I don’t know much about JC and her life. She was simply introduced to me as one of the working scholars in our college. She was assigned to the department where I used to work. I never noticed anything peculiar with JC. For me, she was just a typical working student. I did however recognize her hardwork and perseverance in her studies. She would report for work ahead of time. She would squeeze in reviewing her notes while on duty during those deadly examination weeks. My colleague also told me that she is one of the few reliable assistants they ever had. She can accurately carry out tasks with minimum supervision.
JC was a mere student and a working scholar in my eyes. Everything changed when I discovered what happened last week.
She didn’t report for work last Monday. Whenever she can’t report for work, JC makes it a point to inform my colleague and her fellow working scholar, PJ. Monday ended and they never heard a word from JC.
Being the concerned friend, PJ phoned JC’s home and to her surprise, the mother told her that JC left home in uniform for school. This stirred up all those worries in my colleague’s office.
PJ made the initiative to visit JC in their house. We were hoping that PJ would finally relay the good news. PJ’s initiative unfortunately brought out more unanswered questions, confusions and worries.
JC shun away herself from everyone. According to her mother, JC imprisoned herself in her room. When I heard the news about JC’s condition, I had my own share of sorrow and pity for her. As much as I wanted to help her, I know I can’t.
In one of our lunches, I and my colleague are convinced that there is something deeper that forced JC to distance herself to everyone. It wasn’t simply a failed examination that changed her. We wanted to help her but the problem is, even us are helpless and clueless about her condition.
In the course of our discussion, we were able to unearth a painful reality in the Philippine setting. My colleague, being in the field of Psychology, even admitted that this field of study is still in the infancy stage in our country. The Philippines is still far from understanding and accepting that psychological related illnesses do not necessarily mean having the need to be imprisoned in a mental ward. Most people still perceive that when someone seeks psychiatric or psychological help, that person serves as a threat to everyone. Truth is, I and my colleague admire people who voluntarily submitted themselves to professional help. They form the bravest people on earth. They personally surrendered their problems and accepted the fact that they need help.
Oftentimes, there are people who perceive psychological conditions like an infectious disease. Little do they know, they rather serve as nails that seal the coffin to this often neglected and least discussed condition.
As much as my colleague wanted to be the lead in widening and deepening everyone’s understanding of the dynamics of her chosen field of discipline, her efforts will never be enough. JC is unfortunately one of the casualties of this frustrating reality.
We may not be able to elevate the landscape of this critical field of discipline. However, our only prayer now is for JC to be well again.
Please don’t make JC as another proof that this field of study remains as a major weakness in our country. Please bring back the JC that I used to know. If not, please let this storm pass and bring out a better JC in our lives.
As of today, I learned from my colleague that JC reported back to school. Thank you Lord for the answered prayer.