Social Media is perfect for jokes. It’s great for networking purposes or the occasional hookup. We play hashtag games for fun. We take selfies at the gym or just because some overpaid reality star wants to have a “lip challenge”
But today I encourage you to use it for something different. Something that could be just as easily enjoyable but may actually make a difference.
(Here’s where I lose half my audience) …There are over 1.5 million homeless individuals in America alone. You see them everyday on your drive to work or on the corner holding a sign near your local Starbucks. It’s easy to scoff and say, “Ugh, I wish they’d go somewhere else.” But where would you go if you were hungry and had no home or family? Now I’m sure you’re saying, “That could NEVER happen to me, I’ve got my shit together!” But did you know that 1 in 200 Americans have or will experience some form of homelessness? 1 in 200…. That’s not a lot. Most of you have more than 200 followers on Twitter. That means that at least one of them has experienced what it’s like to feel scared, hungry and alone with nowhere to go.
So what am I asking you to do? I’m not asking you for money. I’m not asking you to spend a large amount of time on a stranger. What I’m asking you to do is simple. Use the hashtag #FeedTheHomelessFriday today. If you are out and about today getting yourself something to eat and you just so happen to see someone less fortunate than you, maybe pick them up something to eat. It doesn’t have to be expensive, anything off the “dollar menu, value menu etc.” will do. Hell you can get a hot and ready pizza from little Caesar’s for $5 and feed several people. Maybe you want to go above and beyond and put together a little gift basket with fresh fruit, water, jerky and a bottle of vodka. (I won’t judge. Shit… if I was homeless I’d definitely need a drink here and there.) Even if you do something as small as making a cheese sandwich at home to give to the homeless guy that sleeps near your building… That STILL makes a difference. Post a photo of you participating. Tag friends and encourage them to go out with you. Use the hashtag #FeedTheHomelessFriday and encourage people to ask “Why is that a hashtag?”
Google your local shelter, ask if they need help. Find out how you can donate food or time. Maybe you know someone who is struggling right now. Maybe you can buy their family dinner tonight. Paying it forward is something that seems to be lost this day and age. I was raised to always pay it forward. Do something good for someone else, in hopes that they do the same.
Why? Why am I asking this? Because I have the audience to do so. I use Social Media to tell jokes and convince people to come and check out a show. I use Social Media to sell T-shirts on my website. I have over 300k followers on Twitter. If I do the math correctly that means around 1500 of you have experienced some kind of homelessness. And if only 1% of you read this and participate we can feed over 3000 homeless people today!
If you can participate… Great! If you can’t…Hey I understand, some of ya’ll are living paycheck to paycheck too! But it costs nothing to pass this along and together we can start to make a difference in the world.

Depression: Mental Illness or Self Pity?

I’ve never been able to tell the difference between feeling depressed or just feeling sorry for myself.  Now this is not a professional article. This a professional rant. So please excuse any grammatical faux pas. Or the fact that I may bounce around as these ideas are currently circulating through my depressed/feeling sorry for myself brain.

I’ve never been a fan of categorizing depression as a mental illness. I don’t believe it is. And before you yell at me and tell me how insensitive I am remember this: For years homosexuality was classified as a mental illness too. I find it infuriating that this discussion can’t be held openly without people immediately going on the offense. People get so offended when you try and question what is now considered “the social norm.”  But today the theme is “let’s talk,” so perhaps I’ll get to do that for a change.

I have dealt with these “feelings” for 14 years. Blaming other people for my misfortunes. Angry after finding some success one year, but not finding it the next. Drunk in a fit of sad rage because my life isn’t going according to plan. Worried I’ll never accomplish the seemingly unattainable goals I have set out for myself. Sometimes looking for the answer at the bottom of an empty bourbon bottle. Hell, I’ve contemplated suicide, but who hasn’t? Anyone who says that the thought of suicide has NEVER crossed their mind, is a liar. The contemplation of suicide mixed with a moment of weakness mixed with the assistance of liquid courage or other meds can be a deadly combination.

Chasing an unattainable dream is depressing. Almost everyone in the entertainment industry has dealt with it. But that only points to the fact that it may not be depression as much as it is a constant state of envy and feeling sorry for ourselves. I think that’s what bothers a lot of entertainers. If you want to argue that anything is a mental illness then the desire to be an “entertainer” could very easily be tossed into that ring. If you’ve never wanted to be an actor, singer, tv/movie star or famous athlete you’ll never REALLY understand this “sickness.” The constant need for attention, approval, and validation. And when you get the attention you’ve so desired, that only leads to wanting even more attention, approval, and validation. It’s a never ending cycle. When is enough actually enough? It never is. So is wanting fame also a mental illness?

Too many people use the word “depressed” as a crutch, or a method to explain the unexplained feelings they have inside. Some use the word “depression” when it’s convenient. But are we really depressed? Or are we just disappointed in the way things turn out? Envy often drives depressed feelings. Seeing what someone else has and wishing you could have the same thing. But you don’t have the same thing and that’s unfair. That’s depressing.  When a 3 year old wants a cookie and gets told no, they pout. When I go to an audition and get told no, I become depressed. So if I’ve shared these similar feeling from infancy, isn’t this just a result of the way we’re designed. Could depression be nothing more than a natural instinct and not a mental illness? Someone who is mentally ill shouldn’t be treated the same way as a 16 year old boy who just got dumped by his girlfriend and didn’t make the football team. That 16 year old boy doesn’t need medication. He’s a 16 year old boy going through life. But we coddle him and send him to a shrink.

That’s just the way our society has become; soft and enabling. The “Participation Trophy” Generation.  My Grandfather fought in WWII, he saw men get killed and obliterated. I imagine seeing your friends dying right in front of you could lead to some emotional stress and depression. But when he came back from the war, they didn’t give him any medication. He was thanked for his services and went right back to work. Built a company from the ground up and lived a full life. But little Billy gets dumped and feels depressed about it and we treat it like it’s the biggest tragedy since 9/11. Now we’re giving a 16 year old boy, who claims, “I just want to die,” medication for depression. He’s not depressed, he’s just going through life. But we continue to over-prescribe: Do you feel sad? Here’s your medication. Do you wish you had a better job and a bigger house? Here’s some medication! A mental illness is not somethings you overcome. It requires treatment and medicinal use. Yet people go in and out of depression on a regular basis.

Life isn’t full of rainbows with pots of gold or unicorns. Life is real. Life is hard. Life doesn’t give you lemons. Life gives you lemon seeds and you better pray for fuckin’ rain. This morning may suck. Tonight may suck, but tomorrow is a new day. The pessimist in me says that tomorrow is probably gonna suck too. But I’ll never know unless I make it to tomorrow.

So am I depressed? To be honest, I’ve never been able to tell the difference between feeling depressed or just feeling sorry for myself.