Read Being Lost pt 1 here)
When I quit screenwriting, I was asked by a number of people (including my therapist) "What's your dream?"
I couldn't answer because my dream up to that point had always been to win an Oscar or a BAFTA or work with Kenneth Brannagh. Suddenly, that dream felt like somebody else's, not mine.
I couldn't even answer the question "What does your perfect day look like?" because all feelings of enjoyment seemed alien to me.
That lost feeling is a common side effect of depression; in my opinion, the worst part of the illness.
Depression is a thief, robbing a person of their sense of self. In my most recent encounter, I became so far removed from my life that I didn't recognise myself.
I did, however, recognise that restoring my enjoyment of life was of the utmost importance if I was to survive.
In the book, he expresses his experience of depression so clearly and profoundly. I urge anyone who is struggling with this illness - or knows someone who is - to grab a copy pronto. One of my favourite passages is where he makes a list of all the things he enjoyed since the time he thought he'd never enjoy anything again.
It's a simple, yet wonderful list. I could see that being conscious of those [often] fleeting moments of happiness shines a spotlight on them and retrains the brain to acknowledge pleasure rather than focus on negativity.
Desperate to reacquaint myself with "happy", I wrote my own list.
I can remember the VERY FIRST thing I enjoyed since I thought I'd never enjoy anything again... It was a cappuccino, a REALLY good one. In fact, most of the things on my list are food related...
With the list gradually growing, I began to answer the question "What does your perfect day look like?" You'll be relieved to know, I discovered that, besides sugary snacks and spending money, I also enjoyed some healthier things, like meditating, painting and going for a run-walk (ahem). I fill my days with as much outdoor activity and creating as possible.
That "dream" question still haunts me, however. Especially as I embark on a new business venture and career.
"Where do you see your business in five years?", "What's your ten year plan?" my business teachers are asking. I'm sure they are relevant and important questions, but frankly, I'm barely able to see the next few days.
It's disconcerting, I won't pretend otherwise, as I've always been a planner and a keen supporter of knowing where I'm going. My husband and I took a holiday to Ireland one summer and had the romantic notion that we'd just drive, see where the day would take us and stop at any B&B we liked. In reality, however, we spent much of the early mornings scouring the internet for available hotel rooms because neither of us could stand the uncertainty.
I am living the same nervous uncertainty now.
During one of my daily walks a couple of days ago, I listened to a podcast where artist Elle Luna spoke about her dream of "The White Room" (watch Elle tell the story in the video below. It's a belter!)
Elle took a leap of faith with her art, not knowing where it was going, just trusting that it was something she HAD to do.
What struck me most about hearing her story was that maybe it's okay not to know where I'm heading, not to have a plan. Maybe it's enough - for now at least - to simply know that this is my "must".
So, my business plan boils down to this:
It's a good start.