Thursday, December 19, 2013

Animators, depression and wishes



Another winter. Here it is again. That dreary time of year. That time of year that so often reminds me of that dark place that is a part of me. Why is that? Is it just the weather? The lack of sunlight? Perhaps. The enforced jolliness of Christmas clashing with the reality of our own feelings? Maybe that's more relevant.

Don't worry, folks. I'm doing well. Very well, in fact. Since my last post, my life has gone through many changes and that's frightening and exciting rolled into one. And it's actually fun.

It has warmed my heart that I still get comments and mails from this little blog though. No I don't wish depression on you all. But I know how much reading other sites helped me when I was first diagnosed. Reading the experiences of others was a comfort – that knowledge that, really, I wasn't completely on my own with this. We're in it together and, while many may not ever understand what we go through, there is a select elite group who know all too well.

We're not alone. 

One thing that has become obvious since starting this blog many years ago is that depression seems to go hand in hand with animation a lot of the time. I am not unique. Not by a long shot. So why is that? It's a little curious, right? I don't have answers. Only questions...

Is it that there are so many little things that eat away at us?
Are we not creatively fulfilled?
Are we not rewarded enough for the very skilled work that we do?
Do we feel taken advantage of, trampled on?
Is it that we spend too long by ourselves, in a bubble of scenes?
Do we feel a clash of creative versus commercial and hate what we make?
Is it the endless struggle of having clear vision yet having to wrestle it on to a screen?
Is it as simple as just not getting thanked enough?

Or is it that animation and the whole idea of making films and TV a frame at a time is completely and utterly insane? Yeah, maybe that's a part of it.

Animators, any ideas? Is it animation? Or is it just about being a person?

I don't know but what I do know is that it is often hard to talk about. There is still a stigma attached to depression, mainly because those who don't get it... well, they don't get it. It is hard to be open about it publicly, especially when you're making happy fun little animations to make kids smile. It's not an easy discussion. I know that well and maybe I have been a coward all these years by not posting with my real name but it has allowed me to be very honest about a great many things about just one or two aspects of a far more colourful life. I am not all depression and animation (honest!). But being able to write about those things freely has been very helpful.

Let's try to write more and read more about it, whether we use our real names or not. It all helps.

To everyone who comes by this little blog (and most get here because they are searching for information and posts on depression), I wish you good health. I wish you peace of mind. I wish you fewer depths and less darkness and the strength to make it through both when you have to. This world is filled with shit and hideous things and that so often obscures all of the wonderful things we have, the amazing things that people do, the little acts of kindness, the huge life-changing acts of kindness, the wonder of nature, even just a pretty cloud now and then. The worst things in life are not all our responsibility, not all the time. Allow yourself to put it aside and see the wonder. Give yourself that permission.

I know... easier said than done. But I wish that for you.

And for the animators, what have you got yourself into? What were you thinking? You could have a nice job in retail, where you get to go home content if you just survive the day. No, I'm joking. Animation is awesome, in spite of our griping (well, my griping). For you animators, I wish fulfillment, contentment, pride in your work but not so much that it makes you a pain in the ass. I wish fun characters, great music, and lovely surprises of life and personality as you animate, or little unexpected splashes of colour in your backgrounds. I wish you a moment maybe once a week, hopefully more, when you look at what you have made, at what you created and brought into being in this Universe, and you think – that's awesome.

And lastly to everyone, animator or not, depressed or not, I wish you all a fantastic holiday season. Warmth, family, friends or even just the comfort of lying under a warm blanket on your own.

By the way, if you are in animation, there are tons of relevant posts buried in the archives. Have a browse!

4 comments:

susan said...

Happy New Year Bitter.

I hope 2014 continues to be a great year for you and yours.

2013 was Anno Horriblis for me, and ended on a sad note, my beloved Holly went to the Rainbow Bridge on New Years Eve afternoon.

I'm not doing well, but they say it will pass and I hope that this year will be better.

Holly loved your doggy and kitty pictures so much.

Bitter Animator said...

Aw Susan, I'm so sorry to hear about Holly. That's awful. I know what it's like to lose a buddy like that and it hurts. It really hurts. Do what you can to look after yourself - you deserve it.

I hope 2014 is a far, far better year for you.

Red Pill Junkie said...

Feliz Año Nuevo, Bitter!

Funny how your post made me think that depression is something that also affects many people in my field --I'm talking about those who get obsessed with what is often called 'the paranormal'-- But the way I see it now, is that the splinter in our mind driving us mad --to plagiarize one of my favorite movies-- is the result of realizing there *is* something terribly wrong with the world.

And if someone is still in doubt about that, they probably didn't bother to read any sort of news last year, and haven't heard of a chap called Edward Snowden...

As for animators also suffering from depression, I have a few ideas. You see, to me animation is a genuine act of magic --and I'm not being poetic here-- and perhaps, like in the anime series Full Metal Alchemist, this powerful act of visual alchemy comes with a heavy price. In order to infuse your creations with life, you have to give some of your own life in exchange.

Or you just need a fucking plant in your cubicle, what do I know ;)

I'm glad you're continuing to do well, my friend. As always I wish for you only the best --and I guess that also means you'll have to go through a little heartbreak once in a while, otherwise it would all feel like a continuous numbness, wouldn't it?

Saludos,

Miguel

Bitter Animator said...

Good to hear from you, Miguel! You're right on so many counts and, actually, some of it will be the subject of my next post - on just what the hell kind of world we have accepted. You're right, there is something terribly wrong with the world and those of us most affected by that, well, we're not sociopaths so it's going to affect us somehow, right?