It’s been two years since I added a new portrait to I Am More. We’ve been through a hell of a lot since then, and as we all stand around dumfounded, trying to figure out who we are anymore, I decided I missed this project. When I put the call out for new volunteers there was a deafening…silence from the crowd. Just because I felt the calling doesn’t mean anybody else did. So I turned to a trusted friend, one of my oldest, to see if he would dip his toes in with me, and share what he had discussed with me over the pandemic. He has cheered me on from the beginning, and has also given birth to his own creative project, on top of being a successful voiceover artist (the Voice of SiriusXM’s 70s on 7, it’s exciting EVERY time!). He said he would be honored, so I said, go and make some videos of yourself doing something you love. And that love is…Twilight Zone pinball. Thanks, Jonathan, for lending your voice to reignite this project, and to your friend for capturing you in all your pinball glory (or defeat, it appears to be defeat).
Most of the time, I appear very upbeat to people. One of my favorite things to do is make other people laugh, and I’m also quick to laugh at the silly and ridiculous nature of our world (maybe I’m addicted to the serotonin rush). But there have also been so many times when I wanted to disappear, shut down, or die. I thought these dark days and moods were an unfortunate quirk of my personality– the emotional price of being sensitive and creative.
It wasn’t until spring of 2019 that these episodes seemed to stretch out for longer periods and really start disrupting my life. I remember talking with a good friend about what I was going through, “I just don’t feel like myself.” I could tell that something had shifted in me and that maybe the happy-go-lucky side of me was slipping away forever, which freaked me out.
In June of that year, I talked to my primary care doc about depression. I had been sober for 3 years, kept pretty fit, ate well, and had been meditating regularly for over a decade. I felt like I was doing so many things to support myself, but the darkness hovering over me seemed more intense. The doctor suggested I try Zoloft, and truth be told, it changed my life.
Once the clouds of depression and anxiety had cleared, I realized how many times I had been battling echoes of those feelings in the past. I told another friend about breaking down in tears and feeling out of control on a particularly bad day. Very matter of factly he said, “Oh, that’s an anxiety attack.” Even though those sorts of episodes were rare for me, now I had a label for them, and I understood how they related to other feelings of dread or despair I’d gone through.
In the years since going on medication, I continue to support myself with exercise, good sleep, meditation and sobriety. My biggest anchor is being creative, which never fails to lift me up. When I have a darker day or go through a rough patch, I understand what’s going on, and I know it will pass.
Now you must check out Jonathan’s creations at HiFi Jones. He makes incredible artwork he calls “Loving Tributes to Music, Pop Culture & Stereophonic Bliss.”
They are extremely gift-worthy and he ships them to you in a vintage album jacket. Or you can hire him as a voiceover artist at Jonathan Hanst Voiceovers.
I Am More is supported by donations. To make a tax-deductible donation please go to Ocean Alliance’s donation page and choose “I Am More” from the list of programs. Thank you for your support!!