Vice Ganda shares with Edward Barber how he battled depression
I try to reach out to young people like Edward (Barber) because I know how it’s like to feel depressed and helpless,” said comedian Vice Ganda, who admitted to have successfully battled depression, first, as a teenager, then as an adult only last year.
During the recent press conference for his latest film “Fantastica,” Vice said he felt he needed to reach out to his costar Edward after he noticed that the 18-year-old actor would often sit quietly in one corner, looking lonely and tired.
“Edward said he was feeling confused because before joining ‘PBB,’ he wanted to pursue a different profession. He was trying to figure out if this was what he wanted for himself,” Vice told reporters. “I told him that he has to find the purpose of what he is doing. Edward said his goal was to save money for his family’s future, as well as to get for himself what he felt he deserved.”
Edward placed fourth in the seventh season of the reality TV show, “Pinoy Big Brother.” He is half of the popular onscreen tandem MayWard (the other half is Maymay Entrata).
“I told him that he should think of what he is doing now as a big opportunity to fulfill his goals; that if he tries to change his outlook in life, he would be able to appreciate the blessings he is currently being given,” Vice added.
The comedian said he also tried to convince Edward “to give back to other people … [so] you will no longer feel tired and sad,” Vice said.
Vice said that since he had gone through something similar, he had become more conscious of what’s happening to people around him, especially the youth.
“They’re my market. I make them laugh,” he pointed out. “I make sure I’m aware of social issues they’re facing. I know that depression, stress and suicide are rampant. The Philippines is one of the countries in Southeast Asia with a high suicide rate. When I see someone who [may be] experiencing great sadness, I get nervous. I do what I can to reach out.”
Vice declared: “It happened to me.”
He added, but refused to elaborate, that he tried to commit suicide when he was 19. “I eventually sought professional help. It helped, but what was more important to me were the kind words of the people around me.”
He also confessed to experiencing depression again recently—when he was busy for a concert in the United States in May. “I often felt anxious. I couldn’t sleep, and I felt out of control. I would find myself crying for no reason. I would be present on the set of ‘It’s Showtime,’ but I felt like I was merely dragging myself to work. I knew it wasn’t normal, but I couldn’t pinpoint what was causing the sadness.”
Despite the experience, Vice said he felt blessed because he was “surrounded by intelligent and pure-hearted people.” He had a support group, he said, and it included couple Ogie Alcasid and Regine Velasquez.
“Sila ang sumasampal, bumabatok, at sumasabunot sa akin,” he shared with the Inquirer. “They would tell me, ‘Ihinto na. ’Di na tama. Awat na.’ May mga taga-yugyog ako.” He considered them his extended family members, Vice said. “They felt what I was going through, so they reached out to me.”
Vice then recalled what he thought was the most important lesson he learned from Ogie and Regine. “They said, ‘The mind is the playground of the devil.’ He does things that will make you lose focus. He will make you feel that you’re not worth loving. He will make you want to stop wanting to be alive. It’s only the heart that’s pure—only God can reside in it. Once you’ve realized this, you will know how to face the devil and win against him.”
“Fantastica,” an official entry in the 2018 Metro Manila Film Festival, also stars Dingdong Dantes and Richard Gutierrez. Barry Gonzales is at the helm.