July 1, 2017

The Light in the Dark

By Chelsea Dimacali as told to the Testimonial Ministry

To start the day, you have to wake up, get out of bed, and get on with your life. But what if a task that simple becomes a burden? It sounds crazy, but it has happened to me. One day I just woke up, and my body suddenly just didn’t want to get up and rather preferred to look at the ceiling rather than to do something with my life. Why? Because at that point in my life, it seemed pointless. At 15, I seem to have lost my purpose.

Growing up, I was just like any other kid. I was jolly. I was also an achiever in school. No school year passed without me receiving a medal. But just like the saying goes, “There is nothing more constant than change”, something did change. By my 3rd year in high school, my grades started going down. The next year, I did worse. I was at the bottom of my class. I also started pushing people away and kept more to myself. My absences were also increasing in number and just the thought of school alone is enough to give me panic attacks. This went on and on, until I finally acted on it.

It wasn’t until I finally admitted to myself that there was something really wrong that I told my mother. I was very reluctant at first. I did not want to tell her because I do not want my family to worry. It was a friend who convinced me to do it. By that point, I was having difficulties in sleeping, I was losing my appetite (in two weeks I lost 12 pounds), I was also doing self-harm, and I started becoming anxious all the time. For so many months, my brain just kept thinking that it would be better if I did not exist. So, after telling her, we scheduled an appointment with a psychiatrist. The psychiatrist put me in anti-depressants and anti-anxiety meds for two weeks for observation. The drugs alone were expensive enough, but the check-up was even pricier. So, after two weeks of medication, I did not go back for the follow up. We just couldn’t afford it. But see, for every door God closes, he opens a window.

The window God opened appeared in the form of a friend. My mom told my story to Tita Fe and as it turns out, she can help us.  She invited us to The Feast Bellevue.  She got me free counseling from Brother Choy which was part of The Feast’s Pastoral Ministry. After months of counselling, I was better. And it wasn’t just the counselling that helped. The talks at The Feast helped to enlighten me, too. All the talks from Bro. Arun made me realize that I was not alone in that battle. While I was fighting my own demons, God was by my side helping me. The Feast taught me that it is okay and normal to be beaten down as long as you get back up, because God will always be there to support you when you decide to stand up again. And I did stand up again, but now I know I’m stronger because now I know that God is with me.

After the counselling ended, I became better. Even if my school year had a rough start, it ended pretty fine. I tried to do better at the last quarter and the school year ended with me getting 2 academic awards despite the fact that I nearly got a 74 on a particular subject. I even got to represent my region in a nationwide competition. I finally believed all the people who told me that things will get better.

To everyone who are in a dark place right now, just stay put. Light will come and it will shine even brighter in the darkness. Just remember that God is always there for you and that you are not alone in your battles. God is always by your side. To God be the Glory!