Suicide: It’s Time to Talk

Hello people who still read this blog, I’m still shocked to hear that people do. I hope your winters have been okay and the dark evenings haven’t been too much. I’m still at drama school doing my module on the Maids and next week will finish for reading week. Sadly it’s not much time off for such a massive amount of time in class but I’ll have to make it work. I’m going to say for this that there is a Trigger Warning for this post so please don’t continue if talking about suicide upsets you.

I’ll be honest, my mental health has been on a pretty level low as of late. Whilst cutting down on beer instead I have been eating more and exercising less which has been a real downplay on my self esteem. Again with the winter months my desire to be lazy has been pretty strong, along with this the return of my suicidal thoughts has been a downer on everything. At age 13 I began to have these thoughts and didn’t realise that suicidal thoughts and obsessions weren’t ‘normal’ years later. Everyday I see posts about teens who have committed suicide and comments from teens saying they are going to commit suicide. In one day suicide of teens was mentioned five times just from Facebook which is concerning.

Living with suicidal thoughts in the back of my mind isn’t easy, and yet here I am. For me the breaking down of the irrational thoughts has kept me alive and the genuine consequences of that action to the point of tears. Here is a general list of things I remember to help me through, whilst they may seem dark they may help save a life:

1: Thinking of my parents having to plan my funeral, never getting to see me graduate or fulfil my dreams

2: My friends having to attend that funeral and look back on the times we had, knowing there will never be anymore

3: My boyfriend and how much it would hurt him

4: My dog never understanding why I never came home

5: Never getting to see my younger family members grow up

6: Leaving behind the things I wanted to do with my life

Thinking of this stuff brings me to tears, and makes me realise how much I have to live for, because there always is. If you are feeling suicidal please remember you are loved and reach out to someone or call 116 123 for the Samaritans who run 24 hours a day. Suicide is an epidemic for young people, but we can do this.

You are loved,

Gabby

It’s photos like this that make me smile with so many memories ❤️

Believing the Delusion

Hello again, I’ve had a bit of a longer break as I have just finished my Devising module which was 12 hour days Monday to Friday (am still exhausted!). Today we were supposed to start our new module but unfortunately a lot of our tutors are unwell so hopefully we start tomorrow.

Whilst the 12 hour process was exhausting, it was also very fun! I really loved my group and our dynamic and was really proud of our devised piece. Whilst there were some lows, they mainly erupted last weekend. I’m always one to turn something good into something bad, the happiness I retain is quickly overtaken by ‘Your happiness is not worth what you have done, you should be disappointed.’ I am a perfectionist in a perfection less job and it’s exhausting.

During Devising I was so distracted I didn’t realise how deluded I was becoming. My bad thoughts had slowly taken over to the point I 100% believed I was worthless and a waste of space, so much that I wasn’t even sad about it, it was just ‘true’. That’s a dangerous place to be. The thing that saved me was reaching out and not letting it continue. An outside perspective can help rationalise those thoughts and get you back to reality (as said by Eminem).

Whilst it seems my whole time here has been filled with rises and pitfalls, I have no intention on giving in. My mind may never be ‘healed’ but I will never let it stop me from doing what I love.

Sleep well

Gabby

Picture of how we decorated the stage, hundreds of bags not including our plastic bag hand puppets.

Pushing Yourself Above and Beyond

Hello all, hope you are having a good start to your week. As this is being published, I am most likely still in my college completing my 12 hour Devising day and getting ready to go into my pyjamas and pass out. From Monday to Friday last week, my group and I have been exploring devising with games from 9am-9pm, something which I never thought I would be capable of and yet here I am, still on the course and not expelled for laziness.

My mental limits have always been an issue for me, the ‘Can’t do’ and ‘No way in hell’ statements still ring in my ears to this day. As a child it was the same with athletics championships where my worst enemy was myself. If anything causes me more than mild discomfort, the doubting side of me starts talking and the work becomes harder. Yet here I am, alive and well after five days of hard work and games. Nothing is harder than having a loud doubting voice and it’s hard to shake.

One key thing for me was knowing when to break to keep sane, letting yourself have some time and rewarding the self. For an introvert, hours with people is extremely draining so I have allowed myself to drink some coffees to keep me going. Additionally talking to my group members has raised my confidence, so being open about my mind and state helps pick me up and get me working. Knowing the final limit is so important, but most limits we face are false, much like hurdles in a race, and soon I won’t have as many hurdles.

See you on the other side

Gabby

An example of a bag outfit we completed last week, so many bags in our piece.

The Imposter Syndrome: An Actor’s Guide

Hello all I have returned!!! This week has been packed with classes, rehearsals and shows and I can successfully say I have completed my first semester of drama school! I am so proud of myself for making it through these past few weeks and am ready for some lie ins and relaxing.

I’ve been wanting to write about this issue for months now but I never has a word to describe the feeling. Then a few weeks ago and actor I knew posted a video about ‘The Imposter Syndrome’ and it all made sense. The imposter syndrome is when a person is successful but has doubts about their accomplishments/fears they will be exposed as a fraud. I’m sure most people may have experienced this at some point and wanted to talk about it and how it relates to theatre.

Through actor’s lives, we are told ‘getting into drama school is soooo hard and you’ll probably get rejected.’ This is what I was told hundreds of times, yet still decided to go for a few. After a few rejections, I thought it was over until my last who accepted me. My joy was so explosive I couldn’t speak, it wasn’t long however until I doubted it. ‘What if they made a mistake? It could be an admin error. Their acceptance rate must be so high to accept someone like me.’ This was so irritating, it felt like I was an imposter to the school, that I didn’t belong to this group of talented ex-National Theatre and Fringe performers.

(https://www.executiveforum.com/leaders-defeat-imposter-syndrome/)

The excuses continued even to the point of only recently. It got to the point where the tutors had to literally tell everyone ‘you belong here’ and have one of them tell me ‘we aren’t going to kick you out.’ It was so irrational yet so rational in my mind that it got in the way of the enjoyment of it. One famous person who suffered the imposter syndrome was Albert Einstein, a man internationally recognised for his intelligence and yet believed he was fraudulent.

I’m not trying to be ungrateful for my place, I love where I am, but if something good happens in your life then let it happen. Yes sometimes schools are hard to get into and grades hard to achieve, but people get in and people get the grades. Why can’t that one person one day be you?

Have a good Christmas break! (Apologies to those who don’t have them)

Gabby

Gonna miss this new tapestry I got, makes my room feel less blank.

The ‘Death’ Word

Today I’m going to be talking about something a little bit different. Something that really needs to be talked about more, and that’s coming to terms with death. I’m full of laughs sometimes but this is more serious.

The thought came to me as I was laying on the floor in movement class in an almost meditative state. As we moved across the space, my mind began to feel more and more preoccupied. I began to think of all the changes that would happen whilst at drama school and the people back home. Then I thought of my aunt.

You see, my aunt was diagnosed last year with a malignant brain tumour. Hearing that news was truly breaking, the thought of losing someone so amazing so young was incomprehensible. I remember sitting in the car basically feeling nothing and later crying it out alone.

Coming to terms with it has not been easy, but when given a time of a year and a half you don’t have time to mourn. That comes after. Death is scary, it used to keep me up at night with anxiety and the fear of the unknown, but death’s certain. We fear the loss and the after, and forget the now. My aunt is still alive and beautiful, exploring the world and living life, and after she is gone her daughters will have so much to remember her by.

You have every right to be distraught over the loss of a loved one, but know you aren’t alone and that they’ll always be alive in your memory.

Take care everyone,

Gabby

For life and death are one, even as the river and the sea are one. – Khalil Gibran

Having An Off Day

I never intended this to become a daily blog, and on some days I may not update for days at a time. Today I wasn’t going to update because I didn’t want to show the more negative side of me, but then this blog wouldn’t be honest and I really want honesty.

Sometimes we have off days, where nothing has provoked us but the world seems dim. Yesterday I had a great talk with my boyfriend and yet I still felt bad waking up. Sometimes depression just takes your whole day and makes everything seem dismal and dark. My main concern has been my lack of close friends here, my mind has made this image that everyone here except me has best friends that always hang out. It’s the most isolating feeling, one that is hard to get out of right now.

To try and help, I went for a walk in the park and sat down just taking in the views. Walking by myself has the effect of getting my feelings out, even if it means returning to my room to have a cry in the bathroom (absolute peak of a day). But it worked, I feel less lonely than before. I still don’t feel great but I don’t expect that. Having depression means that you have those days where everything seems wrong, and having any lift in mood for me is a success.

In the end the main person who is going to make you feel better is yourself, you have to want to get better to be better, look after yourself and accept the feelings you have. Feeling sad is pure sh*t, but don’t beat yourself up. Know that your feelings are not forever and tell someone that you aren’t feeling too great. Having a good support network is key, especially any of those interested in the theatre path. For now I might play some music and read, maybe speak to a living person, whatever feels right for me.

Sorry if this was not helpful, but this is me at my most vulnerable without a façade and I’m no longer afraid to hide it from people.

Keep yourselves safe,

Gabby

Picture of Rose Bruford from the Park, looks so secretive from here.

Holding Yourself Back

This is the proper weekend of the course, my calves feel as if they are on fire and my back is solid. Yesterday’s workshop really took it’s toll on, me not only physically but mentally. An ETA graduate called Andrew came in for the 3 hour workshop and the first thing he did was get changed in front of all of us which was surprising to say the least. What followed was three hours of intense games, running and breaking down each person’s monologue through getting them to shout angrily until they felt something. The feeling of being pushed like in the room was hard to manage at first, being so exposed in a group of 20 was daunting.

There were moments I thought about just stopping, where I had reached a limit I couldn’t pass, but when I stopped thinking about stopping, it didn’t become a problem. Andrew made a comment to me saying ‘You really continued even though you showed signs of pain, but right at the end you should of held your ground, you quit.’ If he said that out of the studio my anxious mind would not be able to handle that, but there I just nodded my head, He was right, I tried really hard but in the end I did give in. And there is nothing wrong with that. Quitting or failing does not mean you have given up, it means you’re human. It only means giving up if you don’t stand up again and try.

That workshop made me determined, it changed my thinking of failure and testing the limits. I was physically broken at the end, but ready again for another one. My anxiety always made me afraid of failing, already that fear is being contested. One thing that won’t change is having some quality me time and my lean towards the more macabre. Already my room is becoming decorated in some excellent pound land Halloween stock, now this room is starting to feel like home. I still await my tree tapestry (real student feels) but if anyone would like to donate some old hippie tapestries, my wall is still very bare.

As I write to you, the close sounds of heavy bass play echo from my flat (creative lighting students and their tech) . Tonight may be a good one.

Stay hydrated ya’ll,

Gabby

“Once you enter into the performance state you can push your body to do things you absolutely could never normally do.”  – Marina Abramović

Enlight151[1297].JPGHaven’t named this skull yet, what should be the name? Also wish I could use real candles in this room 😦