Throughout my life I have had difficulty managing the basic tasks of responsible adulthood and maintaining a steady relationship because of my highs and lows. Sometimes I feel like I am living the life of two people: one who is ambitious and talented and the other who is self-destructive, depressed, and insecure. “There I go messing things up again.” I assault the person in the mirror, but I am trying like hell to change that.
On the last post I mentioned how I was under the impression my girlfriend put a restraining order on me and in the meantime I am getting ready for my comedy shows in Beaumont.
It’s early in the morning as I board my tour bus. Yes, I have my own tour bus. To keep costs down, I have to share the bus with about 50 other people going in the same direction. As I travel down I-45 toward Beaumont, my mind is a vortex of self-conflict and at the same time I have to get into a comedy mind set for the two shows I have later that night.
We make a stop in Vidor, a town between Beaumont and the Louisiana state line in southeast Texas. This is the deep bayou! The bus station is also a gas station/convenience store.
Vidor has a racist reputation, the kind of racism you heard about in the days before the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Vidor is known as a “sundown town,” a term used to describe towns where blacks are not welcomed after dark. I wonder how they will welcome a Hispanic. I am about to find out.
I wait for my ride at the bus terminal, which consists of a bench and ashtray outside and around the corner of the building. My mind is bouncing in all directions. One minute I feel optimistic, the next minute I am standing on the edge, wishing I had the courage to take one step over. Now keep in mind, this whole time I think she has a protective order against me.
All a sudden I notice a man and woman approaching me from the parking lot. The man is wearing a camouflage hunting cap and the woman has a big feathered hair-style that looks like she just walked out of a 1984 prom picture, and both have badges hanging around their rednecks.
I swear to God the first thing I thought was, “man, she is taking this protective order way too far!” I thought she had her politician friends notify local law enforcement and they had intercepted me in Vidor! I know that sounds paranoid, but where this is a pissed-off woman, anything is possible.
The police questioned me with the typical “where are you coming from, where are you going, do you have anything illegal in your bag.” I noticed two other cops were questioning a black guy in his car at the same time as I was being interrogated. They said they were “routinely questioning people because I-10 is a major drug route.” I am thinking, “Do I look like a drug runner?”
Just because I have long hair and tattoo … OK, maybe they were justified. Thank God I remembered to leave my tobacco smoking pipe at home (wink). But as soon as I mentioned that I was a comedian in town for a show, their whole demeanor changed. The questions changed to: what my comedy was about, who my favorite comedian was, etc. I thought if I didn’t respond with Jeff Foxworthy, they wouldn’t take too kindly and I would be on my way to the jail/Dairy Queen.
Later that night, I took the stage and used my emotions as ammunition. I projected all my fear, love, and anger into that microphone and the audience loved my pain! My inner demon was my lovely assistant that night. Thank God, my inner demon is non-union.
After the shows I am back at the hotel room, my adrenaline is still pumping and so is my toxic imagination. I am going to need more bourbon to help me fall asleep.
The next day I am back on the bus heading home. My mind wanders as I look at farm houses off the interstate as the bus passes by. I am imagining a better life and fearful of the night ahead, because I have to be with myself again.
Nights after days pass and the same feeling of losing my mind starts all over again, every day is worse than the one before. I call her and it goes to voicemail, send her an email, no response. I even sent her a friend request on Facebook … but she had me blocked. I am sinking and can’t stop myself. I am about to lose it. It’s been two weeks of mental hell!
One afternoon I make another feeble attempt in calling her, this time someone answers my call …
I welcome all comments, good, bad, manic and depressed.
If you suffer from bipolar, there are plenty of support groups and people just like us who want to help. Check out DBS Alliance.
“If my revelation of having bipolar II has encouraged one person to seek help, then it is worth it. There is no need to suffer silently and there is no shame in seeking help.” – Catherine Zeta-Jones
Danny Keaton is a national touring comedian who lives in Los Angeles. He is also a writer, lover and a bastard with Bipolar disorder. Danny is your average person with a mental illness seeking redemption and a non-religious spiritual salvation through love and self-acceptance. Many times he is not aware when highs and lows kick in; to him it is part of his distorted reality. Check out Danny’s website at www.DannyKeatonComedy.com or follow him on www.Twitter.com/DannyKeaton