Los Angeles Triggers My Eating Disorder, and It Sucks So Hard

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I got back to LA a little more than three weeks ago. I was so excited to be home! I have loved this city since the minute my plane landed at LAX the very first time. I love the ocean, the palm trees, the people, the nightlife, the history, the mountains, and god I love the film and television industry.

I love being an actor. I love it so much. I love making movies and TV shows. I love booking the role, being on set, promoting the film. I love meeting other creative people on the job. I love telling stories, stepping into another person’s shoes. I love making people laugh, or making them think, or giving them a break from thinking too hard. I love doing 20 takes and discovering something new on the 21st. I love knowing I’m in the same union as Meryl Streep and George Clooney. I love this business with all my heart.

I’ve been acting for 25 years. I’ve never wanted to do or be anything else. I knew when I was 7 years old I wanted to do this for a living. My career is what drives me. My dreams gave me the strength to survive a rocky childhood, to get out of my small town, to press on when I could barely see one speck of light at the end of a long, dark, scary tunnel. I owe my life to discovering a passion for performing. I really believe that.

So here I am, finally, back where all my dreams come true. Hollywood. A place my heart feels at home, where I truly belong. Where I’ve always been happiest and most alive.  Continue reading

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Great Podcast: Finding Comedy in Tragedy and Mental Illness

Marc Maron

I had to take a second to share this amazing podcast I just finished! As someone who has navigated depression (even back when it was called MMD), anxiety, and an eating disorder most of my life, I consider myself pretty well educated on the subject, if only by necessity. One topic I’m just starting to learn more about is Borderline Personality Disorder, also known as BPD.

If you’ve never listened to the “WTF with Marc Maron” podcast, it’s worth checking out even if you don’t care about this stuff. He interviews a diverse group of incredibly interesting people, and I always find myself laughing and learning a lot. It’s the kind of podcast where you start to drive home more slowly just to be sure you have time to finish it, stopping at yellow lights, that kind of thing.

Continue reading

Open Letter To My Husband, Who Lives With Both Me and My Depression

 

Dear S,

I should start by making two things clear. One- you are a wonderful, kind, supportive, loving man, and I hope to be married to you forever. I pinch myself when I think about how lucky I am to have found a husband like you. You set the bar very high in our relationship.

Two- I know you can’t possibly understand what it is to live with depression. I know that. You can learn about it, listen to me talk about it, read about it, study all you can. But you’ll never really know. You just can’t. You’ve come a long way when it comes to being sensitive and knowledgeable on the topic. (Remember when you used to say things like, “I understand, I felt depressed when I went through this or that”?) You simply can’t know because unless you experience it, you just won’t.

I could not be more thrilled about this, actually, because I wouldn’t wish these feelings on anyone, let alone the man I love most on this planet. My heart nearly bounces with joy knowing that you’ll never go through an episode like this. Yes, you will have times of pain, of grief, of heartache, of deep sadness. I can’t stop that. I wish I could, but that’s life.

However, I’m happy to know you won’t have to wake up some days and just want to die, even though you were perfectly happy the day before. You won’t sit down on the couch under the weight of a soul crushing sadness that leaks out through your tear ducts and literally not be able to rise up under the weight of it. You won’t lash out for no reason, after spending days feeling terrified of nothing at all, snapping because you can’t take that pain a minute longer.

You won’t lose days of your life without realizing the time has passed. You won’t know what it is to fall to the bottom of an emotional well and not even want to climb out because the light at the top doesn’t seem remotely worth it somehow. You won’t spend hours and days and weeks feeling worthless for no reason and wondering what the point of all of this is, anyway.

You won’t do that. You are as you should be, as I love seeing you. Full of life. Full of joy. You wake up each day ready to take it on. You’re a nonstop ball of energy, a source of light, an Accomplisher of All Things Necessary.  You’re an extrovert, a dad who plays on the floor with the kids, a husband who works sixty hours a week and still finds time to travel and do half the housework.

I’m in awe of you. Continue reading

A Good Cause & A Sad Fact

https://www.gofundme.com/bretts-treatment-fund

So, I don’t know the above people. I clicked on the link because a good Facebook friend shared it, and I usually find myself caring about causes dear to my friends’ hearts.

Normally I simply donate what I can, click to share on Twitter, and move on with my day.

Today, a line from this page hit me so hard, and I had to write about it for a minute.

This campaign is to help a woman struggling with depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder, who recently had a situation requiring serious hospitalization and needs help. Of course, she has to fight and beg and plead with her insurance to help cover the cost of this treatment, because health insurance has a long way to go in the treatment of mental illnesses. Which is a whole separate blog post in itself. (Sigh.)

But this is the line that stabbed me in the heart:

“Brett’s very nervous for a lot of reasons–not the least of all because depression can make you believe you don’t deserve help.” Continue reading

Can We Please Talk About Depression?

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Part of what makes The Crazy Actor- me- so “crazy” is that I’ve been dealing with depression my entire life.

When I was 21, I was officially diagnosed with MDD- Major Depressive Disorder, or simply, depression. It was an incredibly freeing moment for me, to put a label on these dark, terrible periods I had been experiencing since I could remember. I was already fairly certain I had it, as it runs in my family, and I had all the symptoms, but still. There is something about the world acknowledging it isn’t just YOU, it’s an actual disorder, that is quite a relief.

As a teenager, my depressed moods were tied up with fluctuating hormones and an incredibly chaotic home life. I was dealing with issues with my mother, I had 5 younger siblings to worry about, an alcoholic father, and was trying to somehow live a (relatively) normal teenage life. I threw myself into achieving- getting straight As, working multiple jobs, and always involved in a million things at school. I also distracted myself with dramatic relationships- I was totally “boy crazy.”

Since I didn’t stop to take care of myself at ALL, my depressed periods would become very dark. More than once I thought of suicide. I planned it out and wrote long goodbye letters. I felt that my pain would never end, and I really, desperately wanted it to. I felt alone, abandoned, miserable, misunderstood, stuck on the outside of things. I felt like a failure, like a fraud, like a burden. I felt terrified and lost. Completely without hope. Continue reading