Maxene Magalona recently opened up about her struggles with a mental health condition.
In an interview with Toni Gonzaga, the actress talked about a toxic time in her life following the death of her father, rapper Francis Magalona, in 2009. Francis was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia in 2008 and passed away after succumbing to multiple organ failure "secondary to severe sepsis and secondary to pneumonia."
"I was 21 or 22 at the time," Maxene recalled. "I didn’t realize this back then, but I was unconsciously trying to fill a void when he passed away. I turned to partying, drinking alcohol every day, tapos nagrarason pa 'ko na, 'Ganito kasi 'pag namatayan, e.'"
Maxene considered Francis her best friend and saw so much of herself in him. Her destructive lifestyle would continue for five more years.
"Hindi na talaga healthy. It was a very toxic time in my life where I was just really denying what I was feeling. I was running away from all the uncomfortable feelings."
Maxene's husband, Rob Mananquil, encouraged her to seek therapy. Maxene said she hit rock bottom when she would project negative emotions toward Rob and become abusive with her words. She realized it had become a vicious cycle because she would feel guilty about her episodes, apologize, and then repeat the same actions a few days later.
"Rage. I didn't know that it was already psychological and emotional abuse."
"Kunwari, 'pag may sinabi siya sa akin, pipitik na 'ko, tapos kaagad magagalit, tapos kung ano-ano na sasabihin ko."
Maxene also revealed her aggressive behavior during these episodes.
"My most rock bottom was when I was starting to punch walls and kick doors," she shared.
Maxene was diagnosed with complex post-traumatic stress disorder or CPTSD, which she explained begins in childhood and involves certain interpersonal relationships. While she did not indicate the specific event in her life which caused her CPTSD, she did discuss its common triggers, such as abuse, neglect, bullying, or having emotionally unavailable parents.
"Basta someone that you spend a lot of time and energy with and then napapasa yung energy and then nagkakaroon ng co-dependent relationship," Maxene explained.
"Complex post-traumatic stress disorder starts in childhood and it grows with you. It's layers upon layers of trauma."
Maxene made the conscious decision to "heal naturally" because of her past dependence on alcohol and her party lifestyle, also because of the "addictive personality" that she said she inherited from Francis.
Learning about her condition led her to become more mindful, more aware, and to understand herself more deeply. Maxene said she only learned how to love when she started doing therapy, yoga, meditation, and developed a stronger connection to God.
Maxene credits a big part of her natural healing to yoga. In 2020, she and Rob were stranded in Bali amid the pandemic. The couple was attending a yoga teacher training course at that time and they were only supposed to stay from February to March. They ended up staying in Bali for an entire year.
"I went there with the intention of healing my anxiety, my stress, and my mental health," Maxene said. "I really believe God put me there for a reason."
"'This is the perfect opportunity for me to practice surrender.'"
These days, Maxene keeps herself busy with her yoga practice and an online community for "soul care, self-cultivation, compassionate self-inquiry, and mental health." She is also part of ABS-CBN's series, Viral, which includes stars such as Charlie Dizon, Joshua Garcia, Dimples Romana, and Jake Cuenca.
"I'm a big, big advocate of mental health," Maxene said. "I really believe that we should speak more about it more openly, that we should talk about it just like we talk about physical health."
"Right now, I'm at a point in my life where I just choose to hold myself with compassion and with gentleness. No pressure. Go with the flow, knowing that I am doing my best."