Depression is something that I believe we all experience at some point or another; in different ways and intensities, but it’s a part of life. My recent bout with depression was maybe the third time in my life that I had ever felt this way, and this was the most prominent attack yet.
When I moved to Los Angeles, I had to go for the unattainable and go where the films were (THANKS MAINE, Glad to see this went somewhere!), because the life I was leading was killing me (hello Depression Battle #2).
In that move, I knew that whatever chance I had would only come with hard work, skill, and a bit of luck. I was confident that I had all three (as much as I could know then), so the trek cross country made sense. I always could go back home (but not-so-secretly never wanted to), and since I loved it out here, and I quickly found work, I felt that at least I was headed in the right direction.
But the Holidays hurt more than I could expect. I didn’t get to see family, enjoy delicious home-cooked meals, or even see that awful thing called snow, and worst yet, of the few people I knew in this area, they were all either busy or away from LA for the time being.
Thanksgiving was only the precursor; then during Christmas I was alone, writing in a coffee shop; and by New Year’s I watched two movies to fill the void of time. This cycle of lonely (usually) celebratory events fed into that time of the year when the freelance is limited for the Holidays, and my boss was on vacation, so money had resumed it’s oh so familiar chokehold. Just when I thought I had enough Crisco on my neck…
The impending doom of tax returns and the high cost of living here truly added up in the worst possible time. I was sliding down the frigid cavern of debt, fast. Of course, I was never on steady ground in that department in the first place, but it was getting worse.
Having those two elements on my shoulders made me focus harder than ever on the main reason why I was in Hollywood: Screenwriting. I never said I was a pro; and self-doubt is part of the business, but with all of this added weight, my inner fear gorged itself on the negative energy I had been amassing for the past few weeks, and my depression grew to dangerous levels.
No, I would never hurt myself (so get that thought out of your mind), but it got to the point where I was always tired, feeling ill, and not being able to focus on the very task at hand that could release me from this insufferable internal pain.
I tried everything to combat these issues practically: I talked to family and friends, I applied for freelance jobs, part-time jobs, continued on my book, my blog, and this script. But none of it was good enough, and the tornado within ate away at my foundation. I had to walk – get some kind of exercise – and listen to the funniest podcasts I had (The Comedy Button), and was able to get some levity through the storm. They had a particularly great episode about Holiday depression that was gold.
Finally, I had had enough, and crashed super early last night; I let my depression win, and slept like an asshole, even though I was not even close to legitimate exhaustion. If I was to feel “tired” then depression can have it; I’m going to wake up early and start fresh. I tossed and turned all night, waking up every half an hour or so (a rarity for me), and in the end, I slept a good eight hours (nothing fancy), but I awoke miraculously like a fucking champ.
No matter what happens to me here in Los Angeles, if I make it big, sell a few scripts; or if I fail, fall on my fucking face and hitchhike out of here, I will never give up. I’m going to be in debt all of my life thanks to college and my stupid unrelenting hospital bills, so fuck that worry. The only way I can get out of this depressive state for good is if I can make a career in any capacity here.
And I know that I will never be completely clear of depression; I could be exactly where I want to be and still get depressed. It’s separation anxiety; sometimes you need depression to show yourself the light. Hell, if it wasn’t for the damned thing, then I wouldn’t be here, giving this a shot.
Fight your battle with depression, but when you do, exercise, do fun things, and for the love of God be open and honest with those closest to you. It will save your life.
Shoot me a text if you ever feel bad. We’ll talk.