My strength and passion can also become my weakness and indifference. Being under the lights and on stage can be my greatest joy or the catalyst for a possible manic episode. This Thursday night I will be MC'ing along with Chrissie Hodges for the 25th anniversary of CHARG. In the last several years I have put myself in a position to test my skill level of the tools I am using to keep in balance. I have spoken in front of over a hundred audiences for NAMI's "In Our Own Voice" program and several other speaking engagements. I have also put myself in potential trigger situations by playing major acting roles in two theater productions (Nostradamus in New Jersey and VOX by Phamaly Theater Company). The fear of having a relapse is the emotion I must guard against during these test scenarios. The risk of having another manic episode compared to the reward of doing what I love, is a constant battle between my heart and mind. The thoughts that my mind generates are cautious reminders of my previous manic psychotic episodes. On the other hand, my heart drives me to help others learn the tools to recovery.
CHARG has asked me to take on an improvisational role for their celebration. I accepted the opportunity because of their commitment in helping others with severe mental illness. My personal involvement with their members and staff has been fulfilling and this gives me the occasion to give back.
I must remind myself that the knowledge of "The Four Agreements", practicing mindfulness, and having an incredible support network will ensure my emotional success. I will allow only the positive thoughts of knowing I have been through this before and if all else fails will go get a MANIC CURE.