Acting : Actors and Depression by Talia Price

Talia Price

Actors and Depression

I wonder if actors are prone to suffer from depression more than other artists. What do you think? I am an actor and I suffer from depression but I sometimes wonder if it is because I have become more sensitive to my surroundings due to being an actor. Has anyone ever experienced this?

Dawn Ford

Actors are incredibly sensitive people. That's our work. To be tuned into energy of characters, situations and the life that revolves around a role. Sometimes, I can pick up on the energy of a role more than my own energy and I need to check in on it from time to time. If I"m feeling down or tired or sad or happy, I ask "who does this belong to" it may not be mine. I may never know who it belongs to, I don't need to know. I just ask the question and then if it lightens up I know it's not mine. Just by asking the question. I find this helps me so much. Then I say "return to sender with awareness". So whoever sent it out can transform it if they become aware. This is from some training I did with Access Consciousness. It helps me as an artist and as a person. At the same time, if you feel that depression has become to hard to manage then perhaps it's good to seek professional advice. Overall I feel it's a gift to be in a career that requires constant reflection in the moment, on stage or off. All the best to you, Talya

Stacy Pederson

Hi, Talya. I've had bouts as an actor an artist in general with depression. Learning about Myers Briggs personalities has helped me a out in understanding myself and why I do and feel what I do. There's a lot of sites online that explain what they are. In general, I've come to believe we as actors and artists see the world different. We tend to feel things stronger, analyze the world deeper, and question things a lot of people never think to question. This makes great art-but also makes for a lousy day to day, task accomplishing, everything is peachy kind of life. Our lives are also unstable financially and emotionally going from gig to gig, dealing with lack of work or rejection, second guessing ourselves, and an art form that requires constant growth-EXHAUSTING. I've found that when I'm depressed I'm either burnt out or lost hope in some way. If I get up and get outside and see the world living, it always makes me feel better. I second Dawn's advice about going to a counselor if needed. I've done it once in a while and it gave me a boost.

Terry Hayman

I'd actually agree with Alle in that I haven't seen any empirical studies that show actors are more susceptible to clinical depression than any other group. Lower suicide risk than physician, dentists, lawyers, lathe operators, electricians, and many other professions. (Google it.) But general depression? Yes, they're considered a higher risk group. Not because of sensitivity, though. It's because actors and other artists tend to suffer from more social isolation than most workers in the general population. (Not to mention frequent rejection and job insecurity.) So networking like you're doing now, Talya, and meeting regularly with people who care about you, are two of the best things you can do to fight depression. I also find it helpful to get involved in things that require you to take regular action on them, whatever they might be. It fights the feelings of helplessness that can bedevil actors at all levels of the profession.

Talia Price

Alle, a mute point and doesn't warrant discussion? Wow I find your comment very jaded. I myself am very sensitive to my environment, most artists are. I have no idea what you do for a living but if you are not affected by your surroundings then I would love to know what world you are living in. Sometimes medication does help. I wanted an open discussion about actors and depression because I believe that it is a very serious issue. I have always wondered about this, especially after what happened to Robin Williams.

Kevin Golding

Hi Talya, just a thought, speaking from a personal view point.As an older actor, having been in the biz for a long time.I think we have certain expectations of ourselves in this profession and how we hope to progress (whatever that means for the individual) and I guess if we don't meet them, doubt, lack of confidence and maybe some kind of fear may set in then depression may come into it . I've been through that and still do at times, counselling would certainly be an option of help and knowing that you're I'm not alone in feeling that way .I was speaking to a friend of mine yesterday about this subject, it is most certainly a matter that needs discussing.

Kevin Golding

Yes Jeremy, you right of course.

Cindy Myskiw

I have suffered from Depression for more than half my life. But I also think it helps make me a better and stronger Actor because I can tap into my real feelings quickly to make everything around me more real. Just ask Randall Wallace from when we filmed 'Heaven Is For Real'.

William Joseph Hill

Not sure if there's a correlation between actors & depression. It is a serious medical issue whether or not it is caused by a chemical imbalance, or psychological cause. Mental health should be treated the same as physical health and not stigmatized. Things are getting better, but anyone who suffers from depression should definitely seek professional help.

Aaron Krygier

One step at a time, but counseling has helped me cope with a similar thought process. Everyone is different, but regardless of who you are, seeking help is best. I would say that in my experience personally, and with those around me, that artists in general are more prone. Being open and raw is certainly a trigger.

Talia Price

Thank you for all the comments. I have been suffering from depression, it has become more intense now for me than it ever before. I have been seeing a therapist and have been working through my problems head on. Because I am an actor I have found that I am more in tune to what is around me. And I think that with the craziness with this profession I have found myself going a bit "crazy", because there is so much uncertainty with this job, and my main goal is to succeed in the business. I do know believe there is a right way nor a wrong way to dealing with depression. I just wanted people's opinion about it, because I have not been able to talk to anyone about besides my therapist. Again thank you for all the comments.

Suzanne Bronson

Tayla, I too have struggled with depression and mania most of my life. I was diagnosed with BPD 15 years ago, although I reject that diagnosis now. I do believe depression is a chemical imbalance in our brain, but also a lot of the time it is based on our circumstances. Our struggle to survive. Yes, I have seen many studies with a correlation between the artistic temperament and mental illness. I do believe you can overcome depression by learning the right coping skills. Perhaps medication on temporary basis even. I haven't been on meds for over a year, but I have changed my circumstances and my thoughts, my energy my life and now I feel on top of the world. To answer your question, Tayla about whether there is a connection between the artistic temperament and mental illness you may find this book fascinating:

Angel Matheson

I suffered severe depression from about 18 until about 3 years ago. When I started to look to God to push out the demons the depression melted away. I didn't start acting until 3 years ago. I think depression is about where you are in life. How you see the world. How much pressure you put on yourself. If you don't succeed to your standards regardless of what line of work you can become depressed. Sounds simplistic but it was when I changed my out look on that and turning to God that my depressions left. I didn't take responsibility for my own happiness. It was always when this happens ..... Ithen. You can always be waiting for that. I chose happiness even when life was painful. Taiya if you walk toward your dream but let God do the work you will have your dream but it may be in God's time and way. Just go with the flow of life and expect the unexpected. If you are a sensitive soul you will take other people's stuff on. You don't have to. It's not yours to take on. It took years of therapy but then one day that specific comment resonated so much that it all seemed so simple. maybe I was just ready to move on.

Madeleine Claude

Talya, I just want to thank you for your courage of putting yourself on the forefront and not being shy or ashamed about what you're going through to engage with others and start a very valid and important discussion, because as we see many are going through similar situation as yours. So thank you for your honesty and courage!! We are in a challenging business on many levels, but we are not alone in this, we just have to, like you did so well, reach out to our peers!! :-)

Tatom Pender

We feel things on a deeper level than those with a more logic oriented mind. I agree artists in general struggle more with extreme lows & extreme highs. Thanks for bringing light to something most would dismiss.

John P. Grace

Talya, I well know the 'black dog" of depression, as Churchill called it, but I wanted to let you know that after over 40 years of trying to cope with it, sure I could find a solution on my own, I finally sought help. I was willing to try a combination of cognitive therapy and medication, but the medication alone was the answer, and miraculously I've been depression free for two years. It was obviously a chemical issue for me, and I know for others it's not that simple, but bottom line...don't be afraid to seek professional help. Wishing you the very best of luck....

Lee Taylor

Hi, everyone, just seen this post on here so wanted to say something. I used to have depression big time but now I just go inside my stories to feel better. I am a writer, but even though most of my stories are based in the horror world I find it more comfortable living there than in the real world. I am in control. I've just spent the past 2 months living inside my own vampire story and I feel great. Don't know if it's the same for other writers though. I feel less depressed now I write than before.... Lee

AbhiManyu Dixit

Its not exclusive to actors. But, I am depressed amateur actor though. For me, I thought my initial bouts were because I felt like I did not belong to any group, or organization, I was jobless, and was calling myself a freelance film maker. thought work would solve it, it didn't. But found similar depressed people around film community, there are more depressed producers than actors around me, Talked to them, talking helped a bit, talking where we let go of, "Being Me and Mine". hope that made some sense.

Richard Torres

I totally understand where you are coming from. I just recently felt like I was depressed. I dont want to say that all actors go through this but I do agree that we do go through "mood swings". I think it is all from just trying to work the industry. It is very tough and sometimes long periods of no work and tons of rejections. While there are sometimes days that you are busy on so many projects. As some of you have mentioned yes i think it is the highs and lows messing with our emotions. I'm not diagnosed with depression at all but I do feel like i get to that point at times. I think having this group at Stage32 to keep us moving is a great thing to have. Its like a family helping each other just move forward.

Angel Matheson

Richard, much success with your work. We all need our outlets. I found finding a spiritual outlet truly helped. If you like to live your life working alone then accept that. Don't judge it. We judge ourselves based on what we think society thinks we should be doing. Nothing is set in stone. Accepting that it is all okay is the beginning of a life without depression.

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