Suicide Squad

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

So, I have had a lot of people message me and say thank you for the mental health posts I have done recently and it has been highlighted to me how many performers suffer with mental health issues (way more than I thought).

What I wanted to do was talk once more about how depression has affected me, then I am going to look into how I can use this platform to help others and get a community together for actors mental health support.

Ever heard of Cabin Fever? Well this was the main cause of me feeling hugely depressed last year. I had quite a successful year, however during the down times between jobs I didn't really have much work. I found myself getting up really late, not doing much all day, then sleeping again. Never really leaving my room.

I would still do the whole applying for casting thing but apart from that, I didn't really have a purpose. Money was tight and the only time I was happy was when I had managed to drag myself out and see my friends.

Things I regularly get depressed by are:

1) Not feeling like I am where I want to be in life. I feel I have a lot of ambitions and goals and it can be hugely overwhelming.

2) The state of the world. The fact I can't really do anything to help those at war or the way we are destroying our planets environment.

3) Having a depressive role. Learning to leave that rape scene or death scene at work and not bring it home can be difficult sometimes.

4) Money. I have all the ambition but not all the money, so have to wait to do certain things and can't always see that play or go to that event due to funds.

5) Not being in work. Attending castings but getting none and seeing roles I am perfect for but not getting seen.

This is all hugely toxic and can spiral quickly out of control. What I did mange to do eventually was to find other things I was interested in. For example writing became key here and also I really delved into ideas I had for films.

These distractions kept my mind active and I managed to brush the depression off. I do however believe you can never really truly brush it off, as even today when I have a hundred and one things to do each day and working more than ever within the industry, some days I am just not me. What are your distractions?

I am a very positive and optimistic person but can still massively struggle sometimes. It is hard for me to admit that as I think as performers we always like to put a front on that we are ok and well. But once in a while I am not.

What I have learnt is that your friends and family (your squad) is very important. It is so important to freely talk about your feelings and emotions because it truly helps. Me and my girlfriend regularly talk about our mental health and it massively helps me feel like I am not alone and that if something is truly wrong she is there to help and get me help.

I urge you to (even if it's the smallest thing) have a friend or family member that you can talk to. Don't leave it until you are suffering but bring up that conversation now and chat about mental health in general first as it will make you much more at ease when it is about you.

This blog post isn't going to change the awareness and attitudes towards mental health but it can get us talking.

I do not want this post to seem in anyway negative. I believe it is a little light in the darkness we can suffer with. Even through the days I get depressed, I am still very thankful I get to live my life the way I want everyday. Chasing my dreams and goals and not working to live.

So grab a friend and have a conversation about mental health, they may need you as much as you need them.


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Photo credit: Greg Goodale

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