When I was younger, I was a bouncing ball of yellow light. I was always smiling, always radiating with energy. I didn’t know how and when it started, but one day, I woke up realizing I’m an entirely different person.
From a deeply outgoing young woman who was always the life of the party, I transformed into someone who always bailed out. Don’t get me wrong. I love my friends, and I was always excited to see them. But I always felt so tired, and I used that as an excuse to flake out.
Most days, I really felt exhausted, to the point that I fell asleep doing mundane tasks. I fell asleep while eating, while chatting with my best friend, while changing into my pambahay. During one of the rare times my Mom stayed at my apartment, she saw me lying on the bathroom floor and panicked. She thought I was dead, but really, I just fell asleep on the floor while attempting an evening shower.
It was, however, not the kind of sleep that energizes the body — it was a shallow, fitful semblance of sleep that leaves me exhausted in the morning.
Eventually, even mere human interaction depleted me, so I stopped going out. I started dodging phone calls and stopped responding to messages. I would have frequent anxiety attacks.
For days on end, I would refuse to get out of my room. I wouldn’t get up to eat or to even turn the lights on come evening. I would lie in the dark in a sobbing heap, pleading my deceased father to come take me.
Despite all this, I told no one about my ordeal. Thoughts of “ending it all” frequently crossed my mind, but I was too scared.
After a particularly long period of “hibernation,” my sister, who happened to live abroad threatened to report me as missing to the police. That was when I started admitting to myself and to someone else that something’s wrong. I told her I’m here and alive, but that I probably need help.
How I got into adoption
During that period, I made plenty of unwise, whirlwind decisions. I skipped work. I got into destructive relationships. I adopted a dog.
Yes, I adopted a puppy. I stumbled upon a FaceBook group where people put dogs up for adoption. I inquired about one of the puppies, and a minute later, I found myself arranging for a pickup. I didn’t give it much thought. I only wanted a companion, so I looked for one.
What was a spur of the moment decision turned out to be one of the best ones I have made by far.
Just a few weeks after having my first “child,” Ivory, I started feeling so much better. I gained a sense of direction. I started going out again, even if it was just to shop for puppy food. I hauled myself out of bed so I can play with Ivory, feed her, give her baths, and clean the house.
The panic attacks stopped and I was left with sense of calm and comfort. With a “kid” who persistently followed me around, I started feeling less sad, less alone. For my kids, it doesn’t matter whether I’ve been gone five minutes or five days: they are always happy to see me!
I took the first step to turning my life around: I severed ties with negative people. I moved into a new neighborhood. I quit the job that weighed me down. I gained enough motivation to eventually be able to set up my own clothing store.
A few months later, I adopted Chelsea, an adult dog. After I have settled into the new home and found myself a more stable job in a more positive work environment. I worked harder, so I could adopt more dogs. Shortly after, I welcomed Churro, and then my bunso, Laya into the family. I am now Nanay to four “furbabies,” and a happy one at that.
Sometimes, I look at my “kids” and wonder how it’s possible to love something so much. I look at them and marvel at how pure their love for me is – so pure, they managed to haul me out of the pit that consumed me for so long.
Just a year ago, I was on the brink of giving up. But now, as I sleep in my kids’ embrace and wake up to their nudges and kisses, I can’t help but feel happy I held on. If there is one thing I have learned from all this, it’s that the Universe has its own, unexpected way of putting things into their proper places. I only needed to stick around to witness life’s little miracles.
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Pint-sized Pinay. Writer by day, mermaid by night. Loves coffee, elephants, and the old book smell. Adoptive Mom to Churro, Laya, Alab, Chelsea, and Ivory, who all have four legs.