Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Year of the Existential Crisis

More than any other period of my life, this year has been about me asking the big questions and searching for their answers.

If we roll back to the beginning of the year (literally) I'm on the roof of a Leicester Square cinema, watching a firework display. I'm a manager in a multiplex cinema business, and I want out. However I feel a little trapped, and unsure how to go about that resignation. Luckily, I'm not alone on that roof. There's some staff there, and my then-girlfriend too.

Fast forward a month, and every shift in that job feels like torture. It probably isn't all that bad, but I don't want to be there, and can see a whole world of possibilities waiting for me once I leave it. Eventually, I decide: Enough is enough. I wake up one morning (a day different to no other) and decide it's time to take action. Before I do, me and the girlfriend go to Trafalgar Square, and sit on the base of Nelson's Column to discuss what happens if/when I resign:

Should I do it?

When do I do it?

What happens from a money P.O.V.?

Will you support me?

Can we, as a couple, make it through this?

It's decided that yes, I will resign and I do so roughly a week later.

Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy. If only I'd known at the time what crisis of self I was causing!!

At first the changes were small. I fly over to Budapest, and meet the girlfriend's family and friends. In my mind, this is what I'm thinking right then: The most established thing in my mind, the thing I know and understand better than anything else is that cinema. Soon, that won't be the case. Soon, this woman I love will be the centre point of it all. It's fun coming to know and understand everything about her world.

It's a great week, and probably the pinnacle of our entire relationship. On the plane ride back home, the dynamic of the relationship changes when I ask her to move in with me, once I leave my current room. She agrees! Suddenly we shift to a more grown-up relationship. With her, it feels like a natural fit, and I'm over the moon.

But what I don't realise is happening is she's secretly panicking. Our communications slows down because of it, and it causes both of us an immense amount of stress. Looking back, I think I was really worried and stressed about this already. I knew trying to break into TV and film would be hard, and kept telling myself that this was the most important thing in the world, but it would (probably) also be my one and only attempt to do so. Thinking that probably wasn't healthy.

I started applying for new roles, but my CV wasn't great. I found it difficult to find roles I was qualifies for, and those I were rejected me out right. By this point, I feel a little worthless if I'm honest. This was multiplied significantly after I left the cinema, and I had no job or routine to keep me afloat. It felt like I was drifting, no good to anybody. A man is a shadow of his ego: so what of me, and my very little accomplishes?

Well, there was the Fellow project. That kept me happy for a few weeks. But it would never last forever - and I knew that. Once filming ended, I went back to that emptiness. To add insult to injury, I was away from my girlfriend, and things weren't going great. I really struggle to put across in words just how much this particular person meant to me, and my life. The break-up we slowly went through over summer was probably one of the hardest things I've ever had to endure. Having to accept that nagging feeling that the woman who you saw as perfect for you had let you down, or you had let her down, and now the romance couldn't survive. I'm a man of logic, and not emotion. If I'm honest I don't understand that. Why can't romance continue, if both people work at it? The girlfriend saw it differently... more emotionally... in that, once the romance is gone, it's gone. She clashed with my logic, of soldering on and trying to fix things.

So now it's the height of summer and I have no job, girlfriend or place to live. My job applications slow - partially because I'm depressed, and just can't be bothered doing anything, but also because I think "what's the point?".

What's the point, when nobody in TV/Film wants me?

What's the point, without her?

What's the point, because I'm talentless?

As I sunk further and further down into that pit of self-loathing, and constant questioning of existence, I'm still messaging the now ex-gf. I even mess that up!

I've never truly been depressed before. Once I saw a video about a black dog. I'm not sure it was quite like that for me, but this summer I was severely depressed. I did feel imprisoned, with nowhere to turn. When I messaged friends, they were always busy. If I messaged the ex, I just ended the conversation feeling more rejected than every before. It meant I couldn't see a way out of my depression. Worse still, I wasn't bothered to look for one.

This was probably the lowest point in my entire life.

I don't know what happened to change that. One day, things were just a little brighter... then brighter... then OK. I worked Raindance, and then LFF. I got the job at Forbidden Planet. Yes, there's still issues with the ex - but eventually I will move on, and meet somebody else. I don't have the career that I left Vue chasing (yet) - but I'm still ambitious, and doing other stuff with my life.

For an existential crisis to be over, I think you need to know where you're going, and I think I do:

I want to have a job that I enjoy doing, and then find another job higher up the food chain. Hopefully this involves TV or Film production - we'll see.

I want to meet the girl of my dreams, and she doesn't break my heart! Eventually I want kids, and to be a family, and do all the stuff they're meant to do.

I want to be happy, doing the things I enjoy - which is watching cinema, Doctor Who, writing and being around friends and family.

That's it, really - and it took me all summer to rediscover it!
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