'Ya know, I love when people say that they have a crazy life. They throw the term around like a knapsack. Truth is, 99% of the people I know don't know how lucky they are. I have led and continue to lead a crazy life and I feel that now is the time to come clean and tell you all about it.
At about the age of 14 a voice in my head used to whisper in my ear that I was a writer. I had an innate understanding of who I was and what I was born to do. But it came at a cost. At the start of high school I began to seclude myself. Although secluded, I had tons of friends, but I felt uncomfortable around them. The only things that made sense to me were music and writing and I wrote a lot. It made me feel alive. I loved the thought of knowing that something written by me could live forever. I got a thrill about leaving a trail behind me. A trail of thoughts. A trail of tears. A trail of hope. A trail of redemption. All of these thoughts at 14. It was so hard for me to be a normal teenager. I loved Phish more then I loved chicks. I would go to Barnes & Noble for hours and read Bukowski and Byron, Emerson and Thomas. I could relate to their thoughts and feelings. I could relate to Dylan and Robert Hunter, Neil Young and Kurt Cobain. I understood them. I understood them more then I understood my friends or my classmates and even myself. So I wrote. And I wrote. And I went to college and I lost my mind.
At 18 the All American Boy couldn't hide anymore. In college, I had a nervous breakdown and I came home and was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder. I have never been the same. A part of me died. A part of me rose. Both parts of me were confused and all I wanted to do was hide. But now everyone knew I was different. There was no place to hide. And I was scared. Of who I was. Of what I had. Of where this disease had taken me and was taking me. But I wrote and I wrote and it always made me feel better because I was doing what I was meant to do. What I loved.
But my writing changed. It became more abstract. Frequent drug use, mixed with medicine generated creative liftoff. I look back at those writings in wonderment. I don't know the young man that wrote those words and I don't want to, but damn, that kid valued the use of the adjective.
My book of poetry was published in 2004. Not many have read it. It's called The Bipolar Boy and every couple of months I'll take a look at it and I'll start to cry. I've come so far.
Between the ages of 25-29 I hardly wrote. I quit doing drugs and was taking way too much medication. The wrong concoction stripped me of everything. I couldn't write. I couldn't work. I gained 100 lbs. I was subconsciously trying to kill myself. But I didn't succeed. And then everything changed.
My mom was diagnosed with terminal cancer
My mom was gonna see me healthy, productive, doing what her son was born to do before she died. I saw a new shrink. Got on the right meds. Lost a 100 lbs. I quit smoking and I wrote a musical in a little over a year. And out of all those triumphs nothing made my mother happier than watching me work on my musical. I'd read it to her, run ideas by her, and she rarely commented, she just listened. But, when she thought something was extraordinary she'd tell me it was good. That was exactly what I needed to hear because I demanded perfection and she expected nothing less. I finished my musical 11 days before my mother died. I read it to her. She took my hand, told me she loved me and said "Scotty, I'll be your date at The Tony's.”
It's been 3 years since my mom died. I'm still bipolar and I'm driven. Driven to make my dreams a reality. In the past 3 years I've written a musical, a game show, 3 television pilots, and I started writing a novel, I've written and performed stand-up, I've composed about 100 poems and I'm in the middle of writing a movie. It's basically all I do.
Right now I'm broke. I've had like 10 different jobs in the last 3 years. I've had tons of meetings with studio execs. I've been told my work is brilliant by very important people but I still haven't gotten my big break. All it takes is one opportunity. Someone to put their neck on the line for you. I've had 3 people promise me that. In my mind I've been a household name way too many times and I'm still basically at square one. This is show business. My time will come. Craziness is being poor, being bipolar, losing your mind, losing your mother and being promised 2 television shows and a green-lighted musical. Craziness is staying positive, and that's what I am, and that's what I continue to be.
So this is all part of who I am. And it's just made me stronger and it's made me appreciate everything so much more. Food, friends, my family, the roof over my head. The worst is far behind me. I will keep moving forward. I will keep writing. Because it's who I am and what I do and nobody can take that away from me.
I wish Robin Williams had kept on making us laugh. It's what kept him alive. It's what made him feel alive. We should still be laughing...
Everyone reading this knows someone with bipolar disorder or severe depression. Get them help. Take them to The Doctor. Watch them. Love them. Care for them. Understand.
I am only here today because of the love and unwavering support I received from both of my parents. Through all the good and bad they never lost hope. They never lost sight of who I truly am. Just a really warm, kind, creative person with a big heart that's wired a little differently. If someone's sick, get them help. You'll save a life and they'll be grateful forever.