Depression hides behind metaphors and similes. Beneath the charm that exudes in an individual, its glimmer remains visible in the eyes of the beholder. My parents saw it.
The moment I told my parents that I’d be hiking over the weekend for an outreach program, they asked to bring my brother with me. Eyebrows almost meeting, I inquired the sudden interest. Though I have been hiking for quite some time, my parents are still not solid with the thought of me on the outdoors. So imagine my disbelief with the shift when they opened the idea of my brother hiking with me.
We live in a small house and there’s not enough room for us to hide secrets from each other. Recently, we found out that my brother had his major heartbreak. It started as an inside joke among us until we saw him having a piercing, resigning from his job, and getting bullied online for a drunken photo and dejected musings. Such alarmed my parents. Hence, the unusual suggestion. They thought the mountains could heal him – which I doubted for I saw many relationships forged and separated by the mountains. But if there’s one thing that the mountains could be of help with, it’s the experience with the trail and the people you are with that changes everything. And so I tagged him along.
We hiked the infamous Babag Range, caroled amongst the household, and shared our little blessings to the kids and families that lived far from the city proper. It was an exhausting activity but a great venue for him to meet new people whose line of interest worked differently from his. He endured the steep, ascending trails all the way to Busay and tasted the refreshingly cold water from the spring nearby. Unlike me, he took no interest on these kinds of activities. Though we grew up together and played almost the same games, adulting separated us. While I fell in love with hiking, he grew fascinated with BMX exhibition rides and spent most of his time practicing stunts and buying parts that costs more than the sum of my hiking gears. And though we live in the same household, we barely get to see each other. The moment I go to work, he’s asleep and the moment he arrives from work, I’m asleep. I hope you get the picture.
As the hike commenced, I realized that it wasn’t only a diversion for him – to forget for the meantime how he felt. It was mostly for me. While I got too busy complaining about work, hiking on weekends, and writing these words in the blog, I forgot that he was also facing his own battles – alone. We were no longer the tag team. I got too busy “growing up”, forgetting he’s also growing older – and facing more struggles the way I did. Sadly, I was not there for him. Like most of us.
Cases of depression has been escalating these days. And we have to be very vigilant with not only with our loved ones, but most especially with ourselves. It is a battle we’ve always been trying to cope. Symptoms are barely seen, but prevention can always be made. In these struggling times, I hope you give time to talk, observe, and (if allowed) travel with your siblings. More than anything else, we have to be there for each other. No, this is not an easy topic to talk about, but by just being, we may be able to alleviate what they are feeling inside. Listen. Feel. Share a bit of your time.