During the Updating Gap I performed in a radio show in the park, something I’ve done for the past few summers through Flatlands Theatre Co. A free, half-ish-hour show is put on each Monday in summer through the park, performing old programs like Burns & Allen, Flash Gordon, and mysteries like Sam Spade. Initially, I hadn’t intended to do any of them, because the audition calls came during a time when I was feeling kinda low and I felt no interest in putting forth the energy. So I stayed home.
But the sweet thing about local amateur theatre is the connections and sense of community, so not long after auditions closed I got emails from two of the summer show directors saying they’d thought of me specifically for a part. They and some of the other cast members are Flatlands lifers who I’ve had fun with on various shows in the past, and although I was still feeling low I felt quite encouraged to be thought of like that. Their practice times worked with my schedule, but my impulse when feeling low is to cocoon up and try to “conserve energy” until this thing blows over.
But this time I finally realized that my previous low times have all been mitigated by spending energy to continue socializing with friends, or taking part in group activities. The practices and the show turned out to be a lot of fun, and I don’t regret taking them on.
Then last week, on a bad evening emotionally, I made an effort to reach out and talk on the phone with my brother Corey while playing Warframe. Again, it seemed illogical — I barely feel like looking another person in the eye, why would I go out of my way to be social — but it was a big help, and Corey’s somebody (it turns out) who understands mental health struggles and was eager to hear how I was doing.
I’ve recently gone back and restarted The Mindful Way Through Depression which confirmed, after all this, that part of the spiral of depression is that “shutting down” impulse, the narrowing of one’s focus and life activities in order to try and protect oneself and “get sorted out” before facing the world again. But many times that impulse is exactly the wrong one. What’s weird to me is that I must have read those words in the past but they just didn’t land, the way they have done now.
Guess I’m growing and learning a little. Guess I still have further to go.
Thing I Saw: Captain Marvel, which was lots of fun and better IMO than the Ant-Man sequel. Still haven’t seen Endgame. Maybe I never will, just to be a freak who’s seen the entire MCU except Endgame.
Thing I Learned: Lots about the choices that went into Atlas: Nine by Sleeping At Last, a wonderful musician who has been writing songs about each of the Enneagram types. I happen to be a 9, and this song kinda wrecked me emotionally when I listened to it. Then the podcast and deep dive on the 9-type wrecked me again, but a little less. I hated it! A recommended experience! Go check out the song and podcast, and ones about the other types.