Attack Decay Sustain Release

The ghost of you

Published on 2 November 2019 in the Philippine STAR.


For all that Halloween is my favourite holiday, I have never been a fan of horror. When forced to watch horror films or series, I unapologetically spend the entire duration with my hands over my eyes. I scream along with every audio cue even though I can’t even see the jump scares; a waste of money at the cinema, a source of amusement during the Netflix segment of Netflix and chill. I don’t care how good The Haunting of Hill House is. I am not watching it.

But hot on the heels of All Hallows’ Eve and All Souls Day, I’ve been thinking a lot about ghosts. Real ghosts, the kinds of ghosts that truly haunt you.

Haunting, by definition isn’t actually necessarily scary. Haunting is about frequency. You refer to a place as a haunt when you’re there often. Haunting is a recurring manifestation, it’s something that keeps appearing to you. But also, haunting is about persistence and presence, perhaps a little unwelcome or unwanted.

What are the things that haunt us? How are we haunted?

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Attack Decay Sustain Release

Black holes and revelations

Published on 26 October 2019, in the Philippine STAR.


I think one of the worst things about having clinical depression is the guilt. You want to pretend it’s not there — the emptiness — because you don’t feel like you have any right to it, and you know that there will be people out there who maybe won’t say it to your face, but will be thinking, How dare she? So many people are living infinitely harder lives, and she, with all her privilege and good fortune, has the audacity to be depressed? How ungrateful!

There will be people who will say it aloud, too. In my case, they’ve always been people who didn’t know me at all, and didn’t care to learn. Anonymous strangers on the Internet. Old classmates or distant acquaintances with resentments. And I wished so hard that I could tell them, You don’t have to say these things to me. I already tell myself every single day.

I’m so grateful for my life, and I hate that this illness — because that’s what it is, an illness, real and insidious — makes me feel ungrateful.

Something I wish everyone realised is that no one in their right mind would choose to have this condition. I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy. It’s not a bid for attention. If I wanted attention, I would post a selfie or a picture of myself in a bathing suit like everyone else on the Internet. And sometimes I do. But when I write about heavy things, it’s because they’re incredibly real to me, and I don’t believe in putting on a positive show for social media if it’s rooted in pretense. There’s already too much artifice out there, and it’s so damaging to those who are already vulnerable or haven’t developed the discernment to see it.

But also, it’s because there’s a part of me that needs to know if anyone out there feels the same, because one of the other worst things about depression is feeling completely alone.

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