You stand at the edge while people run you through

Everyone who has Depression experiences it in a different way, but I think it’s safe to say that all of us have days when it sits more heavily on us than others. I realized yesterday morning that I’ve been struggling under more depression and anxiety than usual for the last week or so without even being aware of it. Without realizing it, I’d gotten withdrawn and anxious, and because I didn’t really feel irritable, I wasn’t aware of how irritable I was.

I’ve described the metaphysical weight of depression as being similar to that lead apron the dentist puts on you when you get x-rays of your teeth, only it’s draped over your head and shoulders, and sometimes it even covers your face so you can’t see clearly. Without even knowing it’s happening, all you can see is whatever the depression wants to show you, and depression is a lying jerk.

So yesterday, with the kind and loving help of my wife, I realized how heavy my depression has been weighing on me lately. I don’t know exactly how or why it works, but yesterday, like all the other times I’ve realized that depression was doing its best to smother me, becoming aware of it made the weight of it just a little bit better. I still had a pretty rough day, but I also knew that I’d get better. It was like remembering where the light switch was, so I could turn a light on in a dark room, and see the way out of it.

A big part of realizing that I felt so much anxiety and its accompanying depression was figuring out why I felt that way, and I don’t think I could have done it without Anne’s support and patience.

We were sitting on the couch in the living room. The back doors were open, and birds chirped and sang in the back yard. I told her basically what I wrote above, and she said, “You were really angry about the paparazzi when you were in New York, and if your show is successful, that’s probably going to happen again and again.”

“That sounds awful,” I said.

“Yeah, but you can deal with it in a more constructive way that doesn’t make you so angry,” she said.

“I just hate that feeling of being trapped in a hotel, or not in control of my own …” I trailed off, because I had realized exactly why I got so angry, and why I’d been feeling so anxious and depressed for the last few weeks.

“I just realized that the feeling of being trapped, of not being in control of my own life, of feeling like I can’t just do my own thing is a massive emotional trigger for me, because it reminds me of how I felt so often when I was a kid.

“I hated all the press and attention and demands to be some kind of teen superstar, when all I wanted to do was be an actor.”

I described this picture to her, which I think was taken when I was 15. “I look at that, and I feel so sad for that kid. He’s scared, he’s uncomfortable, and he’s doing his best to just get through that moment so he can go back to whatever he was trying to do before a photographer shoved a camera in his face.

“I think I get so angry now because I’m not just upset that my current life was disrupted by these shitbags, but I’m also retroactively angry at how much they disrupted my life when I was a kid.” I looked at the floor for a long time. Our dog, Riley, walked over to me and shoved her face into my hands. I pet her and continued. “And then I get angry at the people who should have been looking out for me, who should have cared about how I was feeling and protected me, but who just told me to suck it up and deal with it because I had to.”

“That makes sense,” she said. “You’ve talked a lot about how you always felt like nobody listened to you when you were a kid, and how you felt like your feelings weren’t as important to the people around you as what they could get out of you.”

“Exactly. I’ve been working basically for myself for the last ten years, with occasional breaks to go work on shows where I feel like I’m working with people, and for the last month or so, I’ve felt like I’m working for people.”

I stopped scratching Riley’s chin, and she put her paw in my lap.

“Well … you kind of are.”

I looked at her.

“…and that’s okay,” she said. “I know you’re feeling overwhelmed, but this is a good thing, isn’t it?”

I lifted Riley’s paw off of me, and pointed to the floor. She lay down at my feet and sighed.

“…it is. I love the people I work with, and the network goons have all been really supportive and awesome. I guess I just … I don’t know how to feel. It’s really great, and it’s really scary, and there’s a lot at stake, and it’s fun, and I’m …”

I took a deep breath and frowned. “I’m afraid to enjoy it, because it probably won’t last.”

It felt good to say it out loud. It felt freeing. I’m supposed to pretend that we’re going to be some kind of massive success and we’re all gonna get laid, but I have done this long enough to know that nothing is certain, nothing is guaranteed, and Firefly was canceled because the network was stupid.

“And on the one hand, if it doesn’t last, all this press and attention that I don’t like goes away. But if it does last–”

“If it does last, you can let the work speak for itself like you want to, and you don’t have to do press, or go places you don’t want to go. But promoting it now is super important because you have to let people know your show exists so they can watch it.”

Riley rolled over on her back. Marlowe walked into the room and stretched out on the floor next to her.

“I know, and I feel like a jerk for having conflicting feelings about it. I guess I haven’t completely dealt with some unresolved childhood issues, and they’re getting stirred up in my stupid brain.”

My cat, Watson, jumped up into my lap and began to purr. He rubbed his face against my hand, then against my chin, and then began to groom my beard.

“I’m really grateful for everything we have, and I don’t mean to imply otherwise,” I said, around Watson’s catfood breath. “I just remember how I felt so unhappy so often when I was a kid, and I don’t want to feel that way again.”

“I know.”

I lifted Watson off of my chest and put him on the couch next to me. He rolled on his back and pushed his head into my thigh. I scratched his chin and his belly.

“I also know that I’ve been letting Depression make me feel like shit for the last month or so, and I know that Depression lies, so I’m probably just fixated on all the worst case stuff, and not paying enough attention to the awesome stuff.”

And the second those words came out of my mouth, it was like someone cast Dispel Depression. I felt the weight of it lift off of me. I saw the light switch in the room, and though I knew it would take a little bit of time before I could walk out, I at least saw the doorway.

I’m going to talk with a therapist about the unresolved emotional issues from when I was a kid, and I’m going to work even harder so that Depression can’t trick me into thinking all this incredibly awesome stuff that I get to do is something I can’t enjoy. It’s going to be a challenge — it always is — but I can do it, because I’ve done it before.

And you know what? It is going to be fun to make The Wil Wheaton Project. I know it will be fun, because it has already been fun, and I think I need to consider the two likely scenarios: if we only do 12, I get to go back to my normal life at the end of the summer after working with some really great people and doing something we’re proud of. If we end up doing more than that, I can let the work speak for itself, and I’ll learn to adjust to a new normal in my life, because the really valuable and important bits of my life — my wife, my kids, our home, burritos and beer — are going to be here no matter what I do for my job, and nobody can take them away from me, not even Depression.

“I feel a lot better,” I said. “Thanks for listening to me.”

“I love you,” she said.

“I love you too.”

 

261 thoughts on “You stand at the edge while people run you through”

  1. You’re an amazing man Will. I’m sad to think that all the while I was enjoying STNG you were miserable! Thank you for articulating what so many of us find hard to… and thank Anne for just being the best spouse you could hope for. My own depression is in remission at the moment and I have a wonderful man to thank for supporting me in much the way Anne supports you. I hope your depression lifts soon. Hugs to you both from downunder!

  2. Whenever you feel depressed because of some misjustice/unfairness/whatever just repeat that mantra: Firefly got cancelled. Proves the world is stupid in general.

  3. Depression is a lying bastard because it tries to convince us to live small. It wants us to structure our lives around our limitations versus our possibilities. I’m inspired and encouraged by your bravery.

    1. thank you Jen for the past week I have let the VA scandal bring me down . I put on a happy face I laugh . but I have cried also . and I know that it has a hold on me . also thanks to Wil for sharing . feeling better now

  4. You wrote about depression in a blog post in January. On Wednesday of this week …. I looked it up on my phone and then got up the courage to call my Dr. and make an appointment. I have been struggling with Depression for 6 years – trying to white-knuckle it on my own. I finally realized that I couldn’t do anymore….I have a prescription that has calmed my brain down a bit and therapy scheduled for next week. Thank you for all you do.

  5. Just want to say that your openness about this helps others. I’m sorry you have to feel this way. You are not alone though, and your willingness to share this helps others, as well as hopefully allowing you an outlet for working through your journey of self reflection. There are people out there in the world though, who don’t know you personally, but feel better knowing that it isn’t just them, that this can affect popular, smart, funny people. You help people see a way to get through the day.
    As always, sending best wishes to you and your family.

  6. I know that depression often lies to you, but celebrity harassment IS a real thing and often requires more maintenance than people think. Spiritual people (those who look at the world with eyes that see the beautiful things in life instead of just what you own and who you know) often get hit the worst by it. Try to create a different perspective about it. Take pics/make videos of the paparazzi and share them on Twitter with your fans (perhaps with some googly eyes?). Carry a mic in a pocket somewhere and interview them. Do something totally hilarious to change the paradigm (yes, I used the “P” word, please don’t hate me)! You’ll have great stories to tell at the CONs and eventually the paparazzi will get tired of it and leave you and Ann to have a more balanced life. I’m really excited about the show and I know you’ll be AMAZING. This is what you were born to do because you’re really good at it. I suspect this is happening now so you can take what you learned from STNG and integrate it into the person you’ve become; great husband, great father and a guy who appreciates the opportunity to be the face of change for a group of people before looked down upon. May the force be with you. ;-)

  7. maybe we all go through the paparazzi/people only want us for what-they-can-get-out-of-us thing to one degree or another. work seems to be like that. people judging, people trying to get “excellence” out of us so that they look even more excellent. lots of roles in the food chain. the higher we go, the more folks who make a living off the product of our life-force.

    maybe depression is the by product of sensitivity, of seeing through the bullshit that is the happy-happy surface most folks project, of seeing the sadness and anxiety and anger that rolls underneath. maybe it’s a facet of the sensitivity it takes to be a great actor, the seeing through to emotional fabric of living.

    i keep coming back to your blog, after reading for a decade or so, because of your good heart, your courage, your talent and your ability to always come back to the place where hilarity rules. you’re a good man, wil wheaton, and the planet is really lucky to have you. can’t wait for the wil wheaton project. have it tracked and can’t wait for the first episode to be available!

  8. Depression is rough, I’ve seen it wreck some of the people around me. But it sounds like you have a good handle on it, which makes me glad for you. You’re a talented guy, and I enjoy experiencing your work, and I know I’m not the only one who does.

    *Internet high five*

  9. You’re right about everybody suffering depression at one time or another Wil. Your right, it does lie, and loves to drag you down. .II’ve experienced it quite a bit myself. I’m glad you were able to work through it, and I am glad you have a supportive family. Keep your sword sharp, and your wands fully charged, and you’ll cut through all the crap every time. I look forward seeing your new show, and I’m sure you’ll have fun! Take care.

    Shawn

  10. Love you Wil Wheaton! You’re my hero :-)
    I personally felt listless through out my childhood and most of my adult life until I confronted some childhood traumas. The initial realization super powered my depression and anxiety, making me feel as though I just found out I’ve been living in a deep, dark hole my entire life and now that I know where I stand it’s a matter of finding the ladder and climbing out. You never know how long the ladder is until you start climbing and you get tired of climbing but eventually you see the light and that helps motivate you. It’s really fucking hard and a lot of people don’t understand when I withdraw from the world for seemingly no reason at all. But my friends have been a great help and finding a creative outlet, for me painting and drawing, has helped as well. We gotta work harder than most people to stay happy even though we have everything we need to be happy right in front of us. But I’ve found that people I can relate to on this issue are the salt of the Earth. They’re the most giving, introspective, intelligent, kind hearted people I know. And I appreciate you being open about your depression and anxiety because it comforts me to know others are there with me and working through it. And your blog has helped me explain to my friends in better words how I feel and deal with it. Thank you Wil :-)

  11. First of all, you are to be commended for sharing this. You are touching countless people struggling with similar issues. Second of all, life is short and there are always going to moments where you will need to compromise and settle for less than your pure vision. Do your thing dude!!! Stay as true to your dream as you can. Listen to those who you can trust, l
    et the chips fall where they may, and enjoy the ride. The ride ends for us all eventually. Make sure and focus on the ride, not the destination. The “destination” is an illusion.

    1. Thank you for being so open, and being loving enough to share your most private thoughts and struggles with the Interwebz. I am medicated for depression but do not have a therapist. Over the past two weeks my father died suddenly, my fridge peed all over the floor and died, I’ve had a wicked head cold, had to travel for work, had to run my dog over to the vet for a torn paw and an ear infection, and been told to fuck off by the man I love for asking him to treat me gently during this time. Right now I feel like there isn’t enough Lexapro in the world. But I know this will pass if I can just lay in bed and surf the Internet long enough to wait it out.

      What you wrote about lacking control of your life because of unresolved issues really resonated with me. Thank you for being alive and writing about your struggles.

      1. My dearest Mossum,
        I apologize for telling you to fuck off. We are both tired and have a lot on our plates, double that on your end of it. I am a selfish bastard and a dick. Not proud of that. I love you very much and I am sorry to have hurt your feelings with such a stupid and mindless comment. And I have been down that slippery road of depression as well so I should know better. I love you and I make no excuses for my idiotic behavior. I am damn lucky to have you in my life so I hope you accept my apology but I will understand if you don’t. Please don’t cut my junk off while I’m sleeping though; that would be a bit much.
        I love you.

        Pook

  12. Thank you for sharing about your ongoing struggle with depression. I think it helps others who struggle to see that someone like you, who appears to have it all together and everything going for him, is also struggling with the deceitful bastard.

    I am one of them. I am on the tail end of a nasty divorce after 20 years of marriage. It was through therapy that I realized the last several years of my depression and increasing downward spiral was due to covert abuse from my soon to be ex. The best thing he ever did for me was leave me. But even after all the therapy and acknowledging of what caused the depression, it still sneaks up when I am unaware. And just when I feel I am taking my final breath as the waves overtake me, you or The Bloggess share something of your struggle and remind me, depression lies.

    My life is good. Better than good now that I am free of the abuse. I am happier, my kids are happier. I just need to keep an eye out for that little devil sitting in the corner waiting…

  13. Wil, I don’t know as it will help, but there are other people for whom this specific issue is an equal trauma, just due to different causes. You’re not going through this alone.

  14. Wil, You should check out a tactic that Daniel Radcliffe (among others) have figured out to deal with the Paparazzi. Daniel would wear the same thing when ever he left the theatre he was working at while working on Equus. I think it was a grey shirt and red hat. Since he was wearing the same thing over and over it made the pictures the Paparazzi would take worthless.

    I also suspect that it gave Daniel control over how the paparazzi behaved. Since he now could determine the value of their shots, he get to choose when they can take valuable pictures of him. This added control may also help you manage the stress that goes along with it.

    It’s doesn’t cover your every day out an about activities when you’re not at work but it’s a place to start.

    It sucks that you have to do it all.

    Sincerely,
    Jason Buehrer

  15. What a thoughtful post. I am sorry to hear you have been feeling so bad. I have been a fan of your blog for years, and I can’t tell you how many times your tweets have made my husband and I laugh. Wishing you the best.

  16. Always ask yourself, “Am I having fun.” If not, time to change something. If you are having ‘authentic’ fun, then we’re all going to have fun with you.

    And frankly, anyone worth knowing – or calling a friend – couldn’t care less if the paparazzi got a picture of you picking your nose or scratching your butt and posted it on every website and TV channel. The only reason this issue is so big is the number of people who feel that they need to put someone else down in order to feel good. It has more to say about those who do the looking/listening/picture taking then it does the subject.

    Love and have fun with what you’re doing now – if it makes you happy. But, if it doesn’t, find something that does. No one who is worth knowing would ever call you a quiter, and those who would are the ones to stop giving your attention to. And those worth knowing are going to stand by you and cheer you on with whatever you do – even if you do something that bombs. Because, honestly, none of us ever does everything right – right? And, that’s part of the fun of living – having the guts to try something new, learn from it, find out something new about ourselves, and hey, maybe come up with an even better idea.

    Change your perspective on things. When the paparazzi are in your face, smile, because you’re noteworthy to those who read/listen to that stuff – but remember that none of that means anything to those who really matter. When they’re not hounding you, love the fact that you now have some peace (and can once again scratch your butt in public). When execs are throwing offers your way and demanding your time – love the attention. And when they stop, love the peace and downtime you’re now getting. When shows your working on get cancelled, view it as an opportunity to go out and seek a new adventure.

    If you ask me. . . you should suggest to the BBT writers that you and Sheldon would make perfect roommates – so many comedic opportunities there. And it would play in perfectly with the demise of the “She Gorilla” film that got canned. You could have to go grovelling to Sheldon for a place to stay (maybe even be someone who shows up when he’s interviewing for roommates).

    Have fun with whatever you do – or don’t do it. But never don’t do something because you fear what others will think, or that they will laugh and think you a fool. Stop giving control of your life over to them – it’s YOUR life. And life is meant to be fun.

  17. Wil: That was an awesome workthrough, and you got all those wonderful little positives from your fur people, and you had your love sit with you and wait for you. that is AWESOME work. I am so very proud, though I had nothing to do with it, it was wonderful to read. Very descriptive, and very detailed. And I’m so so glad you found the light switch. And I Cast Dispel Depression x10 for you. xoxoxox

  18. It’s funny (odd kind of funny) how depression effects us in different ways. I’ve been feeling like I had no control lately as well. There are a number of things weighing down on me lately, but stepping back and realizing that I can take control does help. It is great that you have Anne there to bounce things off of and work your way through that maze. I am also glad you expressed this here since it just help me turn my light on.

  19. It’s good to see this. It’s nice sometimes to hear that I’m not the only one who struggles with depression, and it’s even better to see that other people can get through it too.

    I think though, that it’s more than just “depression lies”, though. Depression is the big panic button our brains pushs to let us know that there is something in our environment that we can’t handle. It’s our brains’ way of saying “This is to much. Something is overwhelming me.” By finding that trigger, and deciding wheather you can push through it or wheather you need help us important.

    Good luck Wil Wheaton. Your fans are pulling for you.

  20. When I have been in that place I always visualized (and felt) the weight as an anchor (or sometimes anvil) attached to a chain on a large hook that went through my heart. It didn’t tear – it was just trying to pull my heart DOWN. That was the image that flashed in me as I read about the lead apron. It is always interesting in how it manifests in us in its own way. Take care…

  21. It’s not just Firefly – at least that saw the light of day. Back around the time you were on STNG, I was a development exec at a very successful small TV production company. I heard some amazing scifi pitches and read some fantastic spec pilots, but none of the higher-ups was interested. It got so that I dreaded going into work. Then one day an agent walked into my office and offered the company Walter M. Miller, Jr.’s entire catalog. Novels, short stories – everything. I couldn’t believe it. I practically skipped into the next development meeting. Not only did they not want it, they hadn’t even heard of him. “Canticle for Leibowitz!” I said. Crickets. So I quit and wrote novels instead. Now I’m working on a web series. I visited LA last week and was at an industry event and someone said, “That sounds great! Why don’t you take it to the networks?” I suggested as how they were nuts. For me, at least, independence = happiness. Really looking forward to your new show!

  22. I had a dream last night that I met you and I went on Facebook to post about how sad it was to wake up from that dream. Then I wondered to myself, “does he have a Facebook page?”
    That’s how I ended up here. I’m really glad I did.

    I’ve struggled with depression since I was a kid and no one has ever articulated “depression lies”. I don’t know why those two small words had such a huge effect on me, but it feels like someone flipped MY light switch. I’m going to write that down, and I’ll probably blog about how “Wil Wheaton told me depression lies” and hopefull I can start walking toward the door too.

    Thank you.

  23. It’s been a hard two years with a massive amount of transition and change happening in my life–I’ve struggled with depression and anxiety for years, but the past two years have been harder than normal. This post was especially helpful and I cannot thank you enough for sharing your struggles so openly.

  24. I went to a therapist because I was being followed by big monsters. He spent a lot of time explaining to me that what I was thinking wasn’t real and how I really just had to get over it.

    Then I went to a witch. She just gave me a chair to stand on and a very heavy stick.

  25. Thank you for sharing. I also struggle with depression and anxiety. I like that you call it a lying jerk. I never thought of it that way but it’s true. I’ve depression off and on since I was a teenager and one of the few silver linings in those dark clouds is that I’ve learned about myself; I’m more self aware. And actually, I think the depression has made me more empathetic towards other people and their moods. Maybe they’re fighting demons too. Ok, that’s the second silver lining.

    Thank you for sharing your experience.

  26. thank you for being so open and honest, as always, about depression. It makes me feel as if I’m not alone. Know thatwhat you say on this topic matters.

  27. It’s funny, the day you got mad at those paparazzi I thought “this reminds me of Wil’s post about how he gets really angry and depressed; I wonder if he should talk to his doctor about it” but I didn’t say anything because I’m a stranger.
    One thought though – you already share pieces of yourself in this blog that go far deeper than any shot a pap can get of you. Maybe that will help you think of them as weak. They can’t get the true goods.

  28. >I took a deep breath and frowned. “I’m afraid to enjoy it, because it probably won’t last.”

    I was just given the “You don’t have cancer any more.” talk, which is amazing but terrifying at the same time. I’m afraid to move on from defensive daily-living to actually living and enjoying life. Because what if the cancer comes back? What if I allow myself to live normally and then it gets shattered again? So I’ve settled for daily living, one day at a time, and doing my best to stay positive. I’ve had depression bouts in the past, and definitely in the last five months, but I can’t let it control me – and you can’t either. We have too many good things to live for. When I start to get frustrated with my lack of energy and complete exhaustion I think of my little one doing something silly, or the rush of emotion when my husband hugs me. It’s enough to power through for a little bit longer.

  29. Hi Wil. I’m sorry you are depressed. I’ve been depressed, too.

    Have you considered Christianity? I just want to tell you that God loves you. He loves us all, actually, even though we are sinners. Have you heard the good news, that Jesus–who was both God and man–lived a sinless life, and then died for your sins? He was raised from death on the third day. I used to think that everybody in America has heard the Gospel, but I am starting to doubt that, now that it’s become “PC” to cast any mention of God, the Bible, and prayer out of school and public places.

    We have free will, so God allows us to reject Him and pretend He doesn’t exist–doesn’t hold the universe together at the subatomic level.

    But what God desires is that we will admit to Him that we are sinners (have violated the commandments that He gave us in the Bible), that we will cry out for his mercy, asking Him to place our sin debt on Jesus on the cross (you see, to a Holy God, if we have but one sin, we cannot be in His presence and will be cast into an eternal, fiery hell after our mortal bodies die), and turn from our sins.

    If you do that, then you have salvation. Salvation can only come from God Himself. (The common belief that there is a scale at judgment, and if your “good deeds” outweigh your “bad deeds,” then you are ushered into heaven is a lie.)

    Oh, life will still be hard. Paparazzi will still ruin your privacy, neurotransmitters will still lie to you, and you will still continue to sin some, but when you die, God will allow you into heaven with Him based on your acceptance of what Jesus did for you.

    You have to make this decision BEFORE you die, however. There are masses of atheists around today who scoff at the idea of God and teach others to believe the same, but the instant their bodies die, they will be headed to a judgment from the Living, Holy God, who will be fair and judge them on their merits.

    Then they will see Him and believe. But they will spend eternity paying for their sins. That’s like Warp 9.9 Depression, and Level Up: Pain +Infinite.

    I pray that you and your family would choose Jesus today, Wil! I hope you will find a good Bible-believing Christian church and learn to live for God.

    (Beware wolves in sheep’s clothing–there are several pseudo-Christian cults, like the mormons and the jehovah’s witnesses that use the many of the terms in the Bible but distort them them define them wickedly wrong.)

    If you happen to see my message in your popular guy mass of comments and want to know where this stuff I mentioned about salvation is in the Bible, email me, and I’ll let you know. Hint: a lot of the best passages on salvation are in the book of Romans.

    1. Most religion if not all are worse than Depression. Just my opinion. I’m Gay and I suffer and have suffered from depression all my life. I have been taking care of it of the last 19 years now. When I had a nervous breakdown at 33 yo. I believe in GOD and I have a personal relationship with him. Christanity is fine for some people. But not for me.

    2. I think I am becoming depressed by reading your salvation garb. Sorry, not for me. An UN-conditionally loving God judges no one and loves no matter what. That is the definition of unconditional. No one needs “saving”; that is a part of a fear-based theology that has nothing to do with the all that is. So Namaste. The God in me beholds the God in you.We are ALL God. That was Jesus real message. Read Conversations With God by Neale Donald Walsh. That is MY bible.

  30. Hey Wil, great expression. Emotional expression is a wonderful thing, a wonderfully human thing… and that includes feeling depression and anger and all other emotions. There are no “bad” emotions. Humans don’t go wrong by expressing, they do themselves and (sometimes) others a disservice by repressing emotions. Emotions are energy and energy is meant to flow. It’s when that energy is blocked that problems happen.

    You are right to recognize some childhood wounds as being involved here. That’s another part of this human earthly experience. You have a backlog of emotions. Emotions that belong to a moment from long ago. That backlog needs to be felt, expressed and released. You need to “get current” on your emotions.

    You won’t ever stop emoting and that includes feeling depression. You won’t lose your memory either and you don’t want to as you’d then also lose the lessons learned. You might even have new emotions generated from thinking about past events, or thinking about Fry’s dog for that matter. You’d have more reason for concern if such did NOT generate a strong emotional response in you. But there is a difference between “response” and “re-action”.

    A person can very well become healed and whole. But they will not stop emoting. If anything, they may seem even more emotional to those still stuck in repression. Ideally, emotions and their expression will hit with great intensity at the same time as the event that they belong to. Many people are not there yet. They’ve been conditioned to repress and to judge their emotions. That then causes the backlog. But one can absolutely get caught up on that and return to a balanced and healthy state, but yes, it will absolutely require FEELING. Do yourself a favor and don’t ever try to dodge emotions or stuff them or delay them. Let them flow.

    Get and read this book (below) for a big picture view of the world and why things have ended up in the state we see, both individually and collectively. What many people are not seeing is just this big picture view, many being a bit too myopic and getting caught up in symptoms of problems, their own and the world’s, and henceforth not truly seeing the root cause of problems and henceforth not getting to the core of issues.

    My blessings to you and everyone.

    “Awake & Awake – Top Priority: Self”, by Cathy LaCounte

  31. Thank you, Wil. I’m going through a really rough patch of Depression and Anxiety these days and reading this has given me some new ideas of how to approach it. Just knowing I’m not alone with this situation (though it is not due to too much celebrity when I was 16, I assure you) helps a lot. My wife is very understanding and supportive during my “moods,” but when the lead apron begins to feel like a Kryptonite one on Superman, she doesn’t understand the uncontrollable anger and irritability that comes with it all.

    Keep doing what you are doing.

  32. I guess it’s all relative. That soul-crushing feeling of not being in control of your life, of not being allowed to do the work you want to do… That’s the life of a corporate wage-slave: 40 hours a week, 52 weeks a year, working for a boss that only notices you when you make a mistake, doesn’t know or care if you’re even alive from one day to the next, and considers you completely disposable. That’s, what, 70+% of the working people in the country?

    I understand how horrible depression can be. My ex-wife suffers from depression, and I’ve seen what it does to her. So I’m not belittling your condition, or making light of it.

    But at the same time, I can’t help but think that compared to most of us, you’re living the dream. For myself, I’m happy most of the time, got food on the table (too much since I could stand to lose about 90#), my cats are healthy, my bills paid, have a few friends, plus time for WoW or other games…

    But I read “Just A Geek.” If I had your life, I’d feel as if I was on an all-expenses-paid vacation.

    You have my best wishes. And remember that a minute of happy trumps an hour of miserable every time.

    1. Yes, unless you have ever experienced depression, you can’t understand how you can have “everything” and still be depressed. I have a great life, but the clinical depression creeps in and tries to destroy it. Thanks again, Wil. Your post came at a time that I really needed it. It helped me to explain to others why I was acting the way I was.

    2. I know compared to most, my life isn’t so bad. When I started therapy a few months ago, I admitted that i was ashamed and embarrassed for feeling and thinking the way I do. For allowing myself to believe the depression lies. He said it doesn’t really work that way.

      There is so much more to it then just having the basic necessities met. Depression is something you feel in your soul. Depression runs deep. Sometimes it is not so easy to hold onto those happy minutes no matter how hard someone may try. (at least that is how I feel – others may feel differently) The grass isn’t always greener.

      “The Grass is Always Greener over the Septic Tank” – Erma Bombeck

  33. The dentist’s lead apron metaphor makes perfect sense. I once had it weigh so much I couldn’t get out of bed for a couple days.

    You are fortunate to have the support of your fur kids too :) Families with the likes of Marlowe, Riley and Watson have an unending supply of love.

  34. I wish I was better at catching my own Depression monster when it decides to hang on me like that. It’s so very hard to tell when I’m being a moody, depressed, anxious asshole until after the fact. I guess it just takes practice.
    I’m glad you caught your own Depression monster this time, and I wish you luck fending it off as you continue the Project. Because the Wil Wheaton Project will be awesome, for you and family and friends and fans and media in general will all have awesome things come from it.

  35. In your Larry King interview you said you weren’t looking for the big score because it can make you miss all of the small things.

    Enjoy the show. If it doesn’t last then something different will come along. And if it doesn’t come, you’ll make something else just like you’ve been doing the last ten years.

    I’m happy for you so you don’t have to be. ;)

  36. Wil, thank you so much for sharing with us. I, too, have battled with depression and thanks to brave people like you I no longer feel alone. I used to think I was really weird because on the surface I have a great life so why should I ever feel depressed? It happens and we need to find a way past it. Like you, I have a very supportive partner who makes things seem ok again. You have my respect Wil for opening up

  37. Sorry to hear it’s been bogging you down. Wish I could ease your pain, get you on your feet again.

    It’s a real bugger that as we level up in life, so does it, no?

    Depression… the ultimate troll, no? Never adding value, never attempting to contribute, but ever ceaselessly pissing on that which you value, taking every cheap shot it can to take the wind from your sails, to get you down, and make you feel unworthy, undeserving, unequal to the task, etc. All BS.

    Don’t let it talk about you in any way you wouldn’t talk about your pets or your loved ones. What’s more, don’t let that inner voice ever get away with condemning somebody that both your pets and your loved ones deeply value: you.

    You wouldn’t allow it to talk about your loved ones that way. Be defiant in affording yourself that same protection and vigilance on your own behalf.

    Every time it starts busting on you, and becomes an energy vampire, roll the Pi-sided dice, apply the xPotato multiplier (reducing its wisdom, content, and contribution to zero), and send its delusions on its way.

    It’s rather obvious why your depression is mighty jealous of you. You contribute, you overflow in giving, your achievements are staggering, you’ve had sublime levels of success personally and professionally. Winning on levels all across the board. In short, you constantly render your depression powerless.

    But when you overflow and give like you do, sometimes that tank gets empty. And that’s when depression always strikes, finally getting its opportunity. Get away, take a time out. Refill with your loved ones. Let your well fill back up. We’ve got your back. (“Wil? No, he’s not here right now. I’m just the cleaning lady. But if you call back during regular business hours, we’ll be happy to take a message.”)

    And yet you remain grounded and real enough to be open about what still haunts you. You do a lot of amazing work, but that is darn near superhuman, imho. Few are brave enough to say “Ouch,” in such a public light.

    You’ve ever been a champion for a helluvalot (metric-speak for “muy mas mucho”) of us that it’s okay to be human. I thank you mightily for that reminder.

    Every doubt what you’ve given all the kindred spirits here? Just ask. We’ll be happy to supply all the ammo needed to give your depression an attitude and fact-check. We’ve got your back. By golly, you’ve certainly had ours. Thanks for that too.

  38. Every time I turn around lately I feel like you’re doing something to tell me that whatever I’m going through at that moment is ok. My kids are being bullied. And I just…. I don’t have words to tell them it’s going to be ok. That this isn’t forever, that it’ll pass. Then I stumbled across your video, and because my kids know who you are, I let you tell then it was going to be ok. My son deals with the geek/nerd stigmas so much more easily because he’s realized his favorite actors are also nerds/geeks or they wouldn’t make his favorite movies.
    You’ve been willing to be open and honest and share your life with us, and it feels like every time I am going through something, you’re a step ahead with the answers on how to deal. Thanks for that. So much.

  39. Wil:

    A great post, as much for what you had to reveal as for your articulating things so clearly.

    As it happens, Depression is something we usually experience in the Present. Happiness and Contentment (alas) are more likely to be experienced in the past (you look back at your history and think, “Gee! I was happy then! I just didn’t realize it at the time!”)

    You are blessed to have your wife as counsel and comfort: cherish her! And know there are an awful lot of total strangers out there who also wish you well.

    And as a last-ditch solution: go back to that WW Super Teen scrapbook and ask yourself how many of your then-peers are still your contemporary peers. You may be surprised at how many have become Answers in some edition of Teenage Hollywood Trivial Pursuit.

    You, my friend, are a keeper! So keep your chin up!

    All best,

    J

  40. Thank you so much Wil. I might as well have been having this conversation with my own wife, minus the ever being famous part. But the similarity is uncanny. I am so grateful for your openness.

  41. 1) Anne is a keeper.
    2) You have your head on straight.
    3) The past is gone, enjoy today, as you’ve earned it.
    4) Thanks for sharing this.

  42. Thanks for your openness about depression. My wife and I both struggle with depression and we both liked your analogy about the dentist x-ray blanket.

  43. Thanks, Wil. This was exactly what I needed to read this morning. Thank you for being brave enough to share it.

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