19 Jan There’s Beauty in the Breakdown

I had a breakdown recently that seemed to come from nothing, and it was incredibly confusing. I had just come from a shoot that was a great experience, doing exactly the type of role I like to do, and yet here I was only hours later curled up in the fetal position crying uncontrollably.

As I let the emotion wash over me, wondering where in the world it had come from, I realized: SOMETIMES THIS IS HARD. This job is 24/7, there is so much I cannot control, and opportunities often feel few and far between. Balancing relationships is tricky because you’re either consumed with projects and don’t have time to see anyone, or you feel unemployed with oodles of time and don’t know what to say when people ask about your career. To be sure I’m up for any challenge that comes my way, I’m constantly concentrating on what I eat, how much I work out, and what else I can be doing to take care of my body. There are endless resources to consume, different paths to explore, and times when I need to be going in five different directions at once. And there are times when it is really hard.

And just as I was about to scold myself for having this seemingly self-indulgent breakdown, it occurred to me that it is okay. So I cried. I ranted. I wallowed. For one evening, I let it be okay to acknowledge that this is hard.

When I woke up the next morning (good night’s sleep ALWAYS makes me feel better!) I realized that I tend to put too much pressure on things. I have all of these tasks I want to accomplish because they work toward my goals of booking network TV, producing my own short films, and other career targets I’ve set for myself. After a certain amount of time, if the goal hasn’t been reached, I get frustrated and upset. I lose sight of the fact that just taking those steps toward my goal is opening up opportunities, expanding my network, and exposing me to new people and work. And I can’t possibly know when opportunities are going to present themselves, so tasks that seem to not be working may actually be the seeds of future endeavors.

I also had a perspective shift. I don’t need to link everything back to my career. I’m eating well and working out because IT MAKES ME FEEL GOOD.I want to live a long and healthy life, have lots of time and opportunities to travel and experience different things, and my health is important for that. I’m not doing it BECAUSE I’m an actress, and I need to take that career pressure off of it. I’m doing it for me, for my longevity, for a better quality of life. This would be true even if I had a job where I worked in a cubicle eight hours a day.

Another thing that came out of this breakdown is the realization that I need to celebrate my successes. I think a strength of mine is celebrating OTHER people’s victories, big or small. I love sharing in the joy of reaching a goal, or taking a step you didn’t think you could take. But I think I need to get better at truly enjoying MY little victories. Too often I just rush on to the next task. And often that is okay — that is part of what allows me to be productive. But I think I need to take more moments to celebrate the callbacks, the successful mailing, the new contacts – all of the little things that move me toward my bigger goals.

There is so much about this journey to love. Some of it is hard and overwhelming, and it is okay to step back and acknowledge those moments and allow for a breakdown. But I need to celebrate the little victories along the way, too.

And whether I just let myself experience a breakdown or a victory, I always feel more refreshed and ready to get back to work…

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  • Jonathan Gaby
    Posted at 19:51h, 19 January

    Sarah, this post is so good to read and thank you for being open enough to share it.

    Often I feel exactly like you do. There are so many tasks to get done and seemingly a very short amount of time to do it all.

    Sometimes I feel overwhelmed and sad about not seeing friends and being in the car all the time and wondering what you are gonna do.

    I admire your hard work, and the way you work at what you love! Keep going!!!

    • Sarah J Eagen
      Posted at 09:50h, 21 January

      Thank you so much for reading and sharing your thoughts, Jonathan! I really appreciate your support 🙂 Keep going!