A Way To Cultivate the Public Conversation About Depression

Brian-Copeland-left-MeganRoberston-flickr.jpg

Those of you who feel the public conversation about depression is not yet where it should be, might want to support comedian Brian Copeland’s show “The Waiting Period.”

Copeland is a San Francisco area comedian, radio talk personality, and theater performer. His original stage production of Waiting Period debuted successfully in 2012. According to one theater critic, it is an “astonishingly funny” and “brutally honest” look at depression and suicide.

A Ten Day Life-Saving Delay

The show’s name, Waiting Period, comes from a California law requiring gun buyers to wait ten days before receiving their weapon. That waiting period saved Copland's life.

In the play, Copeland shares his experience of depression and suicidal urges that intensified after three traumatic events. When his marriage broke up, the grandmother who raised him died, and he suffered a debilitating car accident in 2008, Copeland bought a gun with the intention of killing himself. However, he never took possession of the weapon. During the ten-day waiting period, he chose “to be rather than not to be.”

After actor Robin William’s suicide, Copeland revived Waiting Period for several months, but doing the show takes a toll on him. “I have to go to that place where I’m depressed, to mentally and physically put myself in that place, and I can’t do that more than once a week anymore,” said Copeland.

Free of Charge Performances: GoFundMe

However, some theater goers communicated to the comedian how his show had saved lives, or provided insight into a loved one’s depression. So, to continue spreading depression awareness, Copeland started a GoFundMe campaign to raise $150,000. With the money, he plans to perform The Waiting Period free to the public every Sunday in 2016.

Copeland particularly wants to reach high school and college students who may be struggling with symptoms. He says the show’s message is, “You’re not alone. If you’re struggling, tell someone.”

“It’s a play I’d strongly recommend to anyone who is now or has ever been depressed or who knows someone in that situation. but honestly, it’s such a strong piece that I’d recommend it just as heartily to anyone who’s ever been human,” wrote critic Sam Hurwitt.

Source: SF Gate; GoFundMe
Photo credit: Megan Robertson

 
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