Gabe Nathan's Note(s) to Self - OC87 Recovery Diaries

Gabe Nathan’s Note(s) to Self


A few months ago, I was speaking with OC87 Recovery Diaries Editor-in-Chief Gabe Nathan about creating something for our site that acknowledged the new year. New Year’s resolutions have always been a tricky thing for me. Unrealized expectations often lead to disappointment and result in me just not feeling great about myself. What message could we share with our audience that could be of some help?

A bit of online hunting led me to many thoughtful articles about this phenomenon. One post in particular, titled “Realistic New Year’s Resolutions for Your Mental Health” from the National Council for Mental Wellbeing, really resonated with me. I appreciated all of the thoughts featured about self-care but was especially drawn to the second resolution in the list: Be kind to yourself.

Be kind to yourself. Change can be hard and often takes time. Allow yourself to have feelings and forgive yourself for mistakes. You are here and doing your best, and that’s what counts.

This, I thought, is a message I would like to share.

Gabe Nathan

Gabe Nathan

​After some brainstorming and with this note as inspiration, Gabe Nathan and I met with a talented crew in a small studio in Philadelphia. Armed with a sheet of plexiglass and a couple hundred sticky notes, we set out to craft a video that could explore Gabe’s personal journey with his inner thoughts that might mean something to our audience. I called “Action!” (as I do), and Gabe improvised a magnificent monologue (as he can do so beautifully) about his journey with negative thoughts, and his experience in trying to change the narrative that he tells himself about himself.

“Note(s) to Self” is the result. I hope it resonates with you. I’m especially grateful to Gabe for offering his own journey as an example from which we can all learn and grow.

Here’s to a new year filled with good health, peace and kindness.

P.S. Gabe Nathan has been a terrific partner in other video adventures for the site. Make sure you check out his suicide prevention efforts with his beloved Herbie the Love Bug, and his efforts to present Our Town, the Pulitzer Prize–winning drama of life in the small village of Grover’s Corners, with the staff of a psychiatric hospital.

Gabe Nathan


EDITOR IN CHIEF: Gabriel Nathan | EDITOR: Glenn Holsten | DESIGN: Leah Alexandra Goldstein | PUBLISHER: Bud Clayman

See Related Recovery Stories: Anxiety, Depression, Mental Health Short Films

Glenn is an award-winning director who loves to create compelling documentary story experiences of all lengths for screens of all sizes. He is an avid reader, studied literature in college, and his passion for stories with strong characters and interesting narratives stems from those years. His career as a visual storyteller began at WHYY (the public television station in Philadelphia) where he worked for 15 years before becoming an independent filmmaker. In addition to his PBS documentaries about arts and culture, he has directed films about justice and human rights, and now, mental health. He was emboldened to undertake his current documentary project, Hollywood Beauty Salon, a colorful feature-length documentary about surviving mental illness and finding the courage for recovery, after his transformative experience directing OC87: The Obsessive Compulsive, Major Depression, Bipolar, Asperger’s Movie, along with Bud Clayman and Scott Johnston.