Humans of Ateneo

Humans of Ateneo is a project of the Sanggunian: Commission on Mental Health that aims to share the different stories of resilience among the Ateneo Loyola Schools community in order to inspire the student body.

Strongly Fighting, Happily Surviving
Written by: Tana de Chavez | November 10, 2019

[TRIGGER WARNING: This post contains references of emotional abuse, self-harm, and suicide which may be triggering to some readers.]

People would usually say that they’re thankful for their family and friends, before anything else. I’m thankful for my family and friends too, but I’m mostly just thankful to be alive. I thought that 2019 was going to be my year, but I really went through the lowest of the low this year. I started on a high note, but as I reached the middle, I lost everything that I worked hard for: my sanity, my emotional wellness, even my physical health. I lost it all, and to be here right now sharing my story is something I’m already so grateful for.

Back in July, I went through a really, really tough week where I tried to end my life in different ways. I came from an emotionally abusive relationship, and when my ex-boyfriend tried leaving me, I entered a very dark place. Most people say, “Oh, it’s just a person. Why did you make him your entire world?” The truth is, I was emotionally manipulated into thinking that he was the only person that mattered, to the point of him telling me that I don’t even need my family or friends, just him. That’s how bad it got for me. When he started showing signs that he didn’t want anything to do with me anymore, I wanted to show him how much he meant to me, and that losing him would literally be the death of me. I didn’t even want to end my life, I just wanted to end the pain inside of me. I didn’t eat or sleep, and I didn’t leave my room for a week. My friends would visit me to see if I was okay, but even when they were there, all I could do was just hold them and cry.

During those times, I was actually seeing a psychiatrist already. I was on medication, but it still wasn’t enough to ease the pain I was in. It was so mentally painful that I could feel it starting to radiate through my body physically. My chest would close up, my hands would get numb. I honestly thought that I would die back then. I lost myself. I’ve experienced healing since that time, but I know that there are some things that I’m still not capable of doing like before. Aside from the emotionally manipulative ex-boyfriend I had, I had a very tough high school experience that really knocked down my self-esteem.

I owe so much to everyone who helped me. I know that they were genuinely doing it for me and not for themselves. I’m so thankful to those who helped me get out of my dark days. Until now, they still check up on me and remind me that I can talk to them about anything. That’s something I struggle with— I don’t like sharing my feelings because I don’t want to burden anybody. But everyone I’ve opened up to has said the same thing: no, you’re not a burden. Whenever I finish sharing my emotions with them, they say, “Thank you for letting me into your life.”

I’m thankful for being accepted into Ateneo, because I found a family and a safe place with my blockmates and my orgmates. They’re really the most welcoming and loving people I’ve ever met. Even if we’ve only been together for a few months, they’re not afraid to reach out and hug me when they see that I’m struggling, especially as a first year student who is still in the process of getting help.

Why Gesu of all places? Whenever I hit a low point, I find the nearest church and go there to just kneel down and cry it all out until my tears stop falling, until the pain in my chest is gone. Until I feel light, and as if a burden had been lifted off of my shoulders. I feel safe whenever I’m in the presence of God. I am not a religious person, but whenever I do have a problem, I find comfort in just being in His presence.

I’m thankful for my new family here in Ateneo and for being given a second chance at life. I’m happy now, and I am getting better. I’m grateful for being alive, but right at this moment, I’m most thankful for being able to share my story. I know I’m not the only one struggling from mental and emotional problems. I want people to know that it’s not bad to talk about them, but you have to do so at your own pace. It has to come from you. If you read this and decided to be more open with how you feel, then thank you for letting me help you become more comfortable with your emotions. The world has so much more to offer. It’s a good place. Yes, it can get very bad at times, but I’m thankful for the struggles it brings, because I know I am strong enough to face them now.

— Tana De Chavez

If you or someone else you know is struggling with depression or has had self-harming thoughts, do not hesitate to seek help from local confidential support services or call the HOPELINE through (02) 804-HOPE (4673) or 0917-558-HOPE (4673). You may also find other help resources through

You may follow Humans of Ateneo on Twitter and Instagram through @humansofateneo.

Photo and Post-processing by Yanna Estrellado
Layout by Nicole Namoco
Transcript by Raine Rivas

Strongly Fighting, Happily Surviving

"But everyone I’ve opened up to has said the same thing: no, you’re not a burden. Whenever I finish sharing my emotions with them, they say, “Thank you for letting me into your life.”"


Quiel Quiwa