Heart Evangelista opens up about years of battling depression and anxiety

by Nikko Tuazon
May 27, 2020
Heart Evangelista says the bashing can get to you without you knowing it: "[Mga tao] porket nakikita ka nilang maganda yung suot mo, o porket nakikita nilang mahal yung bag mo, you're living the life—feeling nila okay ka lang saktan."
PHOTO/S: @iamhearte on Instagram

Heart Evangelista revealed her bouts with depression and anxiety on the GMA-7 magazine show Kapuso Mo, Jessica Soho on Sunday, May 24.

Born to the well-known Ongpauco family, Heart has always lived a privileged life with its trappings—trips abroads, designer clothes, accessories, a condo of her own.

Today, as wife to politician Chiz Escudero, she seems to have even more of the trappings, as her well-curated Instagram account shows.

But none of this has deadened her from pain, the 35-year-old actress-visual artist revealed on the show.

To news anchor Jessica Soho, Heart said, "Dati, yun din yung tinatanong ko sa ibang nakikita ko.

"'Bakit sila may pinagdadaanan na ganito?' Nasa kanila lahat... Private jet, they have buildings, pero meron silang sadness."

She went on to admit that she felt the same way even at a young age, 'Nung bata ako, may konti.'"

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PHYSICAL MANIFESTATIONS OF DEPRESSION

Heart suffered a miscarriage in May 2018, two weeks after she and her husband, Sorsogon Governor Francis "Chiz" Escudero, announced they were having twins.

As she related in the show, "When I lost my babies, I had a slight depression."

Heart needed a break from everything to deal with her grief. Then slowly, she got back to her feet, becoming active again on social media.

But a year later, the depression she warded off came back, and began taking a toll on her body.

Heart told Jessica, "This November, nag-manifest kasi siya sa katawan ko.

"Naging numb yung mga paa ko, pati yung kamay ko na pag-paint, ito [right hand], wala po akong maramdaman dito.

"It's called the Burning Tongue Syndrome. Basically, people just live with this condition na parang nasusunog yung bibig mo.

"'Tapos minsan, kumakalat siya sa gums and it's very painful. Hindi ako nag-iimbento ng anything. As in, 'Nababaliw na ba ako? Ano ba ito?'

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"Kahit nung birthday ko po, yung mga post ko po, happy-happy. Pero, sa totoo lang, may pinagdadaanan talaga ako nun."

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On top of getting stressed over what she was going through, Heart said the negativity in social media increased her anxiety.

"Without me knowing din na yung pressure ng social media, yung pressure ng tao, na kailangan lagi kang maganda, kailangan kang nauuna.

"Although, hindi naman ako super ganun, siguro subconsciously minsan pag may mga nagsasabi tungkol sa iyo, akala mo hindi ka naapektuhan.

"But then, it affects you and nagpa-pile up siya. So, yes, nagkaroon po ako ng depression and anxiety. I battled for quite some time."

WHEN TO SEEK HELP

Heart decided to seek the help of mental health professionals.

She revealed, "I went to seven doctors. Sabi nila, yung cause ng sa akin can be extreme anxiety, and then it manifests on your body kasi sa sobrang stress."

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Jessica asked Heart when she thinks one should start seeking medical help for anxiety and depression.

Heart answered, "Pag masyado nang malakas yung boses sa loob ng isip mo, I think it's time to go.

"Kasi sometimes your fears, nandiyan lang sila. Parang nao-overpower niya na utak mo. Pag hindi na talaga kaya, you need to see a doctor.

"Hindi dapat itaya yung buhay mo dahil nahihiya ka pumunta sa doktor or nahihiya ka mag-open up about it.

"There is a way you can be fixed. Ask help and don't be afraid of it. So that's what I did."

GETTING BETTER AND BETTER EVERY DAY

Recently, Heart suffered another traumatic experience when Casper, the dog she fostered, passed away.

She narrated, "It was very hard, actually. Lahat naman tayo, yun din ang mangyayari sa ating lahat.

"Basta nabigay ko yung buhay na feeling kong karapat-dapat para sa kanya. I have no regrets."

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Heart said, after that, she initially had fears about fostering another dog, but she has learned to move on from it.

"In the beginning po medyo, sabi ko, parang hindi ko na kayang mag-aso. Ayoko na!

"Shortly after, ngayon po may inaalagaan po akong mom and puppy.

"You just have to keep loving."

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She also said that releasing her creativity improved her mental health and helped her recover.

"I just had to calm down and not care first muna. I did a lot of meditation. I started to paint and eventually kumalma din, and now I'm much better."

She also said, "It was actually right before na nag-lockdown, dun ko pa lang siya na-handle.

"Maybe kailangan din ng kaunting pause sa buhay, and I feel I'm much better now."

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MONEY CAN'T BUY POSITIVITY

Many scholarly studies have been exploring how social-media use can bring risk to mental health.

It was one of the topics related to her depression that Heart discussed in the show.

The Kapuso actress said, "In fact, gusto ko siyang pag-usapan kasi, porket nakikita ka nilang maganda yung suot mo, o porket nakikita nilang mahal yung bag mo, you're living the life—feeling nila okay ka lang saktan.

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"'Masaya naman iyan, e, kaya kahit laitin ko iyan, wala naman iyan sa kanya.'

"Hindi ganun yun, e. Feeling nila perpekto yung buhay ko. Feeling nila nasa akin lahat. It's not."

She emphasized, "We all have our cross to carry. Okay lang sa akin na pag-usapan yun kasi yun ang reality, e. Nobody has a perfect life...

"Minsan pag may pinagdadaanan ka, mas gugustuhin mo na, 'Lord, tanggalin mo na lang lahat ng ito basta healthy ako, basta okay ang pamilya ko, okay yung mga tao sa paligid ko.'"

Heart said her hope has always been for everyone to focus on spreading positivity instead.

"I know may mga sinasabi silang toxic positivity. But maybe because hindi rin nila alam yung pinagdadaanan ng tao.

"Toxic or not, we still have to push for being positive. Yun ang hindi mabibili ng pera."

(Gusto mo bang lagi kang una sa showbiz news at scoops? Join and subscribe to our Viber Chatbot here para lagi kang updated!)

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Heart Evangelista says the bashing can get to you without you knowing it: "[Mga tao] porket nakikita ka nilang maganda yung suot mo, o porket nakikita nilang mahal yung bag mo, you're living the life—feeling nila okay ka lang saktan."
PHOTO/S: @iamhearte on Instagram
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