She's been laying low from the limelight, doing only one or two projects per year in the last decade, yet actress Claudine Barretto, 38, has remained controversial and in the news. Her not-so-private family life with kids Sabina, who turns 14 this year, 10-year-old son Santino, and 2-year-old Quia Arianna, has been the subject of online word wars between herself and ex-husband Raymart Santiago, members of her Barretto family, or random netizens.
Recently, the solo mom made a startling revelation about the state of her mental health when she shared a photo of herself with her psychiatrist, whom she says she sees regularly.
"I've been very open that I've been seeing a psychiatrist and there's nothing wrong," she said in an interview with GMA-7's Kapuso Mo, Jessica Soho, which aired on January 21.
Claudine says she has been suffering since 2002, after the untimely death of her ex-boyfriend, actor Rico Yan, in March that year.
"Ang natatandaan ko lang, 'yung time na nagte-taping kami, nag-cold sweat ako while we were reading." Her director noticed that she was behaving unusually, and that she looked pale.
"I was just walking and walking 'tapos sabi ni [Direk Wenn], 'Ano nangyayari?' 'Hindi ko alam. Ayun, I started crying na and I couldn't breathe."
It was upon her director's prodding that Claudine went to see a psychiatrist, where she was given a diagnosis of panic disorder.
"Pakiramdam ko tatalon ako sa building, because hindi ko alam paano ako pupunta sa emergency room at i-explain sa tao or sa doctors doon na parang pakiramdam ko na I'm sinking, I'm drowning."
According to an article on MichiganHealth.org entitled "Panic Attack vs. Anxiety Attack: 6 Things to Know," panic attacks "are short bursts of intense fear often marked by increased heart rate, brief chest pain or shortness of breath. Typically lasting fewer than 30 minutes, they could occur once or repeatedly—sometimes without reason."
The same article explains that although used interchangeably, panic attacks and anxiety are two different things, but they could both happen at the same time.
In Claudine's case, her psychiatrist Dr. Bernadette Manalo-Arcena explains that what could have triggered the actress's panic attack was, "Artista siya...the pressure and 'yung trabaho mismo, I could just imagine na napaka-tedious. At saka yung mga expectations ng ...family, fans."
She also says that Rico Yan's death might have contributed to Claudine's condition. "[The] death of a significant other na siyempre noong time na yun, pag gano'n ang age mo, the love of your life na mawawala sa buhay mo [takes a toll on you]."
Panic attack and anxiety are common conditions, Dr. Arcena says, and can be managed with medication and regular check-ups. She says that at the moment, Claudine is "doing very well."
It is also important to recognize it when it happens, like Claudine did, to be able to seek professional help. "I really needed guidance, I really need help," the actress said.
Claudine remembers her worst attack when it happened two years ago: "I just felt na parang mamamatay ako, hindi ako makahinga. Parang lumiliit yung kuwarto, nagko-cold sweats ako 'tapos hihimatayin ako."
"There were days na parang feeling ko, 'Oh my God, I think I'm going crazy,' kasi balisa, e. Di ka mapakali. I was so scared," the actress added.
"Lahat yun, napagdaanan ko, na sabihan ka ng baliw.
"When people say 'baliw 'yan, mentally-ill 'yan,' they don't know the mental torture na pinagdaanan ko.
She wants those who are suffering from it to know that there is hope. "I had to go to psychiatrists, doon ko nalaman na yung panic attack, there's a way out.
"I was proud of myself for wanting to prioritize mental health," adding that she's "blessed na maaga ako nagpunta sa psychiatrist."
Like Claudine, two other media personalities revealed their battle with anxiety and depression in the last week. TJ Manotoc's powerful video on how he overcame major depressive disorder in his teens to become one of ABS-CBN's trusted news anchors and reporters, assures anyone going through the same thing that "You Will Be Alright." Watch the video below, and read more about it here.
Radio jock and TV host Joyce Pring, in an Instagram post, also advised people to seek professional help if they experience panic attacks, like she did while in a flight to Iloilo recently.
She captioned an Instagram photo of herself, "I just have to share, last week when I flew to Iloilo, I had my first ever in-flight panic attack. I don't know if it's a mental anxiety residue from the last time my body was subjected to atmosphere change (scuba diving) or if my manic depression episode had something to do with it (emoji) but in any case it is was incredibly frightening.
"I just want to encourage anyone who experiences these serious struggles on a daily basis—seek help and know that you are not alone. Mine was aided with breathing exercises and prayers, but know that there are many other ways to get professional help and ease the suffering."
If you or anyone you know is suffering from anxiety or depression, get immediate help by calling 804-HOPE(4673), 0917-558-HOPE(4673) or 2919.
This story originally appeared on Smartparenting.com.ph.
* Minor edits have been made by the Femalenetwork.com editors.