Depression Sucks – BIG TIME

It’s never easy when you have to force a smile on your face and hide from your friends and family what’s really going through your mind and heart because you don’t want to worry them. But the truth is that dealing with depression is never easy and there is no quick fix for it – and they SHOULD worry, so they can help you find a way out of the darkness…if they can. If you LET THEM.

I’ve had quite a few months dealing with moving, second guessing my ability to become a successful filmmaker and also dealing with being a caregiver. I’ve been feeling invisible, worthless, like a failure. I can’t shake the feeling as if I’ve ceased to exist if it weren’t for cooking, cleaning up the house or someone else’s finances. No one calls in to see if I’m okay. I don’t go to a psychologist because I can’t afford one. I don’t go to a counselor because I can’t afford one. I don’t have medical insurance so I can’t medically care for myself – so what do I do? I try my hardest to swallow the tears that seep out when I watch an emotional film – that’s the only way I let myself feel anything. I go for walks with my dogs and dive into listening music.

I try to call people to talk to them, to get out of my own head but they’re busy with their lives. How can I tug on their sleeve and say “pay attention to me right now” when they have tons of problems of their own? The past couple of weeks I’ve contemplated just leaving…disappearing into the ocean. But how can I do that? I still haven’t achieved what I’ve wanted to achieve.

Some of my friends and family don’t believe that I can make it as a filmmaker. They urge me to apply for another job so I can get a steady paycheck. They wonder, out loud, why did I take on the responsibility of caring for my remaining living parent – saying things like “you’re being wasted” where I live and “come back to the U.S. so you can be yourself again” – but what does that mean? To be myself again? I used to drink, party almost every weekend be a slave to the 9 to 5 and think that I wasn’t ever going to amount to anything other than the retirement pension I was working towards. My life dissipating through my fingers with every code I’d type into the computer working for someone else. Who was I? A woman who struggled with body image, to keep a romantic relationship for more than a month…but I was there for them. Always available to them, for them.

Who is it that they want me to be? Do they want me to be that person who pretended she was always happy and available to solve their problems whenever they called – which was often. Do they want me to be the person who quietly navigated through life trying to figure out how to become a published writer and eventual filmmaker? Who do they want me to be? The one who listens to their gossip and eats nachos on game night? Or do they want me to be the one who prefers to not watch the game and go to the movies instead? Who do they want me to be? Who do I want to be?

I’ve wondered heavily for the past few years…I recently told a close friend of mine that I’ve been mentally struggling with things – he said “Why!? You have a job that is paying you good money, what is there to be sad about?” there is a huge different between being sad and being depressed. Depression doesn’t go away – you always feel the darkness even when you’re in your good days. Depression plays tricks on you, makes you feel as if everything would be better if you weren’t around. Makes you feel as if you’re the problem with everything, even when you know you’re not. It takes so much effort to realize that you’re doing good, that you’re being good, that you are good when you’re depressed. That is, if you even make it through the darkness.

It takes so much effort to realize that you’re much more than a person who cooks for others – even if they don’t really speak to you other than to ask for food or to make banal comments about what’s going on in social media. It takes that much more effort to know that you do exist when all you’re trying to do is to work or watch a television show when someone else is blaring videos as if you weren’t there…

It takes so much effort to realize that you’re more than a dog walker, feeder, pooper scooper, dog groomer – but it’s easy when you look into their eyes and they lick your chin and wag their tail and jump and bark announcing that you’re home or that they’re grateful.

It takes so much effort to know that you’re valued when people expect for you to do everything without complaining – because that’s what you’ve been doing for the past few years.

 

It takes so much effort to not paddle far away into the waves on your boogie board….

 

Depression sucks, but what sucks more is not seeing the light you know is there…what sucks more is not fighting. So, I fight.

I fight really hard.

Advertisements

Self doubt is not accepted

While I’ve posted my struggles with body dysmorphia I haven’t really gone in depth on how this has affected my confidence to make my films.

Coming from a small coastal town, having most people tell me that I’m “way too ambitious for my own good” has quietly seeped its way into my subconscious and made me doubt my ability to make things happen efficiently.

Most evident was when I was in film school. One of my professors gave us an in class assignment of how our production company would work out budgeting and breaking even – we were given about 20 minutes to work out the first few details to give us an idea of how things would work once we graduated. My response was simple: to produce one of my documentaries the cost for a small 3 person team for travel, editing and other production expenses along with limited distribution (as in “available only in these theatres”) would be an estimated $150,000 – this would also cover merchandise for the film that would be available for purchase online and at the theatres at a special table next to the ticket booth, I also mentioned that to attract more theater goers to make sure I either break even and make more than the invested I’d be available to do a Q&A the premiere night and the closing night.

The professor’s reaction was that of his jaw dropping and telling me “wow, you’re certainly ambitious and talking a big game, but you won’t be able to do that right out the gate – best you start small” While he was right, and I have already done the small time promotion steps of distribution (see on the side bar Forever Boogies). Not once, did he mention we should think small when talking about our potential productions hitting theaters. What was so wrong with my idea then? It was too big of a thought for a person who was coming out of nowhere.

That professors reaction, along with the fact that I’ve had it drilled into my brain that I’ll never be the person I imagine myself being – has served as a giant disservice for my career. I’ve made proposals after proposals with low production cost and thinking how I could get all things done with just under $40K for a documentary. Thinking “if I could make it happen with just $1,000 [the true cost of making Forever Boogies] I can make a larger film happen” but what will that leave me with really? I won’t have an adequate team, the film quality will probably be shit, and then that means I won’t have the reach I’d love for it to have.

So, time has come – and after fail Crowd-Funding campaigns [in great part due to doubting my abilities as a filmmaker, and over all abilities to create compelling content] to tighten up my boot straps and make things happen for real. I’ve gathered up a small team of people, and have adjusted the budgets for my next three documentaries. All of which will be pitched at the same time to several documentary production agencies. Why all at once? Because they are all compelling stories, that need to be brought into fruition for the audience to see. Self doubt is no longer accepted at this production table.

Wish me luck.