This year has been really tough. The silence in my blogs is a reflection of the silence in my head!
After the heady success of last year and my swift progress in the funny world, this year landed with the lifeless thud of an autumn apple.
I spent so much time and money pursuing gigs last year (sometimes up to 5 a week at opposite ends of the country) that after Christmas I had to get back into the real world and work hard at my day job to pay the bills.
Between January and August this year I have only done around 40 gigs. By comparison, at this Edinburgh fringe during August, I did around 70 performances in 25 days. At least the shows I am now getting are paid gigs and thus the rewards are beginning to match the effort.
Not being constantly in the limelight and needing to work hard doing a very physical job, left me feeling flat and without enough energy. Not even enough to come into this blog confessional booth and ask for absolution.
Another issue which has stifled my cerebral cosmic juices is my constant fight against Manic Depression. This year has been tough because for the first time ever I have had a long period of very flat, almost apathetic moods. I have never had a moment in my life when I have not been passionate about something, raving and behaving in reaction to whichever wind blows my way. So to feel nothing and be neither up of down is a very strange place indeed.
12 years ago the doctors told me I was bi-polar and I would need to be on drugs to stabilise my mood, probably for the rest of my life. During the 3 years of taking the medication I formulated a series of Cognitive Behavioural Therapies in order to manage my condition myself. I have self managed (without medication) for 9 years and have battled (successfully) to remain stable. I have worked hard in all areas of my life and have continued healthily, financially & socially quite successfully.
However, as with every battle, there is one draw back. You see, I have to be on my guard and constantly, I need to carefully monitor my behaviour and motivations in order to counter the mood swings before they happen.
The draw back is ,that it can be quite mentally tiring, it can drain you of at least half of your energy, whilst earning a living and caring for the family, takes up the rest. I have always been determined to keep working and have never ever claimed benefits of any kind. Whilst this sounds a little noble, its actually an important part of the solution. Having focus in life and routine is one of the many weapons used in controlling the beast.
During the last 5 years I have helped mentor several other people with the same condition. Helping them understand that there is a future for them, a future where self respect, control and stability are actually possible. Through using the techniques which worked for me, and tailoring them to the needs and circumstances of each individual there is always a vast improvement.
This years Edinburgh fringe was a great boost for me. I am now an better comic than I have ever been and I have even more determination to make it a full time career. With the renewed energy, confidence and enthusiasm, I am ready to start causing trouble again.
I have set myself new goals for the year ahead before the next Edinburgh Fringe. The Edinburgh Fringe has become my Christmas and New Year all rolled into one. I have so much fun up there and gain so much, in so many ways that it is now my official year end and thus September is now my January and here are my new years resolutions.
1. Complete the records of my Cognitive Behavioural Therapy methods which help to combat Bi-Polar disorders and make them available to others.
& Be an even better Comic and write a one-man show for next years Edinburgh
5& Be a better person than I was last year.
I guess that will do for now.... tune in this time next year and if I am not dribbling in the corner of a psychiatric ward somewhere, I may be a little more content than I am now with a few more goals achieved.
What are you going to do? C'mon speak up!