Rock Bottom

Recently I was asked what it was like to hit rock bottom. I didn’t express myself very well; the written word has always been easier for me. I still somehow feel more comfortable writing about my experience with mental illness. I couldn’t quite string the worlds together properly in person. I felt like I was rambling on about nothing and everything with no rhyme or reason.

So, allow me elaborate here.

What is it like to hit rock bottom? Well, you stay in bed for days on end. You use of boxes full of kleenex and your eyes burn because you’ve been crying so much. Your head throbs, you feel weak and useless, and you haven’t bothered to charge your phone because, quite frankly, you want the world to forget all about you. Please, go on without me. I say that a lot to myself. You don’t need me weighing you down. I’ve successfully detached myself from the world.

Because it would be my worst nightmare if someone saw me like that. Puffy-eyed, pasty-faced, greasy, matted hair and no strength whatsoever. Just lying there crying for no real reason. Crying because it hurts so fucking bad and you don’t even understand why. Crying because you can’t stop being sad. You haven’t got it in you to be happy. Hitting rock bottom is forgetting what happiness feels like.

This is that really frightening time when yes, you start contemplating that S-word. You know, that thing that people do to themselves when they can’t think of any way out of their pain. When you feel so helpless and defeated that suicide (yes, that’s the word) feels like an option. Because that’s the only way. That’s the only way you can think of curing your illness. You won’t be a burden to anyone, you won’t be a failure, and you sure as shoot won’t be in pain anymore.

What does it feel like?

It feels like suffocating. Or drowning in a sea of depression. It’s like the manic high has drained all the energy out of you and left you completely useless. It’s dark. It’s like your living in a perpetually power failure black out. You spend some time frantically trying to find a flashlight. Then you give up and attempt at lighting a candle. But even that. Even that get’s used up. The faint light the little scented candle produces goes out and leaves you in complete darkness.

That’s what it’s like to hit rock bottom.

But see, I’m in school for the performing arts and we’re trained in the fine art of understanding process. That learning a role is a process. Understanding a character is a process. This year I’ve decided to treat my illness like that as well. It’s a process that I need to grow and learn from. Rock bottom is still no cake walk, but I’ll learn from it and try and  understand it better. Then maybe the next time I’m there, I’ll know may way around a bit better.

Thanks my darlings,


A Collection of Words that Heal

When I first started therapy, I was told to surround myself with positive energy. I soon found that, even though my art supplied me with joy, it was the people that supplied me with love. And when you’re struggling with mental illness, joy can fade all too quickly, but love takes a lot longer to dwindle. I soon realized that a lot of the positive energy in my life came from the people and that those people had a healing power.

Over the course of the past few months, I have “collected” words. Words that helped me through a situation or had a really significant meaning. What I’m trying to share with this project is how important your words are and how beautiful they can be. I have’t attached any names to the words because I don’t really think it’s necessary. So, without further ado… here’s my collection of healing words. These are some of the people I love, and this is why I love them so much.

“Do what you love, work hard and dedicate yourself, and you’ll achieve things beyond your wildest dreams.”

“My dad was always the one dancing on the table after opening night. He loved being an opera singer and he loved celebrating the fact that they had shared something astonishing on stage that night.”

“One time, when we were on a choir trip, my friend reached out the back window and handed her phone number to a young man riding a motorcycle behind our bus. They got married a few years later. Love is everywhere.”

“You’re sounding alright, kid.”

“Sometimes you just gotta say ‘screw it’ and go for it.”

“It’s amazing when you look ahead and realize you have the world.”

“…but we just have to keep experiencing and learning in spite of it.”

“I’m going to stay here with you.”

“You’re my best friend.”

“….and it means so much to me that I have you in my life.”

“It’s ok. Just take your time and breath. Everything’s going to be fine.”

“I totally understand.”

“It’s fucked up, but it goes on.”

“It’s ok, I get it. You don’t need to explain anything.”

“Isn’t the world exciting?”

“I’ve known you for fifteen years. I know how you’re feeling. I just know.”

“Call me if you ever need to talk.”

“The shared love of our friends and family will get us through everything.”

“Personally, I think an ideal life would be pretty boring.”

“It’s amazing isn’t it? Getting to do what you love.”

“I love you.”

Ps, I love you too.


A little hobbit.

What it Feels Like (ps. this ain’t edited)

Not too long ago a friend of mine asked me what it felt like to be suicidal. At that point he knew of my struggles with bi-polar disorder. He knew how low the lows get and how my usual vibrant personality gets swallowed up by depression. When I told him about feeling suicidal, thing suddenly got very different; awkward and careful. It’s kind of like walking on eggshells. You have to be so careful and make sure you don’t say the wrong thing. I waited a long time before I felt ready to share my secret with him. The fact that I’ve felt suicidal. The fact that I’ve tried to kill myself. I call it my secret, because it’s still somehow shrouded in that taboo society has created. It’s not something I felt I could talk about openly in a casual way. Even though it should be something that people talk about.

So I told my friend. I said, listen, I’ve got something to tell you. I said I hope it doesn’t make things awkward, and no it has nothing to do with me wanting to fuck you. Not that I wouldn’t half mind. I said, you know I’ve got mental issues. You know how bad it gets. Well, sometimes I just want to make my illness go away fast. He said, what overdosing on meds. I said, in a way, yeah. Sort of like that. Overdosing on healing is essentially what suicide is. Suicide, he said, I didn’t know it was that bad. Jesus. I said yeah, and I’m sorry if things are awkward now because I’ve really explained to you how unstable I am. He said no problem. Why the hell are you apologizing. I said, because I feel like I have to.

So, that’s what happened. Just a bit of background info. Fast forward now to when he asked me what it felt like to be suicidal. Things weren’t as awkward as before. He didn’t feel the need to be quite as careful around me. I didn’t say much. I think I mumbled something about being being sad all the time and wanting to make the sadness stop at any cost. My answer was far too simple. I was still too scared to tell him how I really felt. I told him I’d write a blog entry about it and then send him a link. Because, when it has to do with my dark feelings, I’m far better at expressing myself through written words.

What does it feel like to be suicidal?

Well, when I’m depressed, I wake up and instead of yawning and carrying on with my day, I cry because I hadn’t died in my sleep. If I leave the house I start eying traffic in a comforting way. You see it as an option. I didn’t die in my sleep after taking all those pills, but maybe if I jumped in front of a bus, that would do the trick. And it has nothing to do with being selfish. In fact, when I’m feeling suicidal, I don’t think about anyone. I don’t think about myself either. Well, not in the “ego” sense. I mean, I am thinking about myself, but not in the “I don’t care about anyone else” way. I think about this all-consuming pain that seems relentless. I don’t think about friends or family because they don’t exist anymore. They’ve been swallowed up. I feel suffocated and claustrophobic. Like I’m being crowded into a small dark place full of negative energy and I can’t get out.

Sometimes, I already feel dead. Suicide is just a way of putting my body out of it’s misery. It would ease my soul. I feel like I’m walking around like a zombie. I feel heavy and decomposed. Like huge parts of me are warped and dying. It feel like I’m dead. Like nobody around me really exists. That they’re not like me. It’s somehow like they’re among the living and I’m in this weird hellish middle ground. I feel like I can’t relate to them and I can’t see them properly. It’s lonely. So fucking lonely. Yeah, when I’m suicidal, people I love don’t exist. Nobody does.

It’s this lonely, painful, dark, place that you just want- no, need to get out of. Suicide isn’t giving up. It’s a way out of the darkness.

I’m a very campy, bubbly, smiley person. I’ve got a huge personality. I’m always trying to give people hope. But when I’m depressed- when I’m suicidal… you asked me what it feels like right? I can sum it up in one word. If feels… hopeless.

I like Planking ‘n’ Cheesecake

So here we are again; that point in society’s development where we feel the need to create a visual aid to help us demonstrate body positivity. And with good reason. Case and point- Buzzfeed’s latest trending beauty post goes as follows: These amazing photos show that all kinds of women can be beautiful. Scroll through the pictures (lovely concept by the way, props to photographer Carey Fruth) down to the comment section and I am once again reminded of why the Buzzfeed article was published in the first place. Because too many people still don’t get it. Right away one of the first comments, with about 40-something likes, goes on about how “it’s not healthy” and “we shouldn’t be celebrating obesity” bla bla bla. Side note: notice how most of the negative comments are made by men? Interesting. (I’m not talking about feminism here, it’s just an observation.) Anyway, I digress. Mr. Negative Commenter Fool of a Took, who by the way looks like one of those he-men who lifts fridges full of protein shakes as bar bells, said his piece and obviously has 40-something people who agree with him. Fine, ok, cool, it’s a free country with freedom of speech. I get that. But for why, for the love of cheesecake, would you post something like that on a page trying to portray body positivity? Do you really feel that strongly? If so, buckle up, I’m about to give you a piece of my mind. But not a single piece of my cheesecake.

Dear Mr. Negative Commenter Fool of a Took, I am someone who has struggled with body image issues my whole life. Not because of being bullied. Oddly enough, my weight was never an issue in grade school. My intelligence was though. For whatever reason, being stupid and slow was funny. Anyway, I’m straying off topic again. Oh yes, body image issues; something I am all too familiar with. Being a performer, I’m often self conscious about how I look. What do people think of me when I’m on stage? Do they think I’m a fat lazy pig with no will power? Well, apparently Mr. Negative Commenter Fool of a Took, you think so. Thank you for fueling my debilitating self doubt. For your information, I am neither lazy nor do I suffer from a lack of will power. I work out. One of my favourite things to do is what I call “planking in the park”- self explanatory I think. I walk. A lot. I grew up taking dance classes and have very typical German grandparents who trained me to run through hiking trails like a fiend. I wouldn’t say I’m ready to train for a triathlon, but I am by no means out of shape. I try very hard to stay fit and healthy. I cook and eat well, though admittedly, not always at the best times. I fully realize that eating supper at 9:00pm is not the best idea. But the point is, I do not, as you may seem to think, eat junk food and shove carbs in my face every minute of every day.

So why have I always been overweight you ask? Well, I could blame it on the fact that I’ve struggled with hypothyroidism for a while now. I could blame it on the fact that I’ve always been a raging insomniac and lack of sleep leads to weight gain. I could blame it on things like that. But, in truth, I know exactly why I’ve always been overweight. My weight fluctuates, just like my moods. Drastically. I know full well that when I’m manic, I graze. I eat small portions frequently, just like you should. I work out twice a day and suddenly the weight starts coming off. Ten pounds, twenty, pounds. I feel better, look better, gain some confidence in myself. But, when I’m depressed, I don’t eat when I should. I lie in bed for days and do nothing. I eat at night while watching TV. Horrible. And the weight starts coming on again. Five pounds, ten pounds, and I feel awful, look worse, and lose any or all the confidence I had gained. Now I realize that I’m on the mend. Things are looking up. I’ve been seeking help for my condition and I’m seeing results. I’m looking better, feeling better and am gaining a bit of confidence again. I’ve never done this before, what I’m about to do right now. I’ve never shared this. I’m officially a dress size 14; something I haven’t been since my grade twelve grad. After my graduation it seemed my phycological issue escalated. As did my weight. But, as I said, it’s getting better now. Slowly but surely. A few weeks ago I went shopping with my best friend and tried on an H&M plus sized dress and it hung on me like a plastic sack. Ps. I also never take mirror selfies.

So, Mr. Negative Commenter Fool of a Took, what do you have to say now? Still think it’s ok post things like that on a page that’s trying to boost women’s confidence? You know what, knowing people like you, you probably still think I’m the fool. So it’ll be my lot in life to try and convince myself that people like you are in the minority. Dude, all the article did was make everyone feel loved. It’s not like it’s promoting an unhealthy lifestyle. That being said, I’ll still get “what a fat pig” looks from people like you when I eat my cheesecake. Even though everyone else in the restaurant is eating cake too. So maybe, instead of feeling guilty, I should have my cake and eat it too and let people like you think what you want. Unfortunately, I’m not nearly confident enough for that yet.

There’s your answer, Mr. Negative Commenter Fool of a Took. It isn’t as simple as you thought. It isn’t as simple as just not eating that chocolate bar. I haven’t eaten a candy bar in over two years. And yet, people like you still make me feel like I’ll get laughed off the stage. And it won’t be because my jokes are hilarious. It won’t be because my character serves as comic relief. Thanks.

“And smale fowles maken melodye” – Geoffrey Chaucer

Today I sat in the grass and watched the clouds roll by; something I used to do when I was little but somehow got out of the habit. The one that looked like a my friend’s roommate’s oversized cat drifted away over the treetops. I laughed at that, the cat (who I like to call “King Henry”) can hardly run, but yet there he was- gliding over the trees graceful as can be. Completely ridiculous.

Today I set my mind free and stopped trying to control every aspect of thought. I played Palestrina through the speakers downstairs so the voices came up along the stairs and through the white screen door leading to the garden. Et in terra pax hominibus. Soaring with the wind, through my hair, and into the clouds. There’s a flower, though I can’t remember it’s name, emitting a particularly lovely scent. See, I’ve always found it very difficult to shut my brain off. I’m a raging insomniac with a tendency to over-analyze every situation. But somehow the clouds and the music got the better of me and I aloud myself to relax and breath life back into myself.  Gratias agimus tibi propter magnam gloriam tuam. 

Today I sat on a red towel with a parrot design on it. My Oma and Opa bought that towel for me when I was in grade school; back when I was completely obsessed with Iago from Alladin. Even at the ripe age of seven, I could imitate the voice of Gilbert Godfried to a tea. Domine Deus, Rex caelestis, Deus Pater omnipotens.  I sat there, breathing deeply, holding an almost-finished mug of fair trade coffee in my hands. I have a collection of mugs, but the brown and blue one, made by a wonderfully charming lady from a little village in Ontario, is by far my favourite. Qui tollis peccata mundi, suscipe deprecationem nostram. I felt myself relax more and more as time went on. I had left my cell phone inside by accident. Or maybe it wasn’t an accident. Maybe it was some kind of subconscious attempt at allowing myself to disconnect for a while.

Today I sat and aloud myself to enjoy the feeling of hope. This outstanding feeling of relief when you finally realize everything will work out. Maybe not in the way you expect, but it will work out. It’s not a sin to look forward to things; to plan and be excited about life. Qui sedes ad dexteram Patris, miserere nobis. Quoniam tu solus Sanctus. Tu solus Dominus. Not everything in life has to be carefully planned and go exactly the way you think it should. So as I sat and drank my last sip of coffee, I let my mind take me to my hopes and dreams. Because maybe they are achievable and worth considering. I shouldn’t tell myself something isn’t possible before I even try. Tu solus Altissimus, Iesu Christe. 

Today I sat for an unknown amount of time and, as the minutes past into hours, I felt myself smile unintentionally. It started to get windier and darker- the obvious makings of a storm. But, instead of running inside and watching from the window, I aloud my mug to fill up with rain water as I sat and let the storm surround me. Oddly enough, the flower’s scent grew stronger as the weather increased in severity. Cum Sancto Spiritu, in gloria Dei Patris. I didn’t even really noticed myself get absolutely drenched with rain. I didn’t even care that my hair was a matted, knotted mess. I just sat there and watched the clouds turn into a blanket of darkness and peace.

Today was lovely. I didn’t leave until I noticed my mug was spilling over. So I stood up, still smiling, and realized that I wasn’t wrong to have hopes and dreams. And that there’s nothing wrong with believing they’ll come true.


All You Need is Love

Love rules supreme. In a world that seems to be full of violence and injustice, love won.

I had the morning off, so I spent it reading Martin Chuzzlewit while baking myself to a crisp in the morning sun. So, as I realized my lobster like existence, I frolicked back into the kitchen to make myself an orange smoothie. And then I read the most lovely headline in all the world: Same Sex Marriage Is a Right, The Supreme Court Rules 5-4. Yes. Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, YES.

Because, you see, marriage is a human right. So really, this is about human rights and who are we to judge and control other people’s rights? Who are we to play God? Trying to control other people via manipulative and painful puppet strings. Well, in the end, what I always dreamed would come true, has. No matter how hard these puppeteers will try, they will never break us. Love is, and always will be, the strongest force on earth. I was raised to believe that, and I will continue to believe that until the day I die.

Now, I sometimes have a pessimistic view of the world. I admit that some of my scribblings aren’t the most delightful things to read. I have very strong political feelings and an equally strong world view and moral code. Sometimes my opinions are shrouded in this unexplainable darkness that lingers on for far too long. I suppose that’s par for the course for someone that battles mental illness. But let me tell you something. Even though I find it incredibly difficult to get up in the morning some days. Even though I do over-think everything and have more than a few quirky OCD tendencies. Even though the worrying insomniac in me rages on- I know that what I feel in my heart has won today. And that, my friends, is a mighty triumph.

So what does having a mental illness have to do with human rights and gay marriage? Fucking everything, that’s what. Because I know too well the feeling of being held up by love. I know the feeling of strength in affection. I can’t even count how many times I have been helped up by someone who loves me. That’s the power of love. This undeniable force that makes us human. It makes all the difference in the world to know that other people who are in pain can now marry who they love. If you love someone, and have been there for someone through thick and thin, it is your human right to be able to marry that person.

I can celebrate knowing that wherever I end up in my life, whether it be New York, London, Toronto, or some little island off the coast of British Columbia, I know that I can marry the woman of my dreams. I can marry whomever I wish; male or female. And that makes my sometimes very sad heart, very, very, very happy. I now know that with love comes support and that this new turn of events will result in an outburst of strength. So as I sit hear noisily slurping my smoothie, I can rejoice in the fact that so many people now can celebrate their love and strength. Because, you see, everyone has pain and carries baggage. Relationships are built upon a strong foundation of trust and understanding. When someone is hurt, it is the power of love and understanding that pulls them back up again. It’s knowing that there’s something to live for a love out there.

Unfortunately, there are still many places in the world that do not accept human rights. The fact that one of my favourite places on earth does not support gay marriage, makes me very upset. Blocked by the CDU (Christian Democratic Union of Germany) on many accounts. I wish all people could feel what I feel right now. This overpowering sense of joy. This sense of understanding and support that keeps me going. There is nothing more powerful than love. Nothing more healing than love.

But it will come. Strengths in numbers, my friends. Strength in love.

An open letter to the people of Canada.

Hey folks,

Attack adds are out in full force: the easiest way to get ignorant people to vote for you. He sucks, vote for me because I don’t suck. Don’t read the news, didn’t inform yourself properly? Don’t worry! Attack adds will tell you all you need to know. In the most childish, finger-pointing way possible.

So here’s the thing. Jeb Bush is running for president. Worse yet, he has supporters. So does, I can hardly type this without gagging, Donald Trump. Sorry, hold on, I need to go throw up for bit. I’ve completely lost my appetite now. People are busy bashing Hillary Clinton left right a centre. Bla bla bla bla, past wrongs, bla bla bla family history… Ok, hold up. You’re telling me you don’t like Hillary because she’s a Clinton but yet a Bush, well hell, that family hasn’t done anything wrong. Yes that makes total sense.

So here we are, 2015, once again facing the great debate. Do we want a right wing government or a left wing government? Now, I don’t want to make enemies. I respect people’s choices. As long as their rational and informed choices. I have a hard time respecting a choice that is based the same mundane and tedious chant: tax cuts. Sorry, but I have a very hard time understanding that. First of all, look at all the places in the world with a high standard of living. Would you believe, they pay taxes? They therefor have extensive healthcare and, wait for it, tuition free university. You read that correctly. But yet, here in Canada, we still can’t our heads around the fact that a government that is involved and increases taxes, might just be a good government. We want a government that stays out of our lives and lowers taxes. In America, a great number of people are going to vote for the party to promises to abolish abortion. Yes, because that’s obviously the most pressing matter the American government has to deal with. Please, give your head a shake.

We’ve got elections on our doorstep here in Canada. And it’s looking like we might just have another Harper-filled few years. I mean, I’m keeping my fingers crossed that my prediction is false, but it doesn’t look too promising. The issue is this: more people live by the motto “every man for himself” than ever. And that, my friends, is the motto of the conservative party of Canada. Never mind helping the less fortunate- it’s their fault they got there in the first place. “Why should we pay for people who didn’t try hard enough?” I heard someone say that on the bus the other day. It made me sick. You want to know why we should help? Because it’s the morally right thing to do. Because it wouldn’t kill us to show some compassion. But apparently compassion raises taxes and that’s no good.

Another thing. The government still needs money to function. So where are they getting their money if they’re apparently doing nothing but lowering taxes? Cutting programs, that’s what they’re doing. Cut, cut, cut, cut, axe anything and anyone who hasn’t got a voice. Nobody will hear them shout. And what would the vast majority of conservatives say if they did hear these poor people calling out? Well, to quote the dude on the bus: “they should be able to support themselves.” Arts funding? Who needs that. Cut, cut, cut, cut. Support yourself. Every man for himself.

These are the same types of people who, when I say I’ve got a degree in music and I’m an amateur comedian, say things like “that’s not real work” and go on to their monster truck rase. Sorry, that was a little bit much there. No, not all conservatives are Canadian red necks. Some of them are sneaky politicians who have a corrupt senates and continue to lie and withhold information. Also, bury their heads in the sand in regards to climate change. (Not mentioning any names *cough* Harper *cough*.)

“Climate change: Canada doesn’t even seem to be trying.” – That’s the headline of an article posted on the CBC website. As if one the most stunning countries in the world, with miles and miles of natural beauty, wouldn’t want to try to preserve what they have to offer. So what is our government’s response to climate change? Oh, what, sorry I can’t hear you. I have sand in my ears. Let me get back to you on that, what did you say? Oh yeah, climate change. That thing that apparently we don’t think is serious enough to warrant our attention. We’ve got tax cuts to worry about.

Boys and girls, I love my country. I consider myself incredible lucky to live in Canada. But I worry for our country. I want the best for my friends. I believe in human compassion and kindness- something I fear is going out of style. I’m a Canadian funny girl. I’m not going to pretend like I know all the answers. I sure don’t. I’m half ways between Liberal and NDP. Why? Because I believe in helping other people. I believe in the arts. I believe in a government for the people.

And to all my friends and people reading who are currently planning on voting conservative… I don’t dislike you. I don’t disrespect your choice. I just urge you to not base your vote on one area of concern. Think about your choice and inform yourself. Please, when you’re voting, consider people besides yourself. I really don’t want Canada’s motto to turn into “every man for himself.”

Much love, A little hobbit.

The Vincent Walace Sessions (Part One)

K so I’ve finally finished my novella after having re-written it five times. This ain’t edited or anything but I felt like sharing it with anyone willing to read it and see what kind of vibe people get. So this isn’t part one:

For a while there, I didn’t want all that. I guess I was confident in myself. I didn’t want the 3.5 kids, the SUV-driving wife, a secure desk job, a three piece suit and whatever car a guy is supposed to drive in order to be a real man. I didn’t need all that.

I wanted to be happy and live by my own rules. But somehow, without me even noticing, that turned into being depressed and living by someone else’s rules. Someone I didn’t even like. Someone who treated me like garbage. Someone who stomped all over my confidence and thought my life was this pathetic source of endless amusement.

That person wasn’t my wife. I wasn’t married at that point- though I pretty might as well have been. Mark was like this stink that wouldn’t leave. This horrible presence in my life that kept sucking the joy out of every God damn moment. I lived in New York for fuck’s sake. I had my own place, had a steady job, was a bachelor who could come and go as he pleased, but yet (for whatever fucking reason) I couldn’t bring myself to be happy with my life. I couldn’t bring myself to be happy at all. Mark had a private jet. Mark had owned one of those mini-mansions. Oh, but he planned to upgrade. Because that mini-mansion only had four bathrooms and seven bedrooms and that just wouldn’t do. My place had one washroom and two bedrooms. And you wouldn’t get shot if you left the apartment after midnight. Perk.

Mark invited me to his house where he somehow housed an endless supply of girls and champagne. Imported, of course. The champagne I mean, not the girls. He gave me his out of date suits and had his cook make us all kinds of exotic food. I felt like  Vivian Ward in Pretty Woman. Only I didn’t get laid and I wasn’t in love. Maybe I was depressed because I had never been in love before. Maybe I was depressed because I had experienced the finer things in life but hadn’t experienced anything potent and real. Maybe I had a warped sense of reality or maybe my life lacked a sense of direction or meaning.

I grew up listening to Cats in the Cradle by Harry Chapin because my father always listened to singer-songwriter music. I kept listening to it even after I moved out; maybe because I wanted a little piece of past happiness with me. See, I don’t know what happened. I was a perfectly happy eleven year old kid who wanted to be a teacher and author. Then, I don’t know, I became this self obsorbed asshole. It wasn’t that I was full of myself. I wasn’t proud of anything I had accomplished. I was just this sad young man who was obsessed with his own life and nobody else’s.

Maybe that was why I never fell in love. There just wasn’t room for anyone else in my head. Everything was about me and my miserable existence.

I remember once, when I was twenty-three and a few weeks short of graduating university, I allowed myself to cry for the first time. Of course, I had cried before, I just hadn’t cried out of sheer sadness before. I had never cried just because I was desperate.  I had always cried because of some sort of logical reason like because school was frustrating or because I got anxious during a class presentation. But that morning I cried because I just was sad and had no one to talk to. I had all these successful and important friends that gave me things, but I had no friends. Nothing potent and real.

I walked into the kitchen, 6:00am morning light streaming through the window, and fixed myself a coffee. The mug somehow slipped through my fingers and smashed on the floor. At first, I was fine. At first, I realized accidents happen. Then, as I started picking up the pieces, I felt myself pick up the pieces of my life. Bits and pieces of happiness and didn’t exist anymore. And so the bits of my favourite mug mixed with the salt water coming from my eyes. I couldn’t control it and once it started, there was no stopping it.

I collapsed on the floor, bits of the shattered mug puncturing holes in the skin on my arm. I couldn’t stop crying. It started out as just an outburst of sadness, but then it turned into an outburst of anger. I threw bits of the mug at the counter and, once I got up, threw the sugar bowl at the wall. I had been a good pitcher back in grade school.

It took three hours for me to recover. I spent the rest of the day cleaning my kitchen and drinking wine.

I was fucked. I didn’t keep in touch with my parents, any old friends or any kind, generous people. I cut myself off completely. The only person I cared about was myself, or so I thought. I should have been happy, but I wasn’t. I really wasn’t. Nothing in my life real. Nothing meant anything.

I Just have so many Ideas and- oh look! A Bumblebee!

I’ve written a few little pieces on what it’s like to be depressed. How I feel when I’m feeling down. And, even though I’ve far from exhausted all the ways of describing depression, I feel like it’s time for me to talk about flip side of bipolar disorder. Because, as you probably already know, bipolar disorder isn’t just depression. No matter how powerful the depression is, there’s a shift that occurs. A shift to another mood that’s just as powerful as the depression was.

Depression is extremely powerful. It consumes you and leaves you with almost no energy or power to do anything about it. You’re left lying there, crying. Or sleeping without really getting any rest. Constant worrying and anxiety. Always trying to fight the urge to give up completely; that get’s exhausting after a few weeks. After a few months. You just want to stay in bed and hide, because somehow hiding is easier than putting your feelings on display. There’s still a huge stigma attached to mental health so you do feel an element of shame. That you shouldn’t be feeling the way you do on a daly basis.

So yes, that is the one side of bi-polar disorder. The transition can sometimes be fast and sometimes, thankfully, gradual. The transition period is the best because you feel the most in control. You feel like maybe, you’ve found a happy place where your emotions aren’t dictating your every move. The transition, even when it’s long, isn’t nearly long enough. The manic phase sets in, sometimes, without you even noticing it. I think it starts with your focus. I kind of turn into Hammy the squirrel from Over the Hedge. Just all the thoughts, all the ideas, all the time, in overdrive. Can’t sleep because of all the energy. I can’t focus on one thing for very long. Sitting in class without making jokes or going to the washroom (just to walk around) is nearly impossible. Running around in every direction, feeling a sense of wild abandon because my creativity is in overdrive.

Writing songs, writing stories, writing jokes. Learning new songs, planning things, cleaning, baking, exercising upwards of 3 times a day because I’ve just got that much extra energy. Going to bed at 4:00am, literally shaking with energy, only to wake up again and 6:00am to go for a swift power walk. I feel amazing at first. Invincible. In a weird way, when I feel like this, I feel the most confident. Everything seems like it’s going my way. I keep going, going, going, none stop, never getting tired. I realize I’m not in control, but I’m ok with it because my creativity is fueling my every move.

So that’s where I’m at right now. Thrilled because the future looks exciting. Even though I know that this is only temporary, I feel amazing nonetheless. I know this isn’t healthy either. Running on two hours of sleep. That’s just not ok. But it feels fine for now and I’m going to relish in the feeling of being kept up nights due to creativity. I’m losing weight, achieving things and moving forward a thousand miles per hour.

I’m also learning how to deal with this side of bipolar because I actually think that the depression is a result of the exhaustion that happens as a result of the manic phase.  That sentence makes little sense. But I don’t care. Moving on. Oh look, a butterfly. Alright, I’m going to go do Yoga in the park and then go to Ikea, and then write a few chapters in my book, and then write some jokes, and learn some more songs, and bake some bread and make a three course meal and swipe mindlessly on tinder because it’s a hilarious pastime of mine.


Why We Need the Classics

We read As You Like It in the twelfth grade and it pained me when I found out the majority of my class had never experienced Shakespeare performed live. Because, no matter how wonderful my teacher’s acting was, it simply wasn’t the same as seeing professional actors on a stage giving it their all. I saw As You Like It live. And it confirmed the feeling that I’d had for years already: we need traditional theatre. Good, fine, strong acting. Bold and motivated characters that draw us in.

I get very annoyed when a company puts on a traditional production and are then   met with responses like “that old thing again?” Yes, that old thing. Because that old thing is an amazing piece of art that people NEED to see at least once in their lives. People say the same thing about movies: “Great Expectations? Again?” Yes, they’ve done it again. And yes, it’s good. Because it’s Dickens and therefor it’s brilliant. Of course, that’s just my opinion. While other girls were reading The Princess Diaries in the eighth grade, I was reading Oliver Twist.

Thankfully, there’s been a great resurgence of fine, good quality, television being produced. Brilliant programs like Mad Men, Downton Abbey, Boardwalk Empire, and Shameless. Shows filled to the brim with potent material. Thank goodness the reign of well written television didn’t die after the Sopranos finale. If we didn’t watch something serious once in a while, we’d lose touch with reality. We’ll just end up walking around in denial.

Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not some pompous windbag with an ego the size of Russia. I’m actually a high-energy, campy Tracy Turnblad-shaped girl, who loves to entertain people through lighthearted music, comedy, and larger-than-life characters. But, funny thing is, despite the fact that I often find myself being the class-clown, I’m very passionate about serious drama. I gravitate to character of substance and find myself drawn to productions that have a real heartbeat.

I’m not saying that all new films, tv shows, and productions are bad. They most certainly are not. Angela’s Ashes is on my ‘top ten favourite books’ list. It’s a contemporary novel. Next to Normal is an amazing show, fantastic music and incredibly important story. It’s considered a modern musical. I have nothing against contemporary theatre. What annoys me is that some people don’t understand the value of good art. I have issues with the fact that so many people haven’t seen a production of Oliver! or Carousel. Because somewhere, somehow we’ve been told they’re production best left to the history books. That they’re not relevant anymore.

This summer some friends of mine are involved in a production of West Side Story and I couldn’t be more proud. I’m so thrilled that one of the best musicals ever written is being performed in my city. My voice students will have the opportunity to experience the magic of live theatre first hand. Serious drama and well honed acting. No, it’s not fluff, but it’s damn good. It hits you like a ton of bricks because it means something. It’s clever and thought out. It isn’t just a burst of colour on the stage. Again, I’m not saying new theatre is crap. I’m saying it shouldn’t be the only thing we’re exposed to. We, as the people consuming the art, shouldn’t just accept cheap, predictable laughs as the only form of entertainment we want to expose ourselves to.

See, I think it’s different for performers. We understand how great the classics are. We know how brilliant a Shakespearian actor is. We train out voices so that we have the ability to sing all this traditional material as well as anything new. (Good luck singing Carousel with no basic classical singing in your background.) It’s the audiences that somehow crave flashy productions over anything with real substance. Or do they? The Winnipeg theatre goers loved West Side Story. Why? Because it’s an AMAZING show. Simple. It isn’t “that old thing” again. It’s that brilliant show that stands the test of time.

Now, I love comedy. I spend a good amount of my time writing and performing jokes. It’s become almost a part of my life. I am in no way belittling comedy or light-hearted entertainment. We need that too. In a world filled with war and disasters, we need a good laugh. But shouldn’t be the only thing we consume. So let’s remember those old creations. They’re worth remembering.