MANILA — Paulo Avelino, who has largely kept tight-lipped about his personal life over the years, surprised fans on Thursday as he opened up for the first time about having struggled with depression, to the point of trying to take his own life.
The 31-year-old actor sought to “let loose thoughts” on Twitter, where he has 2.2 million followers, and recalled losing a close friend to suicide, before revealing he once attempted to do the same.
“I’ll let this out to the universe since I promised not to keep heavy feelings to myself. One of my closest [friends] committed suicide last year and no one saw it coming,” he began.
Describing his friend as his “go to person,” Avelino recounted that, “a lot of times, I would call him late in the evening feeling so low and he would travel miles just to keep me company and make sure I was in my right mental state to continue [on] with life, constantly reminding me how privileged I am compared to alot of people.”
The friend, he said, also reminded him that “I had to see my son grow up,” referring to his only child with his former partner, actress LJ Reyes.
Without giving details, Avelino then admitted that, “a few years back I tried (attempted) committing suicide.”
“I survived. No one really knew aside from my closest friends and he was one of them… He would switch shifts with a friend to stay with me in the hospital and even when I got discharged, just to make sure I wasn't stupid enough to do it again,” he recalled.
“Then it happened,” he wrote, referring to the death of his friend.
“All the time I needed support from my friends they were there. I was selfish. I demanded time and a part of their emotional state to flow along with mine,” Avelino said.
Avelino continued, but this time addressing his late friend: “I saw it coming. That one message you sent the night before you passed away, I brushed off in a joking manner.
“All those messages and time I selfishly demanded are now regrets and baggages I would carry my whole life. Thank you! I hope you are resting peacefully. I am living because of the hope and wisdom you engraved in me.”
A year has passed since he lost his friend, Avelino shared, and “here I am at 5 in the morning thinking if a few minutes of my time ditching work would make a change or even save a life.”
A group in the Philippines is dedicated to addressing those who have suicidal tendencies. The crisis hotlines of the Natasha Goulbourn Foundation aim to make these individuals feel that someone is ready to listen to them.
These are their hotline numbers:
(02) 804-HOPE (4673)
0917 558 HOPE (4673)
2919 (toll-free number for all GLOBE and TM subscribers)