53 min
By: ENC Leaders

Episode 13: Is It Okay Not to Be Okay? (Part 1)

In this episode, the Today on Campus hosts interview a licensed counselor, Dr. Tito Almadin, for his insights on how we can deal with the stress and the anxiety that arise from the circumstances we’re in and how we can fight for our holistic health.

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5:28 How do we manage our stress level and emotions with all the challenges and difficulties going on?

  • Difficulties students are facing: social distancing, quarantine, pressures at home, pressures from online schooling.

6:20 SCENARIO 1: Amber’s studies were severely affected because of the quarantine. This led to anxiety because of the uncertainty in her status as a student of her course and because she doesn’t like the feeling of not progressing or not being productive. Her dad and her brother, who were the breadwinners of their family, also lost their jobs. It brought uncertainty about where the provision will come when the ayuda runs out. How can she deal with the anxiety from all the uncertainty and from the feeling of having no progress?

  • A lot of things happen to us that are outside of our control.
  • First, we need to embrace that what we are going through is not normal.
  • Second, we need to realize that we are not alone in what we are going through.
  • Third, we need to do something outside of what we usually do. We don’t need to stick to a particular structure. 
  • One of the strengths of Filipinos is resilience. One way Filipinos build this resilience is to find a hobby. Hobbies can help us manage our tendency to overthink and be overwhelmed by emotions that make it hard for us to move forward. 
  • Ps Tito, “Personally, I don’t use the term move on. It is a form of emotional invalidation that communicates that one’s emotions or experiences are not real. But everyone of us is unique, and therefore how we perceive and respond to experiences may not be the same.” 
  • Take this opportunity to rediscover who you are. Find a creative outlet. Find something that can be of help, not just to you, but also to your family and to the generations to come.
  • We don’t know when this will happen again or how long this circumstance will last. Embrace what you can and can’t control. Give importance to your health–mentally, physically, and emotionally.
  • Don’t overthink to the point where you get paralyzed. Express what you feel, to God and to the people around you, but don’t allow it to grind your life to a halt.
  • Habang may buhay, there’s always a light at the end of the tunnel and a silver lining in every circumstance.
  • It is more important to ask “What have I become?” rather than “What have I done or not done?”
  • By the end of the year, we may find a lot of things that God can yet reveal to us about ourselves.
  • If you feel like you are at a dead end and you need professional help, do seek it, in order for you to have help in processing things. 
  • Jello: It’s good to have a change of mindset, not to focus on every little thing that is happening around us, but to look at what we are able to control: our response to different situations and taking care of our health. 

15:17 Is it normal to feel like you are unproductive?

  • It is normal to be anxious when you feel like you are not being productive, but we are not subject to our emotions.
  • We tend to feel productive only when we are doing something. But we can also be productive when we allow God to do something in our hearts and minds.
  • There are a lot of things happening that are not seen. God may be pulling down wrong mindsets and replacing them with the right ones. He is building our character and our faith.
  • We can start figuring out what we can do little by little.
  • Focus on keeping yourself healthy in all aspects of life.
  • Allow yourself to learn to slow down and allow God to work within us.

19:38 SCENARIO 2: Before the quarantine season, the author was simply concerned about little things like the traffic situation. During this time of lockdown, however, he started to experience new emotions. This season, his insecurities and the pain of the past started to surface, which he found hard to handle. Now that online classes have started, the stress from necessary adjustments adds to the stress of unfamiliar emotions. What practical steps can I take for my mental and emotional health?

  • Social isolation has affected us emotionally, mentally, physically, spiritually, and most of all, relationally.
  • There is a part of our brain that was designed solely to connect relationally with others.
  • When we are relationally handicapped, unwanted emotions spring up and past memories surface. Hence, the painful memories without clarity or closure–offenses, abuses, and emotional wounds–these flow through our minds. 
  • We used to be able to push these memories and emotions aside because we are busy. But now we have time to reflect. Ngayon, di lang dumadaan, nagpa-park pa––overnight parking (haha). 
  • You don’t need to process on your own. Seek the help of a professional counselor, a pastor, a campus missionary, or even a good friend who is mature and has a wide understanding. Choose well who to talk to, someone who won’t be triggered by what you will share and who will listen with empathy and sympathy.
  • People usually just need to be listened to and given patience and understanding. 
  • We tend to know what we already need to do; we just need someone to help us process things, especially when we have reached the threshold of our mental and emotional capability to process on our own.
  • Change is a process and it doesn’t have to happen overnight.   

26:34 What is the role of childhood memories and past experiences in our anxiety?

  • There is always a child in us. Anything that we were deprived of, any abuses we experience, anything that happened to us as children, both good and bad, we carry that with us. 
  • We can grow old biologically, but our responses and our behavior can still stem from our childhood experiences.
  • Yung hugot mo, hindi lang yan galing sa experiences the past five years lang.
  • In our ministry, we are privileged to have people who can help administer healing of the human soul.
  • Don’t be ashamed of the past. It is part and parcel of who you are right now. Each of us has our own hugot that we need healing from. This is part of the reason why Christ died, and the Bible says, “by His wounds we are healed (Isaiah 53:5).”
  • We are all wounded soldiers, God is our wounded Healer. We are being healed by God day in and day out. 
  • We may never forget, but we can move forward. Part of moving forward is subjecting yourself to the healing process. Don’t be ashamed of your healing journey because you are getting better, not worse. Don’t pretend to be so strong that you don’t ask for help. True strength comes from admitting that you are weak and that you need healing in your inner soul.
  • When wounds surface this season, the great thing is that it is brought out into the light so we can confront them, deal with them, and respond better, so that we can live well. Don’t nurture your emotional wounds so that they devour you.
  • When we allow God to subject us to the healing process, we come out of this season more healthy, more self-aware, more dependent on God’s grace, and more real and vulnerable. 

33:55 SCENARIO 3: Since last year, Joy has lessened her social media consumption. And it really helped her initially to focus better on her studies. However, when the pandemic started, and all the social interaction moved online, it was difficult for her to keep up, to the point that she started to withdraw from others and isolate herself. She knows she needs help because she’s no longer okay. How can she deal with the self-imposed isolation?  

  • Don’t be a victim of your feelings. Find something that can make you happy: a conversation that’s light and that can lighten up your mood.
  • Take advantage of the isolation to spend time with God and not just with your own thoughts. You’ll find in the BIble that a lot of godly men and women had their own mental and emotional frustrations that they lifted up to God in prayer.
  • 1. Be honest with your feelings – you can be vulnerable to God about everything that you feel, even the negative emotions.
  • 2. Hold on to the promise of God – our emotions do not have to dictate our decisions. What does God say in His word?
  • 3. Humble yourself before God – it’s a posture that speaks of our dependence on our God in the face of challenging circumstances, trusting in His faithfulness, love, and sovereignty.  
  • 4. Happiness is a choice.

45:40 How can we avoid over-isolation? 

  • Isolation is good when we get to spend time with God and allow His word to shape us.
  • It’s fine to be selective with who to spend time with this season. But don’t isolate yourself from everyone. 

48:20 Dave: There is always hope. Do we have the courage to ask for help when we’re not okay?

49:39 Jello: Recognize the fact that you are not okay, but don’t stop there. Hold on to God’s promises and humbly ask for help from Him and from other people. At the end of the day, it is our choice to be happy. Other people can’t be our source of happiness; it comes from a process of coming humbly before God and casting our anxieties on Him.

Today on Campus is hosted by Dave Estrera and Jello de los Reyes. In this episode, they are joined by a professional counselor and retired pastor, Dr. Tito Almadin. Send him a message on Instagram, @beyondgoodadvice, to inquire about counseling services. 

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