Hello, everyone, thank you so much for joining me for another episode and the last episode of season two of the More Tha You See podcast, hosted by me, actor, filmmaker, mental health advocate, Deborah Lee Smith.
Every Monday, at least this one, and then he got away in a couple months for the next one, 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 and welcome. As I said it's the season finale, episode of season two of the More Than You See podcast, I am so excited that we have had such a wonderful season. We've had some incredible conversations with actors, filmmakers, health experts, nutritionists, so many different magical people. And I'm so honored that each of them came and shared their journey with us all. And I'm really excited for all of the things that I'm going to be sharing with you in the future.
So just so you know, I'm not going anywhere, I'm just taking a little bit of a mental health break myself. And today, I actually want to talk about one of the things that I've learned about myself, my biggest takeaway when it comes to my own mental health. And that's really what I want to talk to you all today. Because the whole reason that I created this podcast, and the whole reason that I created More Than You See was because I was, as I say in the intro exploring my own mental health journey, and I really wanted to share my experiences with you all and with the community. And as I continue to learn about myself, I want to share those little nuggets of advice with you all.
And so the thing I want to come back to today is to talk about purpose, and the importance of purpose. And the reason that I want to talk about that is because I think that sometimes when everything is just so topsy turvy as it is right now, with the pandemic, with going back to school in a couple of weeks for all of those kiddos out there, there's so many, you know so much that we can't control. And, you know, the one thing that you always, you know, hear people say is that the one thing that you can control is yourself. But what does that actually mean? Because in a lot of ways you I mean, yes, sure, you can control the way that you react to things, but I think the thing that has helped me the most with my mental health, is to define what is my purpose and to put my energy into that thing.
And, you know, for example, I have a very wonderful, sometimes finicky very moody dog Phineas, and he has been one of my greatest tools when it comes to my mental health. And one of the reasons for that is because every day, if he is with me, he adds so much purpose to my life, because I have this creature that is relying on me to give him food, water, and some you know, love and go and walk him. And I know that those may seem like tiny little things. But sometimes, that's all that you can actually manage for yourself. Some days, all you can really manage to do for yourself is to feed, walk, drink water, and give yourself a little bit of self love. Sometimes that's all you can manage. And that's okay. And I know that I have learned so much about myself watching this creature explore the world. And I know that whenever I have the opportunity to have kids in the future that that is also something that I look forward to, just because I think that sometimes we get so focused on the minutia, on the you know, pushing ourselves into something bigger and greater and, and have all of these ideas about what our life is going to be. And sometimes we just need to take it back to the basics what is one thing that you can do for yourself today or for this creature for someone or something that relies on you.
I think that that's why, you know, they say that so many, you know, times when you work for a nonprofit, or if you, you know, volunteer your time, if you do something to help someone else, that it actually helps you a million times more. And the reason for that is because you are, you know, doing something selfless, but it's also because you're putting your time and attention on to something else. You're putting your attention on an external purpose and I think that there's a real value in that. I know that at the beginning of the pandemic, well, actually, let me backtrack.
I know that when I was going through my, you know, deepest depression, at least up to this point that I talked about in the first episode of the podcast - for me, the thing that really helped pull me out of that was not only walking with my dog every day, but also finding something greater than myself to put my time and attention into. Because I knew or I just had this feeling that once I kind of, like I don't want to say distracted myself, because it was very important for me to feel all of the feelings that I was feeling, was very important for me to process all of the grief that I was going through at that point. But there was also something so valuable about me just taking some time every day, to put my attention into something that would help someone else. And I'm certainly not putting any sort of pressure on anyone else. If you're listening to this, and you're like, I can't do anything else for any - I can't do anything for anyone else, because I can barely help myself right now. That's okay. If that is the space that you're in right now, then I am with you and I empathize with you. And we are here for you. But if there is, but but I guess my my main point, and this is, again, this you know, podcasts just about my experience and the experience of others, I know that for me, the thing that has really helped me is finding that purpose in my day, in my goals in general.
And so, you know again, going back to the beginning of the pandemic, I know that with that I was also feeling so lost and frightened. And, you know, we were all going through so much collective trauma at that point. And I know the thing that really helped me get through those first few months of the pandemic was organizing the digital art show for MoreThan You See. And if you missed it, it was, um, you know, May is Mental Health Month and so not this May, but the previous May, I reached out to hundreds of artists all over the world and ask them if they wanted to submit a piece to More Than You See, and share their story about what this piece meant to them as far as how it related to their own mental health. And the response was overwhelming.
I had so many people who reached out who wanted to be a part of this digital art show. And it wasn't just because they wanted to connect, connect with the community. It was really because they wanted to share their stories. And for me, that was the thing that really gave me purpose and drive and honestly, a bit of sanity at the beginning of the pandemic. And I know that through the ups and downs that we've all had over the past year and a half, every time I feel like I'm starting to flail, every time I feel like I'm spiraling or feeling like I'm going into some kind of depression, I kind of look at how I'm spending my days and how I'm spending my time and I try to figure out if I'm doing enough to help others, and if I'm doing enough to focus on my purpose in life, because oftentimes when I'm not, that's when I am, you know, in my head too much or start being more self critical or shaming myself for things like we can be so hard on our hard on ourselves - so hard. And it's, that's a lot of social conditioning, that we are all I hope trying to deconstruct through things like this podcast through, you know, incredible books, other podcasts, etc. But I think the thing is, is that oftentimes when I feel like I do have that purpose that's outside of me, it really reminds me that there's this greater world out there that I'm trying to do what I can to connect with, and to help others as much as I can.
So I hope that that is potentially something that resonates. with you. I know that last week I talked about the idea of not being defined by our jobs by our identity not being shaped so much by our jobs because I think myself included, I definitely get into that trap of feeling like my job is the most important thing in the world. And I'm really trying to learn that balance of identifying that it isn't and that there's other things that are important in my life as well. And I think that this relates as well with the homework that assignment that I gave last week was the idea of writing down 10 things about you that don't have to do with your job, and 10 things that you're good at that doesn't have to do with your job, like, you're a great bowler, you're a great friend, you make wonderful brownies, you're make incredible cocktails, whatever it is. Obviously, I'm hungry, everything's related to food. But you know, whatever it is, I think that it's really important to identify those things.
And I think that, again, when you look at purpose, I think that it's so important to identify some different things in your life that light you up. And to remember to go back to those things. And again, it could be something like walking your dog, it could be something like baking those brownies and giving them out to your neighbors. Whatever it is, whatever lights you up, and, and allows you to give back to the community in some way, or give back to your family or touch base with your friends. You know, that's what being a part of this community is all about. And that's what a human being is about is, you know, connecting with others in this greater way. And, as I you know leave you all over the next couple months, please know that I am here for you all. I am going to try and be very active on the Instagram, going to be sharing all sorts of resources resharing some of the incredible art from the from the art show, touching base with some of our past guests and talking about, you know, their updates and how everyone else is doing.
And again, it just goes back to figuring out what is driving us. What is the thing that is getting us through our days? Because sometimes that's all we can do. All we can do is just get through another day, and then get through the next day and then get through the day after that. And I think that sharing whatever that thing is that's driving you through that day, whatever purpose you have that is driving you through, I think it's really valuable to share those things as well, because it's just another version of a resource. And it's just another way that we can all learn together grow together, be inspired by each other. And you know, that's really all that we can ask for.
Again, I am here for you all, I'm going to miss you all. Please be sure over this hiatus that you take a second to rate review, subscribe to the podcast, it really means a lot. And it would just make my whole life. It would give me a lot of purpose. Also, as I've said on a couple of past episodes, I do have a quiz up on the website right now. So if you have any comments, feedback about this podcast, I would love for you to share your feedback with me so that I can just make this podcast better and better. I have some really good I think crazy, but some really cool ideas about where I want to go with More Than You See in the future, and I would love for you all to be part of it. So please let me know if there's anything that I can do to support you.
Please remember to be kind to yourself over the next months, and I really look forward to chatting with you all when we return for season three. Thank you everyone so much for listening. It has been a true honor to share the space with you. I look forward to seeing you in a couple months. Please be kind to yourself. And remember that you and everyone around you is more than you see. I'll see you soon.