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"Depression, and a variety of other mental illnesses, are so common that it’s absurd that there’s a still a stigma attached to them. The more we talk about it, the less stigma there will be."

About William Dickerson:

I am an award-winning filmmaker and author. My debut feature film “Detour,” was hailed as an “Underground Hit” by The Village Voice, an “emotional and psychological roller-coaster ride” by The Examiner, and nothing short of “authentic” by The New York Times. My first book, “No Alternative,” was declared, “a sympathetic coming-of-age story deeply embedded in ’90s music” by Kirkus Reviews. I also recently adapted it into a motion picture, that the LA Times calls “a remarkably assured and deeply felt grunge-era coming-of-age picture!”. It is available on iTunes and Amazon.

William’s Story

WHAT WAS THE MAJOR TURNING POINT IN YOUR RECOVERY FROM DEPRESSION?

I am still suffering from depression which worsened after my sister passed away, and the recent death of my father. However reading through my sister’s journals, I found a sentence of her’s repeating what I once told her “My brother says I shouldn’t waste my talent.” I take this now as a message from my sister to also remind me that I shouldn’t waste my talent. I should keep making movies and art.

This encouragement is with me always, even though she is no longer here.

WHAT ARE SOME THINGS THAT REALLY HELPED?

Meditation

  • Specifically, Transcendental Meditation. While it’s often difficult to bring yourself to meditate when I’m depressed, when I am able to do it, it’s life-altering. The practice calms the mind, which calms the body, and then I’m able to harness that calm throughout the day. Meditation, and other forms of mindfulness, in general, can be great for people suffering from mental illness because the technique directly addresses the mind.

Writing and Directing

  • I find that writing helps me a great deal. I sometimes find it difficult to express my emotions to others in person; therefore, writing provides a platform on which no one can agree, or disagree, with what you say. It is entirely non-judgmental. Just going through that process–the act of writing itself–helps you gather your thoughts and communicate better when you attempt to express your inner feelings to others.

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO OTHER GUYS FIGHTING DEPRESSION?

I encourage other men to talk more openly about the issues they struggle with. Depression, and a variety of other mental illnesses, are so common that it’s absurd that there’s a still a stigma attached to them. The more we talk about it, the less stigma there will be. We must free ourselves from this stigma by being proactive.

– William Dickerson, award-winning filmmaker and author based in Los Angeles, CA, US. twitter

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