Living out from Shame and Bain

by Chachie Abara

When it comes to mental health and wellness this terminology (Bain) can often be foreign to our own Filipino community. The words that are associated with these words are often negative and condescending. The idea of being vulnerable and feeling our feelings is not seen as strength but a weakness. They say, “apay apagkitka ti maysa nga therapist no adda kami nga pamiliam pakibagaam iti problema.” translate in Ilokano to "why go to someone else when you can just open up your problems to us. Sometimes, opening up to your family can be a little challenging or difficult when it's what you are used to."

Historically, our community has gone through 300 years of colonization from Spain. Coming to terms with our identity when to begin with, and understanding where we came from is already a challenge to begin with. Questions like: what does it mean to be a true filipino, who were the Filipinos before colonization and what are our traditions prior to it? — To know who we come from, and to have the innermost patience when it comes to knowing ourselves takes a lot of courage and commitment to self. Exploring our inmost self which is a long, yet fruitful journey of deep shadow work in order for us to know who we are. 

As for myself, this journey of living out from shame and Bain, first started noticing over these past few years of seeking therapy and professional help. A part of me felt a bit of unsteady and unstable to even be in this journey. As someone who longed to advocate for her community needs, this was a large pill for me to swallow. 

After going through the darkest period of my life, that's when everything begins to have a slight switch of things. An easier way to describe it is the idea that in order for myself to continue to seek change in her community, it is necessary to do the deep inner work of finding herself. Navigating the shame through it and learning that there is nothing to worry about when it comes to investing in yourself. 

About the Author

Chachie Abara, (she/her/isuna)is an alumni  at the University of Hawaii at Manoa with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Philippine Language + Literature: Ilokano Language and Literature. Chachie is the founder and director of operations for Reclaiming Filipinx Media which hopes to become a platform for those who want to dive deeper and learn about their cultural heritage and roots. She is a certified wellness coach through the National Asian American Pacific Islander Mental Health Association. She is passionate about mental health advocacy and providing the space for the Filipino community to have conversations that can help those fight the stigma that circles around mental health. She is on a leave from grad school but one day she hopes to continue to finish her Masters Degree in Social Work.  In her free time she enjoys writing screenplays, poetries and podcasting!

You can follow her socials at @chachiewrites on Instagram, @chachieabara on TikTok! She looks forward to continuing to break the stigma with you!


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