Hello, everyone. Thank you so much for joining me for another episode of the More Than You See podcast hosted by me, actor, filmmaker mental health advocate Deborah Lee Smith. Every Monday, I come to you to share some resources, have a conversation, and generally just dive into all sorts of topics around mental health. I am not a licensed practitioner or therapist, but just a woman exploring my own mental health journey and sharing it with you, my listeners. My hope is that this podcast brings you some joy, some understanding, and some tools so that you can build your own mental health toolbox.
Hello, everyone, welcome back. I am so excited for my guest today. Today I have on the incredible Shelly Regner. You probably know her from the Pitch Perfect movies. I was introduced to her through my friend Anna Camp, and she is just one of the most bright, incredible, kind hearted, funny souls I've ever met. And I am just really honored to call her a friend. I'm going to read her bio and then I'm going to tell you a little bit about what this episode is. And then we're gonna dive right in because we cover a lot folks, so stay tuned.
Shelly is an actor, a singer and every now and then a dancer from Louisiana, who has lived in Los Angeles for almost 10 years. She is most notably recognized for her role as the Bella who's literally been here the whole time, Ashley in the Pitch Perfect franchise. She earned her BA in theater performance from LSU and has continued to perform live throughout her career in both regional and national productions. credits include UMPO'S "A League of Their Own", unauthorized "Jennifer's Body" musical, "Cruel Intentions" musical and more. She is an original member of Disney's "D Capella" performing her first national tour at the Hollywood Bowl. Shelley's most recent film role in the dramatic thriller "Adverse", starring Mickey Rourke and Thomas Ian Nicholas can be seen now on digital and DVD. Shelley is an advocate for mental health, body positivity, and a huge lover of coffee and dogs.
Okay, again, I am so excited to have Shelly. So some of the things that we talked about that I'm really excited to dive into is the fact that Shelly is from the South. And someone from the South has a different understanding and relationship to mental health. I think that, you know, we talk a lot about how much our environment impacts our ideas around mental health, how we feel about mental health, how we feel about other people feeling sad, ourselves feeling sad. And we really dive into that today. Because of course, you know, she grew up in the South and then went to school in the South. And so she, for a very long time had a very different relationship to mental health than for example, I did. You know, I went to therapy since I was a kid. And I think that it was really incredible and very, very important for my own development and my own understanding of my feelings and my emotions and my place in the world. And that's not something that Shelly was able to do as a kid, even though maybe she wanted to. So we definitely dive into that as well.
Again, thank you for being part of the community. I love getting feedback. So please let me know what you think of this episode. Find us on Instagram, and be sure to follow along with Shelley as well, because she posts all sorts of fun little skits and always makes me smile whenever I see her pop up in my feed. And let's do this shall we. Without further ado, here's Shelley.
Shelley, thanks so much for being here.
And thank you for having me. I'm excited to be here.
Yeah, absolutely. So let's dive in. I mean, I was really excited to have you because we have talked before about mental health before. And I know that this is something that you're very passionate about, as well as I'm very passionate about. And because I want to just like jump right in, I've obviously told everyone you are from the Pitch Perfect franchise, everyone, you know, many, many amazing things. But you are I mean, not that Pitch Perfect isn't wonderful, but you're also so much more than that. And I would love to start with now and how you have processed this past year and COVID as an artist and what has come from that.
Yeah, I mean, gosh, what a year right? I - we can all attest to that. It's, you know, it's been crazy. I think there's been honestly, I'm still kind of processing throughout the year. And I've been very, very blessed to - I started, I went back to therapy in January of 2020. So then I was, you know, I was scared that I was gonna, we were gonna have to stop. And luckily through zoom and everything, I've been able to continue my sessions. And I think that's been a huge like, godsend because it really is helpful to just talk out with like, an unbiased person, like, what the hell is going on right now? And it's like, why am I feeling all these things? Like there's nothing to do. There's nothing to think about. Except to be with myself and my thoughts and my feelings, and that's a really, really scary place for a lot of people, myself included. But as a creative though, it's been wonderful and terrifying all at the same time. I have been on a journey of, you know, I came out to LA and I grew up my entire life performing, right, so I've always been the "out front. Let me sing for you. Let me entertain you" I'm an actor, actor first, you know what I mean? Like, that's what I know. That's my path. And when all of that goes away, You know it for years of my life, I've kind of defined myself or at least a good chunk of that as like, "Hi, I'm Shelly Regner. I live in Los Angeles. I am an actor, singer." That is what I am and what I do, and when that's just stripped, you're like, what? I don't know, you kind of have to sink or swim. That's how I felt about that.
And, you know, like, of course, there was like depression moments throughout all this. Like, there's moments where I was like, screw getting out of bed. I, what else is there to do? No one else is doing anything. Why do I need to try and achieve? There's no goals to be had. There's nothing going on. And that was kind of like, fun for a month, right? We're like, we were just like, like, the first month of quarantine felt like recess. Almost, like, because I live with, I live with three other people. And so, and we're all very, very busy. And like, you know, you live in a full house yet, you would never see each other. Except maybe in passing. And so all of a sudden, we all get to sit down and watch movies together or, you know, have a glass of wine or talk about what the hell's going on. Because like, we never get to see each other for this amount of time. But then after the fun, you know, like break ends, and it's still the same thing. And then it's nothing's new. And then oh, we have nowhere to go. What's next, and that was really the moment for myself, and with therapy in that of like, Okay, it's time to like, look in the mirror, it's time to discover who Shelley is. Outside of she acts, she sings, she is a performer. And that's where, like, period, you know what I mean? That's where that ends.
And so through this, I've actually like, created all these new definitions, these new desires of creating myself. You know, I wrote I wrote my first pilot during this time with my best friends out here. We would you know, do I call myself a writer? I don't know. But it's something that I can say I've done now, you know, I've all these new ideas that I was telling you before we hopped on but, you know, I'm obviously there's been a lot of wine drinking. I decided, oh, I want to I want to paint I used to sketch a lot. I was really good, like an art class in high school. I loved sketching and you know, drawing an object or something and I picked that back up and kind of forgot how that would make me feel. I remember distinctly when I was like 12 or something and Brittany, remember when Britney Spears was like super into fairies or something? And like the wings were the thing and I used to sketch that like, you know, her CDs here and I'm just gonna sketch what it looks like. Just discovering those things that like, remembering those childlike moments or like what fed you as a, as a kid before you had to worry about, you know, paying your rent and, you know, putting a face on to be this that or the other for everyone else.
And that was a huge that was a huge thing for me when, because I'm such a people pleaser at heart. And I also love, I'm just I feel like I have a very giving nature and I love - it's why I'm an entertainment. I love to make people laugh. You know, I love to allow people to escape whatever moment that they're attempting to escape for a minute. It's like, but look at that, but also let me be a light for you. And, and when that's not there, you're like, What? What is my role? If I can't be here for anybody else? And you, throughout this whole time, it's like, I've realized I've so neglected being there for myself, because I have put being there and being, you know, whatever that definition of something for another person is, at the forefront of my life.
And, and it's really, really hard. It's scary. It's difficult. It's very uncomfortable for me, Who put myself first in any capacity. And, but when you're kind of like, all you've got to, like, work with, especially in this year, and you're, you know, you've got two options, you can either dive full force into it, because you're looking in the mirror, and like, I'm spending the majority of the time with myself right now. Or you can go the other way and completely avoid it. And, you know, shove it down or, you know, sweep it under and just distract yourself and somehow but, you know, my, my thought process was, well, that's not going to help me or anybody else when they finally resume. I'm just gonna have all this extra baggage from a whole year, you know, with the baggage I already have. So you might as well do some work. Um, and it's been very, I mean, like a gambit of emotion. Freeing, relieving. terrifying. You know, expressive. I, you know, it's just everything. And I feel like I have come through and I feel like a completely different person to be honest. From the start of 2020, you know, to where we are now. And in the best of ways, you know, like, the next step is going to be like, how do we take this version that we learned to live with and work with and, and discover and bring her out into the world? Because, you know, my MO would be like, Great, let's try to step outside. And then we're like, oh, no, this is too scary!
Too much anxiety!
So much anxiety. Yeah. So that's kind of the full spectrum. I yeah, like, through this year.
Yeah, I, I want to compare it, or I would like to ask you about comparing it to being in a huge franchise, you know, film, world phenomenon and having that come out. Like the cycle, I'm sure that happens with something coming out. And then the period where you don't work, and then something coming out again, and then you know, like, there's already a cycle of, you know, depression and highs in that. And I wonder how, you know, that is related at all to this year? And if you know, if that's something you've thought about?
Definitely, it is. It's huge. I feel like, I mean, with any project, you know, however big or independent it could be, when you create a new family or something, because, you know, I come from live theater as well. It's like, I've been doing this since high school where you do three months of a show and then like everyone's crying because you don't get to see each other every single night, and the "Show-mances". And it is, and so there's, there's this like, postpartum depression that comes with it because and especially like, if you are a person that deals with anxiety and depression like myself, where any change in your schedule any even the minor adjustments are massive in my you know, internal trajectory. I it's so funny. I like I still to this day, don't understand how my calling is the entertainment industry, because as we know that industry is all over the place. There is no structure, there is no security, there is no schedule, you know, schedule's on schedule's off funding's on funding's off. I have no idea how - I just know, in my gut in my soul that like, I am supposed to do this, and I don't know if it's like God testing me. You know what I mean?
But um, I do I, it is sort of similar in a way, there is a comparison role where like finishing a project going, especially if you don't have anything coming up afterwards. And especially if you've been someone like myself, and I think a lot of people in the production world deal with this of like, when you define yourself, as a writer, as a producer, as an actor, as something where it's like, you feel I don't speak for anybody else. I feel alive and vibrant and valuable. And like, worthy when I am working. And I am not working, I feel like life is crap. And I'm not doing - I'm not living to my full potential, I am of no worth and no value because I am not doing I'm not in a job. You know? And what does that mean for myself? That means no one likes me enough to pick me to be in their job, you know what I mean? All these internal thoughts that you have about yourself when you're not working. And so even crossing over to now in a pandemic, where everything stops, it was a little bit easier to kind of be like, Well, everybody else isn't working so it's not that I suck, or it's not that I'm not good enough to not be working, the world stopped. And that was calming for me. But at the same time, I'm still not working. And so you know, I that that's the work I've had to do, where - How do I discover my value? How do I believe that I am of worth and of value at base? When I am an actor when I work when I have a paycheck coming in.
And that's really hard, especially as a complete society and world that over the last, what 80 years, we have learned that. We learned that from our parents, our parents learned that I'm sure from our grandparents that productivity equals value and worth. And you know, when you're past 10 years old, I think that's something that has been ingrained in us. And so that's really been the huge lesson in this last year alone. So yeah, and I take that, you know, I'm hoping to take that with me going forward. And I'm really appreciative that I've been able to, you know, create these new opportunities for myself - kind of be in the driver's seat, right? As an actor, or someone that's like, asking permission to play, I have never trusted myself enough to put myself in a position, like, I'm going to be the boss today. That's scary enough as it is, right? Especially like a person of anxiety, decision making is hard enough, you know, especially like, you've got more than three options. You're like, Oh, my God, what's the best option? What's the right code, I'm gonna make the wrong decision. Like, that's my internal mantra is like, I'm going to do something wrong. And I've really had to work through that, you know, for years, I'm still working through that. Because like, again, as actors as people in industry, you kind of live for the applause, which means I've done it well. Affirming the wrong thoughts. Right? Um, so yeah, I don't know if I've gotten off off the course of the question.
No, that totally makes sense. I'm, so I'm curious when it comes, because you mentioned schedule several times. And I'm curious, if, like how your schedule has deviated in the pandemic, and then if those are things that you can now take in order to y, try and move through the world and this new way? And I know that...
Yeah, my Yeah, my response would be like what schedule? I honestly, that's probably the number one thing, and that goes back to that thought process of valuing myself enough versus putting other people and other other schedules on the forefront. And I think this is something that honestly recently has come up for me. Because I'm a person like I'm a night owl. I'm not a huge morning person. As I'm, you know, getting older and growing with age, like I'm realizing like, I'm not 21 anymore. I don't, as much as I love to be up at night, like I was actually like doing things - I would I would like work out at 11pm.
Oh my god.
Oh yeah. I was like 10pm and past was like, my time to thrive.
Oh my god, it sounds like my worst nightmare.
Right? And, and now it's like I can still stay up all hours of the night. But the productivity rate that I used to have, when I was younger, I'm like no no no, Mama's gotta sit down and have her tea, turn on the Netflix. And that's what we're doing. And so I'm really - then you kind of wrap around your day. And if you're sleeping in a little bit closer schedule's in the nighttime, you really like - I'm really only having about three hours of like, solid productivity. And by productivity, I could mean like, Oh, I wanted to work out today, because working out is good for my brain and it's good for my body. I enjoy that. Oh, I needed to get some laundry done. Like, it doesn't have to be like, the end goal of anything.
Cuz you're solving all the world's problems.
Right? That's on a Thursday. But um, so, honestly, what has recently come up for me is understanding that I have normally, really my whole life, always been on someone else's time. You know, like, growing up, we went to school, my school started at 730 in the morning, and I just told you, I am not a morning person. And so it was like, I was always waking up for somebody else. And I hated it. I always had to be somewhere, you know, like, before I could drive when I could drive right throughout the entire course, then you get to college, and you can sort of make your own schedule, but you still have to get your credits in. And if that's at, you know, 8:30 in the morning, and they only offer that class, well, you got to be there or you're failing the course. And then cut to, then you get jobs and, and you're on a production schedule, or your shift schedule wherever you work. And so for me, it's just, I have literally always been on someone else's time. I am comfortable there. I thrive there. So then cut to this year where no one's got any time to be on. All I am is my own time. At this point I have absolutely no idea what that means. And I have - I'm still doing it. I mean, from March 2020 to, you know, almost end of April 2021. I am still like, what do I want my schedule to be? What do I want that to look like?
I have tried different things of like, Oh, cool. Well, what I used to do, but what I used to do is not working for Shelley now. So now I'm in this whole thing of like, I think I want - I think I want to try to wake up early, but I have no idea how to do that. When Shelly wants to wake up early, not when x y or z has told Shelly to wake up early. And so it's a very interesting process where it's like, I know, mentally I thrive on a schedule I thrive on... I mean, I think as human beings like, we thrive on habits and certain schedules. But for me, the biggest thing and I know this will be so foreign I'm sure too many people like, "What do you mean, she can't make her own schedule or like, get up by a certain time" and it's like, I that's something I am still working on and figuring out for myself. Because like, the moment you or somebody else is like, hey, I need you here at 5am, I'm there at 4:55. And got it. But the moment like I decide for myself, you know what Shelley's gonna wake up at 8am for the start of the day having a coffee, maybe get a workout in. Like, call your mom. All of a sudden, it's like 10:45 and I'm like still snoozing the alarm. And with all that, then comes this, like, guilt and shame package of like, well, you clearly aren't important enough to yourself to say to do what you say you want to do. And then it's this whole like, I call it the hamster wheel. I feel like that's basically what my mind does. Like, it just circles the same thoughts. And I'm the hamster on the wheel. Once those you know shameful thoughts of like, y'all you're not you can't do anything good for yourself or you're not good enough or you don't value yourself enough and it's all the enough thoughts. Right? Where it's, you know, and that's I talked about that in therapy all the time like, how do I want to I just want to get off the wheel or like can the wheel stop for like five minutes so that I can breathe? So yeah, that's, like work is standard for us with the schedule stuff.
That's definitely something that - because I'm, I'm also I'm very good at having a schedule, like really, really good at it. But I have now really - over this past few months, like really only in the past few months, like even like, early in the pandemic, for me, I was busier than I've ever been. And so for me, like I unfortunately, like, I never had a break, I felt like, you know, March 2020, my life went into overdrive because my, like day job, my marketing stuff was just so overwhelmingly busy that I feel like I'm working 80 hours a week. And so, and because everyone's like, they know that I'm home. So I'm now suddenly 100% accessible. And so that's been a whole new thing to try and manage. But in the past couple months, I've really allowed myself to give myself space for creative time, because it's so hard for me to set time aside from my day job for my, you know, what the thing that actually makes me want to get up in the morning. But the other part of it has been reminding myself that, like, if I wake up in the morning, and I want to, like stay in bed and read for an hour, like that's okay, because previously, I would have like, shamed myself so much that even if I read it would be, I would feel so much guilt. And I would feel so shitty about the fact that I just wanted to lay in bed and read. And now...
Yah doing something for yourself.
Exactly. I know. So now I've really just been like, Okay, I'm allowing this space to happen. And, and that's, and that's fine, which is I think the greatest gift for me this year for sure.
Sure. Sure. I know that's it's insane to even think about the fact that someone is, especially you, have like my quarantine kicked off busier than ever.And you know, like, it's so interesting. That's the thing that I'm thinking about because my, you know, my circle that I've been with, like we all stopped, we were all unemployed like, everything stopped. And but on the flip side, yes. How many people that are working remotely? And it's just ramped up? Because yes, now you're available all day. Now you're, and that's a huge, I mean, I deal with that myself, even without a, you know, a remote job of like, how do you - I consider my home like, or I try to consider it like a sanctuary, right? Especially my bedroom as well. Except my desk is also in my bedroom. So sanctuary is also work and is there's no you know, I'm sure so many people can relate to this this year of like, there is no division, there is no separation of work and you time or free time. Or you know, and so, how many people now have - I just feel for the people who maybe didn't know, they dealt with certain anxieties or had new anxieties come on, just in that idea alone of like, I can't get out of work mode or production mode, because I am literally in my quote unquote, "office" all day and night. At this point, I'm going to bed with probably email alerts coming up from X, Y, or Z. And so like, how do you - it is it's even, you know, so as simple as, as an idea of like, creating "you time". To be able to implement that, especially like, so I'm just an avid fan, like God bless the people who are like, I love working from home. I'm like, no, no, no. I would love to have a separate space. Because that's, you know, my mind needs to compartmentalize all of that right. Now, the gym is at home, and I love a good home workout. But sometimes you just kind of go and like what I that's over here today. And when I come home, I can just cook or, you know, hang out watch TV and actually, you know, relieve the stress from your shoulders and your mind. It is, it's so many different lessons for so many different people this year.
Definitely.Yeah. So I want to go back to your upbringing because you grew up in the South. And I'm curious. I mean, of course...
I'm one of the good ones. I swear.
I can verify that. I mean, of course, things have changed in mental health. I mean, over the years, you know, definitely like I know that I grew up my stepsister was or is bipolar. And I know that like my my understanding of bipolar then is I mean, I was also a child, but still on my understanding of bipolar now is, you know, vastly different. But I'm, I'm just curious, have you really experienced, you know, what your experience was as a child when it comes to anxiety and depression? And then how, if any, growing up in the South that impacted that?
Oh, sure. Oh, my goodness, yeah, this is where we were like, do we have enough time? It was, you know, I, I will share my parents divorced when I was about nine years old. And so that's really, it's interesting that I'm only like, now in my 30s, am I fully understanding that impact, because when I was told it was just kind of, like, you know, as a nine year old, you really only know, you know, a nickel sized version of the world. And I wasn't even, like, upset when my parents told me, they were like, mommy and daddy are gonna now live in different places. And, and they were like, we're here. And if you want to talk about it... and I was like, I want to watch TV in my room, thanks, like bye. And just didn't understand. Because I didn't have the capacity to. And so I was expressing, like, my anxiety came out, I was having panic attacks every single night. And what my panic attacks formed into, were the thoughts like, I always thought I was gonna die. I know, I would wake up in the sweats. I was nauseous, I felt sick. Like, my brain was so overloaded and overwhelmed, I had no idea what was going on, that I would scream at the top of my lungs. And I'm a singer. So like, and I, it just, the feeling wouldn't stop so much that I was like, this is it. You know, and I think from like, 10 years old to 12 years old, I was having two years of every single night doing this, and God bless my parents of like, they never - I have an older sister, and I'm so I'm the baby. And she didn't deal with this. She had anxiety in her own way. But I was the first in my family to really have this type of any panic attacks, and no one knew.
So of course, as a child, now, I'm internalizing this as like, something is clearly wrong with me. I'm not normal. And no one knows how to help me. And I don't, and I'm a kid, so I don't know how to help myself. And, you know, then you go to school, and it's like, no one's talking about this. No one knows what this is. And when I was in like, sixth grade, I finally told my mom, it was like, fourth grade, when they divorced, sixth grade, I was like, Mom, I think I would like to talk to somebody. And she will always tell me, she's like, you're always like, the most mature soul. Like, you know, and I must have gotten the idea from her. I think she would like, if you want to speak to anyone, that's not mommy, that is completely okay and let me know. And I will say, I really appreciate my mother for encouraging that. I, she's always been a person that's like, you know what, if we don't know how to do something, let's seek a professional to know how to do something. And that's just kind of across the board. And, and so, like, therapy is always been in my life. I've been in therapy since I was 11, or 12 years old.
But growing up in the South, like, let's layer that on, where everything is about presentation and appearance. And I was always I was actually a very shy child. And so I was praised a lot for being like, so well behaved. And she's just so quiet. Oh, she's so pretty and quiet. And that's really a great attribute for women in the South. And so then, you know, cut to and I think that's sort of why I got into theater because it was my permission to be loud and expressive, and everything that I kind of already was, yeah, already was but was told, I'm not really supposed to be out in public. Um, and so I think, you know, again, it's like, I'm sort of still unpacking that. And this time, even though I've been in therapy my entire life - or I will say, you know, it was like, a good 10 years and my young adult life - I basically did like, a 10 year off period, because in your 20s, you're like, I am invincible.
I am perfect.
No, problems, but then you're 30 and you're like, yeah, maybe you don't have it all figured out. But you know...
Have you seen the same therapist throughout all of that or different?
Well, so throughout my, my adolescence I did see the same therapist and I loved her, but I think it was really just, you know, it's like... I honestly, I'm still I don't know if I'm slightly bitter about this, but like, I was dealing with anxiety and panic attacks and depression at the same time I was dealing with, like, puberty and hormones. And like, just wanting a boy to like me. And so it was just like, it was like, the worst. Like, let's be honest, it was the worst. You know, and I was a chubby kid, and like, and I had braces and all makes you feel a certain way about yourself. And like, I wasn't the cheerleader. I was like, the, you know, the theater nerd. But I felt like, except no one wanted to date me, you know, just all this stuff. And then you'd like, and then I go home and have a panic attack. It was like, I just can't get away from myself. You know? Um, and, and then, but again, like with the South add on, everything happening inside of me. The story I was telling myself was like, that is not acceptable to present to your community, you know, the church, even your family, because what I would watch my family do, you know, like, my sister - I would be like, I'm having obsessive thoughts, or, you know, I can't I just, I'm just feeling depressed, and because she didn't really understand what that meant. It would be like, well, stop. Stop thinking about it.
Feel better. Yeah, just be happy.
And you're like, Oh, you know, as a 13 year old, you're like, Okay, well, she's mad at me, because I'm annoying. And they don't know how to deal with me. And then, like, I watched my mom feeling so helpless, and just trying her best. But as an adolescent, I'm internalizing that as like, I'm a problem. She hates me because I can't just be normal. And my poor dad, like has his own anxiety that he'll never admit to. But he's didn't know, like, he had no idea what to do. So he'd be like, you want to go to your room and color. Let's just watch some TV. And it's just like, I think all I needed was like, just hold me and hug me and help me know that it's gonna be okay. And I'm not gonna die today. And, you know, and I'm sure, like, if anyone's listening to this, that doesn't quite understand that side of that world of mental health. It sounds very, like dramatic, right? It's, I think it's probably I'm, like hearing myself and be like, Wow, what a dramatic child, you know, or something like that? I could, I could see that being someone's thought where it's like, but no, but when you don't understand your thoughts, or your feelings, or what internally is trying to process through your worldview, which is very limited in that moment. And then when you're also especially in the South, being told how to act how to and, and that's not just in the South, that's really unfair. But, you know,
It is ingrained in the society.
And it's definitely ingrained of like, you know, especially as a young woman, right, especially as a young lady. You know, things are very expected of you of like, it's just that it's a lot of shame, it's a lot of shame. And that's across the board in the South. You know, and like, you've got people in your school or in the church or in the, you know, the people that are supposed to be like very loving and caring that like, but but, you know, once they leave, we'll just kind of have a little chat over here about like, did you see...will judge and wikl shame. And, look, I'm not saying I'm not guilty of that either, I lived in that. But, again, all that to to just go back to my experience of like, I think I just had, you know, and that's what I'm talking about in therapy right now. She was like, I think you were just a very sensitive, very emotional child that didn't know how to express that. And when you tried to it was shut down a little bit, because no one else really knew how to accept that or experience it, whether that was their own issue, or that this was a completely new experience for them.
You know, and I will say, it's like, obviously, that's the only reality that I know. So I'm very grateful for it in my life now, and I've learned so much, how to be who I am and still learning how to trust myself. You know, now newly processing, my past experiences, but I will also say that like, as far as I know, you know, I don't really know if any of my friends were dealing with any anxieties or issues themselves. I felt like I was the first you know, of my world, I felt like I was, or at least the first to experience like this severity. Because I, before experiencing them now I never knew what a panic attack was. I never knew, that was not in my experience, no one ever told me about that I had never seen anything in media or storybooks about that. So it's like, yeah, no wonder I thought I was gonna die I had no idea what that was. And, and so it's really that that's something difficult as a kid. When you're just like you, you've had no preparation for anything like that. And so you're just kind of like, navigating yourself blindly almost.
It's also such a unique experience, especially for kids,
Especially for kids, and I, you know, it's it. It's hard to not internalize that, negatively, you know what I mean? Because, like, especially as kids, we live in such a comparison society, and all you're trying to do is be like the cool girl or, you know, get this guy to like, look your way up, you know, when you pass in the locker hall and yet, like, you're dealing with something so traumatic, and, and adult. You know what I mean, and I, so in a way, I feel like it helped me grow up quicker, in a more and more like a mature mind. Um, I don't know. So balancing that to have like, I'm just trying to be a kid, but I'm dealing with like something so far off of a child spectrum, that like, I just, I hope and pray you know, I would never wish that on anyone, adult or child. Where it's like, again, like I said, your worldview is so small at that point. How do you not feel a certain way about yourself?
Yeah, it's so it's so fascinating, because, like, talking to all my friends about mental health stuff, especially with this interview series, I'm like, realizing things about my about myself as I'm talking to people. And, and something that just hit me that I'm like, oh, man, I really need to talk to my therapist about, is the fact that like, I mean, my parents divorced when I was five. And, for me, I think I had very similar anxiety to you as far as like, I was deathly afraid of death and of dying, and of, I mean, I would go down set like cycles for weeks. And I ended up to the point where I remember talking to someone about it, and they, they were saying how, like, you just you there really is a cycle as far as like how you process death. And, and like how as, as a child, you kind of realize those things about yourself. But but with my sister, she had really, she she had an eating disorder, eventually, but also like, just really intense food issues and and it's just, it's so and I'm very grateful for the fact that I also saw therapist when I was a kid, I saw an art therapist for like, many, many years, which I love that crucial for me. Um, but it's so easy to see how, without that support system, how quickly and I mean, this is why like, suicide is one of the, you know, highest things that is a is a problem for kids. And that's and it's so hard, but it's also so easy to see why that happens, when you really are trying to like find your place in the world. And you then additionally, like are losing your family support system, and, you know, just not knowing where to fit in. And it's, um, it's really, yeah, there's just, there's just so much there. And I know the other thing that I realized about myself was was the fact that I've never really, like, I've always been the adult, like, I was the older sister. And so you know, throughout the divorce throughout, I mean, and my parents divorce kind of went on for like, years and years and years. And so like, throughout all of that, I was always the parental figure. And even in my marriage, I was the parental figure, like I was the - I've been the parental figure up until pretty much this last - until COVID. And in COVID I was finally like, Wait a second. Like, I'm my own boss, and I don't have to boss anyone else. Like I can, you know, I can, you know, eat chocolate at 10 in the morning if I want to and he read you know, like, you think I'm gonna like, say something ridiculous and I say chocolate at 10 in the morning, but welcome to Deborah slowly breaking out of my shell. But yeah, I mean, it's, it's so it's so interesting when you give yourself permission to, to like actually, like live your best life without putting restrictions on yourself.
Yeah. And without shaming yourself about that. And it's so interesting to hear you talk about that one, I constantly forget that you were married. Yeah, it would make total sense of like, if you learn that early on, of being a parental figure and the pressures that come with that as a child, the mindset and internalization as a child to do that, and how, without even knowing it, how that crosses over and to your relationships and into your, maybe your work life, just as you grow into adulthood, where you bring all that with you of like, if you don't stop and look at that, and it's like, and it's up, no one wants to look at that. No one wants to look, or go back or go or relive the thing that you've been trying to avoid you know, and, and I think that's a huge tidbit. I guess I don't even know, it's like a lesson because I'm still learning it. It's a constant lesson. My whole MO is always like, avoiding a bad feeling. I never want to feel negative. I never, let's be happy. Let's you know, just feel joy. I don't want to feel angry. I don't wanna feel mad. I don't like those feelings. I don't like how I feel with those feelings. But exept, oh, wait, that's part of being human. And I really don't have control over not feeling that. And I think I've always tried to, it's the idea of like, oh, what I'm really trying to avoid is, whatever the past situation that made me feel that way.
And what's interesting, kind of when you talk through it, it's like, you're actually never going to feel that particular feeling of that moment again. And you might feel twinges, you might, you know, because it's still within you, and if it's unresolved, especially, but like, you are never going to fully have that immersion. And so you're actually trying to avoid something that's like not really ever going to be experienced again. And all that to say where it's like, I don't know if that helps me or hurt, you know what I mean? It's like, I tried to say that in a more freeing thought process to be like, Great, so we can do it, like you're strong, you can do it. But at the same time, it's like nice though, I just still don't want to do it, you know, doing the work is really, really hard. And like, consistency is a big thing that I have to constantly be on top of for myself, you know, I can... I except for bad habits I can sit in bad habits all day. But trying to you know, do the things that I know are good for me good for my mind, my mental health, my soul to keep implementing that to keep showing up. And, you know, because I always think like, it's going to be harder than it is or I build up this anticipation of, you know, and I'll just bring it down to being like, oh, working out, like I want to work out. I love working out. It makes me feel strong, it gives me endorphins. Like, I feel more productive in my day after I do it. And but like, before I actually show up and do it. My mind is like, it's going to be so hard. You're not you're not going to be perfect at it. So like, are we really gonna try and do this today? It's gonna take way too long. Is it like all these thoughts to be like, and I will stew in them. I will sit there. And if I've got like an open day, I'll be like, you know what, you're right. Like, I give so much power. And we all do. We give so much power to those like naysaying voices. They're just like, it's just ughh... and then you actually do it and you get done with it. And you're like, Oh, I actually knocked that out of the park. It wasn't as hard as I thought it was going to be or it was telling me that I was going to be. It didn't take that long, and I've got the rest of my day to go. But no matter how many times I can do that. Those thoughts still come up. And it's like it's a constant battle. I think that's something...
Yeah I ws going to say it's interesting that you said about how like, you that you feel like you're like one of the voices in your head is saying like, you're not going to be good enough at it. So like, don't even try. That's a very, like, I've never had that as, as far as exercise. I've never had that voice in my head as far as exercise.
Oh, I love that. Give me your thoughts.
With exercise? I mean, for me, it's, um, for me, I have to actually, for me, it's again about taking breaks. So for me, I will exercise twice a day for you know, like, I'm kind of training for a marathon right now. I'm not like I have, I have zero desire to actually run a marathon. But I just like started a marathon training program, like just because. Which is fun. But it's also like, the the the bad thing for me is that like, once I put myself on a schedule, especially when it comes to training, that if I can't fulfill that thing, then I automatically shame myself. Or like, the voice in my head is like you like, how can you think that you're going to be a household name and a famous actor one day, if you can't even show up for a 30 minute run? Like what is wrong with you. You know, but it's so interesting, all of the different voices. But it all relates to like self care.
Yeah, I find it funny that probably your course of action to avoid that voice is - so I better get up and do it so that I don't feel XYZ and...
I better get up and do it twice. I better like, you know, have two exercises that day that way. Yeah.
And so when I do is I don't even start. Where I'm like, well, you're never you know what, if you mess up once, then you're a failure. And you and you didn't do it perfectly. And so you know what, to avoid the potential that you could miss that one time. We just won't do it. And like, and I and that's an active struggle with myself daily that I am. I really have to work through you know, I don't know, I hope that gets easier for me. Um, you know, it's like, it's like riding a bike where I'm sure the more you do it, it obviously becomes a little more natural and inherent to you. But at this moment, it is an active thought for me to be like, you know what, you don't have to be perfect applaud yourself for showing up today. And if you don't show up tomorrow, you have an opportunity to show up the next day. And not shame yourself and not give up. And, and it's like, I don't know, it's weird. It's like some things - that's super easy for me to- to accept. And then in other parts of my life, I'll be like, No, no, no, we just, we're just not doing it. No, not good enough. Not No. And so I'm really I'm trying to - and it's funny, I actually, my best friend who I wrote my pilot with, I was talking to her last night. And she was telling me, you know, we were a little tipsy. And she was telling me, it's just something about where it's like, the way people view you versus how you view yourself. Yeah. And she was like, Shelley, I just, you're such an inspiration to me, because I see you, you know, like, walking to the edge of the cliff every day. Like you're trying. You try at everything, you try to, you know, grow and you try to, you know, pursue this action or do this thing in your life. And you do, but you're always trying. Yeah, it's just so inspiring to me that helped me want to try more. And like, She's like, the most inspirational, like she's a fitness instructor, super type A so like, she's always on top of her schedule and her stuff. And she's got a million things in her day where I'm like, No, you are the one that like, killed it on a daily basis and stuff. But it's just so funny that I just, I'm being applauded just for trying. Yet I can't
It's special. And but I'm looking at myself and like, and judging my value and worth and, you know, gold star spectrum on the achievement. Not even on that list. Mm hmm. Yeah. And I was like, Wow, what a blessing to get that kind of encouragement and feedback and reminder, right like, you know what? You get to applaud yourself too just for trying and showing up. And you know, it's so I just wish, I wish we could be less hard on ourselves. Yeah, it would make a lot of stuff easier. Or at least, like, less crap to sift through. Yeah, I mean, I think we are so much always in our own way of whatever the thought is, you know, so.
So I mean, with your, with your clear love and attention on mental health. I'm curious how you intend to bring that subject matter into your future work.
Oh, gosh, I would love to I, so in terms of like, the pilot that I'm writing right now is, you know, it's a very it's called GRITS stands for "girls raised in the South". Yeah. And, you know, it's still a work in progress, getting it, hopefully up to being a work in production. But it's something like it's loosely based on myself and my partner Caitlin's upbringing, we're both from the south, we both live in LA, and we're kind of painting this picture in a comedy lens of the differences in life that you you know, bringing one set of rules and dynamics into a big, you know, metropolis, diverse city, and you know, action and go that is, you know, craziness ensues. But my character, obviously, loosely based on myself, has a huge, you know, characteristic of anxiety. And so I really, am excited to paint that picture, because I honestly forget that in our society still that mental health is a stigma. Just because it's been so prevalent and so open in my life, for majority of my life, that I have no qualms no shame, like, no thoughts on sharing that about myself or talking about this, or spreading the awareness like, and I forget that, like, majority of the people still don't, or it's it is there's a stigma attached to it. And so I'm, I am really excited to try and present that, whether it be my own work or helping someone else tell their story.
You know, I'd see various breakdowns that I see, I'm actually very attracted to anything, anyone trying to tell a story of any type of mental health. Because there's so much. I mean, even you were you brought up like eating disorders. People don't even understand that eating disorder is mental health. I mean, like different - I myself dealt with that, you know, for, you know. Hey, it's Los Angeles. If we all haven't like, but being part of mental health, that was something I didn't realize myself of when I was struggling with this, but didn't at all correlate it to my mind. But yeah, I definitely want to bring that in whatever capacity I can. Whether it be a story that I create, and have other people present, or something that I myself put in the forefront, but also with, you know, social media being so huge right now. And that's a whole other topic, obviously, dealing with mental health, and especially in like today's youth. You know, we didn't grow up with that. And I honestly couldn't imagine having Instagram or any of this in my adolescent life. So I really, my heart like is with anyone under 18. God bless you. Yeah. Talk to me if you need to.
Well, how do you like as a, you know, you've got like, a fair following on Instagram. How do you craft the, like, personal story that you put out there?
Yeah. You know, it's funny, I, again, kind of my upbringing, I used to think Instagram was like, Well, you'd have to, I mean, as we all did, the highlight reel, I must look, this way and dah dah dah. And people are still doing that, I believe. But I also fully feel that like what you have in your feed, who you follow, influences what you are also putting out there and so I follow a lot of those accounts that like debunk the social media myths of like, this is not what bodies look like this is a filtering and this is reality and stuff versus reality kind of thing. And I love that I really, I love that like so many people are broadcasting their experiences. And sharing or creating a community. I think that's a cool thing that I've seen, where I think we all got on Instagram, or Facebook or whatever you started with to be the like, let me show you. And here's my show off in my highlight, and I really appreciate the people who are creating a community in a space to be like, here is a family that I have created. Come join me. This is my platform to talk about, you know, trans issues, talk about LGBTQ you know, life that like, if you identify as this and you don't have a support system, I am here for you. You know, same with mental health or fitness, where it's like, Hey, girl, I see you out there and you don't have to have a six pack because neither do your killing it.And I just think that's so important. And so for me, I don't know, I've also I have a really, really hard time with anything inauthentic. And so myself on my social media platform, I like I've even done, you know, I'll be like, Oh, I should probably post something today. You know, it's been X amount of days, and I got to keep up. But yet again, that's still the thought process of I'm, I have to show up for everybody. And I'm like, well, if that doesn't sit with me in a true place, then you don't have to. And if you have something to share, share it. You know, I'm always going to present something in a comedic form. Yeah, it's authentic to me. You know, like, I honestly, I feel the most vulnerable and uncomfortable and I'm like, being genuinely sincere. Like, I can't, I can't even look my sister in the eye and be like, I love you. Like, I have to be like, I love you, you stupid, stupid person. Like, and like I can't say it in a real like genuine. Cuz like I could get hurt. Don't hurt me. You know, even though like your my sister, you're never gonna hurt me like so yeah, I, again, my gosh, this whole thing is like a rambling thing. I obviously know...extended length about anything, where I've been doing that lately. I'm like, What was the question?
No, I think you answered answered it perfectly.
I answered it, and then some.
It's fantastic. I love it so much. I love your rambles. So, okay, final question. I ask everyone. Yeah, um, so obviously, more than you see is about the masks that we wear, it's about taking off those masks and allowing your friends and family and people who you want to be vulnerable with to allow yourself to be vulnerable. And I'm curious if you want to share anything that you are working on that is currently hidden behind a mask that you're currently processing?
Huh. Oh, wow, that's a deep one. You know, I think what a lot of people would be surprised to understand about where to find out about me is that I'm, I deal with a lot of insecurity. You know, about things that I'm sure other people would think are the silliest issues. But, you know, it's, but it's very human I, I constantly struggle with not being good enough of really anything. At being a friend, being a family member, being in my field, looking a certain way for my partner. All these things that are very human, but I know that Shelley with the mask presents herself very confidently and very, you know, chest out, shoulders back. Oh, she must not deal with anything that I think about myself. And the truth of the matter is I deal that I probably deal with that more often than anything else. And you know, and that's my work and I really appreciate that question. That's really cool. Cuz I do I think that's part of that authenticity that I try to present but honestly, I'm scared to put out there. Because especially as a sort of, you know, public persona and public figure, people want to see you in a specific box. People don't want to see your dirty. People don't want to see your opinions. They want to see you and what they are comfortable to see you as. And I feel very comfortable to be that for other people. But I think sometimes that does come at a cost to yourself. And I think that's a lot of that work that I'm doing right now. Where, how do I stay true to myself while trying to you know, be something for someone else, or...and maybe that is like, maybe the honest truth of that is I don't - and I think I said this in one of my social posts - I was like, I don't have to be anything for anyone. And that's okay. You know, and like, you know, no one else lives with me 24 seven of the day. And so I've got to like me, more than enough to then be able to, like, show up for everyone else who wants to see me or watch me do the thing I do well. Yeah. So thank you for that question.
Yeah, great answer. These answers have been so awesome. Shelly authentically, let me just tell you, I just think you're such a ray of sunshine. And I'm so honored that you came on here and I'm so glad that we met through mutual friends,.
I know. I tell everyone. I boast about you so much. I feel the exact same way about you. I you know, and you're just you're killing it. I agree. I'm so happy that we've connected in the last few years and been able to grow our relationship and I'm so excited to be here.
Yeah, anytime you want to come back.
on your on your podcast. I, girl you open that door. I might.
You are welcome to, we're gonna like have a whole Shelly series all about mental health in the South. It's gonna be great.
I love it. That's right. Let's like pour our tea, sweet tea. And dish about mental health in the South.
Yeah, that sounds great. Thanks, Shelly.
You're welcome. Bye.
Okay, y'all, what did you think? I've got a little southern drawl going. I really hope that you enjoyed that episode as much as I did. I know that Shelly and I could have talked for hours about mental health. And as you heard her say, she would love to come back in the future. So if you want, you know, Shelly to return in the future, I'm sure that I can, you know, get her back on. And we can talk about all sorts of other topics around mental health.
Again, I want to say a huge thank you to my editor, Jen, and to you all the community. I have built this podcast for you. And it just really makes me happy when I hear how much it resonates with you all.
So surprise, next week is actually our final episode of the season. And then we are going to be taking a little bit of a break. So next week, we're going to do another little mini episode debriefing some of the really incredible topics that we talked about, on this episode. And then as I said, we're gonna have a little bit of a break. But I always am adding more resources and tidbits to both Instagram and the website. So be sure that you check that out, all of the links to that is in the show notes.
Please remember to be kind to yourself this week, to give yourself a little bit extra grace. There's a lot that's going on in the world right now. And I think there's a lot of anxiety that's rising again with different things that are happening. So be sure to you know, give yourself a little bit extra space and time if that's something that you need. Please remember that you and everyone around you is more than you see. Thank you so much for listening. I look forward to seeing you for the season finale next week.