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Past struggles with depression and anxiety make Heart stronger amid COVID-19

By: - Reporter
/ 12:01 AM September 15, 2020

Heart Evangelista

Reflecting on her struggles with depression and anxiety, Heart Evangelista surmised that what she had gone through may have, in a way, helped her become better equipped to keep her mental health in check—especially with COVID-19’s shadow still looming large.

“Mas matatag ako, mas matibay ako. But of course, there are moments when I can’t help but feel scared or worried. My God, there have been lots of instances like that,” she said in an email interview for the feminine hygiene product brand Kotex Luxe, which she endorses.

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“But I feel that, mentally, I can handle them, because of what I have experienced in the past,” the GMA 7 star added.

Heart dealt with depression after miscarrying her twins with husband, Sorsogon Gov. Chiz Escudero, in 2018. Last November, she had a major bout of anxiety that lasted until February this year. And it ended up having physical manifestations:

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Her hands and feet would go numb; she also developed what is called Burning Mouth Syndrome, a condition that produces scalding or tingling sensations in the mouth and other areas around it.

“Prior to the pandemic, I went through anxiety—a very, very bad episode. And at the time, I didn’t understand how it started, where it came from, how it happened, why it was happening to me,” she recalled.

But as they always say, “this, too, shall pass.” “We have to hold on to hope that we will be OK eventually. We have to pray, and, as hard as it is, we have to have a little bit more hope,” related Heart, who’s also known for philanthropy and work in fashion and visuals arts.

As Kotex ambassador, Heart will participate in an empowerment campaign called “Love Yourself a Little More,” which aims to encourage Filipino women to rethink their self-worth, and promote self-love—something the 35-year-old actress has had to learn through the years. It was a process, she said. While she was already considered one of showbiz’s “it” girls in her teenage years, Heart still harbored insecurities about her looks and her capabilities as an actress.

“I’m only 5’2”. And when I’m surrounded by all these perfect-looking, beautiful women, you feel a bit insecure—especially in our industry where looks matter. And then as I got older, I went through a phase where I felt like, ‘I have nothing more to give. I had doubts,’” she related.

Looking back, Heart feels that she may had been a little too hard on herself when she was younger. But in the end, it was her perceived flaws that shaped her into becoming the woman she is now.

“When I started to discover myself more, let go and understand my insecurities and fears, I started to build my characters as a person. I started giving myself a pat on the back and that really made me feel good. It all starts by loving oneself and being able to share that love to the people around you.” said Heart, who’s also set to appear on “Love Yourself Live: How Self-Love Can Save You”—a Facebook Live event on Oct. 10 at 7 p.m.Heart has been shuttling between Manila and Sorsogon as of late, juggling charity work to help people affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, and initiating projects to support Sorsoganon artists who have been reeling from canceled orders and trade fairs.

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Last month, Heart launched Maison Love Marie, an online store that puts the spotlight on locally made clothes, arts and crafts culled from all over the province. “A big percentage goes back to the artisans, to help them build businesses. And I hope more people order, so I can give them more, so they can have a fresh start,” she said.

What’s left of the sales she uses to buy necessities for children in local orphanages. “I shop for them, especially now that no one travels and visits them,” related Heart, who stressed the importance of paying it forward.

“I feel that there’s so much love being given to me that I should give more love. So that’s what I have been doing,” she said. “In this time when everyone’s going through the pandemic, I think it’s important that we give as much love as we can. No amount is too small; it all makes a difference in everyone’s life.” INQ

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