In a "Me Time With Mitch" episode on her YouTube channel, Michelle Madrigal talks about her mental health, specifically the trauma she's experienced, her coping mechanisms, and what depression was like for her.
Michelle was discovered when she was just 13 years old. Two years later, she joined Star Circle Quest: "At the time, kinailangan kong tumanda or mag-mature right away because of my experiences when I was younger...I think nadala ko yung emotions and the trauma and yung anxiety hanggang sa teenager ako...I couldn't talk to anybody." It was during a time when, as a society, we weren't open about the thoughts that consumed as, and Michelle dealt with it through rebellion.
"I was partying almost every single night, as in self-destructive talaga. Why? To numb the pain because I wasn't able to express that growing up. And I guess, during my teenage years, I was finding ways and at the same time, I was having troubles with my parents. My mom, specifically." Michelle left the house at 16 years old and has been "providing for herself" since then.
"I was really lost. I was depressed. I was always, always drinking...every single night, kahit pagod ako from work, I would just drink because I didn't want to feel that pain." At 21, she got a contract with GMA, re-evaluated her life, and made some changes. "Instead of running away from my emotions, instead of drinking or whatever, I was able to actually sit [with] my feelings and think of why I'm feeling a certain why. Basta just getting to know my emotions...It took some time."
Michelle also said that she found the right friends: "Since I started acting, I would have celebrity friends here and there but I never really got close to them because I opened up my friendships to people [who] I knew would add value to me." She turned to more mature people who were like her role models.
When she was 15, her first relationship ended and this was when she experienced "severe depression." Michelle shared, "I was sharing the room with my sister, and for one week straight, nasa kama lang ako. I didn't eat. The lights were off. I didn't want to get out of bed. And I don't share this story often, but my sister saw me at my worst."
Now, it's still a process for the former actress. "I actually realized my patterns. The reason I was never able to move past or release or let go of those emotions before, because I never really learned. I never asked myself questions, and it's really important for you to do that."
Michelle opened up about experiencing depression again when she became a mom. "I could be watching TV, a funny show, with Anika, while breastfeeding and then bigla akong iiyak. And then I had all those negative thoughts. You know, what am I going to do with my life?" She said that being away from family made it extra difficult. A few months after giving birth, Michelle was looking forward to going back home but was devastated by the news of her dad passing away. "That was one of the worst things because I was still recovering from postpartum depression and then I was going to go through another depression... How do you pull yourself from that, right?" That was the time she turned to fitness.
She also touched upon the importance of being willing to have these hard conversations. "If a friend comes to you, really dig deeper and talk to them because you'll never know what they're going through."
Hear more about Michelle Madrigal's mental health journey below:
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