This article by Ryan Gajudo Macasero was originally posted on The FilAm, an online magazine for Filipino Americans in New York.
Through the years I tried to find various ways to cope with fear and depression. I turned to alcohol. I felt numb and indifferent to anything around me when I was drunk, and I forgot about how sad I was. When normal people say they are depressed, they most likely mean that something made them sad, but they know they will get over it soon. When depressed people say they are depressed they have difficulty eating, sleeping, or focusing on being productive because of their condition. This is why I did not do well in school. I would hide my report card under the bed, and if my parents found out I would just promise to do better the next time. My mom would usually forget all about it because she worked 12 hours a day six days a week.
There were times when I felt like no one, not my family or even God, could help me. I contemplated suicide, but never had the guts to do it because deep down I was concerned for my family and didn’t want to cause them grief or embarrassment. But I made it a point to hold back tears until I got to a place where no one would see me.
In many Asian cultures, depression is not openly spoken of or acknowledged as an actual condition. My relatives would tell me that it was “only in your mind.” To this day, my parents didn’t know the severity of my condition then.