Music allows me to remember and even relive the better parts of who I was in times of stability––it’s a vital part of the plan I have to manage my moods.
My iTunes crashed. Not only that, my CD player is broken.
It’s been months since I’ve made a fresh tape. Buzzkill!
‘Fresh’ doesn’t always mean new.It can be something I haven’t heard in ages, like Johnny Cash’s farewell cover ofNine Inch Nails’ “beware of me” anthem, “Hurt.”
Everyone has a different tune that sends them back to the boundless enthusiasm and spontaneous energy of youth.
For a fragile young girl, I had the heart of a Lion. There was no difference between who I was and what I did.
Sometimes I reached for the impossible, like getting my parents’ approval. Fat chance of that.
Discouraged, I’d sneak out to the garage, where our radio picked a Sunday night show called “Dr. Demento.”
The ‘Doctor’ played oddities like “They’re coming to take me away, hahaheehee, to the Funny Farm,” “Monster Mash,” and “Your Favorite Neighborhood Narco Agent.”
I could always count on the doctor to make me laugh.
For years, I’d been taking myself far too seriously; wearing a halo of shame.That silly show lifted its’ mantle.
I huddled in the hallways with my fellow fans on Monday mornings, singing and comparing notes.For the first time, I had friends!This was in junior high, back in the 1970’s.
How about that one-hit-wonder by Stealer’s Wheel, “Stuck in the Middle with You?” It’s on nearly all of my mix tapes. I don’t know why I like it so much.
Maybe becauseQuentin Tarantino used it to soundtrack a particularly memorable scene from his wiseguy classic “Reservoir Dogs.”
I love that Quentin Tarantino pays tribute to bygone stars, styles, and eras.
He revived the barely breathing career of John Travolta in “Pulp Fiction.” He ended Michael Keaton’s disappearing act by casting himin 1995’s “Jackie Brown.”
In our Instagrammed world, an occasional dose of the familiar reminds me I’m relevant, no matter what the outside world thinks. Sometimes, with bipolar disorder, others don’t understand. (Or care to). I’m the only one who needs to make sense of my manic depressive self anyway.
Being diagnosed worked for me! It turned my life around.
It explained so much that hurt so badly for so long.
I saw myself and my disease as separate entities. I was stronger than my illness.
My life wouldn’t read like a script. I’d need to sharpen my improvisation skills.
I was a bit stiff initially but I improve every time I’m tossed a bipolar curveball.
During downswings I do my best to banish my inner critic; cutting myself all sorts of slack. I allow myself to escape. Into a book, food or music.
I miss constantly going to concerts. Tickets were free and it was part of the job back then.
Every so often my husband and I scrape up the cost of a pair of tickets to see someone we both love. We went to Stone Temple Pilots at Hard Rock Seminole Casino in Hollywood and it was incredible.So were Kid Rock and Aerosmith.
But it’s not always. Incredible. I mean.
Last July I trudged through Joan Jett and The Who, at the tail end of a month’s long depression.Yuk.
We had a hotel and everything. Double Yuk.
I’m stable now, (at least I think I am) but NEED my soundtrack.
90’s Music is my core. Nirvana, Garbage, Pearl Jam, Stone Temple Pilots.
I admit it. I’m a relic.
Music allows me to remember and even relive the better parts of who I was. (There are a few things I don’t want to remember, believe me).
That’s ok if I’m grounded in who I am; making sure I make the most of my present.
That means creating another iTunes account.Right Now. That’s a priority.
Allison went to Stanford University on a volleyball scholarship, played professional beach volleyball, and has acted in TV and film. In the past, she has also been an Alternative Rock Disc Jockey for “The Edge,”“The Q” (Phx,Az) and “The X,” (LA).
She also was an international music critic for Melody Maker (UK), had a weekly column (“New Noise”) in the Arizona Republic and wrote for Hits Magazine.
When she had her first manic episode, she went inpatient and was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Undaunted, she mailed out job applications (from the hospital) and landed at a local station. She loves the raw honesty of The Smiths, Nirvana, The Cure, etc, and follows new music today.
Allison lives in Hollywood, Florida and also writes for The South Florida Sun Sentinel, The Miami Herald, International Bipolar Foundation, Psych Central, and NewLifeOutlook Bipolar.
Her personal blog is: Bipolar Strength: Rebel With A Cause.
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