Monday, June 28, 2021


A decade ago, I decided to start my journey into blogging. I can still vividly see my blog’s purpose. To be my online journal. My own corner in cyberspace where I can pour out my thoughts, rants, small wins, dreams, goals.   

The blog has morphed into something different now. From something very personal, the blog has become more of random experiences as a mom-wife-person.  Admittedly, my blog has brought in the money that I needed for my daily existence. But now, I have realized, that it is time to pour my heart and soul into this entry for my own peace of mind.   

I decided to write an open letter to myself about how this pandemic is affecting my mental health.   

Before we begin, you need to know that my life isn’t perfect and I don’t have all the answers. I do the best I can with what I have and know and share what I have learned so others can improve their lives too. I am still striving each day to survive… just like all of you.   

Dear ME: 

How have you been? Life hasn’t been too easy on you lately, and I am truly sorry about that. But despite it all, you have managed to keep your head up and continue fighting throughout. The past year and a half have been very hard on you.   

You know you are a certified hypochondriac, but the pandemic multiplied this phobia a thousand times. An extreme aversion to germs and fear of illness. Your family has been 100% quarantined for the past year and a half, you’ve seen nobody and gone nowhere. Your anxiety peaks especially when you felt sick, or a family member is sick but you have no choice but to have home treatments, because you dread setting foot in a hospital.

Every single day, you have been battling to get everything in control. Your household, your finances, your online work, your relationships. There is that strong urge to control even the mundane things – maintain a clean house, disinfect all things that get into the house, consume your online orders of perishables before their expiry dates, finishing all the series you have downloaded in just one sitting, the weeds in the garden. Because if your mind loses an opportunity to control things, you are afraid you will also lose your mental health.  

There are days when you binge watch your favorite series “The Big Bang Theory”, even though you know the series by heart. And instead of bouncing out of bed a 7am, you lie there until 9am, throwing a blank stare outside, thinking of a gazillion things to do that you simply do not have the energy to even start doing.  Where did that drive to pursue your life’s passion go?  

You know it is not burnout – you still have the energy. You know it isn’t depression you are feeling, because you don’t feel hopeless. You just feel joyless and aimless. It feels as if your just  muddling through the days, weeks, months. It is as if you are looking to the future through a foggy windshield.   

I think dear me… you are grieving. You are mourning the “loss of normalcy” in your life. What you have known as normal is nowhere to be found. You grieve for the loss of opportunity to travel. Yes, your heart’s desire to travel and explore the world. For a year and a half now, you have not set foot outside of your village. Day in, day out, you only see the four corners of your house. At times, when you can shake off your lazy butt out of the house, you can brisk walk inside the village.  You have lost all the courage to commute and visit the grocery, drug store, convenience store, etc. And you are highly dependent on online buying for things you desperately need and crave.   

As you go through this difficult process, you must remember that you are so strong. And you can get through this. This challenge may break you down. It may make you feel like nothing good will ever happen to you again. It may feel like way too much for you to handle. But that is ok.  Just keep on going through the steps, giving yourself however much time you need to be able to do all them. It’s not a race. It’s a process. And it can only work if you give it the time and effort you deserve.  

But I must say, I congratulate you for surviving this far. With maintaining that grateful stance amidst the challenges of the new normal. And a big pat on the back for taking baby steps towards healing.  

>> When yous put a huge effort in putting a limit to social media daily, to cut back on the negativities proliferating the digital world. 

>> When you consciously maintain an open communication line to friends and family that matter the most. That regular zoom meetings with family is a breath of fresh air. 

>> When you immerse yourself to an engaging DIY house project and find meaningful use of your time and the worries melt away. 

>> When you celebrate small wins. When I saw that huge smile on your face when you learned how to edit, score and make graphics for your own youtube channel; When you jumped for joy when you harvested your first kamote, kangkong and talong;  

>> When you learned to say no to toxic people who felt they can demand for your time 24-7 because you simply work from home. 

>> When your show’s host complimented a script that you wrote and recommended you for another show, and you felt super accomplished. 

>> When you are grateful for the achievements of your children in their respective universities despite the hard challenges of online learning. 

>> When you and your husband still have the luxury of working from home  

Above all, thank you for being brave to admit that you are not at the peak of your mental health. It is very much OK to feel bad about that toxic positivity being thrown at you. When people say, “don’t be sad, instead be grateful” or “you are lucky you have work and you are not sick”!  Your feelings are valid. It is your truth. And you have every right to feel sad and work your way out of your gloom. IT IS OK!    

I know life has been tough for you the past year and a half but you have done quite a good job to stay alive.  Thank you for not giving up. You know, I am extremely proud that you managed to survive through.  

It is said that trials and calamities / hardships are the greatest blessings and lessons in disguise. These hardships force us into a new and better versions of us.  

As I am writing this letter, you have not fully figured out how your life will be yet. You are not even sure if you will agree to be vaccinated. You are not sure if you can let go of your fear and be able to step out of the house again.   

But let’s make a pact.  Come back to re-read this letter 3 years later, and update me how you are doing. I truly hope that by that time, you have found your happiness and that you have followed a path that you are proud of.  

Continue to be strong. Do not stop loving. Do not stop caring. Be kind always.  Above all else, be true to yourself. 

Love you always, Me :)

This story is an entry to Comco Southeast Asia's "Write To Ignite Blogging Project Season 2: Dear Survivor."  The initiative continues to respond to the need of our times, as every story comes a long way during these period of crisis. The initiative aims to pull and collate powerful stories from the Philippine blogging communities to inspire the nation to rise and move forward amidst the difficult situation. The "Write to Ignite Blogging Project" Season 2 is made possible by Comco Southeast Asia, with Eastern Communications  and Jobstreet as co-presenters, and with Airasia and Xiaomi  as major sponsors. 

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