I recently went on a honeymoon by myself. Yes, you read that right. You see, when I got married my ex-husband and I didn’t have a honeymoon. We were too busy with our careers to take time away to celebrate this major commitment we just made to each other. When all the shit went down, aka a heart-wrenching divorce, I decided to escape my regular life and take a trip to Bali. Yes, it’s pilot season; yes, I have some incredible momentum going in my career, but I just couldn’t stand being in LA for another day. I packed up, drove cross country so my parents could take care of my dog and escaped to the most beautiful paradise I have ever seen. Flowers adorn the streets, beer is cheap, delectable fruits even cheaper, and the people are just oozing with kindness and excitement to show you their amazing country.
By this point you might be thinking, shut up lady, I don’t want to hear about your vacation, but that’s not what this article is about. It’s about depression, divorce, and giving up the business. You see, the depression didn’t just magically disappear when I got to Bali. In fact, in some ways, it got worse. This article is about owning that depression and finding myself again. It is about wading through shit to get to where I am (still wading through shit, but with tools to help me deal). I don’t think we talk enough about depression and anxiety. I’m not talking about clinical depression or depression caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain. I am talking about depression that hits us all when things go sideways. The depression that seems taboo to talk about, because we are blessed enough to be successful and privileged and lucky enough to only have #firstworldproblems. The depression that we leave off social media, because we want to portray our lives as successful and fun.
You see, when our relationship ended it hit me like a load of bricks. I wanted to quit the business despite everyone telling me not to. I felt like I had no purpose in life and while I wasn’t exactly suicidal, I finally understood what people meant when they talked about giving up on themselves. Successful people. People with Oscars. People with planes and islands and mansions. No matter what level you’re at, if your mind isn’t right, if you don’t have a desire to succeed, there is nothing that can convince you otherwise. Losing my husband meant losing myself. He was my biggest fan, the person I was doing this whole career for. He was my past and future, and without him by my side, I had no desire to succeed anymore. I thought that I had that part of my life figured out. The relationship part. The till death do us part, part. When I was married, I was able to focus on my career with my entire being, because I thought that part of my life was set. So, what now?
My first few days in Bali were magnificent. I love traveling and exploring new cultures, so the excitement of someplace new was intoxicating and distracting and then the shit settled again. Despite being surrounded by beautiful beaches, fresh coconuts, and did I mention the cheap beer, I felt once again, quite alone, sad, and depressed. The type of depression we all have but are afraid to talk about. I talked to a friend about how I felt like I was drifting without anything to hold on to now that this relationship was shattered, and she said quite simply, “sounds like you need to build a relationship with yourself.” Smart girl, huh?
Building a relationship with yourself is no easy task, but I was lucky enough to be in a place built for just that. This is a country that is often considered the center of spiritual enlightenment and it is easy to see why. Everywhere you turn there are yoga centers, delicious and cheap naturally organic food, courses on meditation and mindfulness, and the Balinese people who embody a spiritual aura in the way they thank Mother Earth every day by leaving beautifully handmade offerings in their homes, on the streets, and in their places of business. Practicing gratitude and self-love became an easy part of life when I could exercise when I wanted, draw when I wanted, swim in the ocean when I wanted. Very slowly, amidst this peace, I begin to desire the craziness of LA and this industry again. I began to feel the desire to tell stories and create characters again. My desire to succeed has slowly seeped back into my heart and my bloodstream once more.
I left the US feeling broken, beaten down, and unable to believe I would ever feel loved or successful ever again, and although my problems will still be there when I return, I feel like I am returning to LA with a bag of tools to help myself through the hardships sure to come my way. Now, whenever I start to feel overwhelmed, depressed, and uninspired, I will lean back on the things I learned here: my love/hate relationship with meditation, the beauty of nature, my need for daily exercise, and my rekindled love of drawing. I also learned through numerous conversations with friends, that this depression is just part of daily life, and only by greeting it, sitting with it, and utilizing those tools, can we understand it and live with it. I learned in that I lost myself in my marriage because I would do anything to make my husband happy and put his happiness and success above my own. Most importantly, I learned that I want this career for myself. This time when I return to LA, I will live this career for me. No one else. I will leave you with words from the great Deepak Chopra, “You must find the place inside yourself, where nothing is impossible.”