Comedian Vice Ganda, whose seven consecutive Phenomenal Box Office Star awards attest to his success in the industry, reached a point where he wanted to let go of several projects because of fatigue, and he now reveals, depression.
The "It's Showtime" host was asked Wednesday for his thoughts on the recent emotional breakdown of pop star Sarah Geronimo when he made the candid revelation about his mental health.
"I actually experienced the same thing just recently," he told ABS-CBN News' MJ Felipe. "Na-depress ako. I underwent depression. I actually had to meet a doctor, and asked for professional help. Hindi ako nakakatulog, nagkakaroon ako ng anxiety attack. May mga atake sa akin, na nahihirapan ako magtrabaho."
Geronimo's apparent burnout showed in her tearful speech to her Las Vegas audience last Monday, saying she felt "empty" despite her success, and that she continues to look for a different source of fulfillment. She did not mention grappling with depression.
Vice Ganda, in his interview Wednesday, said his own battle with the condition led him, at one point, to approach the management of his mother network, ABS-CBN, about temporarily leaving show business.
"I even thought of leaving muna. Nagpaalam nga ako sa management. Tinanong ko kung puwede bang hindi na ako mag-film fest, puwede bang magbawas ako ng show. Naging gano'n ako," he said.
Vice Ganda joined showbiz in 1999, but it wasn't until "Showtime" in 2009 when he zoomed in popularity as his brand of comedy became a hit with viewers. Starting 2010, he has top-billed at least one movie a year for a total of nine, as of 2017. Most of these rank among the highest grossing Filipino films.
At present, he juggles regular hosting duties for "It's Showtime," which is telecast live on weekdays and Saturdays, and "Gandang Gabi Vice," which airs taped episodes every Sunday. He also just recently wrapped up work as one of the judges of the weekend talent search "Pilipinas Got Talent." These are on top of his sold-out concerts, and regional and overseas shows.
What changed Vice Ganda's mind was an "intimate" conversation he had with couple and music veterans Regine Velasquez and Ogie Alcasid, both of whom he has worked with on separate occasions.
The comedian explained: "Ang pinaka-magandang natutunan ko, 'yung sinabing, 'The mind is the playground of the devil.' Kasi lahat tayo may purpose, e. Lalo na kami, ang laki ng binigay sa aming blessings, ang laki rin ng obligasyon nito. At ito ay may purpose kung bakit sa amin ibinigay.
"Feeling ko, pinaglaruan ng devil 'yung utak ko para malungkot ako, at hindi ako makapagpatawa, para isipin kong pagod na ako, at umayaw na ako, para hindi na ako magpatawa, para isipin kong hindi ako blessed at hindi ako masaya, para malungkot ako. In fact, I am so blessed. I am so happy pala. Hindi ko lang 'to napapansin, kasi hinayaan ko 'yung devil na paglaruan ang utak ko."
Since then, Vice Ganda said, he has found renewed enthusiasm to fulfill his "purpose."
"Ngayong alam ko nang pinag-ti-tripan ako nitong devil, hindi ko ito papayagan. Every day, naka-mind set ako -- I have to be happy, I embrace my happiness and my blessings, and I have to serve my purpose. Kaya every day sa 'Showtime,' nagpapatawa ako dahil iyon ang purpose ko, at iyon ang masaya akong ginagawa ko," he said.
Watch his full interview in the video below: