By Lauren V. Macaraeg #LaurenMacDoodles

I dedicate my #Live4Infinity #LifeProject to the memory of my cousin, Michael “Mico” Manotok. We lost our sweet, handsome Mico in 2015 when he took his own life after a long, tiring battle with depression. This is my own small way to honor Mico’s life as his Ate Lauren.

I pray to the Lord that my clumsy efforts in sharing about my own mental health struggles & other life challenges will encourage others who are also struggling with depression, anxiety disorder, mental health conditions & suicidal thoughts. I’m just a broken girl, not an expert on life and healing. I’m sharing my journey with all of you, not because I know what to do, but simply so that you know you are not alone. So that you know there is hope. Yes, even in brokenness & darkness, there is hope.

I know Mico is home with the Lord now. But I still feel regret sometimes. I wish I had shared my mental health struggles with Mico personally. Although I did talk to his parents over the phone about his condition, I wish I had been more persistent to talk to him personally, even if we lived in different countries. I wish I gave him more time. I wish I told him he was not alone.

Thanks to Tito Lito Manotok and Tita Emily Macaraeg Manotok, not just for giving me permission, but also for their wholehearted encouragement and support me and Mama Uni Macaraeg, to dedicate this project to Mico.

In honor of Mico’s life, I am now opening up more thoroughly about my mental health and physical health to everyone. I know it’s hard for many people to imagine that I am going through something, because I am bubbly and funny, but I am also very much human. I have already written about my struggles with depression and anxiety disorder in occasional social media posts. I have also talked about my mental health challenges during the few times I shared my testimony in person and on stage. But I want to share about my journey in a more in-depth way, hoping that it will encourage others to choose life.

Am I worried that others will judge me? Yes, to be honest, I’m a little scared. Although many people have shown grace and unconditional acceptance to me in the past, I know some people will not understand. But if my openness about my mental condition will give hope even to just one person, then it’s all worth it. If with the Lord’s help, I can give hope to even one single person because I shared openly about my mental health struggles, if I can encourage one single person to open up to others or admit to himself or herself that he or she needs help, if I can encourage just one single person to choose life over death, it’s already more than worth it. Thanks to everyone who loved me at my worst in the past because our memories of grace give me courage to move forward now. Baon ko lagi ang pagmamahal niyo.

I love you all. My wish is that all of us – my family, friends, readers, and myself – will choose life again and again and again with the help of Jesus. It’s a choice we have to make every single day.

I love and miss you always, Mico. This one’s for you, cuz.

Love, Ate Lauren.


“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” (1 Corinthians 13:13) #1Corinthians1313

“I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” – Jesus Christ (John 10:10) #John1010

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” (John 3:16) #John316

“It’s been a long day without you, my friend

And I’ll tell you all about it when I see you again

We’ve come a long way from where we began

Oh, I’ll tell you all about it when I see you again

When I see you again.”

– “See You Again” by Wiz Khalifa

#Live4Infinity #LifeProject by #LaurenMacDoodles #LaurenVMacaraeg: #Dedication #ForMico 11.30.2017

#Healing #MentalHealthAwareness #MentalHealthMatters #MentalHealthPH #Depression #FaceOfDepression #AnxietyDisorder #SuicideAwareness #PhysicalHealth #Health #Wellness #Love #Family #Friends #AmazingGrace #LoveIsSpelledTIME #GodWithUs

#LaurenAndMamu #MamaUniAndMe #Cutie #CutieTheCat #Family #2017 🐱

5 Projects Under My Live4Infinity Life Project:

Coming Soon: #ProjectHEAL #ProjectTIME

To Follow Later On When I Get Better: #ProjectPICMIRACLE #ProjectTHANKYOU #ProjectHELLO


In memory of Michael “Mico” Manotok

(September 14, 1994 – May 2, 2015)


About the author

Lauren V. Macaraeg

Lauren V. Macaraeg is a children’s book author and freelance writer. Check out her official website at to learn more about Lauren and her book Sinemadyika.

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