By Alex P. Vidal
Even if she was accompanied by her “stage parents” Divina and Delfin wherever she went, I had a hunch she wasn’t happy.
Showbiz is not my forte, thus I stayed away (I was requested to tag along the group) when Sarah and her entourage–including her parents, of course–shopped around glitzy Robson Street in downtown Vancouver days before the concert held at the Queen Elizabeth Theater.
I noticed that her parents, especially Delfin, would always look at people who shook Sarah’s hands like members of Pope Francis’ Swiss guards.
The parents and some of their companions seemed like human walls taller than the Great Wall of China and more sophisticated than the border walls in El Paso, Texas and Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.
They were like guarding the North Korean president while shopping in the Bronx.
It was like they were hell-bent to shield Sarah even from the mosquitoes and butterflies.
I noticed, too, that Sarah seemed uncomfortable and visibly edgy but was adamant to complain; she appeared to be “not in the position” to protest, but was fretful as if she was in another world.
Either she wanted to shout “leave me alone, please, for just a moment” but could not, or she wanted to run away (if only to gain a total freedom and independence) but did not.
I told my Filipino-Canadian friend Ale Sevillo, who was part of the host staff, that if this was how they treated the young celebrity from Sta. Cruz, Manila, time will come she would suffer from a breakdown if not commit suicide if she feels a tremendous pressure and is “suffocated” by her companions’ (especially the parents) over-acting. God forbid.
When it was reported that Sarah turned emotional in her recent Las Vegas concert for her 15th anniversary “This 15 Me” tour where she was seen crying in the videos uploaded by fans, I remembered this observation I had with her in 2012 in Vancouver.
Sarah must be suffering from a silent depression, whatever inner sadness she can’t fully express.
Recent scientific evidence suggested that the mixed-depressive form of bipolar disorder for celebrities with similar symptoms like Sarah’s can be a particularly dangerous time that can often go undetected or masquerade as general depression and irritability.
Depression, which affects about 16 million people in the U.S. according to the National Institutes of Mental Health, and more than 350 million globally according to the World Health Organization, is thought to be the result of interacting social, biological and environmental factors.
The word “depression” is tossed around casually, but in reality the condition can be quite debilitating, according to the Scientific American, which analyzed the case of celebrity suicide victim Robin Williams.
People with major depressive disorder (also known as clinical, major or unipolar depression) exist beyond the realm of sadness.
“In fact, they can feel numb to the world and often become lethargic and lose interest in people and activities that formerly brought them joy. When the disorder is at its most severe, people with depression may even experience psychosis–seeing or hearing things that aren’t there,” according to the Scientific American.
Let’s hope Sarah, now 29, can still recover. Let’s hope also that her parents will finally give her the space she badly needs–before it’s too late.