Though I’ve mentioned it before, I don’t often talk about having depression. For one thing, why feed the beast with attention? For another, I still feel the social stigma of having “something wrong” with me. Also, I’m very proud and want to be seen as “ok” and self-sufficient.
The past few weeks have made it abundantly clear that I’m not nearly as self-sufficient as I think I ought to be. In case you don’t keep up with me on other social networks, I got a small scholarship to go to the New York Film Academy. I applied for financial aid, prayed a bunch, and flew up to NYC at the beginning of the month. I left a few days later in tears and absolute dejection because I did not get the financial aid and could not stay.
The crushing defeat more than slightly broke my mind. I was sure I’d misinterpreted something, done something wrong. Could I trust myself? Could I trust God? My world was gone, and no amount of platitudes, Scripture, or advice would bring it back. This, friends and neighbors, was raw emotion. I had no intellect left.
No, I was not suicidal. No, I was not in any danger of hurting myself. Please don’t worry about that.
I’ve always prided myself on being smart. Smart is all I had to be proud of. Any other skill or talent I had was incidental and not really worth much; smarts was where my value lay. Now, my intellect had betrayed me. I had examined the matter from every angle, applied every lesson on faith and trust I’d ever learned, asked God for guidance and listened carefully, and none of it had worked. What I thought was affirmation that the money would be there did not make the money appear.
Did God betray me? Did He lie to me? Was He once again pulling my chain so that He could laugh at me? These were just some of the thoughts running through my mind. Well, stampeding at light speed through my mind. What was left of my mind.
Nothing made sense. All I could do was cry and be angry and broken. I had no logical explanation other than I was an utter IDIOT for thinking that I could do something so STUPID. There was no logic, no reason, in flying up to NYC on a hope and a prayer. What made me think that I could do any better than the tens of thousands who never make it in entertainment? How dare I waste money and good will and time and effort on something so PATHETIC and POINTLESS?
The flights back were terrible because of delays due to equipment and weather. All my luggage went ahead of me while I got stuck overnight in Dallas, still miserable, still crying, still heaping so much hate on myself that I could barely breathe. I did make it back to my parent’s house and collapsed into bed. I’ve spent a lot of time there in the weeks since.
I haven’t been completely idle since this fiasco. That overnight in Dallas resulted in me meeting a couple of women in town for a business conference, and I spent over an hour explaining how science fiction does not contradict the Bible or God. Ah, irony; there I was, bleeding to death inside, giving words of life to a drunk woman. The next week, I spent several days as an extra for a movie being shot in the area. I attended church and Bible study and gave Scriptural advice to some friends who needed it.
I’ve gotten good at pretending to be ok. I’m an actor, after all. But this time, I couldn’t make myself fake it. I had to admit to everyone, including myself, that I’m not ok. I don’t know what happened or why. I don’t know what I’m going to do now. I don’t know. That is my stock answer for everything these days. Any question you can think to ask me, the answer is, “I don’t know.”
I’ve avoided and suppressed my emotions all my life. It’s family tradition, after all. Emotions are bad and should never been shown in public. Public consists of any time any person can observe you. Which means that you can never be certain you’re in private, so don’t ever bother having emotions. Someone might walk in at the wrong moment and catch you at it, you naughty, wretched thing you.
This breaking of my mind meant that I couldn’t hide there any longer. All I’ve had are my emotions, and I don’t have a damn idea what to do with them. They’re there. So?
A word of advice: if someone is going through an extreme emotional time, DO NOT offer them logical advice. That is entirely inappropriate, offensive, and insulting. Offering up logic to someone whose emotions are in control effectually devalues those emotions and tells the person that their emotions are invalid. Emotions are not logical. Applying logic to emotions will only serve to damage your relationship with the person who’s dealing with them so intensely.
I’m letting myself learn to accept my emotions. I’m working, day by day, moment by moment, to give them a proper place in my life. Humans are meant to have both mind and heart, and each have their place. It’s a mess to sort out when you haven’t been doing proper maintenance all along.
Where am I today? Still not knowing. I’m going to take a few weeks off from writing to give my mind time to heal. I may apply for a part-time job somewhere to give myself something outside the house to do. I’m going to start an exercise class this week, if the weather permits driving to and from. I’ve got a counselor I trust and I’m taking some supplements that really do help balance out the brain chemicals.
I don’t know why things happened the way they did or what I’m going to do going forward. All I can do is go forward and see what happens.