Depression stalks

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    SUDDENLY facing a future with their sources of livelihood likely buried by nature’s wrath, several townspeople at Taal volcano island have thrown caution to the wind and reentered the non-man’s land. The local PNP is unable to enforce the restriction against the foolhardy and the more persistent. If PHIVOLCS were not sleeping on the job, these residents would have had ample time to evacuate with their possessions and prized animals. Only two days ago, it enlisted the assistance of the highly-proficient United States Geological Survey (USGS), the same agency tapped by then PHIVOLCS chief Raymundo Punongbayan nearly four months before the huge eruption of Mt. Pinatubo in 1991.

    It had been apparent and lamentable that PHILVOCS chief Renato Solidum was more inclined towards earthquake preparedness than volcano-watching. The failure of PHIVOLcs to provide timely alerts prior to the explosion at Taal Volcano drove farmers and hog and cow raisers to brush aside its earlier warnings. One was interviewed on TV claiming he was sure the volcano has settled down, no longer set to erupt.

    While Solidum has warned that magma is moving up the surface of several craters of the volcano and another eruption is imminent, more residents seem convinced the danger has passed, unfortunately, based on what they think they know.

    From the 18th-century English writer Charles Caleb Colton: “Times of general calamity and confusion produce great minds. The purest ore is produced from the hottest furnace and, the brightest thunderbolt is elicited from the darkest storms.”

    ***

    Depression among the youth in a society punctured by absentee and neglectful parents continues to persist. Children of prominent personalities like actress KC Concepcion have learned to keep their angst to themselves, which manifests in rebellious ways. Her mother, Sharon Cuneta, complains publicly that KC has become distant to her and their family.

    Lately, she has been missing family celebrations, especially during the last holidays. And to probably express that she has a life to live away from her wayward family, KC did not attend Sharon’s recent birthday bash. She is in her early 30s but none is old enough to transcend those early years when her own family was torn apart. Inside her, and like countless others victimized by marital separation or annulment, KC longed for her mother and father (Gabby Concepcion) to be together again.

    Annulment is particularly wrenching as the formal agreement stipulates that the union between husband and wife never took place. And consequently, the children were not supposed to be born in the first place. Only a few separated couples have realized the palpable sense of doom and despondency that hound their “unwanted” children through much of their lives. And conversely, nothing in the world can compare to the deep gratification, blissful belonging and immense joy for children that an otherwise normal family brings.

    Her many years in Europe away from her initially nurturing mother were not exactly her choice but this brought her the kind of independence she thought she needed more than the loving and parental care of her mother or father. Through the years, KC has tried to fill the vacuum in her life left by her father as she turned from one man to another. The latest is the Black Eyed Peas member apl.de.ap.

    Sharon and her husband, Sen. Francis Pangilinan, may not be aware of what KC has been enduring emotionally and mentally even before they got married. They must have assumed that with KC’s fame, wealth, movie career and, celebrity friends here and abroad, all’s well with their daughter.

    Whatever it takes, they should try reaching out to her and let fervent prayers guide them and KC. We all recall Robin Williams as the funniest comedian on the planet, his movies sending us rollicking in endless laughter. Before he committed suicide, he spoke of inner torments that left him in depression and despair. The world didn’t know that tragic part of him until it was over.