Of Sleeping Pills and Tranquilizer

Dr. Zcharmaine Yumang is gastroenterologist from Pampangga. She is a Core group member of Fellows, Residents, Interns and Clerks’ ministry at St. Luke’s.


I had a good life with a very supportive family. Outwardly I looked very happy. I have a lot of friends.  Anyone would envy my social media and Facebook life.

But at day’s end and alone at home it was a different story. I felt so tired and unhappy. I felt ugly, inadequate and insecure. I was depressed. To fill the emptiness in my heart, I jumped from one relationship to another, anchoring my life on men. All those relationships, however, left me more broken afterwards.

I had trouble sleeping so I took sleeping pills for 10 years, starting with anti-histamines and supplements. Then eventually anxiolytics and tranquilizers almost every night. The profound emptiness in my heart wouldn’t go away even though my body was tired from endless hospital duties. I consulted four psychiatrists and took different antidepressants but I remained depressed.  The consultations, the antidepressants did not work.  

But God was faithful.

In 2014, extremely sad and was about to give up, I met Dr. Jay R. Palec, an oncologist connected to St. Luke’s Christian Movement. He asked me to join a small group of doctors who meet weekly for Bible study. In my desperation to be happy, I joined.

In our first meeting, Dr. Edward Magsombol shared the Four Spiritual Laws to the group. I received Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. I experienced a transient feeling of peace but soon after,  problems and uncertainties overwhelmed me.  For four years I was in and out of discipleship, living a defeated life.

In 2016 I hit bottom.  I was a first year gastroenterology fellow on 36-hour duties, with no sleep, unfinished reports, troubles at home and a broken heart. I felt empty, aimless, hopeless. But God did not give up on me but continued to pursue me through His people. 

As my depression deepened, Christian friends reached out and ministered to me, reminding me of God’s love. They relentlessly prayed that I would see my situation in light of God’s Word which gave me hope.  

About a year ago, in one of our Bible studies, the truth of the gospel suddenly penetrated my soul like never before. As in Ezekiel 36:26 God gave me a new heart and put a new spirit in me, turning my heart of stone and giving me a heart of flesh. 

Since that day, I’ve been off sleeping pills and enjoying the best sleep of my life every night. He replaced my depression with joy and peace.  My laughter is now coming from a truly joyful heart – a joy that is not dependent on my circumstances but on the truth. 

I was lost sheep but God did not stop pursuing me through His people. He has given me the burden to reach out to others in the hospital so they too can know God’s wonderful love for them. 


Philippine Campus Crusade for Christ ministers to students and professionals like Dr. Zcharmaine. We seek to win-build-send a movement of Christ-centered multiplying disciples all over the world, and in every sector of society. Disciples that are whole and deeply-rooted in Christ, effecting positive change in their communities and beyond. Learn more about strengthening discipleship.

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