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.