Back in February of 2013, she took me back. My life was still uncertain, but then again I can’t remember a time when it wasn’t. Being impulsive has always put me in corrupt situations, like getting engaged after a show in Little Rock and driving to Las Vegas to get married. Thank God we kinda sobered up around Flagstaff and called it off, (true story.) Oh, and that other time when I moved to Denver, Colorado after a party.
Because of my recklessness, I have lost everything in life and has gone past the opportunity to make things right.
I am a horrid person for having abandoned my family – I am a liar – and if you get too close, I will hurt you. I have pushed away everyone who has loved me and then cried when they were no longer around. It seems I have not been able to get anything right – every decision I made, made it worse. I made up another lie to patch up the last lie. I had everything going for me and then f#@*d it up again and again.
Everyday it felt like I was sinking. The only thing that would give me comfort was being on stage, but I can’t be on stage all the time. When the show was over I would retreat to my hotel room, but my mind would not shut off. Fantasies of suicide would rock me to sleep. I have to find a way out of this place.
On the morning of Valentine’s Day, 2013, I woke up in her bed. We talked for a while after our morning rapture. We talked of dreams and ambitions, my favorite subject when I am on an invisible mania. From that discussion, I decided to move to Los Angeles — why not?
Moving to California is something I have envisioned since I was eight years old. March 2, 2013, the day was finally here! I am moving to Los Angeles, this is my dream come true!!! I arrived LAX at 4:45 pm; finally, I found a place where I fit in, “La-La Land.” To me it seems like the city of L.A. has bipolar (you would have to be crazy to live in Los Angeles). L.A. is the perfect place for me!
It’s now January 20, 2014, Martin Luther King Day. Since 1988 when I was first diagnosed with bipolar, I am going back for help. My want for change is greater than my fear of change. I walk into the hospital not knowing what is on the other side of the doors leading into the psychiatric unit.
I have not been on medication since the 1980’s and reveal to the doctor how my life has become unmanageable, the highs and lows becoming more frequent. My outbursts of emotions have caused me to disintegrate into a whirlpool of despair. By the time I left, it had been determined that I have Bipolar II Disorder and was prescribed two medications.
After 25 years I finally admitted that I cannot handle this on my own — I needed help. My journey has just begun and the challenges that lie ahead are great. I may never be cured of this disease, but with help, I will learn to live and thrive with my disease.
Experience has taught me that with any extreme challenge that stands in front of me that at times I will question my navigation, obstacles will seem immense, and people who I thought were friends may turn out to be foes. I pledge to myself that I will continue to move forward and not let fear keep me stagnant.
I am not a statistic and neither are you. This disease does not define who we are, but rather it shows the world we have strong character and are able to overcome great challenges. Bipolar will not determine who I am or where I am going. Instead, I will strap on the reins to this bipolar dragon that once tormented me and use it as a vessel to take me where I want to go. Now if I was a stoner and a gamer that would be a cool visual but I’m not a gamer … so it just sounds corny.
When I left the hospital this past Monday on MLK Day, images in black and white of Dr. King came to mind, “Free at last! — Free at last! — Thank God all mighty, we are free at last!”
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