The Symptoms of Withdrawal: What to do once Filming is Wrapped?

Hello, my name is Lipica, and I am a work-a-holic.

If this past month is any indication, I THRIVE on having a schedule so full I have to start writing in my planner sideways, in the margins, in itty-bitty script. I can’t wait to wake up to a call sheet in my inbox, dictating how I’ll be spending my day. I’m totally fine with working through new lines on the subway, squished between a baby carriage and a business-type on his e-Reader. And at day’s end, I look forward to unlocking my apartment door, after climbing all six flights of stairs, and collapsing into bed, having had barely enough energy to rid my face of that day’s set makeup. I. LOVE. IT.

Waking up every morning to go to set, especially for Oh, Sophia, which I’ve looked forward to since the idea for the screenplay was tossed around years ago, was such a treat! I mean, my job all month was basically to live my dream…and I really don’t have words to describe how wonderful it was to work with such an open, talented, trusting cast and crew. So I’m not even going to try. I will say that I am beyond proud of the work I did and the products we achieved. I truly feel like I challenged myself every day – and met that challenge head on – and I think I deserved the incredible sense of accomplishment I felt at the end of each work day. It was like walking on water, day in and day out.

The problem is…the month is over. We wrapped on production last weekend. I woke up on Monday without an alarm clock, to an inbox devoid of a call sheet. I felt strangely rested and I wondered, frantically, whether I’d overslept. A quick glance at my planner confirmed that there was no actual, pressing need to get out of bed. My planner just stared back at me. Blank. Those empty “to do” lines printed on the white whiteness of the Monday box were awful.

I rolled over and pulled the covers over my head again. What was the point?

Around 1pm I dragged myself into the bathroom, splashed some cold water on my face, and forced myself to look in the mirror. So. This is what it looks like: a blank, glassy stare, bed-head like tumbleweed, depressions in skin where bedsheets left their mark, chapped lips, jaw and cheeks completely slack (after all, there’s no need for tension)…I’ve never felt the NEED of addiction, but this is what I imagine withdrawal is like. It’s depressing.

The rest of that Monday is kind of a blur: I’m sure I ate – though, because I’ve been sustaining myself with set food and crafty all month, my fridge resembled Old Mother Hubbard’s cupboard more than, well, a fridge. I’m fairly certain I didn’t shower (what’s the point?). And I probably watched way too many episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I take it back, there is no such thing as too much Buffy.

I do know that all day I was plagued with thoughts of “what now?” and nightmares (daymares?) of the dreaded blank whiteness of the Tuesday block in my planner. I tore through the bookshelves looking for Buffy: Season 2.

Later that night, when Eric came home, he found me sitting on the couch, still in pajamas, with a jar of Nutella in one hand and crackers in the other. I remember looking up at him, sound gear in tow from the gig he just wrapped on for the night, and feeling so incredibly envious that HE didn’t have a blank Monday to greet him when he woke up. Or a Tuesday. He just stared back at me in disbelief. And then he started rummaging through the Old Mother Hubbard cupboards.

I sat there, wallowing in self pity, watching him try to figure out how to turn pickles, jelly, and tuna fish into dinner. He moved quickly around our tiny kitchen – probably as much from hunger as from pent-up energy from being on set all day – and slowly, ever so slowly, it dawned on me that maybe there was a point.

Maybe…maybe I needed to wallow today.

Maybe it was okay.

And maybe I will do it again. After my next project.

There’s always a part of us that feels a bit low after any good thing comes to an end, right? I just…let myself become completely absorbed by those blues. It was probably not the most hygienic option, but it was definitely necessary. And potentially healthy.

On Tuesday, again sans alarm, I woke up and dragged myself to the bathroom…and into the shower.

Then I went grocery shopping.

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