Friday, January 22, 2016

Depression.


I consider myself a sometimes overly optimistic human being.  I always hope for the best and I believe good things will happen and everything will work out in the end.  I often feel like I can take on any task and conquer the world. Sometimes, I even feel confident in my abilities and think my personality is a particularly good one and I’m someone worthy of love and respect. 

Sometimes I think these things.  And when I do, it’s really great.  Feeling good about yourself is honestly the best feeling in the world!  When I really, truly love myself - it feels better than it has ever felt to be loved by someone else. 

If only it weren’t so fleeting and infrequent. 

Depression is a monster that I’ve lived with since I was a teenager.  Most times, I try and I try and I blow its house down… but there are times it defeats me.  Lately, it’s been defeating me a whole lot.  I wake up every morning with it sitting comfortably on my chest and only goes away after a few cups of coffee, a shower and writing down a to-do list so I can feel as though I have a little bit of control over my life.  But it never actually goes away, it just stands by my side.  All day long. 

When I’m driving to work, it’s sitting in the passenger seat judging me for listening to the Hamilton soundtrack again.  It shares a desk with me.  It attends every meeting with me.  It spends the entire day trying to push me down.  And whenever there’s nobody around, it wins.  It forces me into the bathroom to cry, it takes me on walks to cry and sometimes when it’s really bad, it sends me out to my car to hide… and cry. 

The past few months, I’ve been working out every single day to combat it.  It works a little bit, and at the very least I’ve lost 30 pounds, but the high doesn’t last very long.  It feels like I can’t go a full hour without being overshadowed by my own mind.  

There are reasons I feel this way and some of them are even legitimate due to life changes and such.  But for the most part, it’s just being down on myself and refusing to give myself a break.  It’s feeling guilty for things I can’t fix, change or control.  It’s wishing I could turn back time.  It’s fear for the future and a heavy focus on things that happened and mistakes I may have made in the past.  It’s assuming people’s (negative) opinions of me.  It’s wishing for contact with someone I desperately want contact with.  And the cherry on top is how horrible I feel for feeling depressed over seemingly nothing when other people have it much, much worse.

It’s really fucking overwhelming.  And lately, I have really wanted to give up.  I go to bed every night super early because I can’t stand being awake and dealing with this.  I wake up miserable and it takes far too long to break out of it.  I’m afraid to take even a SIP of alcohol because of the even darker thoughts it brings out. I just want to throw in the towel and let the waves crash over me and be found washed up on a beach like that sea monster in Montauk

I won’t, but I want to. 

As hard as life feels, I’ll still get out of bed every morning.  I’ll go to work and say inappropriate things in an attempt to make everyone laugh.  I’ll sing parody songs that don’t make sense. (Such as “Quit Cigarettes and Vape Time” instead of “Heard It Through The Grapevine”).  I’ll listen to Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton duel it out for the 160th time.  I’ll scroll through Instagram and only like pictures of dogs.  I’ll do the same old Pilates routine while watching Vanderpump Rules.  It’ll get better. It always does. 

There will come a day when I will suddenly feel hopeful again and I’ll happily swim with the waves instead of casually doggie paddling and hoping they swallow me whole.  But I think it’s important to talk about depression and realize it’s happening and that it’s going to be hard and I’m not just feeling sad for the sake of feeling sad. I have to stop feeling so guilty.  It’s a legitimate disease and as long as I’m doing all that I can to keep it at bay, then it’s going to be okay. 

Depression will always be the basilisk in my secret chamber that I need to stab with the sword of Gryffindor.  That’s a Harry Potter reference that also sounds vaguely sexual.  It’ll always be lurking in the background, ready to pounce whenever I’m feeling a little vulnerable.  I refuse to let it own my life, but I’ve come to terms that it’ll always be there and it’s my responsibility to take care of myself and let it know who it’s boss.

Angela. Angela is the boss.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

My Complicated Relationship With Social Platforms

Social media is going to kill us all.

Last spring, I gave Snapchat a try.  It was what all the cool kids were doing, so I downloaded it out of fear of being out of touch.  I’m still young and hip just like everyone else, I swear!  I immediately started receiving (what felt like) millions of snaps a day.  At first I thought it was cute.  Then it got annoying because I couldn’t keep up with it.  Then, it started making me mad.  

There was something not-so-fun about watching seconds upon seconds of people’s lives.  I feel like I didn’t need to be there.  I sort of missed being in the dark and having something to catch up with friends over instead of knowing what they were doing every second of their lives.  And, not going to lie, sometimes I felt left out.  I didn’t like taking it personally for no reason, so I just deleted it.  Easy!

Facebook is next on my list of things to rid myself of.  It has become a place for people to dump their political thoughts and fight and all it does is bring negative energy to my life.  So many times I have had opinions of people I really liked change because of the things they post on Facebook.  The judgmental bullshit is what enrages me the most.  Support Trump all you want, you’re certainly not going to sway my vote, but stop shitting on people for changing their Facebook profile pictures to rainbows or Peanuts characters!  Why do you even care?

Still, every now and then, people post interesting articles or exciting news about their lives, so I’m still hanging on (and logging in once a day) to catch those parts.  I really like hearing about your weight loss journeys, engagements and new jobs!  So keep sharing!  

Although, I did recently miss an announcement that my friend was going to be on a TV show and just happened to catch him on it while I was watching it and got very excited for him!  When I logged into Facebook and saw that everyone was talking about it, I was kind of happy to have just witnessed it in the moment and experience an unexpected moment of joy for my friend.  

Instagram, on the other hand, is my last remaining source of social love.  I love the filtered, curated moments of people’s lives.  I love every selfie, every cat, every dog, every meme, every quote that you feel resonates with your life in that moment.  In my opinion, people tend to think before posting on Instagram.  It’s the one platform where I feel as though people actually care about the amount they’re posting and make sure the picture they upload is a good representation.  This is not always the case… not even for me.  But hey, whatever, my Instagram page accurately represents my funny, messy life full of cats, dogs and my very own face.

However, some days Instagram drains me of happiness just like every other social platform.  Some days I’m homesick and I see people having fun in Boston, or even just a building in Boston, and I get really sad.  Some days I don’t want to see pictures of warm weather when it’s so cold.  Whatever the reason, pictures on Instagram can make me angry or sad.  So I avoid it like the plague and wait until my happiness levels even out.

There are times when I want to quit everything and just live my life quietly.  I want to enjoy the moment as it happens and catch up with people and not know everything about everyone’s lives.  I miss there being a little bit of mystery.  But, other times I want to post pictures of myself holding my friend’s dog and go through old profile pictures of high school acquaintances.

So, I’m going back to my original statement, throwing my hands up in the air and calling this confusing time in my life quits.  Social media is going to kill us all.  

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

New Year, New Me?

I was dead asleep in my bed when it turned 2016.  In California, at least. 

In previous years, you would find me just getting ready for a full night of partying with all my friends and castmates. I used to perform on New Year’s Eve and my night typically wouldn’t even start until midnight.  Naturally, that had me stumbling up my apartment stairwell late in the morning after a night of drinking large portions of champagne-based drinks in a small apartment stuffed to the brim with sweaty humans.

But this year was different.

I originally had plans to go to a bar and spend a bunch of money on drinks and get really drunk with my friends.  And then I went back to Boston and did enough damage in one night that I don’t think drinking in 2016 is remotely necessary - or even possible.  

But aside from that, I just made the decision not to.  I didn’t feel like it.  I went out to dinner, ate some overly-peppered pasta, drank a little bit of wine and called it an early night.

I returned from Boston a few days earlier and was feeling pretty down.  A lot of my L.A. friends were still out of town.  Others didn’t want to go out or spend money.  Others just wanted to hook up with a bunch of random strangers.  I was not in the mood for any of that.

Then, a day later, I got food poisoning.  It was by far the sickest I have ever been and there were points in the night where I thought I was going to die on the bathroom floor from dehydration.  My cat circled my weak, grey body as I lied on the floor trying to seek comfort from the cool tile.  It was the most pathetic I’ve ever felt.  And I’ve put myself in a lot of pathetic situations.

So now, I’m convinced that I’ve set myself up for a good year.  I crawled into 2016 with low energy, a depressing outlook and a crippling stomach illness.  That has got to mean good things on the horizon!  Or it means that my youth is over as I age into my 30th year on the planet.  That’s the new me.  I’m the new Jan Brady.  Boring, brunette, blank.

Just kidding.  I have a trip to Disneyland planned.  DISNEYLAND.  

Here’s to a new year.  And a new you.  And a new do. And a new whatever the fuck you want.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Glorious November

Ah, November… you’re here.  In all your November glory.

It’s finally acceptable for me to listen to Christmas records, watch the Hallmark channel for hours on end to fill my brain with cheesy, horrible Christmas movies and drink out of a Santa mug. 

I can decorate my apartment with cheery decorations and put my Christmas tree up way earlier than I probably should!

November is all about giving thanks and being grateful and prepping for the holidays and it’s also my half birthday and OMG I’M TURNING 30 IN SIX MONTHS.  

Holy shit.  What?!  When did that happen?

30.  Well, ok. 

It’s not that I’m afraid of turning 30. In fact, I’m kind of excited.  But it’s a milestone birthday for sure and I feel like I need to do something about it.  Like travel internationally… since I’ve never done that.  Or adopt a dog.  Or figure out what the hell I want to do with my life. 

I feel like life is a constant struggle and I never have enough money and I’m really bad at making decisions, or taking risks, and well – I don’t know if I will have that all figured out by May 18, 2016 but damn, I sure do hope I’m on the right track. 

Ah, November.  You’re here!  Christmas is soon!  And oh my god, I'm getting old. 

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

On Being Creative With No Purpose

Creativity has always been the only thing I really liked about myself.  Or at least it was the fact that I never really brushed aside like everything else.  When someone says I'm pretty, I come up with a hundred reasons why that person is a dumb liar, but when I'm complimented on something that has to do with my creative brain, I actually feel comfortable thanking them. 

And yet, I grew up dancing from the age of three and piled on every single style of dance that I could take, from tap and jazz to gymnastics and pointe and eventually when I realized that I didn’t need to do it and it wasn’t going to be what I did forever, I just quit. There was a whole lot of teenage angst and awkward issues that had a lot to do with that, but I also just realized that I wasn’t going to be a dancer… so what was the point? 

While looking for colleges, I really wanted to study musical theater.  I wanted to go to Emerson. but I never thought it’d be an actual career path I would be able to go down.  Instead, I went the safe route and went to Suffolk (literally across the park from Emerson) and studied something safe and boring that I haven’t touched since.

While at Suffolk, I briefly considered switching to NYU and studying magazine writing and becoming a magazine writer but all I heard was that it was a really difficult field to break into – and it was also slowly dying at the same time.  So I decided to stay where I was and keep taking improv classes.

While improv classes worked out for me and blossomed into something much bigger, for which I'm extremely happy and grateful, there was always a part of me that felt like it wasn't real and that there was no way I could do improv comedy forever.  I mean, technically that's sort of true - at least not as a career

Eventually, I moved to Los Angeles to pursue comedy in a grander sense, which is funny considering I never gave any other creative career option a chance but thought, “Yeah! Comedy is going to be easy peasy!”

That being said, now that I’m in L.A., I feel myself falling back into the old mentality that I used to.  What’s the point of doing something creative AT ALL if it’s not a viable career option?  I’ve become a bit more practical since moving here and that probably has a lot to do with being smacked in the face with becoming an adult.  All of a sudden, I had to deal with my credit score and it’s ability to fuck up everything from renting an apartment to leasing a car.  Suddenly I realized that living my dream wasn’t going to help me get out of debt just yet.  

Luckily I found a place to work that allows me to be creative, but my role isn't the most creative in the world.  I’m literally left scrounging for creative outlets. I try to make people laugh at work, I write funny emails or put some personality into a presentation for work and that’s all fun and great.  

But when I go home and watch television or do yoga and think, “Ugh, what am I doing?”  Doing nothing is just as useless as doing something for “no reason.”  So, I'm going to try to write more with no intention of publishing or posting any of it (although it'd be nice if that actually happens.)  I'm going to try to take dance classes just for the hell of it.  Maybe I'll even take up painting. 

Just kidding.  I'm really bad at painting. 


Monday, October 19, 2015

The Pressures of Adulting



Being an adult is ROUGH. 

At this moment in time, I have a bi-weekly therapy appointment in addition to anti-anxiety medication that I take every day.  I'm also doing yoga 5-6 times a week to reduce stress and I even have a guided meditation app on my phone.  As I age and the pressure builds, I'm feeling more and more anxious and it's difficult to get a hold on.  

When I was 16 and in high school, I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety.  And when I think of the way I feel now versus the way I felt then, I find it difficult to understand.  What on EARTH did I have to feel depressed about then?  What pressure was I facing every day?  

If I could go back and tell my depressed 16-year-old self anything, I’d say “Hey girl, boys don’t like you because you wear oversized Gap sweatshirts and sweatpants every single day.  Also, you don’t give them the chance to like you because you hate yourself and stay in on the weekends to discuss Harry Potter at length and watch Miss Congeniality again.  You’re really smart and you do really well in school and it’s not that hard for you.  People think you’re funny!  You live at home and your parents pay for everything, including your cell phone bill even though you probably don’t even need a cell phone.  Girl, who are you calling?   But hey, good for you for watching Cheers so much and thinking it’s the best show that is no longer on television.”

These days, life is a lot more difficult.  On Friday evening, I had to pay $300 to renew my car registration and then another $300 to get a sample of my cat’s urine checked out.  I didn’t know that I had to renew my registration every year because my parents did all of that for me the one year that I had a car before my dad had it re-painted and sold it.  That’s how bad at being an adult I am. 

Life is also harder now because we live in a society where there’s a lot of pressure.  Since this is the era of following dreams and doing what you love, it’s really hard to live up to that.  It’s a time where choosing different career paths, or not immediately succeeding at what you want to do means you’re a complete failure.  Every time I go home, I feel weird about what to say.  I have a solid job with a great salary, a career path and awesome opportunities and I feel hesitant to admit that.  Sometimes it feels like I should just say, “I can barely pay my rent and I’m struggling, but I’m working on my screenplay every day and a friend of a friend’s uncle is a big wig at Paramount so I think it’s going to be real good in like a year.”

The worst part is that I’m putting all this pressure on myself.  And I’m sure a lot of people do the same thing.  It feels as though we all have to be on the same map, hitting the same milestones by certain points in our lives and for what??  It's so discouraging and disappointing.  

In high school, I was nailing life if I got a 90 on my Art History test and had a great group of friends to spend time with every weekend.  Nowadays, the definition of nailing it is incredibly varied.  It's really hard to see how you're actually doing when you're comparing your accomplishments to everyone else's. Comparison is the thief of joy, everyone!  

More often than not, we're in the way of ourselves and our happiness. And then other times, it's legitimately overwhelming to just LIVE.  Car payments, rent, student loan, credit cards... all these payments are the devil and ruining our lives.  

I'm getting stressed out just thinking about it.  

But you know what?  Let's give ourselves some credit for all the things we have achieved, and let's buy ourselves a nice gourmet pizza when we have the extra cash.  And, if you're into it, download the Calm app and sit still for like five minutes while a soothing voice takes you through a quick guided meditation. 

If I've succeeded at anything... it's at being a real Los Angeles loser. 

Sunday, October 18, 2015

The Great Balancing Act

For the past three or so weeks, I've been trying to be healthy.  I've been very conscious of what I'm eating and working out nearly every day.  And oh my God, it's so fucking hard.  Yes, I used "God" and "fucking" in the same sentence and YES I FEEL GUILTY.  Catholicism always wins.

I thought it would be easy because I have a pretty consistent schedule.  I'm at work for the same amount of hours pretty much every day and that should make it easy to maintain an easy schedule of healthy eating.  I also really love cooking and do it every night, so it's much easier to plan healthy meals when you're the one making them.  I was really naive.

At work, there are TREATS.  Birthday treats.  Amazing cakes made by your friend Doug who combines red wine and dark chocolate into a cake. Awesome freshly baked rosemary bread.  JalapeƱo marinated steaks delivered to us for lunch.  There are food trucks selling pesto fries next to the juice truck selling beet juice for $10 where I'm basically the only person standing in line.

At home, there's a boyfriend who loves chips and goldfish and half pound burgers made with 80/20 meat while I snack on granny smith apples, natural peanut butter and frozen Trader Joe's turkey burgers on whole wheat english muffins.

And then, there's finding the time to work out when your schedule is so awful and the last thing I want to do in the morning and after a long day of work is pilates, or any other kind of working out, but I do it... because I have to... and it makes me feel happier and shit.

Then there's drinking. Which I gave up... for the most part.  I say as I'm drinking a mimosa (made of diet orange juice and a splash of champagne.)

Ugh.

There are times when I'm out with friends and just decide to give in to the crowd and enjoy a beer and maybe a mozzarella stick or a basket of fries.  And then I go home and I feel like absolute dog shit for being a loser who can't stick to a consistent schedule of being a healthy human being.

But that's not exactly true.  I really have to - and we as a SOCIETY have to - stop beating ourselves up for being humans and making mistakes or giving into temptations every now and then.  If we go through our lives avoiding all things that are horrible for us, we're not going to be happy.  90% of the week, I'm being healthy and good and if the other 10% I'm having fun with my friends and getting a little tipsy while eating a couple bites of horrible fried food, then that's okay.

I mean, that's where the phrase "A for Effort" comes from, right?  Effort is good!  It's OK to let your guard down every now and then and shovel baskets upon baskets of fries into your mouth!  No, that's not true... but a few really tall Coors Lites from T.G.I.Friday's isn't the worst thing in the world.

Balance.  I'm going to start working on balance.  And giving myself less shit for being a human being.  And eating more mozz sticks on my yoga mat.

#HellYeah

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