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Filipino celebs who've bravely opened up on their mental health struggles

By PhilSTAR L!fe Published Oct 10, 2020 4:31 am Updated Oct 10, 2020 4:35 am

Many people mistake 'artista life' as one that is filled with glitz and glamour. But outside the limelight, many celebrities are hiding battles with depression. Goes to show that money and fame do not spare anyone from mental illness.

In time for World Mental Health Day, PhilSTAR L!fe lists down some local celebrities who have spoken up about their fight against depression.

By raising their voices, these famous people show that mental health is not a joke and can be successfully treated. 

JM de Guzman

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JM de Guzman has always been open about his mental health disorders.

He entered rehab in 2013 before making a showbiz comeback through the 2015 film That Thing Called Tadhana. In November 2015, he admitted battling "anxiety, bipolar (disorder), and depression" in a now-deleted Instagram post. Not long after, he took another rehabilitation program that he said lasted for "almost three years."

The 31-year-old actor continues to brave his sickness up until recently when he posted a video of his ordeal on Instagram. Uploaded on August 17, 2020, JM's video showed how he strives to calm himself down with ice and a wet towel during his panic attacks. 

He wrote in his caption, "This is what my panic disorder looks like—4:00 a.m. [in the] middle of good sleep, intense waves of emotions and rapid heartbeat that'll make you feel you are about to pass out or die. I use ice to slow down the heartbeat and to feel my face because my body is numb, over powered by emotions. This maybe caused by a painful trauma in the past. I managed to record this because somehow im learning to cope with it and just hoping others might relate and to let you know you're not alone."

He went on to give advice to those living with the same condition: "If you have this, too, put ice on your face, head, hand, and body. Just pray and (take) deep breaths and make the people around you understand your condition. Tell them to stop asking questions and just be there so the attack will subside quicker, rather than triggered. It'll be over after 30 or 40 mins and you'll be fine. Keep telling that to yourself so that's the only thing running inside your mind. Just a little exhausting. Keep safe. #TobeAwareistobeAlive"

Heart Evangelista

Heart's depression started in 2018. She triumphed over it by seeking help from experts. Photo from @iamhearte on Instagram

With a life filled with designer clothes, exclusive passes to runway shows, posh condo, plus a happy marriage with politician Chiz Escudero, it's not hard to tell that Kapuso star Heart Evangelista seems to have it all.

Unknown to many, the 36-year-old actress also had her share of struggles with her mental health. Heart recounted this on GMA-7's magazine show Kapuso Mo Jessica Soho aired on May 24, 2020.

Heart said her depression started back in May 2018. Earlier that month, Heart announced that she was pregnant with twin babies. Right after two weeks, she had a miscarriage. "When I lost my babies, I had a slight depression," she told Jessica.

Heart managed to fight through depression until it recurred in November 2019. But this time, it manifested on her body.

She recounted, "This November, nag-manifest kasi siya sa katawan ko. Naging numb 'yung mga paa ko, pati 'yung kamay ko na pang-paint, ito (right hand), wala po akong maramdaman dito. It's called the Burning Tongue Syndrome. Basically, people just live with this condition na parang nasusunog yung bibig mo. 'Tapos minsan, kumakalat siya sa gums, and it's very painful. Hindi ako nag-iimbento ng anything. As in, 'Nababaliw na ba ako? Ano ba ito?' Kahit nung birthday ko po, yung mga post ko po, happy-happy. Pero, sa totoo lang, may pinagdadaanan talaga ako nun."

The Kapuso star revealed that part of it was caused by the harsh feedback that, like most public figures, have been receiving on social media.

She explained, "Without me knowing din na yung pressure ng social media, yung pressure ng tao, na kailangan lagi kang maganda, kailangan kang nauuna. Although, hindi naman ako super ganun, siguro subconsciously minsan pag may mga nagsasabi tungkol sa iyo, akala mo hindi ka naapektuhan. But then, it affects you and nag-pa-pile up siya. So, yes, nagkaroon po ako ng depression and anxiety. I battled for quite some time."

She added, "I went to seven doctors. Sabi nila, yung cause ng sa akin can be extreme anxiety, and then it manifests on your body kasi sa sobrang stress."

Heart went on to tell people suffering from anxiety and depression not to be afraid to seek medical help: "Pag masyado nang malakas yung boses sa loob ng isip mo, I think it's time to go. Kasi sometimes your fears, nandiyan lang sila. Parang na-o-overpower niya na utak mo. Pag hindi na talaga kaya, you need to see a doctor. Hindi dapat itaya yung buhay mo dahil nahihiya ka pumunta sa doktor or nahihiya ka mag-open up about it. There is a way you can be fixed. Ask help and don't be afraid of it. So that's what I did."

Sofia Andres

Sofia Andres dealt with her suicidal thoughts by consulting a psychologist and turning to prayer. Photo from @iamsofiaandres on Instagram

Sofia Andres surprised her fans mid this year when she announced herself as a new mom to her now 10-month-old baby Zoe. The Kapamilya actress couldn't be any happier with her new bundle of joy. But years before becoming a mom, Sofia had to overcome anxiety, too.

She admitted it through a series of tweets on May 30, 2018. Sofia started, "Since everyone opened up about mental health and self-awareness, to be honest, I have been dealing with anxiety, and it’s so bad. You guys must do appreciate people around you no matter what. You might not need them now but eventually, you will. #spreadthelove"

"I have been struggling and don’t know how will I prevent it. Started going to a therapist and go counseling for a couple of times. Anxiety is anxiety. We don’t know when is it going to attack you. Yes, I am always worried with everything, literally everything," she continued.

Lastly, she said, 'Let’s be brave, you guys."

Sofia revealed that she has triumphed over the disease when members of the press visited the set of ABS-CBN primetime show Bagani on July 25, 2018. She said, Ano lang... prayers lang, psychologist, therapist. Mind kasi talaga is very powerful, e. You have to control it also. Parang subconscious 'yan na parang you have to make this problem, kailangan mo itong isipin, kailangan mo itong gawin. Before, honestly I tried to kill myself through sleeping pills but I got scared. Nandun pa rin si God na nagsasalita, 'tapos biglang may... mahirap, mahirap siya."

Jasmine Curtis-Smith

Jasmine Curtis-Smith was no exception to the negativity of showbiz. She then sought help from medical experts while reading self-help books.

GMA-7 actress Jasmin Curtis-Smith admitted going through years of anxiety and depression during her talk in the You, Me, Empathy seminar in May 2019.

"Over those few years that I was going through this (anxiety and depression). I was working less, I had a lot of personal commitments to my family that I was attending to, and I was also trying to figure out kung ano ba talaga ang gagawin ko sa buhay ko," she said.

Jasmine revealed that her depression was triggered by the constant bashing that celebrities like her have to endure at work. She elaborated, "I knew I was in this industry and I knew I could act and I could deliver… but I wasn't sure if I could handle everything that was part of it which was the showbiz, the chismis, the bashing…we are all prone to all of that but unfortunately our industry makes it harder to deal with it. I was busy empathizing for everyone else that I forgot to see what I needed. 'Di ko napansin na nahihirapan na pala ako, 'di ko na pala kaya."

But Jasmine was not one to let negativity control her life. She then took therapy with medical experts, while reading self-help books.

"Andun 'yung isip ko na it all starts with one person, kung kaya mong simulan 'yun, marami kang kayang matuturuan. I'm so privileged and happy na nagagawa ko 'yun," she remarked.

Paulo Avelino

After battling depression, Paulo Avelino tells everyone not to let fear hinder them from voicing out their emotions.

Paulo Avelino received an outpour of support after sharing his untold story on depression. In his Instagram post on November 5, 2019, Paulo revealed that he used to hurt himself, thinking that this is the "only way out" of the disease.

"Years back, I found myself in a place where I only saw one way out. I went through a spiraling journey of depression and suicidal thoughts— Where everything seemed like nothing matters anymore. Locked myself at home, turned down almost every job that came in, and shut myself off from work, friends, family, the world," he said.

Paulo continued, "I am introvert. And as an introverted person, I was so used to keeping my thoughts to myself. Even when I wanted to share stuff, I truly didn’t know how to. I didn't know how to voice out all these feelings and thoughts inside me. So here I am sharing with you guys that even the people who appear to be okay or who seem to 'have it all' might be going through their own struggles, fighting their own demons."

Paulo decided to confess about his condition, knowing how much of a help it could be for those going through the same situation.

He explained, "RARELY do I share personal stuff on my social media accounts, but I think its time I talked about this dark period in my life because I know that someone out there is going through the same thing. I want you to know that everybody has issues and sometimes you seeing other people have them will help you cope with your own."

He added, "Please, don't be afraid to reach out to your friends, family, and loved ones. Oftentimes people will brush it off thinking it's nothing to be concerned about or it's a small matter. Don't be scared to voice out what you feel no matter how hard it is. Never lose HOPE. If you aren't ready to open up to the people closest to you, you can also reach out and call Hopeline."

Hopeline is a suicide prevention and crisis support hotline offering help to those in need. You may get in touch with them at 0917-558-4673, 0918-873-4673, or 2919 for Globe and Touch Mobile subscribers.

Banner image taken from @1migueldeguzman, @iamhearte, @iammichaelfugnit, and @iamsofiaandres on Instagram