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Under What Grounds?

I’ve been thinking about a couple of posts I saw recently. Well, one on Facebook and one article in the local paper. Both were about suicide, and the one on Facebook in particular mentioned that the person who knew the man who committed suicide had no idea he felt that way.

Which left me thinking about why I, and others like me, don’t talk. I’m not going to go on about any male ego bullshit, I’m trying to come up with helpful answers. Stuff that I’m not 100% sure about, but may help people who want to understand.

I had my therapy appointment today at 10am, and this was actually something I was looking forward to, a space to talk about how my anxious feelings have been getting worse. This appointment was cancelled at 9.10am today. No apology, just cancelled with a phone call.

Which left me in a bit of a turmoil, because while I’m quite lucky in that I have others to talk to, I knew I would go through a number of excuses and thoughts and feelings before I made that call. And in the end I texted. Because it was easier for me.

So I’m wondering, on what grounds would people, who ever they are, not tell anyone how desperate they were?

I go through a number of things when I want to talk to someone. Standard thoughts of ‘I’m not worthy’, or I don’t know what they’re doing’, or I want to be in the right ‘frame of mind’ come up, along with feelings of being incredibly nervous and wondering, before anything happens, what the conversation is going to be like. I’m often thinking I’m going to run out of things to say, and that’s going to be just awkward.

There are other thoughts too, but they all boil down to feelings of self worth, and that maybe I am taking up someone’s time.

The truth is, of course I am taking up their time, but they wouldn’t have given me there number, or spoken to me, or known me all these years for that to be a problem.

This original quote has been attributed many times to Nelson Mandella, but it was actually Marianne Williamson who said it in first in her book ‘A Return To Love’, which I think is a good point:

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be?"

What that means to me is that you might help another person out by making that call. By sharing with others they may then go on to help you, or help someone else, because you've shared something personal.

So that other person who you connect could be more empowered - by you. In fact, who are you to not make that phone call. To not tell someone how you are feeling?
Latest update: My Therapist has been signed off for the next two weeks.
 

Posted by Gary Thomas, 29 November 2012

Last modified by Colin Hambrook, 30 November 2012

Gary Thomas asks AM I ready to move on?

This may sound silly, but I've ummed a lot over the past month about how personal my blog posts should be, as potentially EVERYONE I know could read them (I'm tempted to say here 'they won't', but I'm not going too).

The past month has been difficult because my step dad died on 23 January, and I've been wondering how and whether I should write about it. I've decided that I'm going to, as it all fits in with the whole notion of things being difficult, things going slowly, things not going right, which after all, if you're disabled all that stuff happens anyway.

So when my step dad died I set myself a month before I got back into things fully again, and that month is nearly up. Trouble is, I still want to sleep more than normal, I still don't really want to do that many things, I still don't really want to be in 'full swing'. And there in lies the thought:

When the hell have I EVER been in full swing? One of the movies on my list still to watch (I have many on that list) is 'Girl Interrupted'. (I've also had a really strong urge to watch Six Feet Under)

Girl Interrupted is about a girl in a mental asylum in the 1960s. As I say I haven't seen it yet, its on my computer waiting for me to be in the 'right mood' to watch it. But I think the title sums up what its like when we all have issues come up that affect our lives.

This past year I've been struggling a lot with an issue that I haven't had to deal with very much for over 10 years, and so things have been going really slow, and you could say I've been very ill. This has been a HUGE interruption in what I want to do with my life and unfortunately it hasn't gone away as quickly or easily as I'd hoped.

I've come to the conclusion that a lot of this is down to my own expectations, both in the ones that I have for myself (all these things that I want to do) and with what I can 'realistically' cope with. This one in particular has been a battle raging in my head ever since I can remember. So, if I didn't have these expectations of myself, then I wouldn't have to do so much, right?

Trouble is there ARE things that excite me, new opportunities, and things that I really want to do.

So I still have things on my list, like finishing the next draft of my feature script, arranging meetings, making a showreel for my new website, finishing courses, writing up a fundraising document... and another, and another...

If you know me, you can drop me a gentle email towards the end of March asking me how I'm doing with any of this stuff. I'll reply to it, though I'm not sure how quick I'll be.

Posted by Gary Thomas, 28 February 2011

Last modified by Colin Hambrook, 1 March 2011

IT GETS BETTER... EVENTUALLY

Originally written on 5th October 2010.

I'm in a hotel in Buckingham as I write this and there is very little 3G signal. A couple of days ago I felt like shit. Truly awful, and I think I'm experiencing for the first time in my life (having had severe depression since I was 14) the 'black dog' that so many have spoken of.

All entirely ironic, considering I am thinking about a piece of film for the 'It Gets Better Campaign.' I'm thinking about it having not seen many of the videos. I'm not sure I would have the guts or whatever to look into a camera and talk about my experiences, although this is definitely something I would like to be okay with. But for now, or until I can use a couple of actors for a day and tell a story to a Melissa Etheridge song, here is what I have to say on the subject.

I was born with a flat nose and a cleft pallet. I couldn't talk properly until I was 9. I've spent the early part of my life from the age of 5 up until 24 in and out of hospital having operations. I had people making fun of me since I can remember until I was 17.

I've had depression since I was 14. I spent most of the last two years of my high school bunking off, wondering around a park, sometimes crying, nearly always listening to music, wondering why the hell I was born. Wondering what the hell I am going to do, and wondering when it's all going to end. And can I make it end? I couldn't see a future. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life, and I thought I'd be dead by the time I'm 30.

There is no reason on Earth why I should be where I am now. In May this year I was filmed at the BFI talking about film development for the Uscreen website. A couple of months ago I was directing my first online comedy drama.

This time last year I was in LA pitching a wedding comedy feature script. The year before that I was paid to go to the Liverpool Disability Arts Festival DADAFest. The same year I went to Cannes Film Festival for the first time and sold my short film Early One Summer to a Hollywood Distributor.

I use film as a way of communication, as a way to express what I'm interested in, my ideas, my thoughts about the world. I use actors to tell stories with words that I've written. I use the written word to explore how I feel, and to explore different characters and scenarios that interest me. Last year in LA was one of the high points of my life. So was going to Liverpool in 2008. So was receiving my Arts Council funding in 2006, and so was receiving my first commission from DADA-South in 2003. All of this revolved around me making work that I'm passionate about. No matter how its received.

Getting excited about my feature script keeps me excited, keeps me thinking about those high points, and how I can achieve more of them, and how I can make opportunities happen. I pretty much do that with everything because I've just never been the sort of person to say 'make this, you keep the profits, I'll just write it...' or (more to the point) I thought I'd have to make stuff myself, because no one would take a chance on me because of the limited experience I've had.

A lot of that's now changed, and its a different game. Life is about taking opportunities, not thinking (so much) about the dark times, but carrying on through them, by any means necessary. Even if that means screaming for help from people you know, or from people you don't. I don't have a problem with saying 'please do this for me' now, and likewise I don't have a problem with going after what's important until I have it.

It gets better if you go after what you believe in. It gets better if you find something you're passionate about and put your efforts in that. It gets better as you get older, and for the most part, even the difficult times become slightly easier to get through.

Posted by Gary Thomas, 5 December 2010

Last modified by Colin Hambrook, 5 December 2010

Gary Thomas on frustration, risk & money.

I am an intellectual. No, I'm not just saying that to show off or anything, I did an online quiz at www.oprah.com and it told me so. It also said my need for helping others was my lowest score, (no surprise there) and creativity was up there in the highest marks (12 points) but my thirst for knowledge was paramount (14 points).

I wonder if this is why I'm feeling frustrated at the moment, which I really am right now. I would like to use this frustration to take risks that would mean I can get on with the work that I so want to do, but this all requires money, and there's the sticking point. So what to do? So many things revolve around money, but it takes other people to also make decisions (and I'm not talking about mental health or any systems here) so, should that be a reason why I can't get on and do stuff?

I can't progress with the choices I have until I have the money to do so. Although, that's not strictly true, I can write stuff, I can write an application, I can rewrite my feature screenplay. I can do quite a bit of writing really, though anything else pretty much relies on me having funding.

A friend put a post on Facebook I noticed which said, without Capitalism there wouldn't be any mental health problems. I thought this was kind of interesting, and actually hard for me to argue against.

Although, I'm sure if I lived somewhere without the 9-5 working hours and pressure on jobs etc. mental health 'issues' would still be around. Probably arising from boredom and frustration...

Which brings me back to where I am now. And out of that, I can only hope I'll grow, and change. But its a slow process, unless anyone has a spare five grand they want to donate, in which case I'll possibly be less frustrated...

Posted by Gary Thomas, 20 August 2010

Last modified by Colin Hambrook, 20 August 2010

Gary Thomas on his way to direct 'Moving In'

The first of these blog posts were written whilst filming 'Moving In', a couple of weeks ago on Sunday 18th July 2010.

I am currently on the train to Portsmouth. Despite being disabled I have managed to bring two rucksacks and two suitcases with me. Hence, I may well be hideously stressed by the end of the journey. I'm going to Portsmouth to direct a half hour film that my friend has written, about four students who discover life, love etc... and I think it'll be good.

Hopefully it will be better than good. But I have a feeling it'll be marred by the severe emotional pain that I've been feeling recently to do with some thing that happened 14 years ago. (Those of you who've seen 'Madness as a form of relaxation', will have an idea).

I'm trying not to think about what happened, but its been hard right now, especially when I can see that I need to use the experience to put the support in place, that I need. (I often ask myself 'What do I need to learn from this?) But I've had trouble arranging that support, mainly due to everybody else (well, nearly everyone) being so stupid.

So I've been distracting myself by various means including listening to Wayne Dyer's The Power of Intention, which I love listening to, especially the last chapter. I'm currently listening to Lady Gaga, which has a slightly different meaning. But it's much more fun.

So when I get to Portsmouth I'll be meeting a friend, and some of the actors who I'll be working with. We're going to do a promo shoot and then get together with cast and crew at a pub this evening. Tomorrow we're having a first read-though of the script, which I'm sure will throw up all sorts of comments and hopefully more 'jokes' or I should say, comedy.

As I'm directing for the next week, I've been thinking about the kind of director I want to be. In all my short films so far I've kind of done everything, (producer, writer, director). This shoot has been good as my friend has been producing it. I've been working with him on the script editing, and writing the shooting script (how to turn a 39 page document into a 44 page document – add camera directions!) So now its the week where real directing will happen.

I want to remain with the actors, work with them closely. But in all my films, I've been surprised how little 'directing' there's actually been. That's mainly because I've been very lucky with the actors I've got (may that continue). So, as it's a collaboration, we've come together. They have their own ideas and I have mine. During the audition process, if the ideas meet in some way, then that's who I want in my film. This happened in Early One Summer, where Graeme Dalling got the part because the look that he gave Charlie Ross, the teacher, was exactly the look I had in my head. And I wanted to work with him.

So I'll be blogging about “Moving In” and the progress through post production and beyond, as well as my current arts practice, and what projects I'm most excited about.

Posted by Gary Thomas, 31 July 2010

Last modified by Colin Hambrook, 11 November 2010