A stable life balances an unstable mind

2016 was a peak year for me. It was the era when I was at my most stable. Had a career as a music photographer. Had a girl. Had a guaranteed support system. Had a life – a real one where I was actually living. I was, for all intents and purposes, a functional human being with a clear direction.


I knew what I was waking up to in those days. I had reasons to wake up to, instead of waking up out of necessity. I wanted to live, not just ‘need to live.’


These days, even most of last year, everything’s a God damend mess. Nothing’s affixed. Nothing lasts longer than it should. Thought I’d restart a music career. Went nowhere. Lost the momentum and finally accepted that music isn’t for me. Now I’m back to film photography, and I am once again doubting if it’s the right path to take.


Hell, it’s the only path right now. Not that I have any qualms about it – I was a better photographer than anything I’ve ever done, really. Photography is second nature to me.


I do, right now, feel the need to reclaim the state I was in back in 2016. That’s been the goal, anyway – stability. A stable life balances an unstable mind. Got to thinking that I should recreate the state I was in. Sell my old car and purchase a digital camera and photography gear and go back to being “John Mari A. Marcelo, Photographer.” I do sorely miss digital photography. I can do film photography for personal projects, digital for work.


Sounds like a plan, right? But is it feasible? Is it doable? Damned if I know. I’ve been uncertain of too many things lately.


Battle Notes


Before writing this, I tell myself that I don’t know how I managed to survive without my anti-anxiety pills for a month. That’s not really true. I managed because I did whatever I can to survive. I will admit that there were unhealthy coping mechanisms – nothing too extreme – but I do consider them unhealthy. I’ve been sleeping the anxiety off, overeating (pizza budget was exceeded,) negative/dark thoughts…

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Providence & New Ghosts

I say this with no confirmation as getting it would be impossible at this point, but my mother may have passed her mental health issue on to me. Genetics play a crucial factor in our wellbeing. That’s a scientific fact. Heart issues run in my father’s side of the family. I have one. Nothing major, but it’s there. On my mother’s side, well, that’s one where nothing can ever be known. My mother’s family is a black hole to me, unfortunately.

After my mother’s funeral, her whole family cut ties with us. I don’t know why, but I can speculate. Her sister, whom I assume she was close with, blames my father for my mother’s suicide. We’ve tried reaching out the only way we can: by leaving our contact info to the caretaker of the Marcelo mausoleum to give to the Aunt that is a stranger to me. I may have passed her, or anyone from my mother’s family, on the street and I’d never know it.

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An Open Letter

An Open Letter

My dearest ______,


If you’re reading this, then it could only mean one thing: I’m in a much better place. If you’re reading this, then I have finally done what I should have done a million years ago. If you’re reading this, it means that I was too tired of fighting, of everything – the voices, the constant dread, the hell I was in, my skin that seemed like it was never my own, everything about myself – and needed that way out. That final step.

If you know me, you’d know by now that I have clinical depression. It bears repeating. I have clinical depression. I HAVE CLINICAL DEPRESSION.

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The Aftermath of 3/12/2016’s Battle

The Aftermath of 3/12/2016’s Battle

I wrote the following last night. Had an anxiety attack as I was writing it.


My honeymoon period with my anti-depressants is over. It’s been over for about a month now, if I’m not mistaken. I’m afraid. Everything’s real now. That constant rise of my emotional momentum has begun to normalize. Up and down. Rise and fall.

On those first months with Escitalopram, I felt so much lighter. My head was on the clouds. On a high. Happiness. Medicated happiness. I felt an optimism that I’ve never felt before. Positivity without the danger of slipping back into the darkness.

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Always At War With Self

I often worry about what I say to the friends who ask me for advice about problems or issues regarding their mental health. I’m not an expert. I don’t do scholarly reading on matters pertaining to mental health. Although I have been wanting to, frankly. I delay such activities as I have this habit of getting dumbfounded at the technicalities. I’d end up staring into the blankest of spaces trying to decipher what the fuck I just read.

Anyway, yeah, I know how dangerous saying the wrong words is. I know how sensitive and malleable the mind of those who are at the end of their rope is. I’ve been there. I’m still there, in fact. I may be a hundred times better than who I was. I may seem a completely different person – positive and more joyous – but I’m still there. I still feel that dread, that paranoia. I still feel the anxiety and the isolation. Only what’s changed is I can handle it better. Most days, at least.

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The Aftermath of 2/21/2016’s Battle

Like most wars, it started with a girl. Sort of. It was the stressor in a thousand other different triggers that I had overlooked because my mind was too focused on positivity. That one drop that finally filled the brim.

It might seem shallow. Even I admitted that to myself when I was entrenched in another bout with my damaged psyche last night. “You’re fucking shallow” and “You’re God damned fucking shallow” become two of my spoken repeated mantras last night. But it wasn’t about a girl. Not precisely. It was about how my mind is now.

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