Acting can be a dangerous thing. Neuroscientist Dr. Steven Brown, found that parts of the frontal lobe deactivates— representing a loss of identity. The brain shows that actors actually lose their sense of self and immerse themselves into characters beyond acting, they find their identity in the role. You get paid to become someone else. If this is something that you want to do for a living, but you want to manage your mental health properly and hold onto who you are. Immersing yourself into your character can be great for your job, great for your craft, but not necessarily good for your health.

Many have heard about the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the widely successful Black Panther (R.I.P. Chadwick Boseman). Michael B. Jordan opened up about what playing Killmonger did to his mind. He had to reach into dark places to create Killmonger and he discussed how that state of mind became a part of him. After wrapping the film, it was so hard to let that go and he had to seek out therapy to get back to normalcy. We’ve seen experienced actors fall apart in their roles, some even going so far as committing suicide.

This shows that a necessary journey has to be taken to bring characters from script to screen in a healthy way. You need to be cautious about losing yourself in your character. You are giving up your consciousness to take on another. Not many understand why you would do this, but as an actor you know the rush of victory with a successful audition. You were applauded for becoming that is not you. Realize that you’ve done this, and let it go. You’re done with that world, you are you.

Look at how deep you’re going into exploring your character. Find your character, know you’re there, and then get out. Don’t lose touch with your real life, release when you have made it. Don’t worry about being your character every moment of the day. However, you can train your mind that is malleable. It will think how you train it to. Do not doubt your ability to reach that place without getting trapped in it. Perhaps you don’t follow this exact practice, but you do need to create a plan to get out of that space. The most important thing is to be aware, hold onto who you are. Acting can be a transformative performance, not always in the best ways. Going too deep can trigger unprocessed emotions, it can bring up old wounds, and it can be hard to handle. If you cannot handle it on your own with strategies and practice, find a therapist. You have made your craft where you live through multiple characters. Remember that your story is the one that you were meant to tell.

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