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Holy Sh*t, This Guy Canceled Plans and Got Better!

I'm having a fucking hell of a year. A helluva fucking year filled with loss. So much loss. I fancy myself a mental health warrior. People come to me for advice, for help, for guidance. I cherish that. I do. I make it abundantly clear that I'm the guy that you can go to if you feel like you are in a bad place. Lord knows, I've been there.


Sometimes I need a break.


I'm going through a lot of life changes. My life was very different no less than four months ago. Hell, a week an a half ago it wasn't getting dark till 7pm. NOW APPARENTLY I LIVE IN FUCKING ALASKA.


This time of year is generally a fuckshow for me. The change in seasons, temperature, baseball ending, everything. It all fucks me up. Sunday is the only fool-proof day of the week, where I can vegetate and watch football. And while my New York Football Giants are having their best season in years, they only play 3 hours out of the day.


This past week, I've felt lost. Listless. Insignificant. Like absolutely nothing I do is anything of value. And before you contact me to tell me the contrary (which I am aware of), anyone who has struggled with their mental health can tell you that these thoughts and feelings are what they are. They're like herpes… flareups are permanent, but treatable (sorry for the image, but that's a fucking rock star metaphor ::pats own back::).


It doesn't help THAT IT GETS DARK AT 4:30PM NOW (you said that already, you redundant ass).


See how quickly my parenthetical inner monologue is turning on me?


On Tuesday, I had to send a package at the post office. I fucking hate the post office. I've been there like 10 times in my life. I avoid it at all costs. Every time I go in there, I feel stupid. Like, really, really stupid. I always get yelled at. I never pick the write paper to write on. I say things like, "I'm sorry." Like 500 times.


The post office is a place where I need to remind myself that I possess talent and intelligence in many other areas in my life. And that I am a good person. The post office somehow makes me feel like I am a bad person.


ANYWAY.


It's around 10:30am, and I have to teach my class at noon. I gave myself an entire hour cushion to get this done, in case I fart and accidentally burn the place down or something.


I get there, and it's empty. Nobody but the lone clerk. She looked mean. But there is no one else around to make me feel pressured and stupid, so that turned down the anxiety meter, ever so slightly.


I should point out - what I was there to do was not an enormous task. I just had to forward a small package somewhere else. That's it. I didn't have to weigh boxes or, god forbid, use packing tape or something.


So I approach this fucking window like some Shakespearean character who's about to plead his case to the King before he gets his head chopped off. The lady was back there, doing nothing. No phone or computer. She just sat there, looking terrifying.


Clerk- "HOW MAY I HELP YOU, YOU FUCKING NINCOMPOOP"


Me- "errrr, hi, bubbles, elephant."


Clerk- "YOU HAVE TO FUCK RIGHT OFF TO THAT TABLE AND FILL OUT THAT FORM BY PRICKING YOUR FINGER AND WRITING WITH YOUR BLOOD"


Me- "oh okay I need a diaper because I'm a stupid little pig infant thank you."


So I go to the desk and grab the first piece of paper I see. There's like five pens duct taped together, with a garden hose attached to the top. It's like writing with a fucking pipe bomb. I scribble down the address. With my tiny sausage fingers and anxiety-shaking hands, it looks like Homer Simpson's signature. I bring it to her.


CLERK- "THIS IS THE PRIORITY MAIL, YOU WRETCHED HEMORRHOID OF A HUMAN BEING. YOU DO NOT WANT THIS. I WILL CASTRATE YOU NOW."


So it turns out, I just had to write the address on the back of the package and she was going to take care of the rest. Why she just couldn't have me just tell her the address, I don't know. I don't think we're supposed to know these things.


I pay, remove my bloody testicle sack from her teeth, and head to work.


Now, here's where things get fun and interesting.


Remember that commute cushion I gave myself? Immediately erased by a delayed E train at Queensboro Plaza. I have a new student intake and a phone call to make. I also have to pick up my lunch and set up my classroom.


It is now 11:25am and I'm still in fucking Queens. Class starts at noon.


We finally get moving. At 59th and Lexington, a handsome man with two suitcases gets on and darts to the subway map. Tourist. LOL.


He stares at the map for a few moments, then frantically looks around for help. He asks an older woman, maybe in her sixties, if she speaks Spanish. She does.


Oh, great. He's handsome and also gets everything he wants.


They talk in Spanish for a few moments. She looks up at the stop tracker. She looks back at the map. Then, of fucking course, she turns to me.


Now, I don't know if I have a kind face. I've been told as much - yet this face is the one that always gets cast as bad cops, so I question the integrity of that. Maybe because I reek of native New Yorker. Maybe because I'm wearing a Knicks sweatshirt. But of all the people on the train, she chooses me.


And you know what? I'm a mensch. I love helping people. I volunteer to help people at their darkest moments four hours per week. I make a living helping actors get better at their craft, and advance in their careers.


I'M A SWELL GUY.


So apparently this dickweed wanted to get to Columbus Circle, 59th street. Now, while he was close in his choice of train to get on, it was no cigar. The solution for this was extremely simple. He gets off at 50th street and walks, or he gets off at 42nd street and takes either the A or C uptown. THAT'S IT.


For some odd reason, this lady - who appears to be a New Yorker herself - is not convinced of my direction. She asks things like, "BUT IF HE GETS OUT AT 50TH AND WALKS, HE IS WALKING WITH TWO SUITCASES".


I'd like to remind the jury that this man is built like Jason Momoa.


Me- "Okay, so then he can jump off at 50th and take the C up one stop."

Lady-"YES BUT THEN HE HAS TO GO UPSTAIRS, COME BACK DOWN, AND PAY AGAIN. WHY AREN'T YOU WEARING A DIAPER YOU BRIDGE AND TUNNEL FUCKHEAD."


Me-"Okay, so he takes it one more down and jumps on the A or C back uptown."


LADY- "YES BUT THEN HE WILL HAVE TO GO DOWN THE PASSAGEWAY WITH ALL OF THE MUSICIANS AND WHAT IF SOMEONE HUSTLES HIM FOR THE REST OF HIS CASH AND THEN HE IS STUCK IN NEW YORK FOREVER."


We finally land on him getting off at 42nd. Despite all of the debating and negotiating, I kept my cool. We get to 42nd street, and the perfect man get off the train with his two perfect suitcases. The lady goes back to her seat.


NEITHER OF THEM FUCKING ACKNOWLEDGE OR THANK ME.


I immediately have flashbacks of when I was a doorman on 7th Ave, when open-mapped tourists would walk up to me and just start talking, as if I were tree with a goofy hat on. No respect. No gratitude. Nothing.


As a joke, I say "you're welcome, everyone", to nobody. The girl sitting next to me laughed.


And that, kids, is how I met your mother.


LOL. No, sorry. Kidding. Her and her boyfriend commend me on keeping my cool. We laugh, and they playfully thank me for my service as I get out at 34th street.

But it didn't mean I didn't leave the situation feeling stupid. Insignificant. Listless. Irrelevant.


I was able to cobble together everything I was supposed to do. I agree to do a masterclass the next day. Not take part in. Teach. Teach a group that was billed as a fucking masterclass. That's where I'm at now, as an acting coach. And then, ping, I get a self-tape request from my agent. Everything is coming up Milhouse!


I teach my class. Everything goes the way it always goes. On the train home, I start questioning every little note I gave every actor. I replay the post office and the train. Over and over and over. I get off at my stop, and it's dark out.


I had planned on going food shopping - cooking is something I haven't been up for lately. But I wanted to get it going again. I'll eat, then tape my audition. But the energy to do so leaves my body. I decide to go home and order food. My heart rate starts to accelerate, ever so slightly.


The food gets to my apartment, and there's one item missing. Greek popcorn chicken. The side that put me over the edge to the "spend $20, get $6 off" on Seamless.


Insignificant. Listless. Irrelevant.


And so the panic attack ensues. It lasted all night - I tried to watch The White Lotus. No dice. I tried to mindlessly watch Love is Blind. Nope. I cannot follow anything, even mindless reality TV. Murder doc on Netflix? Nah. Video games? No hand-eye coordination.


I went to bed at 9:30pm, just fucking hopeless. I'll wake up early and film the audition before I go and teach my masterclass, I tried to tell myself. Then the rain started. Tap tap tap tap tap on the air-conditioner. Every time I got remotely close to dozing off, a giant, fat raindrop would smack the aluminum.


I was up till about 2am. Things will be better tomorrow, I thought.


I wake up at 9am to the dog barking next door. 15 minutes before my alarm. I don't even get to wake up at my own accord. The anxiety and wallowing? Worse than the night before. How the fuck am I going to do this today?


A text from a friend: Still on for coffee today?


FUCK. I forgot about that.


Another text. Another email. My agent reminding me that the tape is due at noon. More texts come in. Another email. Payment due. I can't come to class on Friday. The phone keeps vibrating. Flooding. All wrong. It's all wrong. Everything I'm doing is a fucking abomination. Crisis Line - no hours logged this week. There was a problem with your Seamless refund. Please update your billing address. You're a fucking fraud Chris. The shower drain is backed up. Email. Trump announces 2024 run. Twitter. Read the comments. All the comments. Memes. GIFS. Trolls. Get in the fucking shower. Wash your lumpy fucking body. No more soap. What the fuck. My deodorant stick is low, did I get enough on there? What the fuck are you doing with yourself? Can't even remember to go to Duane Reade.


And that was it. I was in a full-blown mental health crisis, and I knew it. I wasn't suicidal, that much I knew. I did have the "that would be easier" thought. But to be honest, once you attempt it once, that thought comes and goes like the wind blows.


I rarely cancel plans. I hate when people cancel on me. I know life happens, but I have a certain sense of rigidity when it comes to plans. I try everything I can to stay true to my word, to always follow through with commitments.


At that very moment, I made the executive decision to land every plane I had in the air. It occurred to me that since I moved on November 2nd, I have done nothing but try to keep myself busy and distracted. I piled on to keep myself from feeling isolated. And now the crash.


I canceled two days worth of plans in one fell swoop. I was up front with everyone whom I spoke to - I'm having a mental heath crisis and I need cancel because there is no way I will be presenting anything remotely resembling my best self.


And you know what? Everyone showed me grace.


My Wednesday consisted of nothing. And I mean NOTHING. I put my phone on airplane mode and left it in another room. I didn't drink coffee. I napped on and off for about 5 hours. I ordered food again - this time everything arrived. I ate a piece of cheesecake for dinner. I half-heartedly watched mindless television.


Like the night before, I was in bed before 10pm.


Today is Thursday. I got out of bed and went to a coffee shop, where I wrote this. I hadn't written anything in weeks.


One mental health day changed everything. My canceled plans for the day still stand. I have therapy in a few minutes. I'm going to film another audition, clean the apartment, do laundry, and probably just vegetate some some more in the evening. I teach tomorrow, and I'll be there, fully present. I have plans for the weekend. I plan on keeping them. That's the best I can do.


It is absolutely remarkable what empowering yourself to one mental health day can do.


Do I feel 100%? Fuck no. This is the worst year of my life. Coming off of 2020 and 2021, that's saying something. The fight is never over. It's really difficult for me to cancel plans, but that one day of recharge was all I needed to right the ship.


Till the next time I over-exert myself.


If you are struggling with your mental health, there is no shame in getting help:


If you are in immediate crisis:


  • Call 911

  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (now 988, however you can still connect with this number): 1-800-273-TALK (8255) for English, 1-888-628-9454 for Spanish

  • Crisis Text Line: Text SIGNS to 741741 for 24/7, anonymous, free crisis counseling

  • Disaster Distress Helpline: CALL or TEXT 1-800-985-5990


ABUSE/ASSAULT/VIOLENCE

  • National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233 or text LOVEIS to 22522

  • National Child Abuse Hotline: 1-800-4AChild (1-800-422-4453) or text 1-800-422-4453

  • National Sexual Assault Hotline: 1-800-656-HOPE (4673)

BIPOC/AAPI


Black Mental Health Alliance – (410) 338-2642


Therapy For Black Girls: https://therapyforblackgirls.com/


National Asian American Pacific Islander Mental Health Association: https://www.naapimha.org/


Inclusive Therapists: https://www.inclusivetherapists.com/


Indian Health Services: https://www.ihs.gov/communityhealth/behavioralhealth/


LGBTQ+

Trans Lifeline: 1-877-565-8860

  • The Trevor Project: 1-866-488-7386

OLDER ADULTS

  • The Eldercare Locator: 1-800-677-1116 – TTY

  • Alzheimer’s Association Helpline: 1-800-272-3900

VETERANS/ACTIVE MILITARY

  • Veteran’s Crisis Line: 1-800-273-TALK (8255), then select 1, or Crisis Chat text: 8388255

AFFORDABLE THERAPY

  • Open Path Collective - Open Path Collective is a directory of low-cost options for in-person and online therapy. The directory includes filters for therapist matching. Open Path has a fee for a lifetime membership, and therapists on this platform commit to providing services for no more than $60 for individuals and $80 for couples/families. Lifetime memberships also available.






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