Am I acting on impulse?

Thursday morning is never a good time for me. The week was four days long and it still wasn’t the weekend. I was scheduled to see the psychiatrist. It goes well and I am not going to see him again because there is little more he can do for me.

He also said something very interesting. He detected a pattern in the way I seek work – acting and writing – but would not elaborate.

Instead he wanted to refer me for therapy. It was something to do with my family’s dynamics and the relationship between my mother and father. I asked him if he believed I was too dilettante and did not stick at things.

But it is not that. After the meeting, it occurred to me what he might have been suggesting. Was I looking for work as an actor and writer because of a need to seek approval? Was I looking for the kind of work where one can end up in the limelight, winning fame and fortune? That is not the right reason to do anything.

When I think of approval, I think of my work with a psychologist some years ago. He told me I did not need to impress people; that was not the way to fulfilment. It does not matter what people think of you.

I learned something back then and  have moved on.

So why do I want to act? I have wanted to be an actor since childhood. It comes naturally to me. I enjoy pretending to be someone else, the changing of one’s voice and one’s physicality. I love imitating other people – acting is a lot like that. And analysing plays, films and characters and enjoying literary criticism is something that interests and excites me.

Funnily enough, I find that in rehearsal, I am not that adept at discussing characters with other actors, being a quiet actor. But I compensate for this in performance.

Finally, I love the way that so much work goes into saying the same lines over and again. All you have is a few sentences, or a few seconds in front of the camera to inject a whole character into that small space.

Then there is the fame and fortune. To achieve them one has to be very lucky. Yes, it would be nice to achieve some status, but if actors did not receive the kind of adulation they have now, would I still want to do it? The answer is probably yes. I am an artist and that gives me fulfilment.

The same goes for writing. I write poetry and am also writing my second novel. Like acting, I love the world of words and the world that is created within the framework of the novel, where one loses oneself, whether reading or writing.

So there we have it. Acting is fun and writing is escapist. There is still, however, a little niggling at the back of my mind.

Sure, I am doing what I want to do, but might I be better off doing something that attracts less attention?

The writer uses mental health services

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