A year ago, I walked into my therapist’s office for the first time. There was this darkness that loomed over me, stealing my focus, my confidence, and my heart. Even when people would praise my work, tell me I’m pretty, or say I’ll be going places, I never believed them. I’d known this darkness since I was a teenager, and there’d be moments when that darkness wouldn’t be there, but still, it always managed to creep back in, like some form of toxic love. And when I finally decided to confront it with the help of my therapist, getting rid of the Hexxus in me wasn’t an instant kill. It took a while, and I was frustrated that I wasn’t getting any better.
The darkness was a constant companion, even when my therapist put me on antidepressants. My focus got better; I was able to drawing again. But deep down, I still didn’t feel complete. After months of psychotherapy, I was put on mood stabilizers, and I sought another doctor for a second opinion about my condition. He’d told me the same thing my therapist told me. He just added vitamins to my diet (because I don’t get enough sun in this sunny country), and had me start cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).
Over time, I found myself getting more and more confident in myself. I felt my heart beating fast for my greatest convictions. I was finally believing in the things I can do.
I’ve been waking up happier, often times from vivid dreams I could remember in detail throughout the day. I set myself up with quarterly goals for the year (and fulfilled 2 out of 4 for Q1). I completed the first draft of my second YA novel on mental health six days before my self-imposed deadline. My desk (a sad folding table that will have to do until I can afford an actual desk) is covered in paper and ink from all the commissions I’ve taken over the past month. And with Billboard Philippines ceasing operations, I’ve begun searching for a new day job.
I won’t be seeing my therapist for a while, and that’s a good thing. It means I’m getting better. My confidence is stronger. My depression has waned.