Every single person on this planet has at least one secret that could break your heart. If we could just remember that, there would be a lot more compassion and tolerance in the world

Saturday, November 12, 2011

LET it in!

In the theatre world, people say that being in HAIR changes your life forever. And for me it most definately has.. but in a much different way than I thought. The lessons I have learned, and continue to learn every night are ones that I will carry with me for the rest of my life. I am so greatful that being in this show is happening right now, when I am making so many postive changes in my life. During our first preview I had a awakening during the very last song of our show. We sing "let the sun shine in" over and over to close the show, and as we came to the climax of that moment I put an extra emphasis on LET, and realized how much that little peice of text is a reflection of what I am trying to do. I am learning to LET the sun shine in my life.

I will admit that being a small role in a show is difficult for me because too much of my self worth comes from having a successful career. So when I am in the background of a show, I let that affect my entire life. I have walked around for the past few months telling myself that I am never going to make it in this industry if I can't even be successful in college theatre. I have walked around reminding myself of why I am inadequite over and over again.... and for what? What good has that done me? This show has taught me to LET myself recgonize my worth as a PERSON not as a performer. I have so much more to give than a singing voice, and I was blocking so much light from my life by limiting my worth to that.

There was also a time in my life where I really wanted to be sick. I needed people to recognize that I was hurting. I wanted to wallow in my pain. Finally recognizing that I WANT to be happy is how I LET the sun shine in my life. The final message of Hair is a plea for people to allow the beauty of the world to enter their lives. And up until a few nights ago, I wasn't doing that completely.

It can be difficult to find the sunshine. I promise that I understand that. This world has a way of kicking us while we're down, but putting focus on that only makes life harder. For the past few months I've been trying and failing over and over again to not only better myself as a performer, but also as a human being. But there are so many things in this world that are wonderful. There is so much sunshine! I get a text message from the beautiful Kelsey McGary every single day reminding me that I am loved. I have a family that beleives in me more than anyone else. I have friends that love me. No matter what happens to me, I know that I am loved unconditionally. If I can learn to let that light into my life all the time, NOTHING can hurt me. The day after the cast list for Hair was posted I got an anonymous letter of comfort from someon who cares about me a lot. My favorite line in the letter says "you are strong; you are a worrier. You are loved, for YOU. Don't ever change!" I pull this letter out whenver I'm having a bad day and it brings a little light into my life. If even that ONE anoymous person feels that way about me, I have a reason to continue. I get messages from people telling me that they have read this blog and that it has changed their perspective on life. I get messages from Amanda Shrum all the time reminding me that I am loved. I have friends that say they are HAPPY to see me every day. THAT is the sunshine I need to let into my life. Not matter how many painful things happen to me in my life I know that I can go home on a sunday and be loved UNCONDITIONALLY by my family. How many people can truly say they LOVE going home to their family more than anything else? I know that I can get coffee with friends and talke about anything and everything. I know I can call Karli and laugh away all my pain. I know that I can call Tia and she'll remind me how wonderful I am. I know I can get a big warm hug from Jessa whenver I need it. Right now I am especially lucky to have a TRIBE of beautiful, wonderful, talented people that give me nothing but love. And I know that one anyonymous perosn who wrote me a letter is watching me, and beleiving in me. How could I ever feel worthless when I have all that?

Now, more than ever, it is going to be difficult for ALL of us to let the sunshine in. The holiday season is hard (especially for us single and desperate types!). So now with the cold dark winter aproaching its  more important than ever to remember that it is a choice to LET the sun shine in our lives. Its not an easy choice to make, but its possible. No matter how clouded our lives get with pain, regret, dissapointment, anger, and fear; there is always sunshine on the other side of the clouds waiting for us to LET it in :)

Wednesday, November 2, 2011


Last year myNew Years resolution was to find self worth. After a few years of big decisions (the amazing school switcher!), reveals(suprise i'm gay and crazy!), and mental break downs (a trip to the hospital!), I was ready to figure out how to start loving and accepting myself. I will admit that when I started my journey I had no direction at all. Thankfully I found a really good therapist, because NOW towards the close of the year I am figuring out what self worth really means.

I went into my 9th week seeing Lee (my therapist) today. As I walked into his office I noticed a new painting sitting above the little couch I sit on every week. It was a beautiful purple flower with little yellow stems in the middle and a faded purple surrounding. I was suprised by the new painting that I said to Lee "what a beautiful painting! when did you get it?" Lee looked at me and said "about three years ago." "Yeah but when did you put it up?" I asked. He then explained to me that he bought and put up that painting three years ago. I had been in his office weekly for months and not seen this beautiful painting once. Lee then explained to me why me noticing that beautiful painting was a huge indicator of the progress I've made.

Our brains are designed to function in systems and patterns. Those patterns are called neuro-nets. We develope them to understand and filter our existance. We have neuro-nets for how to tie our shoes, eat, drive, etc. When I started seeing Lee the largest neuro-nets in my brain were the ones that were set up to filter my emotinoal problems. Bipolar disorder, boarderline perosnality disorder, anxiety, depression, self loathing, body dismorphia, and low confidence all had their own nero-nets. So as I experienced life those large nets were catching all of the information that pertained to those specific categories. So my entire existance was filtered through those nets. I found a million different ways to experience life in a very negative way because the amount of positive pathways I had in my brain was very low. So now that I'm starting to filter my life experiences in a different way, I'm beginning to LITERALLY see new things. I'm finding beauty in places I've never seen it. I'm finding happiness and love that I ever knew existed. I saw a beautiful painting that I never saw before.

My path to self love is coming through positive self talk (see pervious post) and through learning to be a "self reliant, strong, postured, masculine adult." Its coming from me letting go of the need to hate and punish myself. Its coming because I understand what makes me happy and I pursue it aggressivly. I thought for a long time that myself worth would come from making it big (broadway), or from getting a boyfriend, good grades, a clean car, a good body, etc. But what I'm learning now is that those things can't happen until self worth happens. I am learning to recognize what is really great about me and activly accepting and loving those traits, and then accepting what I feel my flaws are and actively making changes. I am making those changes BECUASE I love myself not the other way around.

Al of these things sound really simple, but actually acheiving them has been very difficult for me. I am AGGRESSIVLY (i use this word a lot for a reason) thinking about these things, working in my workbook, and listening to my Louise Hay cd. I practice the skills I am learning all day long. But the work I am doing is completely worth it. I mean I saw a beautiful purple flower I've never seen before today! Who knows how many other beautiful things I'll see in the future!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Experiencing My Good

So as I mentioned in my last post I started seeing a new therapist a few weeks ago. Starting over with therapy seemed like a little decision at the time. To be honest, I assumed I would go for a few weeks and then stop seeing him when he pissed me off like they always do.... but I was VERY wrong. This man has completely changed the way I view myself and mental illness..... and is changing my life completely. I was informally diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder, with bipolar traits. However, the thing that is really changing my life is not a diagnosis or pills, but learning to take control of my own mind.

My therapist began teaching me how to take control of my life by teaching me how to GROW UP. Its not as simple as it sounds. As children we experience different kinds of stress on a high level and learn to deal with them in many ways. When something negative happened to us we felt it, and learn how to deal with the emotion by crying, throwing a tantrum, holding it in, taking it out on someone else... etc. He had me tell a story about the last time I got really upset about something in detail. As I was telling the story and remembering how I felt he had me pause and think about how old I felt in that moment. I felt six years old. He then asked me to take a look at the way I was sitting.... I was crunched over with my hands over my ears shrugging my shoulders like I used to do when I was scared as a child. Its terrifying that the person deciding how I feel at any moment is a 6 year version of myself. I never re-trained my brain to react like an adult. I kept most of my fears inside growing up because most of them were tied to my sexuality, which I wanted to keep secret. I never learned coping mechanisms. I didn't know what it felt like to NOT be at least a little nervous all the time. To NOT be constantly on guard. I had never been COMPLETELY honest about the way I felt. I didn't want to be myself, because who I really was, was disgusting to me at the time. So I let other people decide who I was. I took what all my friends observed about me and created a persona that everyone else like. I took every comment, negative or positive, and made it true to me. The problems is NOW I'm still letting people do that to me. I take everything people say VERY personally because I don't know how to live any other way. So the path I'm on now is learning to train my brain to think a different way. I'm learning that it is up to me who I am and more importantly how I feel and react to things in my life. And I'm doing it through the power of positive affirmations.

The process of affirmations used to sound really silly to me, because I didn't understand the process well enough. To most people it sounds like a dumb therapist thing to do to feel good about yourself... but the science behind it is fascinating. The whole process is about crating new pathways in the brain and is a little bit too complex for me to fully explain in this blog post. I recommend you look into the book "Experience Your Good Now" by Louise Hay, I promise it will change your life. I really can't even put into words the difference it has already made to me and I am only a few weeks into the 6 month process. I'll explain in more detail the process of affirmations in my next post.

At age 20 I'm finally learning what it means to feel happy. I'm growing into the man i want to be. My positive affirmation for who I am is :I am a well postured, handsome, talented, masculine adult. I create who I am so why not make it IDEAL? Who cares if someone else doesn't agree with what I wrote? In my reality that is true and I can enjoy it fully. If someone wants to think I'm awful and be miserable with that negative thought and feeling then that is their decision. My decision is to love everyone and most of all MYSELF. As my good friend Jessica Kennedy once said to me "Who does it hurt that I think I'm beautiful?" What an incredible thought. If I think I'm fantastic then not only will I be in a better mood, but so will everyone around me. Who wants to be around someone who hates who they are? It creates negative energy that isn't fun to be around.... and it does ZERO good to feel sorry for yourself. I have spent most of my life hating myself as some sort of self punishment. Its like I learned that who I was (an overly emotional gay mormon) was bad so I was obligated to hate myself. So now I release the need to do that and embrace the idea that I am a WONDERFUL human being and nothing anyone can say will stop me from believing that with all my heart.

I know how silly it sounds... but just try telling yourself how great you are... you have nothing to lose! Tell yourself how wonderful you are. Think about what makes you awesome and BELIVE IT. Its not arrogant because no one needs to know you are doing it, its totally private. Create a positive affirmation. Come up with the person you want to be most, and then start telling yourself that you ARE that RIGHT NOW. I am a _____________ right now and I love me. Then let yourself experience how much it can change the way you see the world.

This is the first step in a LONG process for me, but I can't wait to keep going!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

I've started seeing a therapist again after almost a year without one. I think I'm really going to like this guy, he has already given me some helpful tips in just the first session (anyone who has had a therapist knows the first session is pretty much useless buisness stuff). I'll talk about his tips a little bit later. First I want to talk about DEFINING mental disorder. Things I often hear people say when attempting to brush off the issue of mental illness are  "everyone is a little crazy" and "its all in your head people don't really have mental disorders". While I completely disagree with those statements, I am starting to understand that lableing mental illness isn't nessisarily the most useful thing...

When I first told my mom I was so sad I couldn't get up in the morning, having the diagnosis of depression helped me because I needed an explination. It helped to know it wasn't my fault, and something could be done about it. Later on the diagnosis of BIPOLAR helped me get a grip and start working toward mental stability. HOWEVER the more research I do and the more self evaluation I do ... the more I realize that EVERY brain is different. There is no blood test to find out what kind of mental illness you have, there are little surveys and psychological studies, and mood specialists.... but how much can those REALLY conclude? And is it actually helpful?

I spend at least a few hours a week researching mood disorders, staying up to date with NAMI (national alliance on mental illness), and reading my list of metnal disorder blogs. And I've started seeing that most of my symptoms are in conjunction with BPD (boarderline personality disorder) as well as rapid cycling bipolar disorder. I started freaking myself out. What have I been doing for the past year if I'm not bipolar?? I've been doing the wrong research! I've been taking the wrong pills! I've been blogging about a disorder that I dont have! Personality disorder sounds way freakier than bipolar! Its just like skitsofrania! (spelling?) After calming down I started thinking.... who cares? I mean, I'd like to have a lable just for convenient sake when people ask what I see a therapist for, but in reality it doesn't matter.

I think its difficult for people to beleive me when I say I have mental problems because I can come accross as a well put together, happy go lucky kind of guy. I often get nervous that people think I'm faking it for attention. In fact its my least favorite kind of attention. The truth is that %99 of you will never know how I'm actually feeling. First of all its difficult to describe, second of all I don't enjoy trying to make people understand how I feel and seeing the roll their eyes, and third and most importantly I don't want to put people in a bad mood.

So maybe I have boarderline personalty disorder, maybe I'm bipolar, maybe I'm both! Maybe for me its somewhere between. I've been diagnosed with adrenal gland disfunction, major depressive disorder, high anxiety disorder, been to sexual orientation reversal thearpy, seen social workers, psychiatrists, and mood specialists... and little things have improved, but inside I still feel unstable. I still feel like the guy that tried to kill himself, the guy that needs a few hours alone a day to get centered, the guy that needs his friends to keep an eye on him when things go bad, the guy who isn't allowed to keep his own pills, and needs to be handled with care. My goal is to leave that guy behind. To be as solid inside as I pretend to be.

for those of you who are curious the "diagnosis criteria" for boarderline personality disorder are:

(1) frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment.

(2) a pattern of unstable and intense interpersonal relationships characterized by alternating between extremes of idealization and devaluation

(3) identity disturbance: markedly and persistently unstable self-image or sense of self

(4) impulsivity in at least two areas that are potentially self-damaging (e.g., spending, sex, substance abuse, reckless driving, binge eating).

(5) recurrent suicidal behavior, gestures, or threats, or self-mutilating behavior

(6) affective instability due to a marked reactivity of mood (e.g., intense episodic dysphoria, irritability, or anxiety usually lasting a few hours and only rarely more than a few days)

(7) chronic feelings of emptiness

(8) inappropriate, intense anger or difficulty controlling anger (e.g., frequent displays of temper, constant anger)

(9) transient, stress-related paranoid ideation
as you can see these symptoms are remarkably similar to bipolar disorder. Most medical websites and journals I have read say it is nearly impossible for a doctor to make a clear distinction between the two.  WHATEVER i'm getting cheese fries.

Monday, August 29, 2011


These past few weeks have definately been some of the most difficult I've ever experienced as far as mania is concerned. My energy, paranoia, and stress levels have been through the roof. On top of the regular symptoms of mania I have had quite a bit of bad luck for the past few weeks. Besides losing my credit card, my car dying, car tire falling off, crashing my bike, power going out in my bedroom, fans breaking, and school starting, I also just had a huge dissapointment with an audtion for a dream role. Bad things happen, I get it. The thing that has made these past few weeks so difficult is trying to keep myself pulled together around people who don't understand how I'm feeling, and have no idea how hard I work to hide my pain. Keeping my mania under control has been a challenge all summer, and now that things aren't going my way its becoming nearly impossible.

In acting class the other day we were asked to write down what our worst theatrical experience was. I wrote about an experience I had in Jr. High School when I played Romeo in Romeo and Juliet. We performed the infamous BALCONY SCENE in an assembly for the 8th and 9th graders, and their reaction was... well exactly how you would expect Jr. High kids to act (lots of cheering/cat calling blah blah blah). But AFTER the balcony scene was over I had a monologue to finish the scene. The kids were so bored that the kissing was over that they started yelling things out at me, and eventually boo-ing so loudly that I walked off stage and shut the curtins myself. It still remains one of the most humiliating experiences of my life.

After we wrote down that experience we were asked to write down why that experience is actually the BEST theatrical experiene of our lives. I wrote that I learned humility from that experience. I learned that I perform not to please other people, but because I love it more than anything. I started from a humble place and that keeps me grounded as a performer.

Now i'm doing my best to apply that acting exercise to my personal life. I was cast in the ensemble of HAIR at the University of Utah which is WONDERFUL, but hard because i worked so hard in the hopes of getting one of my dream roles, and failed. But I learned from my audition experience that I put too much pressure on my professional life. My self worth is defined by how successful I am in my career. When I wasn't cast I was afraid people wouldn't like me anymore, that my friends wouldn't respect me, that I was UGLY,  that my life was essentially over. In an attempt to make me feel better my friends said I probably just didn't fit what the director had in mind. I just wasn't right. But that made me feel even worse. The idea that someone doesn't like me, or doesn't think I'm right freaks me out so bad. THATS CRAZY! As a Bipolar person I am very inconsistant emotionally... but my career path is EVEN MORE inconsistant. I have to learn to not let my happiness depend on my success as a performer. This experience hurt me a lot, but it was a huge wakeup call for me and I think it will help me so much in the future. If i can learn to NOT base my happiness off being a perfect performer..... well then I won't have to change my major to pre-med.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

manic summer

First of all let me state that this has been a REALLY fun summer. I have made a TON of new friends and had wonderful experiences and I'm loving my life here in SLC. I love working at urban, teaching voice, doing shows, blah blah blah. now to the good stuff :)

This has been a really interesting summer for me. First of all its the longest manic period I can remember ever having. I have had raicing thoughts, high anxiety, lots of energy, and WAY too much ambtion for a few months now. I can get to sleep with the help of pills and cough syrup, I've been sticking to a diet for the first time in my life, I go to the gym.... but I also PANIC a lot lately. EVERYTHING is a huge deal, and I've been rediculously paranoid. The following anicdotes illustrate my absurd paranoia and fear:

I have convinced myself several times this summer that my friends are mad at me. Around the beginning of July I saw an angry and vague status update from a friend. I instantly panicked. I then proceeded to create a story based off some actual and completely irrelevent events, as to why this friend hated me. I then spent my family vacation trying desperately to come up with some way beg forgiveness from this friend. I didn't sleep well, I couldn't focus on having a good time with my family, I COULDN'T ENJOY MY FOOD (big deal) all because I couldn't forget about all the pain I had caused my friend.... got home from my vacation to find out my friend wasn't mad....... at all. great.

During my run of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels I was COMPLETELY on edge. I would get sick to my stomach every time I had to take off my shirt in the dressing room because I was POSITIVE the other people in my dressing room were laughing about my belly when I was out of the room. I took every bit of critiscism from directors and fellow cast mates as a personal attack. If a castmate said something like "you are so skinny" or "did you go tanning today?" it instantly turned into "you look like a holocaust victum" and "you superficial asshole why would you lay out and risk skin cancer?" HOWEVER I think I did a pretty good job of keeping my paranoia to myself. A lot of people in the cast told me they thought I was very calm and collected. (thats what you think! muahahahahahahahaha) As far as actual performances went I was totally convinced I was the weakes dancer/singer in the cast. I continually felt the desire to scream I GOT A BIG SCHOLARSHIP TO A REALLY GREAT SCHOOL to my castmates all the time to let them know that I deserved to be in the cast.(thank god I held that in... it would have totally ruined my "calm and collected" reputation)

And most recently (and most painfully/embarassingly) I have learned that I am incapable of speaking to attractive men. Which means I am unable to date. Which means I am doomed to be single for the rest of my life!!!!!!!!! I took DAYS working up the courage to send a text message to a VERY attractive and single man. Then when I accidentally happened to be in the same room as him my instinct was to RUN. Luckily I did not... however.... i probably should have. I stood there like an idiot and sad NO WORDS. let me repeat NO WORDS. I was literally paralized and mute with fear. My stomach was turning, my eyes watered, my face turned red.... sort of the same thing that happened when my 6th grade gym teacher made me try and climb the rope by myself in front of the class...as you can imagine I was completely unsuccessful. I would have given anything to be in that sixth grade gym class again instead of in this empty apartment blowing my chance at showing how CHARMING AND FUNNY I can be. (just nod, smile, and pretend you agree)

IN CONCLUSION I really gotta learn how to lighten up. This summer could have been incredible if I could just learn how to relax, not make life into a competition, and love myself a little more. How am I going to lighten up? TINA FEY. I just finished her book and I am completely inspired to live my life the same way she does. She completly trust and accepts herself as an average human being that likes to eat and dosn't know how to date. (tina and i are obviously kindred spirits) So I'm going to try and just LET GO of the need to be perfect in everyones eyes. I AM JARON BARNEY AND  I'M A THIN, HAIRY, FUNNY, LOVEABLE, AVERAGE LOOKING, TALENTED, TACO BELL EATING, UNPHOTOGENIC, BAT SHIT CRAZY, TRENDY, SONOFABITCH.  and if you don't like it.... thats ok. I'd rather be 9 peoples favorite thing then 100 peoples 9th favorite thing ANYWAY :)

Sunday, July 24, 2011


It has been QUITE a while since I last posted so here is a quick update on my life..... I just finished up Dirty Rotten Scoundrels at the Hale Center Theatre in west valley, I'm opening ANOTHER show this wednesday called Songs for a New World for the University of Utah summer season, teaching voice lessons, working at urban outfitters. I also bought a bike, gave up red meat, sodium, sugar, caffine, simple carbs, and went skinny dipping. Ok, now to what I REALLY wanna write about.

I don't have cable or even basic channels on my TV at home so I have a hard time keeping up with current events, so I just learned today about the attacks in Norway. While I have no personal ties to the country I was interested in knowing exactly what happened so I did a little research and learned that Norweigan government does not use capitol punishment, or even life sentances in prison. The man who is responsible for the attacks will be released from prison in his mid 60's. The Norwegian prison system is quite different than american. Rather than kill, or condem a man like him, they figure out a way to help him. They beleive that people can be changed, taught, and made better. The man responsible for killing over 80 people will spend the next 20 years of his life in prison with counselors and therapists correcting his problems and improving his life. At first this was a difficult concept for me to grasp. My first thought would be to put the man responsible for an act like that to death, but what a beautiful thought that a Nation could have the emotional maturity to recognise that a man like him is disturbed, that it is against human nature to kill, and to want to help someone like that better himself. So now the question is HOW do I have the emotional maturity that those people have? How to I apply the Norwegian perspective to my narrow minded american life?

Recently perspective has been more than skewed. I have literally spent hours looking in the mirror deciding what is wrong with the way I look, and figuring out how to change it. I told myself that I will never be a successful performer if I look the way I do. I also spend a lot of time contemplating what my life will be like if I am not a successful performer and the idea scares me so badly that I can't sleep at night. Through the entire process of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels I considered myself to be the least talented of my cast and constantly compared my dance ability, singing ability, and looks to others in my cast to the point where I started hating going to my show because I left feeling so low. I have still been very angry with my parents for months now about not helping me with a loan for school because I can't help but think every day what my life would be like if I were going to my dream school. And even now as I write this paragraph whenever I take a break from typing... my hands go to my stomach and I grab at the fat that I LOATH so deeply.

So from today forward I want to shift my perspective to a healthier more mature place. Spending hours looking at my body for flaws isn't going to help anything. I can go the gym, eat right, and stay active for the sake of being a helathy person, but I can't starve myself because I hate myself anymore. I have to stop comparing myself to to other people because there is ALWAYS going to be somebody more talented than me. And having nightmears about not being on broadway is literally the dumbest out of all of the stupid things I do. The thing that I love about theatre so much is the PROCESS not the glory. So I'm going to try and enjoy learning to dance, sing better, and become a real actor instead of beating myself up about not being good at anything right now. Being angry with my parents is also completely useless. I have to make due with what I have. My education is my responsibility not my parents so I will make it work and try and leave my bitterness behind.

I share the Norwegian beleif that people really can change.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

20 years later.

I hate my birthday. I have for a very long time. My excuse was always that there is "too much expectation" and "too much attention on me" or "i dont' like planning things for myself." But the truth is that for a long time my birthday was more than just a fun day of cake and partying. It was another stroke on the ticking time bomb that was my existance. I know that sounds really melodramatic, but thats really what I thought when I was younger. I knew that with every birthday I was another year closer to the day when my personal life would explode (aka coming out of the closet) and I would have to either kill myself or run away and never come back. (no wonder i developed mental problems!) I didn't really have a lot of perspective back then, but none the less I usually spent the night before my birthday crying in my room trying desperately to think of a way to avoid the peril in my future.

But what about now? I am turning 20 this saturday and my life is in no danger of exploding. The day I dreaded so much in my early teen years has passed and I'm doing just fine. As a matter of fact I'm better than I've ever been in my entire life. I'm comfortable with who I am, turns out my family is pretty cool witht he whole gay thing, I live in a nice apartment, I have great friends, a bright future, I'm getting a fabulous education and wonderful performance opportunities, exposure to important people, blah blah blah...

Looking back on all those years I wasted in paralyzing fear I have a lot of regrets. I regret wasting 20 years of my life dreading my future, hating myself, and hiding from the world. I wish I could go back and convince the young me that I WOULD BE OK. I wish I could have had a more normal childhood....... one where I didn't cry on my birthday. One where I didn't wish I were somewhere or someone else all the time.

I was watching a documentary online about four former LDS men who spend their lives in the church in Utah, served missions, came out of the closet and left the church. While I think the documentary spent too much time focused on useless bitter feeligns toward the LDS faith, one man's outlook on his life really touched me. He spoke of his upbringing in utah saying "Twenty years of shame.... I'll take that for another 60 years of happiness."."

Thats what my 20th birthday is going to mean to me this year. A new chapter in my life. A chapter that isn't full of secrets, pain, and useless guilt. In my next 60+ years I'm going to live the life I never thought I could have. A life that will hopefully include a successful career, a husband, a family, and broadway of course :)


Monday, June 6, 2011


A few weeks ago my brother was talking with someone in my home ward in syracuse and was asked "so what are we supposed to ASSUME about Jaron....." (in refrence to my sexuality). Thats when I realized that I never really OFICIALLY came out of the closet... i just sort of assumed everyone knew. So this blog is my thoughts on my sexuality and my "coming out" story for those who have never heard it.

I have known I was gay since I can remember. When I was young I never really could put a name to it but I knew I was different. Then in my later elementary years kids started mocking me by calling me GAY and even though it hurt... I realized they were right! Ever since that point I made it my number 1 priority to keep my sexualitiy secret. I was convinced that if anyone found out about it my life would be over.

Like most closeted homosexuals, I hated myself in my through  jr high and high school years because of my secret. I saw nothing but pain in my future. In my mind, if i came out of the closet I would be disowned by my family and friends and have to run away from Utah. But if I stayed in the closet I would be expected to serve a mission and marry a woman which was also not a very appealing choice. So I decided around the age of 12 or 13 that I would kill myself before I turned 19 so that I wouldn't ever have to tell anyone my secret or live through the torture that would be my future. I stuck to that plan for a very long time and truly intended to follow through with it... until the time to actually do it came closer. (little did i know i WOULD actually attempt it years later under COMPLETELY different circumstances haha)

The summer before I started college I realized that I both didn't want to attend Weber State for musical theatre, and that I really didn't want to kill myself OR come out of the closet. So I decided BYU would be the best place for me to fulfill both of those ideas. I thought that if I went there it would be easier for me to hide my sexuality.. and maybe even develope an attraction for women. About 3 weeks into going to school there I realized how bad of a decision that was. It was at that point that the mood swings I had experienced quietly for several years became very strong. I went through a very powerful phase of depression for several weeks. It got so bad that I hated singing, dancing, acting, friends, everything. I felt like I was about to cry at almost every moment of the day. I really needed to talk with someone about what I was feeling... but I wasn't ready to tell close family and friends yet... so I told my friend Courtney Bullard. We were not particulary close but we had a good relationship and I knew her to be very logical and kind and trustworthy so I "came out" to her first. It was an amazing feeling to finally be able to say it! I felt a little bit of the weight I had been carrying for 18 years lifted... but there was still something not right. I told her that I was gay.. but that I beleived it was a trial from god and that it was something wanted to overcome. I was still too afraid to say I MADE A MISTAKE COMING HERE and I WANT TO BE MYSELF. About a week later I was driving home from sunday dinner in syracuse when I experienced a very overwhelming panic attack. I pulled over on the side of the freeway and cried for about 45 minuets. I cried till my stomach cramped up and I couldn't cry anymore. I called my friend Sadie ... and she convinced me to see a doctor.

I went to the doctor and explained that I had experienced a lot of depression since early high school years and was diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder. As we were driving home from the doctor my mom asked me what was going on.... and since i was so depressed and apathetic toward my existance at the time I gave in and said "i'm gay" to her. Her response was simply " i know."( she said it as if i were silly for even THINKING it was a secret haha) I then told her the same story I told Courtney. That I beleived I would overcome my "trial" in time with the lords help. As I told more and more people I was gay, I found that telling them I was planning on fighting it made it easeir for them to accept it ... so I kept saying it.. and digging myself deeper and deeper into a pit of completely new lies.

The rest of my year at BYU was filled with really hard classes and really stupid doctors. I went to a therapist in Provo who attempted to change my sexual orientation. Turns out EVERY major medical journal or study shows that attempting to change one's sexual orientation is dangerous and does permanent psychological damage... as if i needed more of that :) haha. Needless to say it didn't work. I was eventually diagnosed BIPOLAR not depressed, and started taking medicine and therapy for THAT problem.. not my sexual orientation. At the end of my year at BYU I was accepted into the MDT program as well as the BYU YOUNG AMBASSADORS. I was thrilled with my accomplishments... but the idea of spending 3 more years at that school was too painful to bare. (don't get me wrong i have wondeful friends there who i still love dearly) So once again I decided to transfer last minuet to the University of Utah where I would try starting over as an openly gay man.

On the first day of singing class my teacher Dave asked us to go around and say what made us "freaks" (in reference to the song FREAK FLAG from shrek the musical) When it was my turn i said "well... i am a gay mormon transfer from byu... doesn't get much freakier than that." And a beautiful thing happened... no one felt sorry for me. No one talked to me about trials, how brave i am, or how i must have been a mighty saint in the pre existance to receive such a difficult trial. As a matter of fact... no one cared! For the first time in my life I felt like I could be EXACTLY who I always wanted. That was the first time in my adult life I was glad I didn't kill myself after I graduated high school.

I am often asked if I know the church's opinion on the "issue of same gender attraction"( i hate that phrase). The answer is yes. As a matter of fact I probably know a lot more about it that most people because its my LIFE. So PLEASE don't think I'm ignorant, I've read every pamphlet, scripture verse, and conference talk on the subect. I've done therapy sessions with a man with a masters in psychology from BYU with an emphasis in human sexuality.. specifically homosexuality. I've had discussions and given pamphelts to my bishop so HE could be more educated on the subject. I made my decisions with all that information in mind... and I still whole heartedly beleive I made the right one.

So my "coming out" process took about a year... and was pretty gradual... and pretty dramatic. And after all of that here is what I have discovered: I deserve to love and be loved just like anyone else. God loves me and made me the way I am . There is no way to LOVE yourself if you are constantly trying to force yourself to change to fit a mold. I have an amazing and wonderfully supportive family and I hope that all Latter Day Saints strive to be as open minded as my parents. Finally ...... "Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house." Matthew 5:15. I will NEVER hide my light under a bushel again.

Monday, May 30, 2011

I get by with a little help from my friends :)

ha  litIts not easy to be my friend. I'm a lot of fun to the point of obnoxious and recklessness for a while... then I hide away in my room from the whole world and don't answer my phone. I get irritated quickly and say rude things that I don't mean. I forget about other peoples feelings. I send those really obnoxious one word texts like "ok" and "fine" because I don't have the energy to type a complete thought. I push people away because when I'm sad I don't think I deserve love. And these things get worse and worse every month so it gets harder and harder to hide them. But there is a beautiful group of people that love me despite all of these awful flaws. These are the people that I stay alive for when I'm sad, and the people I can't wait to play with when I'm manic. So... here is just a few of the people in my amazing support system.

I don't know how... but me and her just get eachother. its a grey and yang thing.

I mean beautiful and a sense of humor. who could ask for anything more?

I mean... this picture pretty much sums it up :)

This picture was taken the days before I went to the hospital. They brought me that hat to make me feel better, left me lots of funny voicemails, pretended like nothing happened so i wouldn't feel weird coming back, oh and the one in the hat never left my bedside :)

my best friend in the world.

i mean... who else in this world would have the patience to take my crazy 2 am phonecalls :)

i survived a year in UTAH VALLEY because of this beautiful girl.

it takes a very special person to live with me... thats all i'm sayin :)

this is like the only picture we have together because she's a newer friend... but i love her... and this is all we do anyway haha.

sometimes you find your most supportive friends in unexpected places... like at a high school prom :)

BEAUTIFUL GIRLS. If anyone on this planet has a right to hate me its that beautiful girl in the pink suit... but she doesn't. she accepts me and loves me even though i haven't always been the best friend to her.

we only have three more years together, but i'll love them all FOREVER!! cheesey? i don't care.

I am so lucky to have this wonderful family. There really is no place like home :)

Thursday, May 26, 2011


You know how when you experience something really scary or painful... and then when you look back at it after a few days have gone by its not that big of a deal and you can't remember why you were so freaked out? Thats sort of how I feel when I think back on really manic or really depressed days. I forget sometimes that I'm Bipolar until i'm right in the middle of an episode. So about 6 months ago I bought a journal where I write down what I'm feeling right in the middle of those crazy moments so that I can remember later. I got the idea from looking back at my blog DRAFTS that I never posted. I was looking through them and found some from my "september 19th overdose". I didn't remember this, but I got on my blog and wrote a really long emotional messy entry about what I was feeling at the time, and although it was kind of disturbing to read... it was mostly helpful to remember what was going through my head. I won't post any quotes from those entries today... maybe someday. But TODAY I'm posting about my latest issue... INSOMNIA. The following quotes are right out of my personal journal (and occassionally some commentary from daytime jaron). My goal is to someday be able to put all of these journals into a book like Terri Chenny's book MANIC.

"it feels like i'm too bsy to do anything. especially sleep. so i do nothing but think myself into an ulcerating pit (what does that even mean?) until the sun rises and its time for ballet. thank god for coffee."

"waiting for sleeping pills to work. fat chance. i should go steal (is that how you spell that?) ben's cough syrup. (found my own haha). I really wanna be up for dance in the morning. 3 hours till ballet."

"its like when you get a song stuck in your head except its all the worst most painful moments of your life replaying over and over verse chorus verse chorus" (apparently i think my life is really hard in the middle of the night)

"my skin hurts, the sheets hurt on my skin, my back and shoulders hurt, stomach and gas pain" (tmi?)

"country music calms me down enought to at least relax my body."

"its irritating to shut my eyes. it feels like effort to keep them closed. i force myself to lay still and realize after a while my head isn't even touching the pillow because my neck and shoulders are so tight i'm holding my own head up i wake up sore like i did a hard workout but all i did was try to sleep" (no such thing as punctuation at 4 am. give me a break)

I'm hoping that if I continue to do this and study what I write, I'll be able to figure out things that help. First step COUNTRY MUSIC at bed time... and hiding cough syrup so i don't get addicted to it!

Monday, May 16, 2011

An Education

I just wrapped up another year of college of a few weeks ago. Being a freshman AGAIN was not exactly thrilling but I love the people in Salt Lake especially my MTP family. I left BYU and moved to Salt Lake to be who I really am, And I must say, things went much differently than planned, HOWEVER I learned more than I thought I would. So I am going to do another one of my LIST blogs and talk about all the little things I've learned during my year.

- LIFE is worth living. I came very close to death in september of last year. And even though back then I didn't want to live anymore... I'm glad I'm still here.

-charcoal belongs in camp fires. NOT in my stomach.

-If my house isn't decorated really well... i don't feel at home.

- Someone can get whatever they want from me if they tell me i'm PRETTY.

- I care more about my look than I do about my personality... and I want to change that.

-People think I'm good looking on the east coast.

-I'm OBSESSED with post secret.

- I still want to be Loreli Gilmore when I grow up.

-I hate people to hear me pee so i turn on the sink everytime I use the bathroom.

-I don't know how to casually date.

- When I get really sad... i don't stop eating.

-Taco bell is my best friend/worst enemy.

-I REALLY hope love feels like a country song.

-I like country music.

-I have a weird complex about how people view me back in syracuse (the town i'm from) If I find out my old neighbors are "dissapointed" or "concerned" about me... even though i know its with love..... i get REALLY defensive and it ruins my week.

- Being LDS dosn't bring me happiness.

-I beleive in and LOVE God.

-I hate to be needed, but love needing people.

-In my darkest moments the only one who can save me is ME.

-I am bipolar.

-I love lamp light and candles.

- I am interested in stable committment from a partner.

-I'm a terrible flirt.

-My charm doesn't really read via text.... or blog for that matter.

-Watching your dreams fly out the window is even more painful than it sounds.

-I'm talented enough to receive $15,000 from a top 5 musical theatre school.

-I hold grudges.

-I complain about not getting the parts i want because I don't have the body I want. I complain about being single because I don't have the body i want.... but i'm still afraid of the gym.

-I LOVE dancing... but i might not ever be really good at it... and that kills me.

-i'm NOT good at throwing parties.

-I'm REALLY good at avoiding therapy and medication.

-I have emotional problems.... but forgetting about them and living life helps.

-People who make up problems to get attention piss me off.

-I am a master manipulator... gotta stop that.

-i get dizzy before I get really manic.

-i like graveyards

-I REALLY want someone to love me

-"i'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and god damnit people like me"

-I am a record breaking over reactor.

-If anything is going to hold me back from being a good dancer... its insomnia. Why are ballet classes always before 9 am????

-there's no place like home..

-people who can just fall asleep at a decent hour without a problem don't know how lucky they are.

-i'm pretty much always thinking about one of three things... belting.... my love life... or food.

-i'm never satisfied with two of the things listed above.

-karli rose lowry is the funniest person on the planet.

- I tear up when people tell me they think i would make a good father.

-I want to be a father.

-"I'm not interested in money, I just want to be wonderful"-Marilyn Monroe

-witihout darkness we can never understand the light.

-having hope is a choice

-Sometimes... when you can't see the light at the end of the tunnle.... forget about your problems and laugh for a while... and pretty soon you'll be living in the light.

-cafe on 1st, the top of i, ensign peak, my bedroom window, the graveyard in the avenues, marriot dance center, su casa, city creek park, gateway, the schmidt house, pab, and my very large comfortable bed are my favorite places in salt lake city.

-i make really long lists... congrats if you made it to the end without falling asleep!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

I feel so much spring

This is an entry from my personal journal that turned out... well sounding more like a blog entry than a journal so i thought i would share it with you all :)

During HYPOMANIA, life can seem more beautiful and thrilling than it normaly or actually is. But today, hypomania is no match for how beautiful Salt Lake City is. I'm sitting against a big tree just outside my house. I can hear birds chirping, see flowers blooming, and smell fresh cut grass from my neighbor mowing his lawn. Today spring feels especially beautiful to me. Depression is a cold, dark, and quiet winter. Its as if everything becomes washed out like a thick sheets of snow covering green fields. Then... srping comes... and there is enormous relief. I am always so thrilled to see that first bit of grass shooting up out of the white snow. No matter how scary life is.. that first bit of grass is enough to make you want to roll up your pant legs, take off your shoes, and run to the nearest grass patch to bask in the beauty of the world we live in.

I'm a rapid cycler. I experience ups and downs weekely... but even in those weeks of mania there has still been a lingering ache of depression for the past 8 months. I've been suffocating under that thinck blanket of snow. But today, as I sit under the sun, against a maple tree, with my shoes off and my pants rolled up... I can't help but have a hunch that MY spring... is just around the corner.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

a new world..

The musical I'm in at the University of Utah is called SONGS FOR A NEW WORLD (runs april 20-24th come see it!). And I've been thinking a lot about what the show is about and how closely it relates to my life right now. The show is stories of lots of different people in pivital moments in their lives. Moments that change who they are, how the see the world, or where everything changes. The first line I sing in the opening number says it best "its about one moment, the moment before it all becomes clear... and just when when you're on the verge of succes the sky starts to change and the wind starts to blow." Thats kind of where I'm at right now. I am in that moment before things become clear, that is. I was accepted into Boco again... but this time with a $10,000 a year scholarship. Sounds like a lot of money right?? but its only about a fifth of the total cost. So why even bother you ask?? well... its my dream school... and its sort of like going to Harvard instead of state school. But my parents and I are still figuring out money/loan options so... who knows.

So now I'm getting practice in dealing with high stress and a mental disorder at the same time. The problem right now is I can't ever sleep. I have been getting on average about 4 hours a night, which sucks cause I have to sing and dance and run around all day. Today I had to take the day off cause I got sick due to a lack of sleep and overuse of my voice and body and we open in a few weeks (also adding to the stress). So what do I do? There isn't a breathing exercise out there that I haven't tried, i rub lavendar on my feet and it doesn't help, i tried meditating, sleeping pills, cough syrup, you name it and nothing seems to help.

Here's what I've realized... when I get into a high stress situation it DEFINATELY triggers a manic or mixed mood. In that state everything starts to become a life or death decision. I can't sleep at night bcause it feels like my life could possibly be over with one little phone call from mommy saying they're done thinking about it and they won't help me get to boston. At the same time the idea of leaving accross the country scares the shit out of me. How will I manage all of my issues clear out there in Boston where I literally have ONE friend and a few people i've met once or twice?

Bottom line is all this is out of my control... and I have to figure out a way to let go and LIVE LIFE. And besies I'm possibly on the brink of a brand new life.... what could be more exciting than that? I mean thats the kind of thing they write muscals about :)

Songs for a New World plays april 20-24th in studio 115 in the Performing Arts Building on the University of Utah campus. Tickets are five dollars and can be purchased thorugh Kingsburry Hall. :) :)

Friday, March 25, 2011

so....what is it?

So I was reading my mothers blog the other day and noticed she had written a post about me being manic depressive. I realized after I read it that simply saying Jaron Barney is manic depressive isn't enough. Most people don't know what that is, and what they do know might not even be correct.  Many view it as a form of depression... and while depression is part of being manic depressive.... they are very different illnesses. So I decided to sort of lay out what manic depressive aka BIPOLAR disorder actually is.

The medical definition of bipolar disorder is:  Bipolar, or manic-depressive disorder, is a mood disorder that causes radical emotional changes and mood swings, from manic highs to depressive lows. The majority of bipolar individuals experience alternating episodes of mania and depression.

There are two types of bipolar disorder. Type one and two are distinguished by the severity of the MANIC phase. Bipolar 1 experiences MANIA which can include severe and risky behavior (jumping off buildings in an attempt to fly, thinking you are god, hearing voices, excessive sex and drug use) . Bipolar 2 has the same depressive states but the "manic state" is actually HYPOMANIA which is slightly less severe. The excessive energy and irritability are the same but the risky behaviors and other life altering consequenses don't occur. I am currently diagnosed type 2.

Recently I have been looking into what is called "rapid cycling" it is something I think sounds a lot like me. It is when a bipolar patient experiences ups and downs at a much quicker rate than the average patient. Most bipolar people will have 8 to 10 manic episodes in a LIFETIME and a rapid cycler will have at least 4 per YEAR. I haven't been diagnosed with that, and i don't know if its even nessisary because treatment for mental illness tends to be the same reguardless of small problems like that (i literally took pills given to skitsofranic patients) but still its nice to know.  

Symptoms of depression include: paralysis, excessive sleep, excessive eating, desire for isolation, extreme negativity, suicidal tendancies.
Symptoms of mania (hypomania) are: increased energy, sexual impulsivity, heightened sensualitiy, grandiose thinking, decreased need for sleep and food, excessive spending, extreme spending, irritibility, restlessness, and charisma.

There is also a state called "mixed mood" it is exactly what it sounds like, but it can be very dangerous. Basically its being depressed but having the energy of a manic state. When this happens a person has the energy to act on depressed feelings, when normaly lethargy keeps a depressed person from hurting themselves. This is the state I was in when I attempted suicide 7 months ago. I was highly depressed and wanted out and I had the energy and power to do something about it.

When I experience depression the symptoms that hit me hardest are desire for isolation, excessive eating and sleeping, negativity and occassionally suicidal thoughts.
When I am manic most often you will find me practicing A LOT, cleaning, spending lots of money, talking on the phone for hours, but along with being lots of fun to be around... i can be extremely ... bitchy.

I am posting this so that those that read my blogs can get a better understanding of what my mental illness IS. Its not just getting sad, and then getting happy again. Neither side is all that simple, or pleasant for that matter. Its not something I have any control over, but I think I have done a pretty damn good job of making sure I don't become a bother to the people in my life because of it. I promised myself a while back that no matter what I wouldn't let this problem keep me from LIVING life. So I make plans in advance so that no matter how I'm feeling I am obligated to go experience things. I give myself at least two hours each day alone so that I can be exactly how I feel in order to have the strength to get along with others. I keep my friends close and force them to keep me on track with school and being on time... getting out of bed when i'm depressed etc.

Here are some more medical facts about bipolar disorder:

 American adults who have bipolar: 5.8 million (2.8% of U.S. population)
• Life expectancy of an adult with serious mental illness: 25 years shorter than that of a person without.
• Bipolar patients who have attempted suicide: 25%. (kinda makes me seem a bit more normal right??) ;)
• Bipolar patients whose suicide attempts have been lethal: 15-20%. This is the highest suicide rate of any psychiatric disorder, and more than 20 times higher than the rate of suicide in the general population. About half of all suicides in the U.S. can be attributed to bipolar.
• Bipolar people who are not being treated at any given time: approximately 50% (i am currently not taking medication but getting back on soon hopefully)
• Bipolar and schizophrenic people who have no insurance: 50%. The diagnosis of mental illness makes it far more difficult to get, and keep, health insurance, and mental illness makes it far more difficult to get, and keep, health insurance, and most health insurance offers only a limited amount of coverage for mental health services and medications. (i am "uninsurable")
• Year the term ‘manic-depressive insanity’ was first used in medical texts: 1896
• Year the term bipolar was first used: 1980
• Year the first medication (lithium) was discovered to have effect on manic patients: 1948
• Year the first medication designed specifically to treat bipolar was developed: still waiting
• Average age of onset: 23 (i am a little young, but some are diagnosed as young as 3 years old)
• Average age of correct diagnosis: 40 (i was incorrectly diagnosed with DEPRESSION for half a year)
• Average number of years it takes a bipolar person or their family to seek treatment from the onset of symptoms: 10
• Number of bipolar sufferers who have been misdiagnosed at least once: 70-75%. (me!!)
• Number of patients taking a mood stabilizer who go off their medication because of side effects, the desire for manic energy, or impaired insight: 50%
• Number one risk factor for relapse into a bipolar episode: going off your meds
• Odds that a person with bipolar I will also struggle with substance abuse: 60:40
• Odds that a person with bipolar II will: 50:50
• Rate of alcoholism in bipolar men: Three times higher than in the general population
• In bipolar women: Seven times higher than in the general population
• Divorce rates for people with bipolar: twice as high during their first marriage than for people with any other psychiatric disorder, and three and a half times more likely to divorce than people in the general population. (not gonna happen to me cause even when i'm depressed i'm LOVEABLE!!)

Thats a lot of scary medical facts. The IMPORTANT fact is that I'm ok. I am not posting these facts to scare people, I just want to be better understood. I want it to be understood that this problem doesn't go away with therapy. I'll have it forever, and it might get worse. But I'm GOOD at dealing with it. Even though some of my close friends and family might have a better understanding of how impossible/annoying i can be because of this... MOST people don't even notice there is a problem. My friends and family keep me in line and make sure I'm ok, I would be an even bigger mess than I already am without their help.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Listening to my body.

Most, if not all, manic depresive people will tell you that feeling manic is FAR superior to depression. As a matter of fact, even someone without a mental problem would tell you they prefer energy to depression. Over the past few months all I wanted was to stay manic as long as possible. I got pretty depressed around the whole six month anniversary of my attempted suicide thing, but I bounced back like always. Except this time, the prospect of living with depression again was absloutely unbearable. I just couldn't handle another few weeks of wanting to die, pretending to like people, wishing I had the energy to try... so I decided to do everything in my power to stay manic. I read that excessive amounts of caffine and lack of sleep can enduce mania..... so I started drinking coffee religiously and staying up as late as I could. When I started feeling like I might be slipping back into depresion I would grab another cup of coffee and practice, go to the gym, or go facebook crazy for a few hours until I was too busy with life to feel depresed. I ignored all the classic signs of Jaron depression like complete disinterest in hygene, irritablilty to the point of absolute bitchy-ness, extreme fatigue, and an increased desire to stay in bed all day and never open my eyes. I though maybe if I could find a way to stay manic for three or four months, I could just relax during the summer. It didn't work. In fact it just made me feel awful. I found myself getting angry over EVERYTHING, taking things too personally, and getting physcally ill. Underneath my facade of being "totally fine" I wanted to run away and never come back. I started looking up hotel prices in random places all over the country so I could have somewhere to escape to.

Although I was very productive, I felt that I might suddenly burst into tears at any moment. There was this awful feeling in the pit of my stomach. A feeling I so desperately wanted to get away from... but couldn't manage to outrun.

Finally last night I gave in. I sat in my emptpy apartment and cried. I gave into that feeling I had been running from. And i must say... was actually a relief. As strange as it may sound, feeling depressed alone in my apartment was the nicest thing that had happened to me in months. My head stopped spinning, my body relaxed, and I relased all of the fear I had pent of for months. Then I spent the whole next day doing whatever I wanted. (which ended up being eating a greek salad alone in the mountains).

Now, for the first time in months, things seem clear, balanced, almost normal. What I really want is balance, so I thought maybe if I stayed manic for a while I would have some control and be ... sort of balanced. What I have learned is that my own personal form of balance comes from the ups and downs I experience. So I think i'm going to try riding the rollercoaster for a while and see how it goes.

"to be tested is good. The challenged life may be the best therapist." - Gail Sheehy

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Six months ago today I wanted my life to be over. Six months ago I was sitting where I'm sitting right now with pills scattered accross my bed sheets and telling myself that life wasn't worth living. Six months ago nothing seemed to be going right, my future seemed dismal, life was hard. Six months ago today I was admited into the hospital after swallowing 14,000 mg of lithium and several other kinds of bipolar medication. Six months ago I was regretting that stupid decisioin. I was saying " i wish it were six months from now.... then this will all be in the past." So now i'm asking myself what has changed in six months?

I still have nightmares about the emergancy room. I can't swallow a pill without dry heaving. I am more afraid of rejection and dissapointment. I developed mild acid reflux. But what about ME has ACTUALLY changed? I'm still bipolar. I still don't know if the decisions I've made are the right ones. I'm still worried it will happen again someday. ...

Here's what has changed. I woke up this morning and got out of bed, got ready, and went to the school to help out with auditions for the U. I didn't even realize it was February 19th. I didn't realize it was 6 months ago today until 4:30. That might sound stupid to you, but for me its a big deal. It means I'm moving on.

But even more important than what has changed is what HASN'T changed. I still have the best family in the entire world. I still have incredible friends. I still have a support system. I still have passion for what I do. I am still getting a great education. I think it is those things that HAVEN'T changed that have made it possible for me to move on.

I live in an inconsistant world. I am constantly shifting, changing, growing. So today the thing that gives me comfort is not that I've changed in the past six months.... its that nothing has changed at all :)

Monday, February 7, 2011

Here it comes.

Sometimes I am totally caught off guard as to when I'm in for a huge mood shift. I wake up one morning and have an incredible amount of energy, or I come home from a great day at school and I am suddenly drained. But what is even worse than that is when I DO see them coming. When I'm having a great day, a great week actually, and I just know that the next morning I'm not going to want to wake up. Sometimes I know because I get dizzy, my head hurts, and I occassionally get nausious. Sometimes I can just feel it. Its hard to explain but I trust me I just know sometimes.

That is happening... like right now :). I figure this is a good time to write about it since I'm actually experiencing it and usually when things like this happen I don't have the energy to write about it. What is scariest in times like these is the fear. I am afraid that people are going to get frustrated with me because I'm about to become a lot less pleasant. I'm afraid I'll get behind in classes. I'm afraid of feeling trapped and hopeless.

I was just reading a book called MANIC. It is the story of a very successful, good looking, bipolar lawyer. Her story is absolutely inspirational and I reccomend that anyone hoping to understand the mind of a bipolar person read this book. Its by Terri Cheny. I was looking through the book and my mom (who reccomneded the book to me) had written one of Terri's quotes and put it in the front of the book. The quote says "without the darkness, how can we ever hope to understand the light?" Thank you for writing that down mom.

I'll get through the darkness. I know how. I get better and better at it every day. And I'm lucky because I know there is a light at the end of the tunnel. There will always be light, that is one of the beauties of being bipolar, no matter how awful I feel at one moment....there is a chance I'll be on top of the world the next.

Monday, January 31, 2011

getting better.

I have seen a lot of different therapists over the past year. Every time things get bad, or I feel down I realize that I need to talk to a professional. But in one year I have never stayed with a therapist for more than a month. I've been doing this all wrong. I realized today (thanks to an episode of greys anatomy...don't judge me) that going to a therapist isn't about getting better. Its not about finding happiness. Its about learning to deal with my circumstances, and that process is longer than four weeks. I stopped taking medication and I stopped seeing a therapist because things started going well for me. All of the sudden I didn't need help anymore because I was happy. Sometimes I guess I forget that I'm bipolar because the high never lasts for more than a week or two. I'm realizing that I'm really never going to GET BETTER. Thats all I've wanted for the past year. Somehow I had it in my head that I would find a pill that made me feel normal, or talked things out with a therapist and suddenly something would click and I could be just like everyone else. Well no I'm pleased to say that my search for a cure is over.

I need medication so that my best friend doesn't have to call me three times every morning to get me out of bed. I need medication so that my friends don't have to dread the weeks of depression and pray that I wake up manic so that they can laugh and enjoy life with me. I need medication so that when I'm manic I don't sleep in a graveyard or make friends with homeless people just to do something crazy. I don't need a cure for my problems. There is no such thing. But I do need medicine so that I can get my education and have friends, and family, and hopefully some day a meaningful relationship.

I need therapy to talk about my attatchment issues. I need a therapist so my poor mother doesn't have to worry that I don't have someone to help me when I need it. I need a therapist to help me learn to let go of my past. I need a therapist so that my friends don't have to be therapists.

This past weekend I auditioned for the Boston Conservatory. I was accpeted last year but couldn't afford to go so I auditioned again hoping that something will work out this time. Its been my dream since I was in 8th grade to go there. Being accepted last year was one of the happiest days of my life. And being there for the past few days was an incredible experience. I met amazingly talented and beautiful people. If I am accepted to that school I have to be ready to handle the experience of being accross the country from my family... and my mommy. I have to be ready to deal with a very heavy class/stress load. I have to be ready to be a professional. And even if I stay in salt lake for the next few years I still need help to be ready for life in the real world.

Its hard for me to admit things like this. Anyone who knows me will tell you that I love being in control. Strong. Indipendent. The only reason I went to therapy before was so I could OVERCOME something. To beat my illness and be a winner. This time I'm getting help for real. I am putting my pride aside because I deserve better. My family deserves better. My friends deserve better. I won't be cured from my illness...but I will be better.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

i like to play in the dirt sometimes

Tonight I drove to the top of the Avenues. I parked my car on the side of a hill, walked out into the dirt and looked out at the glowing lights of the city. Its one of the most beautiful places that I have found in the whole valley. As I stood there I kept trying to force myself to come up with some profoud thought as to how looking out at the city made me feel so small...yet at peace... or something. But nothing was coming. All I could think about was "its cold, my expensive shoes are muddy, I can't sit down because these are nice jeans and i wanted to wear them tomorrow, and this hot chocolate I bought isn't very good." I started driving back downt the hill toward home....And then it hit me. When did I become this person? When did I become the guy that is too wrapped up in his own life to notice the beauty around him? When I was a kid it was a good day when I came home with grass stains on my jeans. I would be outside for as long as possible and cry when I had to come inside and take a shower. I would literally take my dinner and eat it outside by myself just so I wouldn't have to be cooped up in the house. And now I spend more time in practice rooms than I do outside. I didn't leave my apartment until 10:00 at night by choice. So I turned around. I went back out into the muddy field and sat on a mound of dirt. I sat and just looked. I didn't look for meaning, or for a metaphore, I just looked at the pretty lights. But I still wasn't satisfied. So I found a park nearby and sat on the swings. I went as high as I could and jumped off. Then I ran up a hill near the top of the park just to see what the view was like from the top, and then ran back down.

Some people might call this a "manic episode" but I call it an awakening. I have talked myself into beleiving that I care more about expensive clothes and fancy resturants than experiencing life. I don't really know when it happened. But somewhere along the way I changed to fit in to my stereotype better. The truth is I love camping. I love walking outside. I love swimming. I am not afraid of cold water. I like the smell of the inside of a tent. I love waking up to the sun rather than an alarm clock. I think food tastes better in the woods than in a resturant.I convinced myself that these things weren't true in an effort to seperate myself from other men and fit in with the girls better. But my new goal is to allow myself to experience the things I love without holding myself back. I want to remember what it feels like to not care if I have a grass stain on my jeans. I want to remember why I loved to take my dinner out and sit in the yard alone.

Don't get me wrong.....I still like expensive clothes. I still love fancy food. I really do love to stay in with a wine glass full of milk and watch sex in the city. I just don't want to be limited to that anymore. I want to experience more. And anyone who knows me knows that I get what I want. so dont worry... it will happen :)

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Getting out of my box.

"Whats in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet."

We as human beings are lable makers. We are taught from a young age to categorize and lable. Laundry: whites and darks. Food: breakfast lunch dinner. People: strangers, friends. Friends: best friend, other friends. And as we grow we expound on this. High School: Jocks, Nerds, preps, cheerleaders, goths, drama geeks, band kids, officers, smart kids, debate kids, cowboy kids. People: rich, poor, fat, thin, pretty, ugly, nice, mean...etc. We put lables on things. And its pretty clear which ones are right and which ones are wrong. We know classifying someone as a "nerd" is not correct, we do it anyway, but its not right none the less. But what about the lables we create for ourselves? What about the boxes we put ourselves in? The lines we draw in the sand for ourselves that we never cross?

I have been realizing for the past little while that I created boundaries for myself without realizing it. I classified myself so specifically that there was not possible way for escape. I boxed myself in with lables. Bipolar. Homosexual. Singer. Actor. Dancer. Obsesser. Sassy bitch. Etc. Never in a million years did I think these things would trap me... but lately... i've felt trapped. I feel like its imposible for me to change or grow because I have me pinned as "the guy with a mental disorder" or "that singer guy" or "sassy gay friend." So from today I am finished trying to define who I am. Because once I define it I slap a big lable on my forhead and put myself in a box. Maybe someday I'll fall in love with a woman... not likely but you never know. Maybe someday I won't have to worry about being mildly bipolar. Maybe someday I'll get in an accident and lose my ablilty to perform. All those things are possible for me because I am ripping off my lables.

I understand that other people are going to lable me. I'm ok with that. Those lables don't restrict me. Its the ones I put on myself that keep me from reaching my full potential as a human being. So what am I? I'm a person. I love singing, acting, dancing. But I'm not A PERFORMER.  I like boys. I'm not a HOMO. I am a good listener, I'm not A THERAPIST. I like to sit at home and watch sex in the city with a bucket of chicken on occasion, but im' not A SLOB.

Why is this important? Because now my possibilities are endless. I can move in any direction. I can truly live in the moment. I can take advantage of LIFE. So really, what IS in a name? For me, its a little trap that holds me back. Keeps me from moving forward and making new discoveries.

In William Shakespeares classic "Romeo and Juliet" the thing that keeps the "star crossed lovers" from happiness is a name. A lable. "Tis but thy name that is mine enemy." Were it not for a simple lable they could have lived full and happy lives. And I let this happen to me. For example, I let my lable of "gay performer" keep me from trying new things. Who knows if I really hate all sports!? I never really tried them all because I let a lable define what I liked. I let my lable of "bipolar" give me an excuse to hide from the world and ignore friends when I felt depressed. And that is NOT acceptable to me.

So my new goal is to not let my name be my enemy. I am going to stop searching for things that DEFINE me and start experencing things without holding back.