it's taken me awhile to realize that i have what many pilipinxs either know they have and don't want to admit it, or just don't know that they have it: a smiling depression. even today, while in a deep talk with a great friend about mental health in the university setting, i have to remind myself that there's a reason why i might not feel so great on the inside. though i smile and can function everyday, it's like there's a weight in my sternum that restricts me from feeling actually good. and not like good because it's a good day, but good because i'm mentally and physically good. although i might've had a good first week of school where i actually focused on writing my thesis, for some odd reason, i just feel that i'm still lying to myself when i say that i'm better. it's an odd phenomenon because i have to remind myself that especially with chronic depression, where one just feels apathetic for more than 2 weeks, and it's been more than that, that i do need to be kind to myself and can't automatically be better. it's been 13 years since i lost my mom and my mental health issues have never been addressed, until now. and i feel that learning to tell this story will allow me to do some healing.