From one of the most pressured industries, everyone who becomes involved feels it. Working in entertainment and the chronic stress and anxiety one feels is no surprise!
The entertainment industry is one of the highest-pressured industries. Whatever your entertainment industry job — actor, writer, director, or “below the line” entertainment jobs from art direction to crew — entertainment industry pressure and stress are certain to deeply affect you. Working in entertainment and the chronic stress and anxiety one feels is no surprise; it’s usually more than a job – it’s a lifestyle.
It is no secret that screenwriters, television writers, actors, and directors working in entertainment contend with chronic stress due to countless hours on films or t.v. sets. If you are an editor, art director, cinematographer, musician, producer— okay, everyone in entertainment— it is a given that you’ve faced job stress, financial pressures, and general career issues. Navigating the difficulties of finding and maintaining success in the entertainment industry is hard-pressed. This industry experiences a high rate of substance abuse, and many suffer from exhaustion. Some families have a medical family-of-origin issue. The impact of these significantly affects not only the mental health of the person but of the family unit. Families must content with intolerable schedules, lengthy periods on location and other work-related environments, which add to the potent mix of emotion, frustration, stress, and depression.
You might find counseling helpful if you have ever had the following thoughts about areas of your life as an artist or someone in the entertainment industry.
Your Career Path
- “Career’s going well but my managers and agents want me to focus my [writing, acting, directing] on____, and it’s not what I want.”
- “Should I give up my career?” “What would I do?”
- “I’m not working enough and I’m scared.”
Your Financial Life
- “It’s incredibly stressful to be free-lance and have unpredictable earning.”
- “My partner wants me to pull my weight financially but I have to concentrate on moving my career forward.”
- “Money just scares me.”
Your Relationships and Family
- “How do I balance crazy hours with family and relationship stresses?”
- “My spouse/partner and I feel estranged when I’m on location.”
Your Personal Self Care
- “My career anxiety is so high that I’m having problems eating and sleeping.”
- “I’m depressed all the time when I’m not working.”
Substance Abuse to Cope
- “I’m getting rid of fear and anxiety by substance abuse.”
- “I showed up to the set/office/rehearsal/studio drunk and my job’s in jeopardy.”
Goals as an Artist
- “I want to find ways to be more adventurous artistically, to master my craft and deepen my work.”
- “I need strategies for communicating with challenging and difficult collaborators, bosses, co-stars, etc.”
- “I work in a toxic environment in my [writer’s room/set/acting class] and my self-esteem is gone.”
There are a lot more thoughts and feelings to working in entertainment, and we get it. It is good for clients to know their therapists get the specifics, that they have a nuts-and-bolts understanding of the business.
The entertainment business is a wonderful way of life and it’s also a rough and painful way of life. Understanding how artistry, commercial success, and finding happiness with the ‘civilians’ in your life is an ongoing but worthwhile struggle. We can find ways to cope with the struggle without being damaged by it.
In the next mental health blog, we’ll talk about clear strategies to deal with these issues if working in entertainment is your career path.