’t even talk to them about it because they just tell me to get over it. 😦

    cabin twenty-four

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Tell me about it! I’m so ashamed of my race and I’m here in the Philippines so it’s first-hand everything! 😦 haaay, you and me both. The sad part is, my mother knows about my condition and yet she still brushes me off and says that I’m just acting out or being the annoying bitch that I usually am.


    1. I’m so glad that Maine was there, too. Had it been that it was just the other GMA oldies, nako, mukang walang maglalakas ng loob na labanan si Joey.


  3. I’m not surprised na he’d say that. Remember Tito Sotto once joked about Judy Taguiwalo being a single parent. Even worse, they’re very popular with the masses. I’m Filipino too and I notice the gross expression of ignorance with my fellow Fiipinos sometimes. It’s both embarrassing and irritating. Our family had a guest from the Philippines once and she verbally expressed her distrust of black people and Muslims. I looked at my mom and then responded to her guest: “You’re in Canada. You can’t say that here. That’s racist.” I can’t believe people just echo what they hear on the news without subjecting it to scrutiny. It’s lazy and irresponsible, and, like you, it’s making me angry too.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I wasn’t at all surprised too but it’s still just so fucked up, given that there are millions of people who are watching and/or who look up to this jackass.

      I seriously don’t get racist issues. Like tangina, we’re all human beings. Why can’t we all just get along.


  4. Clearly he needs to educate himself more regarding how serious a mental illness can be.

    Thanks for sharing your part of the story and for being an advocate. Hugs from here 🙂 See you next year!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The thing is, bet ba niya ma-educate? These people feel like they fucking know everything. It’s disgusting.

      And huuugs, babe. Yes, please, next year!!



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