MANILA — For the first time after resurfacing from a two-year hiatus, former actress Ellen Adarna broke her silence about what she referred to as a "dark" and "traumatic" period in her life while away from the limelight.
Adarna spoke at length about being diagnosed with depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder in a revealing Instagram video on Friday.
The deeply personal video, she explained, is the first of two parts about her experience of undergoing mental training in Bali, which she credited for her recovery.
"What led me into that state?" she said, referring to her trauma and depression. "I don't want to talk about it in detail, because it's something very personal."
"So many things happened all at once in a span of four months, or less than four months. Everything happened. All the bad things that I imagined, happened. It was very traumatic for me," she said.
'IF IT'S NOt OKAY, IT'S NOT THE END'
Throughout the 8-minute video, Adarna appeared candid and at certain points pensive about the challenging chapter.
Adarna, 31, pointed out that for most of her life, she was "never really the depressive kind of person," and that she would tend to "bounce back quick" and "move on fast."
"I always had this thing in my mind that everything is going to be okay. 'If it's not okay, it's not the end.' That quote helps a lot. I live by that," she said.
The episode that led to her depression, however, changed things for Adarna, who shared that she went to therapy with two psychiatrists and had to undergo medication.
"I was on a lot of tranquilizers," she said. "My panic attacks were really, really bad, to the point where my body would shake, and then I'd puke. It was so weird."
"At that time, I didn't know what it was, because I never had anxiety that serious. At first I thought I was going to die. Everything was getting hard, my muscles were getting so stiff, and I felt like I couldn't breathe. And then I'd just end up puking," Adarna said.
'VERY DARK PLACE'
Adarna, in the video, would fall silent numerous times apparently as she tried to recall manifestations of her condition.
"I was just also very sad. I was in a very dark place for two years, almost three years. I thought I wasn't going to snap out of it... It was that bad," she said.
Adarna stepped away from showbiz in late 2017, when she started her relationship with her then-"Home Sweetie Home" co-star John Lloyd Cruz.
In the two years they were both on hiatus, the couple appeared to reach numerous milestones, with reports of a shared home, and the confirmation of Adarna's pregnancy with their first child.
Adarna and Cruz, who welcomed their baby boy in June 2018, are reportedly no longer together.
Throughout her video on Friday, Adarna did not once mention Cruz, nor hinted at a relationship as the cause of her declining mental health at the time.
In November 2018, Adarna decided to stop taking her medication, explaining that it "just really made me numb."
"I was always sleeping. That was my thing. I'd wake up, and think about sleeping again. I would eat in bed. I wouldn't even shower for days. I was just in bed the whole time... When I took it, I didn't feel the sadness, but it didn't make me happy either. I didn't have feelings. I felt like a robot," she shared.
"If I try to think about those two years, it's a blur. I basically slept for almost three years. And that was it," she added.
One of Adarna's means of coping then was going on vacation with her family. That relief, however, was only temporary.
"I thought I was getting better, but I wasn't. I was in a nice country, went to nice places, and I still felt the same. It made it even worse, because at that time, I didn't bring my pills. I was in a nice country with my family, and I was just still sad, and I felt really empty. I was still depressed," she recalled.
Adarna eventually reached a turning point of seeking alternative ways to heal, leading her to the 14-day program in Bali which she said aimed to "connect the body, mind, and spirit."
Adarna said she would explain the program in detail in another video, in the hope of helping others who may similarly be dealing with mental illness.
"#ThereIsHope," she wrote.