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Depression And Her Mother's Death—Iza Calzado Tells Her Story To Give Strength And Hope

For the first time in her life, she gets candid about the true extent of her struggles with mental health, how her mother's death had shaped her life, and the bright future she's now able to look forward to

Slowly but surely, Iza Calzado is replacing feelings of guilt and shame with healing, acceptance, and growth. 

Though the memory of her mother's death—a suicide that caused her and her family unspeakable pain—still makes its weight known to her from time to time, the actress and co-founder of She Talks Asia has arrived at a point where she is ready to turn one of her life's most heart-wrenching moments into an opportunity to heal and become a source of strength for others.

In a 30-minute long interview with her fellow She Talks Asia leader Sarah Meier released on World Mental Health Day, Iza opens about her journey of healing and all that she's done to improve and nurture her emotional and mental health over the years. 

One need not have gone through the same situation to appreciate all that Iza had courageously spoken about, and so we share some of the most impactful things we learned from her below. 

Take your time. No two healing journeys are the same.

Iza acknowledged the fact that it had taken her years to speak honestly and willingly about her mother's death. Before her onscreen interview, she had never spoken about how she, too, had struggled with her own mental health prior to her mother's passing, and it is only now, as an adult woman, that she had gathered the strength to revisit that time in her life and untangle the emotional knots that it had caused. 

She was finally ready to do so, as she mentioned in the beginning of her interview. The gesture shows us all that healing takes time—true healing does not happen under pressure and does not expire when the time limit has passed.

For those who have yet to embark on their own journeys, take your time deciding on when you would like to open up, who to open up to, how you would like to do so, and how much of your story you are ready to share. 

Guilt and shame will come, but we mustn't wallow in them. 

Iza admits to feeling guilty and ashamed for coming from a night out hours before her mother had passed. Repeatedly, she also wondered if she had contributed to her mother's unhappiness, and consequently, Iza thought back to all the times she could have been more receptive to her wishes of spending time with her, among other things. 

Her mother did not leave a letter, or a message of any sort to explain her decision to take her own life which made getting over the guilt and shame much more difficult for Iza and her family. 

Iza tears up at the thought, but again—she rose above it, all in her own time. 

When she had regained her footing some time after her mother's death, her thoughts went to wanting to start initiatives on mental health. Though the advocacy was not as well-received and supported as it is today then, she continued to look for outlets for her newfound life mission, nonetheless. 

It's more than okay to want to give yourself a second chance at life. In fact, you should. 

It's possible for individuals—and even whole families—to feel that they had missed out on enjoying certain periods of their lives because of a hardship, be it mental health-related or otherwise.

When it comes to Iza, for years, she had felt that she didn't quite have the experience, or memories of youth that she wanted. She had been diagnosed with childhood depression in sixth grade, was unprepared to relate to a mother receiving psychiatric treatment, and lived in a household with an unbalanced family dynamic, all of which contributed to a lack of "normalcy" as she was growing up.

Given this, Iza calls her healing journey "re-parenting the inner child." Much of the journey addresses discovering reasons to be happy, forgiving herself for her own shortcomings, and finding the light in that time, however dark it was when it was at the height of its difficulty. 

Her interview with Sarah marked the first time she revisited that time, mentally and emotionally, and came face to face with the hurt in order to move forward. After all, healing the past can have only good consequences for the present and future.

It is possible to turn the deepest hurt and loss to inspiration and hope.

Many of Iza's darkest times in her past had been effects of dealing with her mother's condition and eventual suicide. She continued down the path of committing the same mistakes her mother (and her father) made for some time, but eventually, she had come to the realization that she needed to release herself from those patterns.

It was difficult, but difficult doesn't always equate to "impossible." 

Gradually, Iza made adjustments in her outlook of her life, her behavior, her perspective, her choices, her inner dialogue that she would have with herself.

Although it had taken time, Iza managed to transform herself; what was once an answer-less, traumatizing event in her life became a motivation to speak about depression, anxiety, suicide, and the state of mental health in Philippine society in hopes of providing meaningful support to those affected by these issues, just like her. 

Saying that you live a life differently than a parent or family member affected by mental health is not wrong. 

Although it might seem like an offshoot of feeling ashamed to be closely related to someone who had been diagnosed with some shame or form of a mental health issue, it's actually alright to feel this way.

Iza's expression of this was not in any way an attempt to disassociate herself with her mother, but rather, a way for her to live up to what she said her mother hoped she would become. It was Iza's way to live the life her mother wished she had for herself, a way to feel the happiness that her mother did not. Ultimately, Iza was materializing all the dreams a mother had for her daughter. 

For those currently in a situation like this, remember that wanting a different fate for yourself is not insensitive, rude, or an insult to someone's memory. Treat it as your way of living up to what they had always wanted for you—aa life of positivity, potential, and joy. 

Iza goes on to narrate her mother's story in detail, from beginning, middle, to end. 

Though needing to stop to wipe away her tears and catch her breath from time to time, Iza remained strong and steady, guided by her goal to make her mother's passing a springboard of hope and comfort for others. 

She'd always thought it wasn't fair for others to make assumptions about her mother's death without knowing the story and experiences that had led up to it, and so, Iza honored her mother by being the voice to tell her story, and the heart to turn it into something good. 

Watch the full video below to learn the full story and gather inspiration from it, just as we did. 

For those in need of emotional support, there are hotlines with trained respondents ready to speak with you at at any time.

National Center for Mental Health (NCMH): (0917) 8998727 / (0917) 9898727

24/7 HOPELINE: (0917) 5584673 / 2919 (A toll-free number for all Globe and TM subscribers).

Photos from @missizacalzado