I’m a San Francisco based solo performer. My shows are about my experiences with bipolar mood disorder, which I’ve managed to keep private the majority of my life. For the most part my mood swings have been mild enough to hide, but I’ve had a few full on manic episodes that have led to some outrageous experiences I like to talk about, like this one.
“I’m standing in the middle of a football stadium full of people.They think they’re here for a Rolling Stones Concert, but they’re really here for me. The Stones are about to come on and I see in front of me my opportunity. There’s a girl standing on crutches. My First Miracle, I’m gonna make her walk.”
I’ve been telling that story and other ones like it to friends ever since my first manic episode when I was twenty-one. But It wasn’t until after my last manic episode, thirty-five years later, that I began telling my stories on stage. My last episode was so severe that I finally committed to staying on medication. It wasn’t a choice. It was a necessity. Much to my surprise with time my depressions faded away. My highs were gone too but I didn’t mind. I was better off, but I missed my bipolar identity. It was a part of me that made me feel special. I was proud of my experiences and wanted to share them on stage. Performing on stage was like coming out of the closet for me. I was sharing with audiences experiences they could never know. Telling my manic stories was a thrill, but with time the more I told them, the less attached I felt to them. I began sharing the darker side of my condition, the part I never talked about. As my storytelling became more balanced I lost the romantic notion I had about living bipolar. My one-man show, My First Miracle, reflects the journey I made while developing it. I’m grateful for my bipolar experiences, but I don’t need them anymore. I do enjoy sharing them on stage though. For me it’s like taking a dip into mania without the consequences. Some say my show has given them a better understanding and compassion for people with bipolar disorder, but that hasn’t been my intention. I perform for the shear joy of telling a good story, but if that results in changing attitudes towards bipolar disorder then that’s a benefit for which I am truly grateful.