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#SorryNotSorry: I Took A One-Week VL For My Mental Health

PHOTO: Courtesy of Mixi Ignacio

Before I filed for vacation leave, I had been feeling down for weeks. In my gut, I knew something was wrong...but I couldn't figure out what it was. Coupled with being overwhelmed with my work, though, I just felt like it was time to step back and take a break. 

I talked (read: broke down) to my superior about how I was feeling, and he told me I might be having a quarter-life crisis. I was honestly shocked because the idea didn't even seem like a possibility to me until our conversation. I was also experiencing wild mood swings, so after our conversation, I took the following week off to take care of my mental health. Here's how that week went.

Day 1

When I woke up, I jumped out of bed and quickly went to my sister's room. I was greeted by an empty bed. They left me, I thought. I panicked until I realized that I was on a break! Gising, Mixi. I went back to sleep until around 10:00 a.m. I woke up to a reminder from my raket that I have deliverables, lol. It was pretty chill, so I didn't mind. 

What to do today? I checked our work chat to see how my teammates are doing. I love them as friends and I was FOMO-ing really hard. First day pa lang, sisMy boyfriend clocks out at 4:00 p.m. so I was alone with my thoughts till then. 

Day 1: Coffee run with my brother; tried figuring out what I wanted to do the rest of the week. Courtesy of Mixi Ignacio

In the afternoon, I got iced coffee with my brother 'cause I was bored at home, and I still needed coffee to function as a human being.

Today, I felt limitless. I felt powerful 'cause I had so much time. I also felt like I was in college again.

Day 2

I woke up in a daze today. I felt like a week had passed. Second day pa lang ba talaga? But at the same time, I felt like I was losing time during my break. Haha! I still didn't have any plans for the rest of the week.

Day 2: Spent the entire day with my thoughts, lounging in my room.   Courtesy of Mixi Ignacio

I spent my day in bed thinking about stuff. I only went out of my room to eat. In general, I'm extra loud on social media when I've got nothing else to do, so I kind of got into something on Twitter today.

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What a day.

Day 3

I woke up around 2:00 p.m. 

My boyfriend invited me to a gig of an old friend. We weren't able to get in because we totally forgot how ~*big*~ he is now! He has *a lot* of fangirls. They were calling him cute? Pogi?! 

We got to see him after the show instead. Haha! I must say that I'm proud of what he has become.

Day 3: I finally made *real* plans and went out to support a friend at his gig. Courtesy of Mixi Ignacio

After that, I hung out with my friends at Little Tokyo in Makati for a bit. The last time I had a night like this was in 2016. I felt like I was transported back to that fun and youthful time in my life—when everything was easier. 

Day 4

I was asleep the whole day and got up at 3:00 p.m. I went to an art exhibit with my brother. 


It felt nice to see art again. I wondered when I stopped going to museums for fun. The exhibit inspired me quite a bit. I wanted to paint but: Resources? Time? Ano?

Day 4: A day spent admiring art, wondering what I'd like to create next. Courtesy of Mixi Ignacio

I promised myself I'd wake up early tomorrow. Sayang araw. 

Day 5

My dad had a minor injury, and it shook me. I wasn't ready. Because my mom is on vacation, I was responsible for everything in the house. I freaked out. I didn't know what to do, so I messaged my mom. Should we bring him to the hospital?! Is this an emergency?!

My dad turned out to be fine, but I still felt guilty that I couldn't make fast decisions. I couldn't decide for myself and I needed *adult* supervision. My brother is a lot stronger than me…it eats me up inside. 

Day 5: My family.  Courtesy of Mixi Ignacio

Day 6

My boyfriend came over last night. We ate ramen. We woke up really early.

Do weekends have a different sunlight? I love mornings that make you feel warm inside. Is my dad okay? He is. How can I spend more time with him?

I cleaned my room. Doing so is a kind of therapy—and it works for me.

Day 6: I cleaned my room today, to give myself a fresh start. Courtesy of Mixi Ignacio

I'm a sentimental person so I hoard a lot of things like movie tickets, posters, brochures from museums, and ripped magazine pages. They were all over my vision board. I happily took some of it off to give it (and me) a fresh start. 

Day 7

After a lot of lazy moments, I finished cleaning my room and organizing my space. Call me Marie Kondo. Funny how I consider myself sentimental but I easily discarded things I didn't need anymore.

I also finally applied to driving school. I know, I had a full week but only remembered it on the last day. But hey! Small achievements, right?

I ended my weekend by watching El Camino on Netflix. It was awesome.

Day 7: Netflix and chill till the end. Courtesy of Mixi Ignacio


Everything I learned during my mental health break:

  • Don't let guilt be your driving force 'cause it'll only eat you up inside, and you won't feel nice doing it.
  • Learn to say no.
  • Responsibilities exist and you can't just turn your back away from it.
  • Slaves to feelings and emotions don't know discipline.
  • Rest when needed.

Thanks to my break, I was able to rest physically and emotionally. I was able to have time to contemplate the big things. While I still feel this void that I don't know how to fill, I am grateful that I pressed pause to catch up with myself. I can't deny the privilege I have for taking this break, and for that, I'll always be grateful.

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