#NerdsUnite: A session in depression (with reality in question … & one night at a gay country line dancing club)
I’ve tried writing this post countless times over the last month and some change, and I realized today that I proved my point; I am depressed. (Writers block is one of the biggest symptoms of depression for me.)
For the last six months, I feel like I’ve taken hit after hit and while I’m not down and out for the count, I do have to face the reality of what I’m experiencing.
Cue maestro … https://www.youtube.com/embed/ClBToJfO9xo?wmode=opaque
About six weeks ago I admitted to myself (and loved ones) that I’m in a depression. I caught myself staring at my computer screen for SEVEN solid hours without doing any work. I recognized that I’m no longer living life for the actual day, instead I’m waiting for the HOPE/ CHANCE that I’ll feel better tomorrow.
What’s been going on? A lot.
I wrote about it a few months ago, but on top of those three deaths, I lost another colleague this past weekend, and my best friend had a family member also pass away last Monday. To top it all off the WGA and ATA JUST ENDED their 43 year deal (while my pilot is still being taken out). The writer on the pilot is/ was repped at APA, and now based on the ruling, the writer had to fire her.
While I actually agree with what is happening in the ruling, it still sucks that after FORTY THREE YEARS they decided to make a change RIGHT AS I WAS/ AM taking my pilot out.
The painful optimist in me wants to say “well it hasn’t killed me, so is it really that bad?”
The answer is yes.
I can’t begin to tell you how difficult getting out of bed has been.
Putting on pants?
I feel like I’ve been seeing my life happen in front of me instead of taking control and living it (mostly because I can’t believe what I am seeing).
I’m tired of being asked “how I am” and hearing the phrase “not good” come out of my mouth on an almost daily basis. I can’t hide when I’m depressed, nor at this stage of my life would I actually want to.
I’m sick of framing shit thinking I can be optimistic about it, sometimes you just have to accept that shit is shit, and in this moment I feel knee deep.
God typing that felt so good.
I have a WORLD of good I am grateful for, but if I’m not honest with myself the cycle will keep perpetuating – and I’m not willing to accept that anymore.
“10 years later, and I’m back here again,” I thought last week wanting to wallow in misery.
<tangent> See, this website was started because I was unhappy with my own life and wanted to make a change. I had spent the majority of my life in and out of therapy and hit rock bottom at 22 with a nervous breakdown (and a visit to a mental institution). It took me three more years to figure out exactly how to do it, but when I did, I’m proud to say that I not only truly fucking went for it …https://player.vimeo.com/video/248596367?wmode=opaque
</tangent> Still feeling like shit, I then took a minute to meta myself back to a quasi-logical state.
Even if I tried, I couldn’t be the same person that I was 10 years ago, I reminded myself.
I decided to then reframe my brain and instead of judging depression as this “big boss battle” at the end of the video game that I CONSTANTLY feel like I’m fighting, I thought about depression like I would a physical wound.
When you bump your elbow, you don’t sit there and go stupid elbow! You’re so stupid, I can’t believe you did this. Stupid elbow, get better now!
Sure, you might be a bit more cautious to not do whatever it was you did the first time again, but you take the hit, feel the pain, and eventually it gets better.
That’s the same as depression, I thought. I’ve taken a lot of emotional hits lately, and I need to accept that and recognize that this is only part of the healing process. It doesn’t define me, nor do I need to victimize myself as a “depressed person.”
I’m sick of living in pity, I thought, I need to take my own power back.
Instead of being mad at myself for sleeping in, I loved myself and started saying “clearly I needed the sleep.”
Instead of being hard on myself because I felt so behind with everything work and life related, I congratulated myself for putting on pants that day (even though my personal preference is a party with no pants).
Instead of complaining I had no energy, I started taking boxing classes knowing that beating the shit out of a bag felt really fucking good (far greater than beating myself up). Then, when boxing stopped feeling good, I went back to spinning. I recognized that beating myself up over not being able to focus on work wouldn’t help, but accomplishing physical goals would (which will hopefully retrain my brain) – I’m still working on this one.
I’m willing to try anything and everything in this situation, but if there’s one thing I won’t do is give up.I’ve since reached out to a series of managers (who are technically in a gray area with the ATA as managers do not fall under the same rules and guidelines as agents).
And in terms of all of the death, I take great pride in that I am the friend that I always thought I would be in difficult situations.
Not only did I place over 30 calls (including 911) the day my friend’s body was found, but even when I didn’t think I had an ounce of energy left, I still cooked dinner and hosted an entire party with our “friend family” to rally and support my best friend (which was the very next day from the visit I paid to my colleague’s death bed).
OH! and did I mention that when I got the text when he was gravely ill, I left the office in tears only to find out my car got towed?
Here are the texts …
I love that he had to remind me that it was a Catholic hospital. I’m not sure what he thought I would wear or do, but that made me smile.
After experiencing my first of five death beds as a child, I learned pretty quickly that there’s nothing you can do except be upbeat and refrain from asking questions about the person’s condition. His cancer wasn’t going to be cured, I knew this, he knew this, so instead we just chatted for the full 15 minutes each visitor was allocated.
I never did get to see him again, but getting my car towed on the EXACT day that I found out he was passing allowed me to tangibly put into perspective what mattered. I had expired tags, I knew I had them, and put off getting them updated (that was lack of self care on my part and I accept responsibility that this shit happens when you park your car on a public street).
What I had though in that situation was something that money could buy my way out of. Even with his GoFundMe page, he knew his fate, and there was nothing that could be done.
Life is so short, I kept saying to my friends over dinner that night. I know that we all “know” this, but after not only having plans with our friend on Thursday (who very unexpectedly passed on a Monday), my colleague was SO HEALTHY just six months ago, and then thinks he has a viral infection – only to find out its not a viral infection it’s an aggressive form of cancer.
Spending so much of the last six months waiting for tomorrow made me question myself if there would even be one.
I knew physically still being in a depression meant that I couldn’t I Dream of Jeanie snap my shit back together, but I could focus more on my self care and for the first time in this process put myself first.
One of the ways I’ve been self caring is by reading the book Lifescale by my very dear and amazing friend Brian Solis.
Here Brian and I are with George Eads, a Young Turk, and the new Mcgyver guy. Shortly after this photo was taken I mic dropped on one of my favorite pop stars in the elevator at the SoHo House. You know, just the usual when Brian is in town. Click here to read the post.
Best. Gif. Ever.
And here’s my copy of his book …
Through his new book, I am currently living the phrase “I get by with a little help to my friends.” Brian and I over the years have discussed at great lengths our own battles with depression, and this is a very personal book in which he describes how he was able to free himself digital distractions (which ultimately lead him into a much happier place).
Here’s Brian’s introduction to Lifescale … https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fthebriansolis%2Fvideos%2F548531332299160%2F&show_text=0&width=476&wmode=opaque
… and while I’m only a handful of pages in, I can attest that when I saw him back in October it was THE HAPPIEST I have ever seen him.
Brian’s mission wasn’t even to write this book, but in the process he called himself on his own shit and discovered that by removing the digital distractions and living more consciously, it allowed him to ultimately lead a happier life.
I’m excited to dive in and as per usual document the findings not only for you all, but also use it as a way to hold my own self accountable.
Then, this past Saturday, our friend family rallied together to celebrate our girlfriend’s birthday. As it happened to be on 4/20 she themed it a Cheech and Chong party.
Earlier in the year I decided that I was going to be “extra” to any and or all parties I go to. Instead of dressing up as a hippie or some sort of stoner, I put extra thought into it and created the character Bianca, a 70s porn star mirrored after Roller Girl from Boogie Nights (sans the skates because there was cobblestone).
My shirt also says I <3 Uranus after a trip to Uranus Missouri and their awesome fudge factory. (This is actually “a thing.”)
My girlfriend opened up the door and immediately started laughing.
“I LOVE YOU SO MUCH!!!” she said excited at the commitment to costumes.
“Anything for you,” I said. “Where’s your costume?” I continued knowing that she and I try to “out extra” one another with the creativity behind our creations.
“It’s a long story,” she said obviously not wanting to go into it.
“NO COSTUME LEFT BEHIND!” I said laughing knowing that the gift I got her was this GORGEOUS feathered shawl that would immediately flip her extra switch to on.
Within a matter of minutes she too was not only in costume, but as the guests arrived they were all visually guilt tripped into being in some sort of costume (which fortunately the hosts had).
Being “extra” is contagious. Once you’re weird/ confident enough to “go there,” it unconsciously gives everyone around you the cue to be extra too.
Somewhere around the time that molly introductions were being made, we decided to go dancing and then the term “Oil Can Harry’s” was mentioned next to the description of …
“A gay country line dancing club here in the valley,” said person said.
SUCH A THING EXISTS?! I said with child like excitement and then immediate bewilderment wondering how I have lived here so long and have yet to HEAR OF THIS LIFE EXPERIENCE!!
I mentally prepared as best as I could.
… I have waited 34 years to find “my people” and if there is any place that defines “weird” it is a gay country line dancing club in the valley.
We then grabbed LYFTs and headed over. En route, the driver asked what the occasion was for the costumes.
Without skipping a