Mental Health Awareness: Keep On Rolling with Vic Flauta (Part 1)

With special guest Vic Flauta

Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices. Mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood.

Vic was my officemate. I found him very inquisitive, profound and insightful. We worked in the same work area and at times we also seated beside each other. I supported them as a Human Performance Specialist and frequently engaged in 1-1 and focused group discussions. Despite that, I did not know of Vic’s mental health state (past nor present). Truthfully, people with mental heath conditions are just like you and me. Only, our needs, perspectives and strengths may vary. It’s a continuum, if you asked me. I also fell into mental health problems some years ago, so I know how difficult it can be and I know, too, that many people are willing to support, if they know when and how. You may also stumble upon it at some point in your life.

Please read on and be inspired by Vic’s life perspective and understand three important matters around mental health.

1. How can we tell if the person beside us, or in your team, is in need of help?

2. How can we, officemates or friends, better support people who have mental health concerns?

3. If you have mental health concerns, how do you ask for help?

When I was fifteen, there were many things my doctor said I couldn’t do. She said I couldn’t drive, I couldn’t operate machines, etc, etc. I even went through high school and college failing some of my subjects because I had a hard time focusing on and understanding the lessons my teachers taught in class.

In fact, when I took the Licensure Exam for Nutrition and Dietetics more than 10 years ago, I worried the whole Food Science and Nutrition department of UP Diliman big time for possibly failing the exam and making a mark in the department’s history by ruining our 100% yearly passing rate. Good Lord, I passed. You can contact my former college professors for the miraculous novenas they may have used.

My illness may have brought me many limitations, but no one said I can’t turn my hopes and aspirations into reality. So, I made a decision to always move forward no matter how slow I go. One baby step at a time.

Vic in Disney Sea, Japan, on his first solo travel.

I am 37 today, on my first solo travel, in one of the happiest places on earth (Disney Sea – with Japan-based friend Rachell; glad she made time to accompany me), and ticking one item off my bucket list.

A lot of you may have travelled farther when you were much younger than me, but this is definitely a milestone for one who thought this was impossible years ago.

Yes, I did it! And you, too, can do the things you were told you can’t. And always remember, no one is too old to do things for the first time. Believe me, I had been to hell and back. So, you, too, can do it no matter what situation you are in.

I have stumbled many times, but would always choose to get up and move forward. And every time life brings me to my knees, I take it as an opportunity to pray. Also, failing many times has instilled humility in me and made me realize that I can’t succeed without my God, my family, and my friends.

No, I did not make it to where I am now alone. Truth is, I got help from a lot of people. I am forever thankful to the Lord (and my Mama Mary), my family, my teachers and professors, my doctors, and my friends who never left me because I am that perfect example of “an egg that’s slightly cracked.” *Lol* I am weak, and I am still afraid of failing. But I never run out of hope because I have a loving and merciful God who surrounds me with good people.

I may not have achieved much compared to other people my age, but I have definitely gone far from where I was 22 years ago. I am exactly where I should be.

P.S. The best gift you can give me is your prayer.

Vic has that strength of character to keep rolling despite and in spite of life’s challenges. More so, he got the support necessary for him to succeed and he has a strong faith in God.

I asked his perspective on the three questions we posted above. Find his answers in part 2 of this blog post.

Do you know anyone who has mental health concerns (depression, anxiety, trauma, etc.)? How did you find out? How are you helping him/her?

I hope this helped.

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