TJ Manotoc’s Video On Surviving Depression Will Make You Feel Alright
“Hi, I’m TJ Manotoc, and this is the story of how I survived depression.”
When you search for TJ Manotoc’s name on the Internet before, results would primarily lead you to articles related to his journalistic ventures and achievements. Then, of course, mentions of his mother, Miss International 1970 titleholder Aurora Pijuan, and half-brother Borgy were inevitable.
Over the years, TJ has established himself as a sports man and a television news anchor. Starting out as a courtside reporter for the now-defunct Metropolitan Basketball Association (MBA), he went on to reporting for and hosting more shows which include The World Tonight, TV Patrol, Morning @ ANC, The Rundown, @ANCAlerts, Unang Hirit, Umagang Kay Ganda, The Score, and various coverage for ABS-CBN Sports & News.
He is a well-respected public figure, with an unmistakable aura of confidence. He is, after all, trained and honed by years of being in front of the camera.
Last Monday, however, we saw a different side of TJ as he inspiringly shared a video that talks about the depression and anxiety disorders he went through in detail. The tell-all video that depicts this phase in his life 27 years ago was uploaded on the Facebook and YouTube accounts of You Will Be Alright, TJ’s advocacy group.
By this time, the video had gone viral. And TJ's name has taken on a whole new inspirational and aspirational meaning. The video's message of hope, hopefully, has now reached many who may have experienced or are continuing to battle with depression.
In the video, TJ says, “It’s more than just a bad mood. Depression is apparently a serious mental health condition. It’s triggered by various things. There’s genetic, there’s biochemical, there’s environmental, and there’s psychological factors.”
In the case of TJ, it was a mix of different factors. His parents separated when he was three years old. He was a kid with no father figure. TJ said he was “very irresponsible,” and that he “barely survived first year high school.” His mother told him to shape up. So he did—only he may have overdone it. That’s when he started feeling the stress and pressure. He couldn't fathom what he was going through. "It was like a zombie feeling that I just had to force my way through the day," he said. "Easily surprised, easily bothered, easily scared, that's when it began and it didn't end. And that's when they figured it out. I was apparently going through what they said was early signs of a major depressive disorder."
Despite that, he graduated from high school in Ateneo de Manila University. Then he attended college in De La Salle University. During one party with his friends, he had too much alcohol that may have triggered an anxiety attack, and he couldn't sleep for three days, straight. His mom naturally got worried, and asked for professional help. "I had to be brought down to the psychiatric ward," he shared. "...from then on, we had to take drastic measures." TJ was pulled out from school.
They tried several alternative remedies like crystal healing, meditation, acupuncture, natural supplements "to help balance my body," avoiding anti-depressant medications as much as possible. Aside from these, TJ also attended seminars that helped him think positively. "It was a paradigm shift that I said, ‘This is it, that’s the last. I’m going to be strong-willed, I’m going to have a strong mindset, and be focused, and be positive, and not be a pessimist anymore. I thought about it a lot. I made a really conscious effort that it has to be me.”
"I’m going to be strong-willed, I’m going to have a strong mindset, and be focused, and be positive, and not be a pessimist anymore"
TJ further compared sickness to depression, saying that unlike when you're sick, "you just go to the doctor and they'll give you a shot, and you're done, you're healed. But when you go through depression, when you go through anxiety attacks, you go through this realm of psychological issues and physiological imbalance, it's up to you really. You have to help yourself."
"You have to help yourself"
Having the love and support of his family, especially his mom, helped him get through depression. At the end of it all, TJ's experience made him value life. Having gone through the "worst sadness ever" made him "truly value what happiness is."
"There's a way out. That's why I'm coming forward and telling you my story," TJ pointed out.. "I'm hoping that I give hope. You can tell yourself, 'Look at him, he made it.' And that's the message I want to tell you now, 'You'll make it through.'"
"...and you will be alright," he concludes.
Here's the full video. Take time to watch it. It could be of help to you or your loved ones.