Let’s Talk: Depression in Show Business
As someone who works in most aspects of the field of show business, depression can cause some problems. Like it or not, a big part of the industry is not looking like you did anything you possibly could to avoid your feelings, so you stress-ate an entire family-size bag of Smartfood in one sitting and cried watching The Secret Life of Pets. It’s just starting to become a thing for celebrities to be “so brave” to discuss their mental illness. We’ve set this expectation that someone with depression is automatically going to kill themselves at any second. Innate fear and borderline sympathy kicks in. Why?
There is not a cure, but that doesn’t make depression a death sentence. We treat depression like it’s this curse from a witch and if we go on a quest to find Cinderella’s slipper and Little Red Riding Hood’s cape (cough, Into the Woods, cough) then we can finally live happily ever after.
“I’m a worry to my friends.” I cannot emphasize this enough; if your friends treat you differently because of your depression, they are not your friends.
You want to work in a field where you have the potential to be in the public eye and you’re embarrassed that someone might treat you differently? You have a chemical imbalance in your brain and you got out of bed this morning, matched your shoes together and got to work on time. The guy who “judged” you is wearing underwear from the bottom of his hamper and showed up 20 minutes late because he had to post to Instagram about his #fitfamlife.
For me, I can have weeks of living like an American Ninja Warrior champion – then I spend three days in bed in a bathrobe while binge-watching The Great British Bake Off and not responding to any texts. It blows by. (Someone please explain to me how that woman’s parents didn’t think with a name like Mary Berry that she’d be a professional baker?)
To me, three days of isolation can feel like maybe half of one evening. Before I know it, I’ll look at a text I received on a Friday and it’s Tuesday afternoon and it’s only just clicking with me that I never responded.
Sometimes when I see my peers from acting school getting better gigs than me I internally combust.
Their parents pay all their bills and they get the lead in a new up and coming smash-hit musical; I work to death doing a series of odd jobs to scrape by until audition time. Life isn’t fair but it’s what you make of it. All new hit musicals come to an end (eh, unless they’re Phantom), and new ones will come. The backbreaking work we do to support our passions will make for one hell of a memoir. Our industry is to tell stories and impact people with them. We’re not alone. Take the lock off the front cover, what will your chapters say?
Also by Katie Veneziano: