Just recently, news broke out about the emotional breakdown of Sarah Geronimo during the Las Vegas stop of her This 15 Me US tour. Before singing her iconic hit Forever’s Not Enough, she bared her heart in front of her audience, revealing how she feels “empty” despite all her years-worth of successes as a singer and performer.
“Unti-unti po, hinahanap ko kung ano ba talaga ‘yung gagawin ko para I will feel fulfilled. Until now, pumapasok pa rin siya sa isip ko,” she said while in tears. She tried singing after that, but didn’t manage to finish the song as she decided to walk off the stage to recover.
Fans, friends and loved ones flocked and offered their support amid the issue. Many said this may be due to exhaustion brought by the seemingly nonstop touring. However, Geronimo had shared along the same lines in a tell-all interview with TV host Boy Abunda in 2013. She admitted going through a quarter-life crisis, saying, “Maraming tanong parang, saan ba patungo ang buhay ko, karera ko? Ano pa ba ang kailangan ko sa buhay ko? Paano na ako pag mas tumanda pa ako?”
It is a disconcerting issue and something that is not unique to Geronimo. In a Philippine Star article, comedian, actor and host Vice Ganda shared how he relates to what she is going through: “I actually experienced the same thing recently. I underwent depression. Ba’t ganun, andami kong pera, blockbuster mga pelikula ko, hit ang mga shows ko… ba’t hindi ako masaya?” He disclosed how he asked his management to lessen his shows and allow him to not join a film fest, and how he had consulted a psychiatrist.
Actor Richard Gutierrez also revealed through InterAksyon that he also experienced burnout at work. “There was a time that I was getting too tired, burned out and I wasn’t enjoying already. So, ako mismo ’yung tumalikod; ako mismo ‘yung umayaw,” he shared. “Ang daming nangyari and I guess I wasn’t prepared during that time aside from the continuous work which, I guess, resulted in my not knowing anymore about myself, my wants.”
It is indeed troubling to see this pattern among celebrities who are only exerting their best in doing their jobs to entertain people, but what makes it more alarming is how this doesn’t just occur to them, but also to the common millennial among us.
The statements of said personalities are all too familiar with social media pages, particularly Twitter. Posts may go along the lines of simply “I’m tired,” but those expressions usually go deeper than its literal meaning. Users wallow over the mundanity of their lives or of life itself. Cases of depression, anxiety and other mental illnesses have soared in recent years. Suicide hotlines have been receiving a greater amount of calls.
There is a noticeable burnout among our generation, attributed to a lot of factors that may be common in all of us or personal in each. All in all, millennials seem to have found no value in the hard work they exert in their lives.
But here is a touch of comfort for all of us. In his quest to seek help, Vice Ganda confided in celebrity couple Ogie Alcasid and Regine Velasquez, who told him that “The mind is the playground of the devil.”
“Feeling ko, ang devil, pinaglaruan yung utak ko para malungkot ako at hindi ako makapagpatawa,” he said. “Ngayong alam ko nang pinagti-tripan ako nitong devil, hindi ko ito papayagan. […] I have to be happy, I embrace my happiness and my blessings, and I have to serve my purpose. Kaya […] nagpapatawa ako dahil iyon ang purpose ko, at ‘yon ang masaya akong ginagawa ko.”
Geronimo also shared the advice of her friend. “But then, may nagsabi sa akin na, ‘Sarah, huwag ka na maghanap, kasi iyan ‘yung binigay na talento ng Diyos para sa ‘yo, so use that as a platform to honor His name, to glorify His name, and to become an inspiration to other people’.”
Perhaps it all boils down to finding purpose in our work. It may be a long and hard journey, but we will get there.