on a long run, on a long run

I went to my doctor yesterday, and told him how crummy I’ve been feeling. We talked about a lot of different things, and ultimately decided that it was probably a good idea to change up my brain pills. This morning, I started something new, and I really feel a lot better. I honestly don’t care if it’s a placebo effect at this point, but the end result is the same: I don’t feel despondent, depressed, and shitty about myself.

“You are very hard on yourself,” he told me yesterday.

“I know,” I said, “I just have really high expectations that I want to meet, and with all these incredibly successful friends …” I trailed off because I felt like I was starting to feel sorry for myself.

“Being judgmental about what you make or don’t make doesn’t help you at all,” he said, “you have to do your best every day, even if your best isn’t what you want it to be.”

I knew he was right, and I knew that it was my depression getting in between me knowing that was right, and accepting that it was right. That’s one of the incredibly frustrating things about depression: I can know that the way I feel is just my brain chemicals being messed up, but whether I accept it or not, the end result is the same: I feel awful. It’s a little unfair that it doesn’t work in both directions, but after living with it for my whole life, I can tell you that depression doesn’t care about being fair; it’s really a dick that way.

My doctor said that I was very clear-eyed about my mental illness (psychologists call people like me “the identified patient”), and because I could be rational even when I was feeling irrational, he wanted me to try some cognitive therapy. “When you feel bad, when you are thinking and feeling that you’re worthless or anything like that, I want you to recognize it, and then make an effort to replace those bad feelings with good ones.

“When you are feeling bad about a job you didn’t get, think about a job that you did get, that you feel good about. When you feel bad about not finishing a story, recognize that feeling, and remember how you felt when you published something you’re proud of.”

“That sounds like something I can do,” I said, “and it sounds like it may help me break out of the cycle of depression telling me a suck, then making me feel terrible because I believe that I suck, which makes me depressed, which lets depression tell me that I suck.” I imagined a particularly ugly ouroboros wrapping itself around me.

I don’t think this means that I don’t allow myself to feel disappointment, or frustration, or any of the other emotions that I think we all need to feel to be a fully-functional human. I think this means that I don’t let my mental illness take something like feeling unsure about where a story goes next and turning it into the Very Certain And Unshakable Belief That I Am A Worthless And Stupid And Idiotic Loser Who Everyone Knows Really Sucks. Not, um, that I’ve felt like that a whole lot lately, or anything like that. Um. Right.

So.

Let’s get started, shall we? This weekend, Anne and I went to the mall to pick up some fancy pants I had tailored. While we were there, we noticed that the big old men’s clothing sale was happening, yadda yadda yadda I got three awesome suits for less than the cost of one, if they weren’t on sale.

Guys: it turns out that your beautiful wife telling you, “WOW, you look great in that suit,” is a powerful motivator for buying that suit. And two others. Because reasons.

After we were finished getting them tailored, Anne had to get on the phone to handle a bunch of #VandalEyes business, so I went into the bookstore until she was done. On my way to the Science Fiction section, I stopped to take this picture of their Tabletop game section:

tabletopgames

While I was taking this picture, a young man cautiously approached me. “Mister … Mister Wheaton?” He said.

“That’s me!” I said.

“I love your show Tabletop! You are the reason my friends and I play games, and I’m actually here today to find something for one of them.”

I put my phone into my pocket. “That is really awesome,” I said. “The main reason I make Tabletop is to inspire other people to play games.”

He swallowed, nodded, and said, “um, would you, uh … would you help me pick out a game for my friend?”

My heart grew three sizes. “I would love to do that!”

I asked him a bunch of questions about the games they like to play together, his friend’s level of experience, and how much he wanted to spend. Ultimately, he settled on Ticket To Ride. He shook my hand, thanked me several times, and walked away, happily.

“I’m so sorry to bother you,” a voice said behind me. I turned and saw a young woman with a nametag that indicated she worked in the store.

“Yes?” I said.

“This is my section,” she said, pointing to the games, “and it’s here because of your show, Tabletop.”

My heart grew another three sizes.

“We order all the games you play on your show, and we usually sell out of whatever you’ve just played right away.”

“That’s really cool!” I said.

We talked about the games that she had in the section, and I recommended a few new ones for her, including Hive, Love Letter, and Coup.

“I’ll see if I can convince my manager to let me order those,” she said. “Anyway, I don’t want to take up any more of your time. I just wanted to thank you for your show, and for everything you do.”

“It’s my pleasure,” I said, “and it really means a lot to me that you took the time to tell me that.” I started to walk back to the Sci-Fi Books, and stopped. I turned back. “If your distributor doesn’t know what’s coming up on Tabletop — and they should, but if they don’t — please e-mail me and I’ll give you the release schedule, so you can know what to order.”

“That would be great,” she said.

“Awesome.” We shook hands, and I walked back to the Sci-Fi books. Before I could really figure out if I was going to get anything, my phone chirped in my pocket. It was Anne. She was off the phone, and didn’t want to go on a quest to find me in the store. “I’ll be right out,” I replied.

I walked past that Tabletop game section, which was absolutely huge — even bigger than the entire Sci-Fi and Fantasy book section, combined, and a little voice in my head said, “it’s okay to feel a little proud about this.” I listened to it.

I’m still frustrated and disappointed when I see a character on a TV show or in a film that I clearly could have played, but didn’t even get to audition for (a casting director recently told my agent that they would not even see me for a role, because “Wil Wheaton can’t play someone in his late 30s,” even though I’m 41, with two children in their 20s, and just letting me spend thirty fucking seconds in their goddamn office to see how I look now and how I interpret the role may change their mind). I’m still frustrated and disappointed that I haven’t produced any original work of fiction of any consequence in a year, and that I haven’t finished Memories of the Future Volume 2.

BUT — and it’s a big but* — instead of focusing on those things, and feeling like I’m being crushed into a singularity by a black hole of depression, I can look at the show I created and brought to life with some very talented people, that is having a very real and lasting impact on a lot of people, in a very positive way.

When I look at the writing I haven’t finished, I can look at the calendar and see all the times I was working on a video game or an audiobook or an animated show, and was on the road to promote Tabletop, and honestly accept that there just wasn’t that much time to write the things I wanted to write, because I was busy working on other things.

I can stop being so hard on myself, and I can stop judging myself, and I can stop holding myself up to standards that are so high, even the people I’m comparing myself to every day would have a hard time reaching them.

Or, at least, I can try, and I can do my best, because that’s all I can do.

*hurr hurr hurr

500 thoughts on “on a long run, on a long run”

  1. Oh and Hive is AWESOME – even if my 16 year old daughter systematically wipes the floor with me at almost every game we play …. I cherish those FEW wins :)

  2. Whenever your depression starts getting the best of you, I really hope that rational “identified patient” part of you will always remember that you ARE a success. I realize that rational part may have a hard time connecting to your emotions during these times, but I’m sure it makes a valiant effort. You have touched so many lives and inspired a whole population of self-identified “geeks” who, because of you, know that it is OK to embrace and love who they are. You’ve shown them they are not alone and inspired them to reach out to others. And if it’s hard to hang on to an amorphous “so many lives”, then at least remember you’ve touched mine and those people you met in the bookshop. As I learned from a video I saw on YouTube that you were in, you’ve got “nothing to prove”, but you certainly have quite a lot to give and it is appreciated.

  3. Depression and mental illness is such a difficult thing to talk about, leaving people so isolated and unable to ask for help. I’m so thrilled that you use the words “mental illness” in a basically casual way, giving it normalcy. Even though you live with this, you may not realize how much that means to so many people, to have someone such as your (glorious :-) ) self discuss this openly and with hope and advice. Thank you for your courage and your selflessness in doing so.

  4. I love what you are doing for board gaming as a hobby via Tabletop. Be proud of what you created. Except for the ‘Tabletop Effect’ – I haven’t been able to find half of the games on my wishlist thanks in part to the popularity of your show. Keep up the great work.

  5. Mr. Wheaton, I just wanted to let you know how much your show has meant to me. I’ve always enjoyed games and have been playing them with my family since I was a child. This love of games easily crossed over into a love of video games. It wasn’t until I was in college that I had a roommate who turned out to be a DM and eventually turned me onto RPGs. A few years out of college and life happens and I get so busy I don’t have time for the fun things I used to do. Watching your show has not only been a joy because the personalities are great and all the aspects of the show together make a really fun show, but also because it’s inspired me to get back into gaming. My first TableTop purchase was Gloom, followed closely by Dixit, Munchkin, and Ticket to Ride, games that I’ve shared with my friends along with stern recommendations they should watch the show (Boasting here: this Christmas season I played Ticket to Ride for the second time ever and scored over 100 points with a continuous route that was 3 cars shy of the entire allotment–42 cars long I believe). It saddens me that you have to struggle with this but I’m happy you see ways in which TableTop has touched the lives of strangers in bookstores. I just wanted to add my voice the the growing throng. Please keep doing what you’re doing.

    P.S. While I am not (and will likely never be) a Trekkie, I decided I wanted to see if I’d seen anything that you’ve acted in and saw that you were in my favorite episode of NUMB3RS. I re-watched it and could barely recognize you without a beard! For a man whose motto is “Don’t be a Dick” you played an incredible character who was a bit of one :-)

  6. This, right here, is me. I haven’t anything that was quite this close. Oh, I know there are references to things I’ve never done (like TV!), but I easily transferred those references to things I HAVE done. What a kick up the backside!

    Go you, Will Wheaton, and thank you xx

  7. I’m feeling the “Very Certain And Unshakable Belief That I Am A Worthless And Stupid And Idiotic Loser Who Everyone Knows Really Sucks” blues right now. Thanks for this.

  8. Hello I too suffer from depression and know how easy it is to ignore the things you have accomplished and dwell on what you haven’t done. Im still deep in the hole that depression and I dug but im slowly working my way out and one of the key things is to realise what you have done.

    It can be very easy for some people to say oh but TableTop is just a you tube show. But media is changing, you have a regular show that is watched by loads of people and has a massive effect on the board games industry, as you have seen. In a different world where money wasn’t the guiding factor i’m sure that TableTop would be a weekly TV show. You have guests, good games and its very fun to watch.

    I can appreciate how difficult it can be in the dark at times but remember every like on you tube should be a little candle pushing back the darkness.

    Take care
    Brian.

  9. Thank you…as a full time mom and part time everything else…I get these feelings all the time. I too have struggled with depression most my life and the “you suck” gets in the way often. Thank you Thank you. Btw…I do think you are a great actor/guy!

  10. My own heart just grew three sizes. I feel like people going out of their way to say something nice to a stranger is a novel concept these days. Just reading about it restores a little bit of the faith I’ve lost in humanity. Thanks for sharing. I love Tabletop and hope things start to turn around for you.

  11. I’m listening to your audio version of Ready Player One. I’m enjoying it as much as I did reading the book the first time. Put that in your folder of things to read when you need to battle the screaming hordes who tell you that you suck. You do have one of those, yes? Feel-good folder, that is, not screaming horde.

  12. Wil, thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for being so open about your depression. I too, suffer from depression (and really nasty anxiety) and you always have the best advice, and often make me feel so much better about myself and what I go through day to day. Just wanted to let you know that you are awesome, and that you are a huge inspiration to me. Thanks again.

  13. 1) “Brain pills” is the best expression ever.
    2) One never realizes the positive impact that resonates from a seemingly unimportant good action.
    3) Integrity in public life is far too rare.
    4) Courage is often misinterpreted but sometimes noticed and celebrated.

    Thank you, Wil. One of your lurkers is really happy you’re out there and making a positive impact on the lives of people you’ll never meet. Your story matters.

    Thank you.

  14. Memories of the Future Volume 2 might still happen?! To know it’s even a possibility is good news. Time for a little happy dance…

  15. I suffer from depression. It’s a gift to be able to come to your blog and read your honesty in dealing with it. I’m rooting for you in all your endeavors be they shows or acting roles. I’m looking to your Sandman short featuring yourself!

  16. Mr. Wheaton, if I ran into you in a store and got personal recommendations from you about games to try, I’d be pretty dang excited. I’d be like, “if you guys don’t like this game, you’re just wrong, because it was recommended by Wil Wheaton, and that guy knows some stuff about some games!” Yeah. That’s what I’d be like. :-)

  17. Wil, you’re an awesome dude. You do so many things that inspire me and tons of other people. You have a great big heart and wear it on your sleeve. I love watching Tabletop, it is spectacular. I have learned about so many great games from watching episodes. When you share your personal experiences with depression, I know it is helpful to others who read your blog. It definitely helps me realize that I am not alone. Keep on doing what you’re doing. Believe me, you are far, far away from being a loser. I wish you nothing but good fortune in your future endeavors.

  18. I went through a long period of unemployment, made worse by chronic anxiety problems. During one particularly bad night, I cried that I wasn’t doing anything worthwhile. My husband responded, “Yes you do! You knit blankets that keep babies warm!” It sounded so silly at the time. I’m in a better place now. Recently, one of my friends had a baby and I gave her a big multi-colored baby blanket. When I went over to visit, I got to see my blanket in action, keeping the baby warm against the January chill. My friend sent out the birth announcement, my blanket was in the background of the picture. Even little things, like recommending good board games or knitting baby blankets, is something to be proud of if it brings happiness to others. That’s something I will hold onto in the future.

  19. Thank you so much for writing this. I am all too familiar with the Very Certain And Unshakable Belief That I Am A Worthless And Stupid And Idiotic Loser Who Everyone Knows Really Sucks. I am going through some difficulties with my employment situation right now, which have left me wallowing in feelings of worthlessness, wondering whether I’ve lost my ability to accomplish anything useful at all, or if maybe I’ve never had that ability, and I’ve been getting by on sheer luck for all these years, but now my luck’s run out and everyone realizes just how much I suck, and all the people who I think are my friends realized this a long time ago, and they all secretly hate me (you know, I never even realized that Imposter Syndrome was a thing until I read about it here? I’ve always thought it was my own personal Hell, all cozy and wrapped around me like a dirty ol’ bathrobe).
    It’s hard to describe how comforting it is to read about the struggles that someone as successful and likeable as yourself have had with depression. No, not because I enjoy reading about the suffering of decent human beings (I really don’t!). But I read your And I Am Nothing Of A Builder post, and I thought “wow–it’s hard to believe that such an awesome and successful person who brings happiness to so many people can still suffer from such irrational feelings of worthlessness”. And then I thought “hey, maybe my feelings are irrational, too. maybe I’m not worthless, either. maybe i’m even awesome and successful, too, on my own level (i can dream)”. I thought about that for a while. And then I felt a little better.
    Thanks for letting millions of us know that we’re not alone in this. I’m glad things are looking up :)

  20. My dear Wil – as a psych nurse and, okay, “identified patient” (we use the term differently) I must say your blog is quite brave. Good for you! And didn’t know about Tabletop, but shall seek it out. Now to the point. The sentence when you wrote you could “feel a little proud”. Got it. In many circumstances ‘pride’ is actually an evil thing, cousin of hubris, a bad thing in Judaism and Christianity, an outright evil in Buddhism – just as examples, Modern sports train their athletes to make humble statements, “It was all for the team”, “I just want to contribute” and so forth. What it comes down to is an insidious method of keeping people down and depressed, because feeling good is a bad thing. I’m here, years after STTNG and Big Bang, to save you a couple of years of cognitive therapy. Try reading some basic books about semantics, specifically S.I. Hayakawa (he’s brilliant and good to read). Learn how words work. It’s important – especially if your kids are small thru teens. The trick is to never ever tag personal accomplishments as a measure of pride. Rather, replace that word with “satisfied”, “pleased”, “happy” (especially that one), “surprised” or “fulfilled”. “Pride” is a pit trap. We’re taught as kids to be “proud” of ourselves for things like using the potty correctly. Pride loses its power after about age eight, when thought and rationality kick in. Yet, we are left with infantile expectations of ourselves. We shall never reach the level of accomplishment (or praise) received at our first step, feeding ourselves, or pottying correctly. These are huge developmental steps and there simply are no more after them. (I was trained Freudian, on course for being an analyst, and got derailed; so I do speak developmentally much of the time.) There is a very sudden transition from individual biological accomplishments (sleeping through the night without wetting the bed, getting shut of diapers, learning table manners) to more of a school/peer challenge. Without the help of someone filling you in on the changes (which is common) one is expected to just abruptly change and accept this new mode of a way of being in the world (Weltanschauung – check out that word). This almost invariably causes massive internal conflicts. Some become bullies. Some crave attention. Some withdraw. Most develop a range of responses. Everyone is unhappy. All of it leads to what has been called “low self-esteem” and the Rogerian programs of the ’70′s-’80′s in schools to “develop a positive self image”. More crap. The single issue facing you (and me, and everyone in our very large boat) is to seek, find, analyze and REPLACE those childhood words and expectations with something realistic. (And, of course, not to pass the bad stuff along to our kids.) Feelings are emotions or reactions. Look at those words. E-motion. Re-active. Both are against taking action (e- and re- are prefixes indicating “not”, which is ‘not’ what we want!). So, how silly is it to follow a re-action? Leads to circular thinking, depressive modes, inability to move or change. We need to junk the concept of “follow your feelings”. We are creatures of thought, spirit, mind, body, social creatures that base our action on the reaction of others. We need to lead ourselves based on a well-thought-out understanding of ourselves. If we have a Porsche-type neurological system (in the shop for tuning and repairs as much as its on the road) we must accept that, and prepare for constant tweaking of our neurobiology by different medications/dosages.
    After all that, perhaps you could try to perceive your “pride” with “happiness”. It made you feel good that there was a huge game section you inspired. You reacted properly in giving info to help grow that section, Good job! Your “work” on Tabletop was maybe 25% of the job. The other 75% is promotion and acknowledging the success of the concept. That 75% goes on 24/7/365. Same with Trek, same with Big Bang. (Residuals, my boy!)
    If you find this handy, use it! And since you’ll have my addy, feel free to use it if you want to talk.

  21. Wil, I find your descriptions of depression to hit home. I am Bipolar and I just crashed recently and was hospitalized. They gave us two computer time sessions a day and I was able to read your posts. They inspired me and made me feel not quite so alone. Thank you Wil for sharing the darker side of life, the sickness that isn’t recognized as an illness by many. Thank you for being you.

  22. I just wanted to thank you for the joy you share on TableTop. I was never a gamer but I married one and it only took him 14 years and your show to bring me around. We are now able to share the joy of gaming with our friends and family. I know that our two boys will also foster a love of gaming as they get older (they are only 2 and 4). They do love to watch and ‘help’ us play. So thank you again for spreading the joy to another generation and for bringing us all closer together.

  23. This post really helped me. I’ve been having a hard time lately with my own mental illness and I have been trying to tell myself (around the screaming voices that are telling me I’m no good) that I am doing the best I can. My partner has been trying to help me see that we are just doing the best we can, but it’s so hard to really SEE it. For some reason, you saying that you are just doing the best you can made it real to me, and it’s true, I am trying so hard and doing the best I can. I know you probably get a million comments like this, but you really have helped me in low times. Thank you so much for being so open about your mental illness, you have helped an uncountable number of people by doing this.

  24. All of these years I’ve been a fan and I had no idea that you were a fellow brain chemistry challenged person. Thank you for being a celeb type who is willing to talk about this stuff. It helps us non-famous types with the same problems that y’all are willing to own it.

  25. Just want to echo “Angela’s” comment above. This description of depression helped me a lot, and it’s so important to know that other people struggle with the same issue.

  26. I am a freelance illustrator whom, on the 24th, just lost my day job, and as well as almost losing my night job, and got cut off from my parents, all with a 102 fever. I’m one year out of art college, and I am completely terrified of making ends meet. Now I’m spiraling into my depression and wondering what the point even is to my life? I’ve got far more talented friends, I don’t feel talented and I just feel like I am a nothing with nothing to offer. Your article has really helped me in my time of need. I’m still searching and trying to find my way in life, but looking at your experiences, knowing that another person feels this weak too, helps me to know, that it’s ok to feel so low sometimes, as long as I get back up. Thank you so much for writing this article as soon as I needed it in my life.

  27. I’ve been meaning to leave this comment for a while. I have to thank you so much for your RPG games for kids recommendation around Christmas. We bought the package for my 6 year old son, and he LOVES it. Previously, my husband would play an adult RPG game with him, but it was a bit complicated and took too long. We’ve been playing Hero Kids with him (it’s short enough for my attention span!), and we’ve all had fun. The best part though is that he’s moved on from the stock characters and created these amazing new ones. My favorite has been one he created for me based on Rosie the Riveter whose attacks are Hammer and Drill Gun. She has a special ability to build robots that can heal, and you should see his drawings of her! I love watching the game spark his imagination, so thank you again!

  28. I would just like to thank you for this post. I know I’m reading it like two weeks after it was posted, but I found this just at the right time. While I am not being treated for any depression nor have I even been diagnosed, I do find that I struggle with seeing the good things in my life. Just recently I was let go from a volunteer position that I felt I rocked at. When I was told I was not needed it made me feel inadequate and unwanted. After reading this post, I understand that I really do need to think more about the good things. I need to realize that I am awesome at the job I actually get paid for. It is very hard to find those good things. Having constant reminders and praise from others really does help with that. This post spoke to me, and told me what I really needed to hear. Thank you.

    PS. Big fan. Love alllllll of your work.

  29. I’ve been struggling with depression off and on for most my life, but the past few years have been extremely difficult for many reasons. Reasons ranging from divorce and career problems to bankruptcy and having to be the strong one supporting my Mom who has health issues and can’t afford to live alone anymore.

    I can definitely say with 100% confidence that you are right. Depression is a dick!

    You are lucky that you have friends and family that love and support you. Also, you get to make money doing something you enjoy! I know that doesn’t make depression magically go away, but it does give you something to cling to in the darker moments when it is really being a dick to you.

    Personally I kinda envy that, as for the most part it is just me and a strong heaping of willpower keeping me going. I’ve always moved a lot so don’t really have friends, the one I do have has a worse life than me so I’m the one that keeps him going.. ha ha, no family really, no close relationships, no satisfaction from anything I’ve done and absolutely no enjoyment from my job.

    The main thing that keeps me going is the hope for a better tomorrow. Granted for me a better tomorrow would ideally involve a beautiful, big titted blonde nymphomaniac who’s completely faithful and winning the $50 million dollar lotto jackpot. Unlikely… sure… but nothing is impossible! :)

  30. This is so perfectly written (aka, completely completely relatable) — so thank you for writing this post, too! I know it’s not on the scale of the writing you discuss above, or Tabletop (and I’ll admit, I know none of these things, just that Jenny Lawson had that photo of you collating papers, and then I started following your blog, and I’m so glad I did) — but posts like this (and this one in particular) are so incredible. Because… it’s helpful? makes me and others feel not alone? provides something concrete to do to change thought process, that someone else real (other than a mental health professional treating us) is using, and … it’s okay to do. Not sure if any of this makes sense, but I’m late for work (because of course I’m procrastinating getting into the office!), and just wanted to say thank you. !

  31. An open letter to Wil Wheaton.

    You are exactly who I am striving to be. Not exactly, or in a creepy stalker-y way. I can’t go back in time and get into acting. I don’t have the memory for it, or the time travel skills.

    I, however, do have the skills to aspire to be a great dad, like you. I can work on fostering a relationship with my kiddo that turns her into a healthy and awesome person, like you have with Ryan and Nolan.

    I can be passionate about games like you are.

    I can try to get the things swirling in my head out by putting them into book form. Someday maybe I’ll get the things in my head to all swirl in the same direction long enough to do something other than self publish.

    I will try to be a good person, and be a good influence on others, as you do.

    When people tell me that I’m awesome, or that I’ve done something awesome, I’m going to let that little voice inside my head that tells me I’m not good enough, or smart enough, or anything enough eat that. They don’t have to say that. Unless I’ve paid them to do it.

    Then I can feel bad.

    Cause I paid someone to tell me I’m awesome.

    If I ;positively touch the lives of half the people you have, I’ll think I’ve done good.

    I know it’s not something you can talk people out of, depression, and it’s good you recognize and are working on the treatment of it. Cause every day, Wil Wheaton, you should burst out of bed in an explosion of awesomeness, followed by the hard decision of whether you should do cartwheels to your first destination or take your limited edition hoverboard there, powered by the goodwill of the internet.

    Your choice.

  32. Hi, Wil.

    This post was very open and honest. That takes some guts — especially on the internet!

    While I read your post, I couldn’t help but think of a few strategies that might help you out:

    – You don’t need to compare yourself to others.
    – Focus on helping someone else out with one of their problems.
    – Re-work one of your favorite stories into a screenplay. You’re a good storyteller! If successful, you’re back into films in a far greater capacity perhaps than ever before.

    Now I’m no professional, BUT these strategies have helped me out time and again when I feel overwhelmed (except for the “screenplay” one. That’s uniquely yours). Please read on if you’d like to see my rationale for each point. Otherwise, simply try out my suggestions. I can’t see them not working for you…or for anyone else ,really, if given some honest attempts.

    – You don’t need to compare yourself to others.

    It sounds like you’re trying to compare your accomplishments to that of your peers and you feel that you’re falling short. The simple fact is, you don’t need to do that at all :-) Your friends, associates, fellow actors, business partners, etc. each have their own strengths and weaknesses…just like we all do. They each excel at something in a particular way. Remember, though, so do you! (e.g. this very blog).

    A constructive suggestion: Instead of focusing on what you feel you don’t have that “they” got, focus instead on the good things you DO have. (I think you kind of alluded to this near the end of this post, so I mention it now simply as an encouragement to you to drive this point home).

    – Focus on helping someone else out with one of their problems.

    This approach will tend to focus you OFF of your problems by re-focusing you onto helping someone else out with their problems. Not only will you feel good helping someone else out, but while you’re focusing on their problem, you’re giving your brain a much needed break from your own troubles. This “break” will give your brain long enough to realize that your problem was somehow exaggerated and/or it will give your brain enough time to come up with a rational, viable solution. I usually experience BOTH benefits.

    – Re-work one of your favorite stories into a screenplay. You’re a good storyteller! If successful, you’re back into films in a far greater capacity perhaps than ever before.

    This strategy speaks for itself. Just the process of writing one of your stories (or some aspect of a story) into a screenplay will tend to boost your confidence…even if it never goes any further than that. Why? Because the process itself was challenging. And, the skills and experience you will hone through this process can only help your overall career goals (over multiple types of media). Finally, there should be no aggressive time limit to get this completed. You’re doing this as more of a “backburner” exercise than anything else.

    I hope this helps you out (and anyone else reading this) and makes life a little more manageable.

    Take care, Doug

  33. What an incredibly inspiring story. My daughter (she’s a big fangirl of yours) forwarded this to me because I’ve been going through some similar experiences lately. I have the same frustration of applying for jobs and not even getting to the interview and knowing I could totally kick ass at what they’re trying to do but never even having the chance to try. I know the feeling of being at a place in my life where I should be riding comfortably and I’ve been underemployed for so long and still trying to figure out what to do about it. I have that same up and down experience of knowing that my life is so incredibly blessed in so many ways but I keep obsessing over the few things that aren’t going the way I want them to.

    Anyway, a million thanks for being such an encouragement. You’re totally awesome dude.

  34. Thank you, Will. I am a fan of your work but, it was my mental illness that brought me here. This post was very inspiring, beautifully honest, and wonderfully worded. Thank, you again.

  35. It’s truly inspiring to read your personal journey, battling against such a burden as depression. I know that burden well. Thoughts of hopelessness and worthlessness form a slippery slope, and before you know it, your falling once again. I’ve found that medication is only part of the solution. Taking on those thoughts, proving them wrong- That, to me, is just as important. Thank you for your bravery.

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