Donald Glover creating a stir with Instagram posts featuring pictures of handwritten notes detailing his fears but the general conclusion of the media that Glover is depressed demonstrates that his posts may have been misleading to some. The list is extensive and has many worrying about his emotional well being. Glover addressed those concerns by stating that he was merely expressing himself and said he felt like his fears were pretty common among people in general.
His fears, handwritten on stationary from a hotel, revolve around many topics. He fears for his future, he fears his parents not knowing their grandchildren, he fears having children before he is ready for them, and that his girlfriend might not love him. He fears not fully realizing his potential.
He is also afraid that people will think that he hates women and his race. He fears being hated, for who he is and for leaving Community. He is worried that his new show won’t succeed. He is worried that he will be remembered for an old video called, “bro rape” that he clearly regrets and wishes to move beyond.
Donald Glover has a lot of uncertainty on his plate right now in general. He is in the process of leaving one project, the hilarious show Community, to undertake a new project, a show called Atlanta. His new show will be on FX and he will be writing, producing and starring in it, adding considerable pressure to him in terms of the show’s success.
Rumors and speculation surrounding the laundry list of fears that Donald Glover produced in his Instagram posts center on assumptions of depression that may be misleading, given the circumstances. Glover has insisted that he is not depressed and is not experiencing anything outside of the norm. Regardless of whether or not he could be diagnosed as clinically depressed, he is not wrong that anyone experiencing such a transitional phase in their lives as a major career change would be stressed out and fearful.
Research indicates that Glover’s choice to address his fears head on was actually quite beneficial to his emotional well being. There is a documented relationship between expressing one’s emotions, especially in written form, and positive adjustment to circumstances surrounding the emotions. For example, patients with chronic illnesses were reported to suffer less from their symptoms when they wrote about their emotional state. Glover himself backs up this correlation by expressing a sense of catharsis over the posts. He talks about it not as someone who is depressed but as someone who is relieved not to be holding in all of that negativity any longer.
Another reason why his Instagram post could prove beneficial to him comes from the concept of habituation. The brain is wired to grow bored with things that are familiar. That is why facing one’s fears works better than avoidance. The more a person confronts a fear, the less novel it becomes, giving it less and less potential for an emotional reaction. By writing his fears down, he has focused his attention on them acutely, addressing each one specifically and directly as he writes them all down, systematically familiarizing himself with each one. He is also doing this in a way that exposes certain issues to the people relevant to them. His parents, coworkers and girlfriend can now discuss his concerns with him, further exposing him to the fears while concurrently removing the necessity for him to have a reaction to them, biologically speaking.
The media is widely dubbing these Instagram posts as “dark” or “disturbing” but this reaction is proving to be misleading in regards to Donald Glover and how he is dealing with his emotional health. Whether or not he is actually depressed, research indicates that he is coping quite effectively with what is clearly a tumultuous time in his life.
Written by: Vanessa Blanchard