When Red Pulls You Out of a Black Hole

Since returning home from my three-week adventure in Rhode Island, I’ve felt inconsolably depressed. Every day, for at least part of the day, a numbness consumes me. I can only describe it as feeling “dead inside.”

Depression is something I’ve struggled with on and off my whole life, and I think I always will. That may sound, well, depressing, but it’s not. I have healthy coping mechanisms, and when I take action, I’m usually fine.

However, our minds like to play tricks on us. Often times, the thing we need to do the most is the last thing we want to do. I wish I could find more elegant wording, but my brain desires simplicity today.

Speaking of simplicity; I typically aim to focus on one life goal at a time. The idea is to strengthen my stamina muscle to avoid overwhelm and despair. But then I go on social media, and I see people doing hundreds of things at once!

“Oh wow, that woman has a baby, a husband that might as well be a baby, a full-time job, exercises five days a week, and volunteers at a gorilla rehab center?? I don’t have a kid or a gorilla, I can surely focus on acting AND launching a business AND training for a marathon AND being an awesome partner! NO PROBLEM!”

(By the way, I’m currently eating hummus with my finger, to give you an idea how that turned out.)

The whole time I was in Rhode Island, I worked on launching my breathwork facilitator business with my career coach. I exercised regularly. I did my mindfulness practices. And, most importantly, I connected with family and friends. I realized I hadn’t felt like myself since…well…maybe 2019. I don’t think I’m alone in that.

As many of you know, I moved from Southern California to Georgia in March 2021. And to be honest, the transition started out great. I was booking more commercial and theatrical jobs than ever, getting noticed by top managers, and had a sick month long gig as a virtual assistant. I even reached my high school weight, which I didn’t think was possible. Ironically, this all happened while my partner and I were temporarily living on his family’s farm, almost three hours from Atlanta. Getting to and from the city for work was a hassle, but we did what we had to do.

But when we moved to Smyrna in July (15 minutes outside Atlanta) — the place we always intended to be — something shifted. I’m still not sure why. Maybe the nature in rural Georgia brought out my creative side and kept me open to possibility. Maybe I let the slowness of the entertainment industry in the summer catch me off guard. Maybe the fact I was starting from scratch at age 31 was finally getting to me. Whatever it was, my high took a nosedive; such is life.

Part of me looked forward to going home in August, but part of me dreaded it. Even though I had just wrapped a Michelob Ultra commercial and a short film, I felt like I wasn’t where I needed to be to take a “break.” WHATEVER THE FUCK THAT MEANS.

So while in Rhode Island focusing on my breathwork business, acting felt like less of a priority. Which made me panic. And in that panic, I signed up for an audition Masterclass I placed in previously but couldn’t commit to at the time. Well, I discovered my acting muscle had gone limp due to lack of practicing. Shocker. I felt totally out of touch with my emotions; “dead inside.” I took two more classes, and my situation became progressively worse. After some verbal abuse, my teacher gave up and assigned me a new scene. Then, amidst the confusion, I signed up for a marathon — just to see how much I could spike the overwhelm.

My highest self wanted to work on launching my breathwork business, and that’s it. However, my inner self-saboteur had other plans. Every time I disregarded my inner voice, my depression engulfed me a little bit more.

To top it all off, my period is 10 days late. So, I’ve basically been PMSing for three weeks.

My acting class is on Wednesday nights, but I won’t be there. And guess what? As soon as I made the decision to send the “I’m not going to make it” email, I got my period. That’s enough of a sign for me.

Does this mean I’m quitting acting? I don’t know. And I’m not trying to figure that out tonight. I did pay for another month of class, so chances are I’ll be there next week.

The point I’m making is, we always know what’s best for our highest self. And unfortunately, what’s best for our highest self can piss our ego off. Hence, the self-sabotuer makes an appearance.

At the end of the day, ego wants to keep everything comfortable. My ego, after many years of therapy, has accepted my identity as an actor. So, throwing in “breathwork facilitator” caused some internal drama.

So, how do we stay connected to our higher self? You guessed it: mindfulness practices. And what routines did I break right before the depression slipped in? Daily affirmations, meditation, breathwork, journaling, Al-Anon meetings, and more. It even got to the point where I couldn’t exercise — which is when I know something is REALLY off.

If I am doing at least three mindfulness practices a day (breathwork technique that can shift your mood in 3 minutes), I guarantee I am getting shit done. I’ll have an off day here and there, like any human, but this ‘week plus depression’ hasn’t reared its ugly head in years. It’s a good reminder that our work is never done. Self-care needs to happen on a daily basis to be the best version of ourselves. From this nurturing place, we cultivate the energy to help others, free of resentment and expectations.

Happy to say I’m feeling slightly better now that I have my period and I’m sharing my feelings with you all. Sorry for the missed newsletters; I hope this makes sense to someone!

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