Have a think about who your favourite Actress or Actor is, there are plenty to choose from and genuinely some really talented people. This year Gary Oldman won the academy award for best actor and Frances McDormand (sorry no idea who this is but she must be alright) won the award for best actress. The pinacle of their profession awarded for their portrayal of someone they are not.
Winning the awards does not mean they were the most financially successful though. My favourite actor, Robert Downey Jr made 81 million dollars in 2018 and he only came third on the list. Another one of my favourites Scarlett Johansson was the highest paid actress of 2018 with 40 million. (Completely deserved, well done Scarlett hope you enjoy the blog)
But even with the awards and huge amounts of money, can any of them truly be the best actor or actress in the world? They make their living pretending to be someone they are not, but how many other people do this every single day? And not to win awards or earn huge amounts of money. They do it because they couldn’t get through the day if they didn’t.
I know I have done this. Put on a mask to cover up what is going on and I’m willing to bet all 81 million of Robert’s dollars that lots of others have done the same. Playing a character will eventually take its toll on anyone, even if it’s a character of your own creation. The difference between a character in a film and a character in real life is that there is no director to yell cut.
In my opinion we create characters to protect ourselves or the ones we care about. “I have to be ok” or “I don’t have time to be unwell” are two statements that get used too often. I have used them myself and look where this eventually led me.
When I first began to suffer, I was prescribed my first lot of tablets. The first two weeks were a nightmare. I had insomnia, I was constantly on edge and I had a pretty embarrassing meltdown in Asda.
Once the tablets settled down I felt brilliant. More confident than ever, focused at work and on my studies. I have never felt more in control. After about six months the feelings started to creep back. I had taken on more work and was pushing a little harder than normal, so the GP increased my tablets. Within a week I was back on track. I kept adding to the work load and then three weeks ago it all collapsed on top of me.
The medication helped me to maintain the character I had created. A more focused and confident version of myself. This version was convinced I could deal with whatever life threw at me.
I wonder what characters everybody else is playing? Confident on the outside. A new Mum who secretly is struggling to adjust to their new responsibility. A Dad trying to manage their workload and family commitments to protect and provide for the ones they care for. Some will have to create characters because others don’t understand what they are going through, some will have to grow up before their time when parents have their own issues and the roles are reversed.
There are also some people that life seems to enjoy throwing shit at, and no matter how much of the brown stuff is thrown, in their way they keep going. They create characters to protect the ones they care for, but push themselves to their limits and beyond. Some of these people play the part so well that nobody can tell they have any issues. They are met with “you don’t look like you have anxiety” and they don’t, because believe it or not you don’t get issued with an anxiety cape after diagnosis, and because over time they have learnt to conceal their pain.
All the people above are the ones who truly deserve the awards for best actor or actress. They will not get red carpet treatment or enormous pay cheques. The reward for some may be just being able to get out of bed in the morning. That being said any of them would give Robert or Scarlett a run for their money.
This picture below is probably one of my favourites. Looking at it the image, it’s a father and daughter looking to the future. The reality was this was 90 minutes after the meltdown in Asda. My daughter may be looking to the future but I was sat there wondering what the f#@k was the matter with me.
On that day the award for best actor went to me. The goal now is not to be the character and to not push too hard.
Be honest to yourself, friends and family about how you feel. It may be difficult at first, but eventually, people will begin to understand.
Many thanks for taking the time to read my random thoughts and thank you to those of you who have messaged or commented regarding any of these posts. My list of wingmen keeps growing and all the positive messages really do help to get back on track.