Try now to take the next step

In the last 18 hours, I’ve been overwhelmed with supportive messages from friends, people I’ve never met, and total strangers. Thank you. It means a lot to me to be embraced by so many when I feel like I took one on the chin, even though it was, in a lot of ways, delivered by my own fist.

Having a crisis of confidence really sucks, even though I know it’s temporary and will pass. Having depression and anxiety also makes things that really shouldn’t be a very big deal into Very Big Deals. I’ve felt like my meds aren’t working as well as they used to for about two weeks, and after feeling so profoundly awful yesterday, I made an appointment to see my brain doctor to figure out if I need something different or a higher dose, or whatever will help me.

So I guess the success I’m making out of this failure is a kick in the ass to get my brain back into shape, which is really much more important than any job will ever be.

I used to write a lot about Balance, how it was important to not take the peaks and valleys of life too seriously, how life was (for me) much better when I made an effort to take a long view of things, striving all the while to live as close to the midpoint of the waveform as I could. (Or is it the baseline? It’s been a long time since I did real science instead of the awesome imaginary kind I did on the spaceship or at Global Dynamics).

So today? A little Balance from yesterday: I had a voice over audition that I recorded in my house and sent to my agent, who sent it along to casting. The producers of that show liked my take on the character enough to bring me in for a reading in person. I also had a meeting today with some producers who pitched me a show that [REDACTED] and could be really awesome.

I think that, mostly, I felt like an idiot yesterday. I felt like an idiot for being so excited and confident that I’d done a great job that I talked about it in public before I knew if I got the job or not. I think it’s just my brain fucking with me, but that felt embarrassing and awkward to me.

But I’m going to make my brain better as soon as I can, and remember that Depression Lies until I can metaphorically stab it with a Q-Tip.

137 thoughts on “Try now to take the next step”

  1. Good on you for recognizing that it’s time to go back and check things out again. I recently went back in for a med change and am better than before. Hopefully you’ll find similar success.

    Yes. There are bad days in everyone’s lives. Being on meds doesn’t keep that from happening. But at some point, you realize that the bad day reaction is going down that same road you were on before. And you have amazing insight to recognize it was more than that.

    I hope things settle soon for you.

  2. Wil, I’m sorry that you took such a blow from not getting the audition. Perhaps it is the medication not working and stuff, which I understand (I’m on an anti-depressant and for a while, I have felt neither high nor low, just meh.) But the way I see the audition process for you is this: if you leave the audition knowing you did your best and just being happy with the work you did at that particular moment, whatever they say is just their opinion. Yes, feedback is great, but if there isn’t any, then screw em.

    Besides, if you didn’t feel so bummed out about not getting the part, then the part really wasn’t for you in the first place. I know that might sound harsh or dickish, and I apologize for the tone if it comes across that way. But as an actor who has been doing this for a while now, you know when you just aren’t feeling the audition, so you know what I’m getting at.

    As for working with your friend on a series or something, who says you can’t just say to each other “why don’t we do X together on our own?” You are the one who told us to Get Excited and Make Things, after all. Sure it may not be feasible NOW, but you’re still young and creative and talented, and I don’t think you will be losing that any time soon, no matter what the Suck Demons and the Writer’s Block Golems say or do. You have plenty of time to do it.

    (On a side note, I wanted to say thank you for TableTop and all your game posts. I am losing my job in a few weeks due to my store closing, and I’m still looking for a new job. But because of you, I’ve been inspired to take on the task of writing and developing my first ever RPG campaign for my gaming group. We are playing Changeling: The Dreaming by White Wolf, and I am nervous and excited and scared and all the emotions about my campaign. I got excited, I’m making a thing, but regardless of them being my friends and all, I’m still worried about what they will think.)

  3. First, and most importantly, good for you taking the steps you need to to get yourself back where you should be, emotionally.

    Second, not to minimize how you feel, but DUDE… Don’t be down on yourself for being excited about something. It was something you wanted. It’s normal to be excited about it. (When you’re not excited about something like that, start worrying.)

    And you did do a great job, why else would they have been so positive about the choices you made, and able to correctly read what you were trying to do with the character?

    My admittedly biased opinion: you did a great job, but somebody made a very subjective judgement call and decided someone else was a slightly better fit. And there’s nothing to be embarrassed by in that.

  4. Mate, that utterly sucks and I hope you’ll be back to the guy who wrote this soon: “failing at one thing does not mean you fail at all things and that’s the end of it. Failing at something can often be the beginning of succeeding at another thing.”
    It helped me. Keep your chin up.

    1. Totally agree, and agree that your recent post about failing was really helpful. I have been trying to write about it recently – and you said it much better than I could. It helped me, and it helped my atitude, so thank you.

  5. I likely won’t have been the first person to tell you this today:

    Sharing that you feel that you did a good job is A-OKAY. One of the people you read for seemed to feel that you did, as well. Unfortunately (for you for obvious reasons and for us, your fans and fellow geek-types, because we won’t be seeing you playing a part you obviously were excited about), that belief wasn’t universal. I like to believe that they all thought you were amazeballs, but that what they saw for the character wasn’t what you saw.

    You know, that’s okay. We all know you are a terrific actor, and we all know that the day will come when THE part will come to you, and you’ll be able to look back and see that maybe it was a good thing you didn’t get it, because THE part is waiting for you to come along and pick it up.

    Good luck with your meds; waiting to get them fixed isn’t fun. Until then, though, cut yourself some slack and don’t hate on yourself on the days when the depression pulls ahead a little. We know it lies, and that truth is worth a ton.

  6. Ugh, I think everyone falls into this kind of rejection self-doubting pit, whether it’s from an audition, a job interview, a school application. I’ve definitely been there, and I’m not a depression sufferer. I can only imagine how extra awful this must feel when your brain is making it even harder to cope. So, virtual hugs and support – I think you’re absolutely awesome and inspiring. You’ll be doing great work on other excellent projects, just not this one and I look forward to it.

  7. Wil, I take waiting on audition results like waiting on interviews, it sucks. I’ve been doing a lot of interviewing lately and reworking my approach, trying to get better. But while you wait, and when you get a negative answer, it feels like shit, like so much super shit, even if it’s the smallest thing, it’s absolute total metric ton of shit feeling. And like you, I have depression and anxiety issues that decide it’s the perfect time to kick you. I completely empathize with you man. But I know you’re awesome at what you do and you will pull through with greatness.

    Also, when are you going to mass brew and ship that stuff to me in Illinois?!?!

  8. Wil,
    I have to say, I really admire your candour and honesty. There’s too much of a stigma attached to depression, and other mental health attitudes, and speaking openly about it is both therapeutic, somewhat, for you, as well as helping others. I admit I was moved by the poster who said that he would seek medical help for his own depression thanks to you. Think about that, Wil! Thanks to YOU! Oh, that we could all make such a positive difference in people’s lives. I hope that puts the failure to get that acting job into perspective, and, as you point out, things seem to be looking up on the professional front since then also.
    I wish you well, and hope that 2013 sees the start of great things for you and yours.

  9. Thank you for this update. As a person who suffers from anxiety and depression too, I know the importance of taking stock…sometimes we miss the signs that our bodies are responding (or not responding) to our meds and need a tweak.

    I love your work as a narrator. My first exposure was Ready Player One. Then I listened to all the books you narrated for John Scalzi and you can tell him that I only buy the audible versions of his books when you are the narrator. Now I am onto the second Metatropolis collection. Wil, you succeed in so many genres, including the “genre” of your marriage. Know that you inspire people, and take heart that we are all wishing good things for you as you bring us along for the ride.

  10. I suffer from anxiety and severe awkwardness that it limits me doing things outside my comfort zones. Last year i lost my Gran the one person who would give me advice, show me direction and cheer me up when im angry or low. Since that tragic week i have become even more enclosed, lost and few times depressed..Wil you have helped me alot you may not know why or even read this comment but i want to say this becaue not every human is perfect and what we try to achieve or do in our lives may come with hardship and falls, what helps is knowing or reading or having someone or something they can relate to, who helps them and forget the problems they may suffer .. Wil people like you who in front of the camera whatever you are doing whether acting, hosting,presenting or in an interview brings so much enthusiasim and excitement to it, that the person who loves what you do and the fan’s who are watching, smile and laughs and appreciates everything you bring because we the fans of Wil Wheaton know what a great human being you are..

    We Love you Wil :D

  11. Oh, and as a ‘quid pro quo’ confession, I have had depressive episodes, but what’s more common is a constant state of low motivation, irritability and so on, suggestive of mild depression. I also have that terrible nagging ‘inner critic’ that tells me stuff like I’m no good, I’d never succeed if I tried something new, I should stay in a little box and not dare to dream, and so on. I’m not on medication…perhaps I should be…but I’ve been lucky enough never to seriously think of taking my own life or anything so drastic.

    1. Medication can help in the right circumstances, as can talk therapy (which I loathe – but no denying the efficacy). Consider talking with your doctor and getting a recommendation for psych consult. Psychiatrists, in my experience (so – not universally true) are less likely to strictly push meds the way a general practitioner might and more willing to push you in the direction that might be best for your individual situation.

      I went on meds due to crises, but I stayed on them because of the constant mild depression until I felt able to counter-act that. There was a huge difference in the quality of my life when I was not constantly irritated and simultaneously unmotivated. Thoughts of suicide are not the only indicator of needing medication and you may benefit from it even if you aren’t having ‘serious’ episodes of depression.

      I’ve weaned off AD’s for the moment, but will happily return if I find this isn’t working. Because life is so much better and more enjoyable. The pills didn’t make me happier – they freed me up to allow myself to be happy, if that makes sense.

      Take care of yourself.

  12. I think this entry has been the kick up the backside I needed to go and get my own depression and anxiety issues sorted. I’ve (probably somewhat foolishly) secretly stopped taking my meds because it got to the point where they were making me too ill to function at work, I kept throwing up, and working in a hospital, being sick is not good. My only problem now is building myself up to see my GP. My partner got made redundant last year and we were forced to move house last month so I have changed my doctor. I find it very difficult to talk to people about my problems, especially someone I have never met before. I never got fully comfortable with either of my last two doctors and I doubt this is going to be any different. But if I don’t go I’m going to have more bad panic attacks, or I’m going to end up doing something really stupid.

    The worst thing is, my partner doesn’t believe depression exists. Love him as I do, that just makes me feel worse. I question what’s wrong with me if it’s not depression. But I’ve been like this for so long, I’m not sure I could be “normal” any more.

    I’m gonna stop there, crying so much now that I can’t see the screen anymore. But thank you, Wil, for giving me that kick I needed.

  13. I understand why posting about your audition and then not getting it might be embarrassing. But I also really love the way you engage with your fans. You are much more human than a lot of other actors (or writers, directors, whoever), even some of my favorites who engage with their fans pretty well. When I decided to train for a marathon and blog about it, I was completely terrified of not finishing. Thankfully, I made it through training, had a great time during the race and am now training for my second. I think it’s pretty normal to have complicated feels about the situation, especially since you blogged about it.

    But on the other hand, while we’ve never met and almost certainly never will, I know that I think of you as a regular human being who gets to do awesome stuff and works hard, rather than a famous person who happens to be kinda cool. I think the difference is important, and posts like the ones about your audition, help make you seem like a regular human person.

    Anxiety and depression are horrible, though. I hope the brain doc helps you make the right adjustments.

  14. Persevere.

    This is a process of sharpening, paring, burning, building and growing.

    Forging. Welcome to being “ordinary in a superior realm.”

    Glad you are safe. Glad you have a good Doctor.

    And demonstrating intense self awareness isn’t weakness. It is just brave.

    Peace, Wil

  15. Wil, I cannot express how much it meant for you to share that with us. To see that someone I admire, both for their attitude as well as their successes in their career, go through the same bouts of doubt that I feel every day, helped me realize that I’m not doubtful about myself because I fear I’m not good enough, I’m doubtful about myself because that’s how LITERALLY EVERYONE on Earth feels.

    So it’s nice to know we’re in kindred company. I hope, though, that these become fewer and fewer for you, because you do deserve all the success in the world, for your talent, your kindness, and for giving Sparks McGee to the world.

    Heh, Sparks; what a rascal.

  16. As a Nurse as well as a person who has suffered with an anxiety disorder my whole life, I want to thank you for being open about it. I have gone through finally getting the courage to seek help just to be laughed at or dismissed. As healthcare workers we laugh at ‘crazy’ ER patients, like it is ok to discriminate against their disease. Cancer gets you sympathy, anxiety gets you a smirk and a dismissive pat on the head. I hope you find your balance, sadly SSRI’ s cause pretty horrifying side effects for me, so I do the best I can. Thanks for entertaining us even when it is a ‘bad day’. I appreciate it.

  17. Hey, good on you for realising that perhaps the meds aren’t doing their job quite so well and getting onto it quickly. Half the battle is being able to recognise that and deal with it before it escalates. You may want to also investigate fish oil and SAM-e supplements, as both have some very beneficial brain effects.

    And thank you for your honesty. It helps to de-stigmatise mental health issues and you’re living proof that you can still be your funny, caring, normal self on anti-depressants – they don’t turn people into unfeeling zombies.

    Keep on being awesome. :)

  18. I was on medication and suffered horrible side effects. I’ve tried several different meds now and all seem to either have serious side effects or, after years of use, have become less than useful. So I’m not on any medication at present. It’s a self-fulfilling cycle that I get so depressed I don’t want to do anything about my depression, and circumstances in my life are pretty horrible right now – I’m being evicted for not paying rent, which I can’t do because I haven’t had a job in two years and my unemployment is long gone. My brother was murdered, but it’s being characterized as a suicide (even though his hands were bound in front of him and he was shot in the side of the head, then dumped in a river and drowned – and they haven’t found the gun). A good friend is battling lung cancer and another is losing his battle with skin cancer – they’ve given him 6 months to live. Quite frankly, suicide seems like a blessing most days; I just try to focus on the “next thing” I want to do or see (currently it’s the new “Oz” film, which premieres next Friday) to get me through the day without taking an overdose of Tylenol. I always enjoy your posts and admire your courage and honesty about your process – I hope you get your meds adjusted and return to a semblance of normalcy. Thanks for letting me vent!

    1. i was on depression & anxiety meds for years with increasing dosages, never getting better, and dealing with terrible side effects. when i finally stopped taking everything and sought help from a regular doctor, as opposed to a psych specialist, it was discovered that i actually had a treatable illness that was causing the symptoms of depression to escalate. once i was correctly diagnosed, everything changed. not that the depression & stuff magically disappeared, but it’s way more livable. wil, just sharing with your readers because i wish i had known then that this was a possibility. i’m sure you will figure your situation out, and i thank you for your openness. i never would have guessed that you suffered like that. but your triumphs make you even more inspiring! i am so excited to be seeing you in portland next week! :)

  19. I’m glad that you’re going to see your “brain doctor” as you put it. I lost my best friend after her meds started not working, so whenever I hear these words from anyone I start getting REALLY nervous about them. Keep positive! You’ve got a horde of fans who are more than happy to beat up whatever casting director it was that was mean to you, if you should just so happen to ask :). Or, if that’s not considered “ethical” in hollywood, you at least have a horde of fans ready to support you whenever you need it.

  20. This was really painful for me to read. Painful, because I’ve been there, done that. Painful, because I see this in my 11-year-old, who thinks you’re awesome and cool, and is as awesome and cool as you are. Still, it’s important that you see what you do to yourself, and do what you can to correct that. Isn’t that really the lesson? For ALL of us? My heart goes out to you, but know that there’s an 11-year-old who thinks you’re the coolest thing EVER, and, by the way, *just* realized that you’re that kid in ST:TNG. If you’re cool to an 11-year-old, face it, you’re cool.

  21. Greetings! Anybody who’s a friend of Felicia Day is okay by me!

    But seriously, I’ve had to deal with depression, and after a screwed up episode with anti-depressant drugs, my lovely ex-wife (who is a nurse and with whom I’ve been involved in alternate therapies for various things for years; yoga, meditation, homeopathy) had me contact a pharmacist who specializes in nutritional therapy, surprisingly enough. For me, he suggested several things, all of which I take on a daily basis, and which have entirely replaced any need for prescription drugs (and copays, and exorbitantly expensive doctor visits, and side-effects, et al.).

    This is what he suggested:

    A good source of Omega 3. As it turns out, the ratio of EPA to DHA in omega 3 oils is important in treating depression. The higher the EPA/DPA ratio the better. I take Country Life’s Omega 3 Mood, which has an EPA/DPA ratio of almost 7 – 1, (1000mg/150mg). It’s the highest I’ve found, and 3 or 4 gels in the morning is sufficient.

    A time release mega vitamin. There are all kinds of them available. Find a good one you like.

    DLPA. This is specifically for depression. Again, lots of these out there. I take a 375 mg tablet in the morning.

    Magnesium Glycinate. 400 mg once in the morning, for me.

    5-HTP. 100 mg, again in the morning,

    SAM-e. 400 mg once in the morning is about all I can afford. I think his original recommendation was 1000 mg/day or so. I don’t have the exact numbers any more.

    His ideas echoed those of a naturopath who I also went to see about my depression. Both said, basically, that providing the brain with what it needs to create what it needs when it needs it might be more useful than force-feeding the brain with seratonin, etc. These supplements provide those building blocks so the brain can do that.

    They also suggested taking these supplements more than once a day on the theory that after a while they are no longer available to the body, naturally. Twice a day on the multi-vites, for example, a few times for the SAM-e, you get the idea.

    For me, that would have been prohibitively expensive, so I take these once a day and let it go at that.

    I feel it most when I don’t have the SAM-e and especially the omega 3 oil, so if I were to suggest anything for you right away, it would be those two. But in my opinion you should see someone who has a similar approach to my naturopath and nutritional pharmacist who can recommend a specific nutritional regimen for you. Perhaps it would be in addition to whatever you’re doing now. Later, maybe, it could be instead of. I can’t say, and wouldn’t want to try.

    But I can say this approach has helped me greatly, and perhaps it can help you and anyone else who might read it as well. I hope so.

    Good luck!

  22. TheSpacewriter here…I’ve always admired how you bounce back from all the down parts of life, including the auditions that don’t go where you wanted them to go. But you know… you don’t get if you don’t ask (or audition). And sometimes, you have to hurdle that brick wall with all your might. Having the depression certainly doesn’t help matters, does it? I always get a little downer right AFTER I finish a project successfully. So, hang in there Wil. You’re going far and these bumps in the road are part of the journey.

    Spacey

  23. Wil, I’m one of the (potentially crazy) people who you’ve never met that contacted you yesterday. I wanted to follow up that email with another friendly virtual hug/head pat/fist bump of solidarity, whatever. I have issues with depression and my husband does too. I’ve just weaned off anti-depressants to see if I can be on my own for awhile in preparation for having another child (the reason I went back on anti-depressants, actually – my first child was born prematurely and died, my pregnancy with my second child was understandably fraught with mental health pitfalls that I managed to avoid until third tri at which point I was paralyzed). While there are ‘safe’ ADs during pregnancy, I personally (for me, in relation only to myself) feel better if I can avoid ADs during the early part of pregnancy. And I wanted to know before that happens again whether or not I could cope. Because if I can’t, then awesome – let’s get things working with the meds. My dosing was off, and I gradually weaned entirely.

    So far, it feels ok. Better even in some ways. I say that not to encourage you away from anti-depressants, but to say GOOD JOB on recognizing the potential underlying issue and seeking help. Adjusting dosage to 0 was the right call for me right now. I do not doubt that I will need to change that again in the future – family and personal history indicate that I will need full-time medication at some point (I am just coping now, fwiw).

    Depression and anxiety are awful. They can be killers (literally). They do lie, Wil. They tell you horrible things about yourself and blow things out of all reasonable proportion. They make you freeze and make you second guess, and they make you question your own sanity. Catching the voices and questioning them is a big thing.

    Well done. And thank you for talking about it. Been there, doing that. You aren’t alone in the struggle.

  24. As an artist we all get hyper critical of our work. For me I feel like my photographs are never good enough…they could be better…even though people are praising my work. It also bums me out that if people like my work so much why aren’t they buying the photos? I tend to put my self worth with how much money I am getting. Maybe it’s my “do I pay my bills or eat this week” mentality weighing in on me. Why don’t people want to pay me for the quality of my work? I understand most people don’t have a bunch of money they can drop on art….but…you know it still hurts. Last year I put all of my stuff on the back burner just to promote other amazing people doing amazing things. I am trying to find the balance between doing both. It is hard work and I do work my ass off for very little money. In the end I am happy when something works out the way I want it. I try not to get depressed over the things that don’t. It is very hard to come out of depression once the spiral has begun. I am lucky to have a husband that helps me through it. I have only met you a couple of times and I have hung out with Anne and Bonnie…I hope we all can have fun and play games at ECCC! Hang in there, you are a great person.

  25. As someone who just got her own happy pills tweaked within the past two weeks, I am glad to see you recognize it’s time to get back to your doctor. Man it’s so tough when you have that…two-ton heavy thing…weighing you down and not letting you see that’s it’s not a personal failing but your brain needing a recheck.

    Take care.

  26. One of the these things I’ve admired about you is that you’re honest about yourself to us. Yes, you don’t share everything about your life to us, but when you do, we know it to be true. Yesterday, you showed that you’re human and that you get depressed and disappointed like many of us. Having dabbled in the ‘biz, I know it can get to you at times. So many in the ‘biz turn to horrible substances to deal with the rejection, but you don’t. You know what you need to do and you do it.

    Thank you for being yourself! And, thanks to your wife, Anne, for being the lovely wife that she is to you!

  27. I’m so glad you’re feeling a bit better now! Maybe you got thrown off by the cruise – weird sleep schedules in a different timezone, performance stress from having to be “on” so much or from trying scary new material, being away from the pets, etcetera. Is that possible? Regardless, I hope it all comes back into focus one way or another. (Also, I hope you do more TableTop, because that show ROCKS!)

    BTW, I wasn’t at all mad at you for getting programmed against our “unofficial” show. We had a full house down there most of the time.

    Here’s one of the more upbeat songs you probably missed while preparing for your Q&A at the pub – it cheers me, maybe it will cheer you too. Anyway, it’s short: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-SNJ6VxeWhQ

    1. I felt so bad when I found out I had counter-programmed your show. I had no idea it was happening, and I wish I’d been there to see it; it sounds like you guys were amazing.

  28. I hate depression I deal with it day to day and soon i’m seeing psychiatrist and hoping he can help me out. I have to many issues with that crap now and its held me back from having a life. I hope everybody here including yourself get help for it cause if you don’t it’ll make you helpless.

  29. Depressions are so underestimate by the general public. It actually is an effect in my show where I link depressions to Victorian and Edwardian malpractice in mental asylums. It’s a very emotional effect for me having suffered from (in hindsight mild) depressions as a teenager and in my early 30s. Because it is such a well known and under estimated disease people associate with it! I hope to get mental illness out of that quiet corner and into the public. I mean people talk about their gal stones, their thrombosis, their asthma and what not without any shame. But mental problems stay under the table. And doing that often makes them so much worse!!! A psychologist or psychiatrist is no different than a physiotherapist or a internist.
    Some stats, 25% of women suffer from depressions and 10%.

    I guess I speak from all of us that you give us so much and we can only give you our words of support. Take care of yourself and good things will come! Besides you’ve achieved so much! I can only dream of doing those things! And I got a feeling that more is still to come.
    But make sure you mentally stay in balance! Take care and thanks for this story you aided a lot of people with emotional instability by being so open about it.

  30. Wil- I don’t think this is the appropriate place for this, but I don’t know where I should write to you.

    I have lived with depression (mild to severe) for most of my life. I have tried almost every medication and type of therapy, but nothing has ever made me feel good or happy. My doctors say I will probably always have to deal with depression, and two even told me to my face that this disease will probably kill me.

    My depression has squashed my dreams, stolen productive years of my life, and reduced my self esteem to nothing. I haven’t done anything of merit, I have no kids, and no one relies on me for anything. I could disappear from the face of the earth right now and NOTHING WOULD CHANGE.

    But the worst part of this disease, and almost all other psychiatric disorders, is that there is so much stigma and shame surrounding it. I have told only the closest of friends because people treat you differently when they know. Even my doctors do; they blame most of my medical problems (I have two rare chronic illnesses) on my psychiatric problems even though I have been dealing with depression for so long and I am being treated for it.

    I have given up looking for a cure. Instead I am trying to come to terms with how to live with three chronic illnesses. I also need to find a purpose other than being here so my parents, sister, and family won’t be sad because I’m gone. I desperately want to leave a legacy that will help others and make this planet a better place. I would love to help other people with depression; decreasing the stigma of the disease would encourage people to seek treatment, tell their friends and ask for support, and not be ashamed of their disease.

    Would you be interested in helping me figure out how to decrease the stigma of depression and put a plan into action? I know you are a very busy person, but no one knows who I am and they have no reason to listen to me. You have established yourself as an actor, social-media and internet guru, writer, gamer, and all-around cool and down-to-earth guy. People would connect with you and listen to your take on a brain disorder that is not a personality flaw, can’t be flushed out by thinking happy thoughts, truly needs medical intervention, and doesn’t make its sufferers lesser people, just people who are sick and need some compassion.

    Perhaps you could take a few minutes to speak with me while you are in Seattle in early March for ComiCon. (I think my e-mail or Facebook account will be attached to this.) We could potentially change millions of people’s lives; at the very least you would make one person – me – a little bit happier because someone finally took her seriously.

    OK, enough writing for me and reading for you. I hope you are feeling better.

    -Alexandra

    P.S. When in need, gather all your pets and get a good dose of fuzz therapy. :)

    1. Alexandra, you sound so much like me it made me want to cry! The statement: “My depression has squashed my dreams, stolen productive years of my life, and reduced my self esteem to nothing. I haven’t done anything of merit, I have no kids, and no one relies on me for anything. I could disappear from the face of the earth right now and NOTHING WOULD CHANGE” could literally be lifted from my own thoughts at any given time. And I absolutely get what you are talking about when you mention wanting to leave a legacy but being unable to accomplish anything. I used to be a writer. I mean, in my college years, I would be late on papers in my lit classes and get lower grades than I should because inspiration would strike and I couldn’t leave the computer long enough to do my assignments. In classes I would scribble chapters and vignettes in my notebooks instead of taking notes. Then I had a breakdown at around 25 and thankfully got on meds and got help, but have literally not had a creative or inspiring thought a day since. I’m too muddled up to string together coherent sentences. And now, at 36, I feel my youth and opportunities deserting me and I’ve done none of the things I truly believe I would. I, also, know what it is to continue to live many days simply because it would hurt others too much if you ended your life. I’ve been there–once, years ago, I even made it so far as to take the pills. When my attempt failed, I hated myself even more than the depression made me hate myself because I had “lessened” myself in the eyes of my loved ones. Now they knew I was weak, and that was agonizing.

      I can’t really offer you any ‘it gets better’ consolation, because for me it hasn’t. I take medication and go to therapy, but the most it has ever done is make me numb and so physically and mentally fatigued–I literally sleep weeks away sometimes. But if you want someone to talk to who might understand, I can offer you that. You can facebook me at https://www.facebook.com/melissatt.

      I will also be at Emerald City Comic Con next weekend. Maybe we’ll meet each other in line to say ‘hello’ to the great WW.

      Stay strong. :-)

      1. Melissa-

        It always makes me angry when people tell a depressed person who has tried to commit suicide that she/he is weak or an inferior person, or a quitter, or selfish for leaving people behind. Sometimes suicide seems like the only answer when the pain is so great that you barely feel alive anyway. And trying, despite knowing the pain and stigma loved ones will face, actually takes some effort and determination. People who have lived with depression for a long time are incredibly strong – they try and try and try to get better. They only “give up” when all avenues to feeling better, in any way, have been exhausted. People who have never experienced severe depression have no idea what it is like and have no right whatsoever to judge your character. Tell them that criticzing you isn’t going to make you any better, and that if they can’t lovingly support you, you can no longer be friends. Or just tell them to suck it! It’s none of their business.

        I’m rambling so I’ll go now. Take care!

        Alexandra

  31. Wil,

    I’m just catching up with Radio Free Burrito for the first time in a while and in turn, catching up with your blog. I’m not sure how much it will help, but while I was in college and unhappy with things around me, feeling as if I had no chance of ever “making it” in life, I started listening to Memories of the Futurecast and in turn Radio Free Burrito while at lunch. The humor and subject matter coincided so perfectly with my interests and hobbies that it was like listening to a friend talk. Around that time I began going to a brain doctor as you say and saw a huge reversal in my life. I changed majors (business to media studies) and began changing the things in my life that bothered me. In time, it all improved. Then I graduated, moved an hour and a half away from all my friends, family, and took a job that works 50+ hours a week and I haven’t stepped behind a camera in almost a year. I started hitting a slump again, and I’ve been to the doctor and I’m back on my meds and lo and behold! Radio Free Burrito returns! Things finally have began to look up for the first time in almost a year.

    I guess what I’m trying to say is that I know how you feel. Balance as you’ve said is important. And I, along with countless other fans (some who have posted and some who probably have not), continue to root for one of the few actors/writers out there that we feel we could just as easily sit across a table and throw d20′s with as a friend. So, I end by saying what I tell all my friends.

    “It will get better in time”

  32. Glad things are trying to balance out, Wil, and I send my best. I’m proud of you for being open about The Big Liar, and I hope the metaphorical Q-Tip does the job sooner rather than later. *stabs depression right in its lying eyes with a spoon*

  33. In a world where suicide rates are increasing with public figures, it’s great to see that you’re being open and honest with your Feelings and not keeping everything bottled up inside. So many people seem to retreat into substance abuse and isolation rather than expressing how they feel and get help for it. You’ve got a great support system through not only your Hordes of Fans, but also your tremendous family life.

    I sincerely hope that the example you’re providing helps even just one person, be they “famous” or not, realize that they’re not alone on this big spinning ball of dirt and that there isn’t anything that we can’t overcome with help and support.

    Now go have a homebrew on my tab and Relax.

  34. My friend Tom and I drove up to the Joshua Tree. Not the park, but rather the actual Joshua Tree featured on the cover of the U2 album. It was a very awesome, soul-searching and ultimately inspiring experience. It’s not too far out of LA, but you have to know where to look.

    We’re probably going to go back in the next few weeks and we’re not above inviting people who we don’t know for the Helluvit (or because it’d be good for them). Wanna come with? Meet new people…do cool stuff…get away from life for a while…

    Consider this an open invitation, stranger. Email me if you want to go. [Removed by Wil for your privacy and spam protection]. What the fuck? Life’s too short. Live a little. It will be good therapy.

    Here’s our last visit:

    1. Aw man, I had no idea the tree would actually be dead! The album wasn’t made that long ago. Not a huge U2 fan myself, and the Joshua Tree is actually an album I’m less fond of than most (I prefer the early stuff and the early 90s pairing of Achtung Baby and Zooropa), but it is still an iconic image.

      1. It’s an immensely spiritual place. There’s something in the wind there.

        But yeah. Wheaton–I went to an audition a few weeks ago. Got a callback. It would have been sweet–but I couldn’t do it. My day job had to come first.

        If you want security, get a job as a postman. No–wait–

        Come hang out with us, dude. :-)

  35. I have found that sometimes the ‘thing’ that seems so perfect is only perfect for a short period of time. Maybe it (the ‘perfect thing’) had an entirely different purpose for your life. Maybe it was there to give you something else (other than the job); maybe the purpose was to meet someone who may be instrumental in your future. Or maybe it was for others to see that the project has a wider range of interest than they first believed. Maybe the entire thing had absolutely no higher purpose for you *at that time.* It may have new meaning, larger impact, greater clarity at a later date. The trick is to turn off the noise in your head (really hard to do) and move beyond it (easier said than done).

    You have support, Wil. Please don’t let this momentary self doubt eat away at you. Remember JoCoCrazy Cruise? Yeah, that happened too. :)

  36. Oh Wil, I just read your last two entries and I’m so, so sorry. You’re doing such a great job with everything you do – writing, acting, entertaining – so what on earth do they mean by “isn’t the guy”? Reading this today of all days seems almost absurd to me, because on February 21st, I got turned down for a job I really wanted because “someone who already works for our company in another city also applied, and that’s, well, you know, like, hard to compete with.”
    While I was trying to swallow the disappointment, I remembered one of your older entries in which you wrote about being turned down after an audition, and I thought, “well, if these things can happen to an awesome, cool person like Wil Wheaton, I shouldn’t take them too personally, and if he can still be positive and do such great work, I will just not get drunk or jump into a river or scream with frustration right now, but just write more applications tomorrow.” Which I did.
    Please remember what your work means to so many people all over the world! Thank you for sharing your experiences and emotions in such an open way, and thank you even more for sharing your thoughts on depression and anxiety (I have anxiety issues and lost someone because of his depression, so I really appreciate your attitude of not letting depression have you!) I’m sure everyone here agrees with me when I say that for us readers you are definitely THE GUY, and when it comes to people not appreciating your work, please remember: “Before you diagnose yourself with depression or low self-esteem, first make sure that you are not, in fact, just surrounded by a-holes” (I use this William Gibson quote a lot, although I do by no means intend to trivialize depression or its effects, I just think it’s a good way of expressing I will not allow defeats of the kind you describe in your entry to push me back into the dark hole I was in, for example, when I lost my friend.)
    From all you write you’re a voracious reader, and I don’t know if there are any authors or books you turn to for encouragement in moments like this. I think everyone has their own “master narrative” which they find helpful and comforting when times get really rough, so I don’t know if there’s any point in recommending mine to everyone faced with the challenge of struggling on after a setback, but maybe there is, after all: It’s Alfred Lansing’s “Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage”. It always makes me think, “all right, the Endurance is gone, you’re on that ice floe, and now, you’ll walk the hell out of here, and if it takes you two damn years.” It helped me a lot more than all career/anxiety/think positive/etc. guidebooks I ever read.
    I’m not telling you to keep going, because I know you will. You accomplished so much, you have a wonderful wife and great kids, a good family life, loads of really cool projects to your credit (just watched Big Bang Theory for the first time – love it!), your work means a great deal to lots of people, you’re able to make others laugh and feel good despite your own problems and challenges – without knowing you, I’m sure you must be a very strong and pretty damn awesome person. I really hope you’ll feel better soon and let all of us know about your next step. Take care!!

  37. What an amazing group of posts over the last few days! The TV entertainment news industry would have us believe that looks are the only thing that count when it comes to being a star, but if you were to look into most “stars” lives, you’d find an awful lot of hard work and determination to follow one’s dreams as well. Even more to the point, it may not even BE the dream of being a successful actor. For some, it’s the dream to fulfill the soul’s desire.

    It’s good to read these types of posts to remind people how precious having a gift like yours is. Acting is something that always has to be in your life, perhaps you may say because you chose it, but the reality is “acting” is what you were born to do. You were given a very special skill set – one that affects everyone who enjoys your work in a positive way. Not everyone can do it and yet it requires a plethora of different types of people, filling the market with prospective candidates.

    It is hard keeping an even keel, especially when the chemical composition of your brain may be throwing a monkey wrench into the works, but knowing that this is part of the equation is half the battle. Being able to see and recognize all the pieces is also a very special gift.

    I can only say when it comes to enjoying Wil Wheaton’s work I know the universe has the very best planned. If not the thing that you desire, the thing that will give your audiences the most incredible experience they’ll ever have (like TableTop!). That’s why you were blessed with this wonderful gift the day you were born. There are so many people you have the chance to affect with your work and in the end we appreciate (at least I do) your willingness to try everything. It’s usually the unexpected in life that turns into the most amazing experiences.

    In 2004, my wonderful son graduated from high school after growing up with so few really GOOD experiences. I tried to do my best, but an unexpected surgery right in the most important period of growth in his life changed my life and I never rebounded from it. I regret not being able to do better for him – he was a really good kid. I asked my family to help me put an ad in his yearbook so his senior picture would be used (I’ll spare you the politics involved by his school). In it I wrote something about the independence involved when you finally learn to ride a bike by yourself and finished with “and leave the security of home, family, and friends behind remember how proudly you corrected your balance and feel the excitement of riding free for the first time again! You never know which hour, minute, or second will bring you the greatest moment of joy you will ever experience in your life. (Hint: It is usually shortly after the moment all hope is lost.)” I say the same to you Wil Wheaton. We all know that an amazing Wil Wheaton project is out there brewing, just waiting to announce itself. We know we’ll love it. The very cool thing is that as an actor, you can put yourself in OUR places and feel the excitement yourself! You can feel how much we love your work and how great it feels to laugh at the comedy and cry at the drama and revel in how we feel spending time with our family and friends doing an activity made attractive by Wil Wheaton’s pure love of gaming.

    Life is rarely about things turning out the way we thought they would. The coolest part about it is when they turn out BETTER than we thought they would. If you can hold on to that little kernel in the midst of everything else, you’ve got it made. :-)

  38. Will,

    Long time reader, but never had an appropriate life experience to comment intelligently – and a geek MUST comment intelligently, otherwise I will fall foul of your “Don’t be a dick” rule! :)

    I have been in the education game in the past, and one of the subjects was ‘how to do a good job interview’.
    Paraphrasing from the material we had, getting from job application to an interview is often a numbers game.

    Depending on careers and personal skill with words and layout, it will be 20 well worded and well constructed applications for 1 ‘first interview’, and then 10 of those ‘first interviews’ to achieve the short list and second interview. So 200 shots at the target are necesasry before getting to the point where you can begin to think you have the role. Of course, each market and business is different, but the principle is the same.

    But we ALL do the ‘I love this role, its fantastic, I want it!’
    Humans are nothing without their emotional content and passion – and every dang employer I interviewed for the course material asked me “How can I get passionate employees?” – my answer “Hire them! You can teach Skill you cannot teach Passion.”

    You are that passionate employee.
    You are a talented, skilled actor and word smith – and when you are on fire and passionate about your work, it shows. If they missed that, then they forget to hire Passion. Sadly, too many employers do exactly that – then wonder why the heck the project didn’t work.

    So – tick this one off the list of 200 – and its just one down towards that ‘Perfect Role’ that needs another 199 No responses first. Think of it as a statistic problems – before you can break the curve at the far end, you have to get through all the other junk first!
    (OK – before every statistican shoots me – I know this example is flawed! Just leave it be :) )

    Holding thumbs to see you in something great soon.
    Graham

  39. Dear Wil,
    Life can feel like a really bad round of Fluxx sometimes. Like many other posts have mentioned, it’s a good thing that you’re being honest with your feelings. Most people get like this as well but it’s often suppressed or behind closed doors. So it’s encouraging that you’ve got a good support system. Also thanks for telling us some of your story – it must’ve taken a lot of courage to open up like this.
    Auditions are rough. I admit – I’ve gotten superstitious in my second year of college. I don’t touch so much as a pen or say a word about it until I hear back from the play directors as to whether or not I got the part. It wasn’t until now that I’ve gotten a part and it’s my very first show. Rejection can be painful especially when it’s something you really felt like you nailed. But sometimes a perceived loss can actually be a victory in another area – more time with your family, other projects, maybe a better role than the one you originally desired. Though it was hard working and waiting a year for an opportunity to knock on my door, it was somewhat worth it despite the accompanying pain. It’s really important to keep the “recharge” period in mind while dealing with the emotional hurdles.
    You’re a great artist (writing, acting, gaming – name it, you’ve got it). Most of all, you’re human. Self doubt is something even the greatest minds face. Give yourself some time to heal, grab some fresh air, or whatever gets you through the funk.

    Have some fun and take care of yourself. I’m looking forward to the next season of Tabletop and I also hope that the next post you write is a peppy one. :)
    - Singstar90210

  40. Howdy, Wil Wheaton. You made me register with G+ just to give you a buck up. No, no, it’s OK.

    This whole interview/audition process really does suck. What it is is “the man” being a dick. Or since I’m old school, it’s The System f___’n with you. Watch the whole intro in Tootsie for one portrayal of it. I once had a major Internet corp. fly me and the wife cross-country for a 2nd interview, and then not offer the job. I hate to say it, but you may be reaching that point where ageism is a factor. “They” always deny it, but you know, “they” are dicks.

    As for how you possibly come across in auditions, from what little I know of you, could there be a “happy camper” face you put on there? One thing about the in-person stuff, they’re not just looking at the work, but also at how you carry yourself in general. For a great reference, see Murray’s work in Groundhog Day when he’s in front of the camera on his remote(s!), at least up until the one that goes, “Well, it’s Groundhog Day … again.” It’s the difference between the “on” and the “off” person. Authenticity comes from removing that difference. One thing I get is that you’re a great dad “off”. Can you use that?

    Oh what am I talking about, you probably know all this already. Anyway, I hope things improve for you, really. But regardless, remember don’t ever be a dick yourself, no matter what your brain does to you.

  41. My response to the auditioners. “Well, that’s just like your opinion, man.” Seriously though, I think the fact that you took the rejection so hard shows exactly how great of an actor you really are. Like someone before me said, it shows how much you care. But, aside from that, I think it demonstrates how much you put yourself into developing the character even if it is “just an audition.” And, that, I think is what makes you (or anyone else for that matter) a truly great actor.

  42. Listen Wil,

    Get yourself down to Mind Head. And remember these things.

    1. There are no aliens.
    2. There is no giant foot trying to squash you.
    3. Even though you feel like you might ignite, you probably won’t.

    And most importantly, KIT. Keep It Together!

  43. One more serious post.

    If you do have trouble with anxiety and depression Wil and take medication for it, you should really stop drinking alcohol. I got into drinking more heavily after my Mom died. I later realized I had entered a really down period and started taking medication again to help my anxiety and depression, but I continued to drink, though less heavily, probably a beer or two a day after work. I slowly became aware that the drinking was making all the lows much lower. It’s pretty insidious because of how good it makes you feel when you toss back a few and I honestly miss it at times, but those lows were just too much.

    Something to consider at least.

  44. Hi Wil,

    Thank you for sharing so honestly and openly. The rawness of what you expose is brave and appreciated. I love all your work and am not alone in this. Keep going, you have a core audience that follow you. And when you miss out on a job I just think they’re being dicks.

    Cheers
    Nadine

  45. I know I’m just a number to you but just so you know, I’m also a fan. You are one of my role models and I often discuss with my wife issues I get from you. It’s not because of your existing or non-existing virtues or faults but how you employ these and handle those.
    First of all, you nailed the Criminal Minds audition so it’s not all bad (And I’ve watched that episode again yesterday and you were awesome in it. Though the character could have had a better end). And I understand part of it.
    I suck at tests. I get a course with 98s and 99s in assignments and a barely passing grade on the test. I’m not letting that stop me. Because I believe in judging people not by numbers on pieces of paper but by what they do with their life, with their individual gifts and how they treat the people around them. And I have yet to see you, dear sir, be anything less that excellent in all those respects.

    Always remember, stay good and have fun.

  46. I felt like an idiot for being so excited and confident that I’d done a great job that I talked about it in public before I knew if I got the job or not. I think it’s just my brain fucking with me, but that felt embarrassing and awkward to me.

    I’m sorry that it felt so! I certainly wasn’t embarrassed or anything for you – to me, it just read like honest excitement and pride, and I am glad that you were able to share it with us – even though it was short lived. You know, it can be hard to remember those moments where you feel great about something if the end result isn’t what you want, but I think they can be really instructive. Like, looking back, you might remember that you felt so great about that audition, and think about why, and what you can do to recapture that feeling in future auditions – how to create for yourself good positive feedback. It might not get the part all the time, but having a good experience trying out for something is worth it, I would think.

    And your writing about times like these – the ups and downs – has helped me so much. (I gave you a card at GenCon two years ago that tried to thank you for some of it.) I think we all have moments like this – professionally, personally – where we walk out thinking “I nailed it” only to get a response back that feels like “I blew it.” It’s nice to know one isn’t alone, that other people have this experience too, that it’s survivable – and that it doesn’t mean you’re crazy to be proud of your efforts.

    I’m so sorry that sharing this felt painful and odd to you. But I was really touched by the sharing, and I would bet I’m not alone. And I think by writing the experiences down as they happened (I’m not sure if you keep other notes or journalings about these experiences), it can give you good data to reflect and review as you go on with similar events, you know?

  47. Oh, wow. I also have the lovely double whammy of depression plus anxiety, but I didn’t know you had it too. (It really, really sucks sometimes.) A couple of tips: (1) make sure you aren’t taking anything that might interfere with your meds; for a while I was taking my calcium supplements too close to my antidepressant and that was reducing their absorption or effectiveness or some such; (2) you might consider DHA supplements, which have been a great addition to my arsenal (I use Nordic Naturals DHA, which you can order from Amazon); (3) if you want to learn more about food and nutrition and how it affects mood, there’s a book called Eat Your Way to Happiness by nutritionist Elizabeth Somer (that’s how I learned about the DHA); (4) you might consider sound therapy also — Stephen Halpern and Dr. Jeffrey Thompson have some amazing work that helps me (I have a couple of self-pubbed articles on the subject, here’s the main one if you’re really interested: Healing music offers natural relief from stress and anxiety).

    Okay, I guess that was more than a couple of tips. But I know how awful depression and anxiety can be, so I really feel for anyone else who has it too. Good luck and I hope you feel better soon. It’s miserable trying to ride out a downturn, knowing that there’s not much you can do until your brain gets back on track. :-\

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