*Trigger Warning: This article contains mentions of suicide and depression.
At only 18 years old, Andrea Brillantes is already one of the most celebrated names in Philippine showbiz. Veteran talk show host Boy Abunda even went as far to say the young actress is on her way to becoming "one of the biggest stars of this country" during an interview with her on his YouTube channel.
In the said interview, Andrea—or Blythe, as she is referred to by her family and close friends—boldly opened up about her grapples with depression and anxiety as a child star.
When asked about her personal struggles while growing up in front of the camera, Blythe recalled how her upbringing was less than ideal. Coming of age with an abusive father, lesser financial resources, and having to make money at an earlier age than most people all took a mental toll on her—which led her to depressive and suicidal thoughts at the tender age of 13, said the actress.
Upon being asked to illustrate an instance she almost took her own life, Blythe explains, "Ano po ako noon, 13. [Tapos] wala talaga akong mahawakan and meron kasi akong void, as in may void ako sa heart ko noon..." She mentions that as much as her family didn't have any shortcomings at the time, the pain was still apparent. She continues, "...kasi minsan, when you're [in] so deep na talaga, hindi mo na nakikita yung love na pinapakita ng iba. Sobrang lalim mo na eh... Parang ka'ng may may filter na itim... Magsisimula pa lang araw mo, ayaw mo nang simulan. I just wanna end the pain. I wanna live but, ang sakit eh."
Further, Blythe also opened up that she once felt deprived of opportunities, as if her career wasn’t going anywhere.
"Parang syang, jowa mo ako for five years [tapos] may dumating lang na bago, pinagpalit mo ako. Parang almost same pain. Masakit lang sya, masakit sya," she expresses.
Acknowledging the gravity of these mental health issues, the actress revealed she's currently receiving help from a therapist, specifically for her insomnia and anxiety.
While it's hard to imagine how a pre-adolescent can experience and exclaim such emotions, Blythe emphasizes how difficult the pressure was in her line of work, especially at her age. "Kung wala naman po’ng pupuntahan, ‘wag mo na akong paasahin. Ayaw ko na po, tama na," Blythe recalls praying once.
Despite this, Blythe hung on to her faith and continued to find reasons to keep doing what she does. After asking for a sign and receiving it in a way she could only describe as miraculous, the teenager found herself back on her feet. “Ngayon pa ba ako bibigay, eh gusto ko pa maging superstar,” she remembers telling herself.
Going through such experience has changed her mindset on a lot of things. Now, the 18-year-old shares that her measure of success is to attain contentment in all aspects of her life, and that it is something she’s constantly working towards. “Kapag oras mo, oras mo,” she says matter-of-factly.
When prompted by the host to describe who she really is—both as Blythe and as Andrea—she had this to say: “I am Blythe and I am just a normal teenager who keeps on working hard to give myself and my family a better life… I am Andrea and no matter how rough the road gets, I will make a path for myself.”
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