Ben Moroski men bpd 2

A Prescription for Happiness (Ben’s Story) Part II

Ben Moroski men bpd 2Click HERE to read the Part 1 of this article.

Living a life you love may seem like a luxury to some. For Ben, it is not. For those with serious depression, it is the difference between stumbling through the week and confidently showing up for the daily tasks of life. It is the difference between staying in bed and going out into the world and living a life full of possibility. It is the difference between despair and hope.

And as he understands, living a life you love is not easy. “It is not a given that you are going to do that. You are going to fall into things and just do things because, and this is purely just speaking and drawing from the experiences in my own life …you think they are the right thing to do and waking up and you are not happy at all and not pursuing anything that you are passionate about. So I think it was a big process in learning that it is okay to pursue what I am passionate about and then developing that confidence in that fairly controlled environment [at OPI].”

Ben had always had an interest in developing a one-man show but certainly didn’t expect it would happen at OPI. Through the OPI Action Workshops, he began writing his first play. As part of the workshop, he made a commitment to write thirty minutes a day, no matter what. He agreed on the date for a staged reading, regardless of whether it was complete. By the time that date came around, he had completed a draft.

Ben read and performed the play for the first time in front of OPI participants and parents at the Guitar Merchant for OPI’s talent night. The story dealt with his very personal experience with self-injury. It was a story not often told. Self-injury in men is often overlooked. Although many medical professionals now believe that it affects an equal number of men and women, many still misconceive self-injury as a predominately female behavior pattern. Ben was able to share his story with his family and the wider community, and that, in and of itself, was an important part of the healing process: to express and communicate his story – a story that he had once hidden because of shame. In addition, his work affirmed his talents and abilities, and he learned that his play had real potential.

Ben further developed the material with Nick , a theater professional and life coach at OPI. “The Hollywood Fringe Festival was right around the corner, and so I applied and got that show [in] …did [it], and it was really well received.”

In fact, Ben’s play, This Vicious Minute became an instant hit. It won so many awards at the festival that he was asked to perform it again as part of the “Best of Fringe” extension series and beyond the festival. And more importantly, Moroski realized he was telling an important story.

Ben completed OPI in May of 2012 and moved to Studio City. Life got bigger; there were jobs, more plays, and relationships. OPI Intensive gave him a set of tools and a new mindset. But life is still life, with its ups and downs, and the winter was particularly tough. Ben hit a rough patch again. “You know you go through phases, and I wasn’t really doing anything artistic. It was like, yes, my job was fulfilling because it paid the bills, and I felt good about that. I had a friend, and that was great. Family’s great, but I don’t feel fulfilled. And it gets to a breaking point where it’s like, you’ve got to do the one thing you know that you are passionate about.”

Ben realized he needed to return to what he had learned at OPI and get back to the work he loved. He needed to get back to the action and develop a new play. He knew doing this was the best way to get out his depression.

He had an idea for the premise. He already had a great working relationship with Nick Massouh, who he continued to meet with weekly as a life coach outside of OPI. “And so I came to Nick and said, ‘Hey I want to do this play.’

“And he was like, ‘Cool.’ He kind of laughed at me a little.

“I said, “‘Yeah, this guy has this fling with a dead body.’

“‘Ok. What?’”

But Nick quickly got behind the idea and helped Ben find the best way to express his vision on stage. “It was about exploring the philosophical angle of things and keeping things grounded. Even with the most ridiculous initial idea, he [Nick] was able to sort  out the truth in those things… My goal in writing the second play, a large part of it was kind of a response to my first play.”

And thus The Wake developed. Ben brought a level of reality to the absurd, which was not only very humorous but also a profound piece about love, individuality, and what it means to truly be yourself in the world.

The world premiere one-person play took place at the 2012 Hollywood Fringe Festival, where it was a huge success. It received an extended run at the festival and spurred Ben to develop further creative work.

For Ben, life is still a work in progress, and there’s a lot of joy in the process. “It’s still a constant journey, and that was another thing that was emphasized (at OPI). There was never any illusion that this was going to solve all of your problems. That is fine. Because nothing does. That’s not the point, nor is it possible. And that’s the secret is realizing that and realizing that is not a bad thing. It’s just the truth, and once you accept the truth, then you can use all of this stuff and create the life that you love and recreate it and continue to build it and when things get knocked over or you knock them over yourself. You can keep going, because you have the stuff to do it with.”

We’ve been taught doing what you love is a luxury. Ben has learned it is not. It is essential for his continued well-being. Doing this daily work, even if it’s just a half an hour, is one of the one ways he knows he can alleviate bouts with depression. The hard work of building a play allows him to continue to tap into his creative self, his sense of wonder, the feeling of possibility—where anything is possible. It is about finding joy daily, while sitting in front of a computer screen… getting into a theater with a new play and making discoveries in that moment… finding new characters and learning how they breathe.

Creating work you love is better medicine than any pill. It’s happiness from the inside out. While each play may or may not become “an event,” the real success comes from the daily practice of committing to the creative process. That process, that reconnection, is the golden thread that inspires and weaves a life well lived. Ben isn’t just writing a new play. He’s writing a new life.

Optimum Performance institute is the only program in the nation that serves both young adult men and women ages 17-28.  For more information on OPI and our programs, call us at (888)-814-5985 or submit our online Contact Form. We’ll get back to you promptly.

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