In Neither One of Us, I wrote about how I created a destructive delusion with a Gladys Knight song. I’d like to explore this a little more. This is something I do a lot. I hear or sing a song and I want to feel it deeply, so much so that I begin to create an alternative reality. Sometimes it becomes reality.
I can remember doing this as early as elementary school. There was a song in the 80s called Almost Paradise by Loverboy.
O Almost Paradise.
We’re knocking on heaven’s door.
How could we ask for more?
I swear that I could see forever, in your eyes.
One day, there was a carnival at the park near my house. There were lots of kids from school there and there was one particular girl who I had a little crush on. I had 4 or 5 crushes running at the same time and always have. It was a hot day, so I took a break in across the street in my room to cool off. I turned on the radio to my favorite station and there was the Loverboy song.
As I lay there listening, I fantasized about that girl; that we were singing this song together and that we were in love. My fantasy was so intense that it made my heart hurt. That fantasy never became a reality, and neither did most. This is normal. We all have a fantasy life. It might even be healthy, but when bipolar began presenting myself 7 years ago it became unhealthy. My fantasies with songs began to seep over into my reality.
I believe it comes from my desire to feel deep, intense emotion. When I’m not feeling it, I feel that my life is boring. That might be a bipolar thing or just a me thing. It’s why I like to act on stage. I love assuming another identity with another life and other feelings. But the problem is, I begin to take on the identity of the characters in my regular life, and I rarely play nice characters. The last two characters I played before my breakdown were total douchebags. I really think that was part of what triggered it.
Before my final string of affairs, I had played a douchey, bad boy, lady’s man, and that’s what I became. Some ladies like bad boys, and those were the kind of ladies I attracted. In good health, I’m not a bad boy at all. I don’t dress that way, act that way, drive that way, or make love that way. I wear kackis and button down shirts to work. I always say yes ma’am. I drive an economy car, and I am a relatively gentle lover. Nothing exciting about me, and that’s the way my wife prefers it…at least to the alternative.
I don’t think this will ever change about me. I’m a musician and a music lover. I listen to songs obsessively because I want to learn how to sing them well, and part of singing well is that emotional core of expression. And when I feel that, the song becomes real to me. All good musicians and actors do this, but when they walk away, they are themselves. Not me. I live it.
I have to be very careful about the music I listen to. It can trigger depression and mania if I feel it deeply enough and frequently enough. I have certain artists which are off limits to me if my health is compromised.
Sometimes I wish I was normal. I think it would make my life easy. It might please my wife at first. But she married me knowing that I was not normal in the sense that I process and live life in such unique and complex ways. I think she would miss it eventually. There are lots of normal guys who earn a living, come home, drink 2 beers, watch sports, and make uncomplicated love. If you’ve read half a dozen of my posts, you know that this is not me. I do earn living, but it’s three jobs; software engineering, choir director, private voice teaching, and on-and-off musician in a band playing a couple of gigs a week. I come home and cook dinner and I drink nothing because I’m an alcoholic. 2 beers would become 6 or 7 glasses of whisky or guzzling out of the bottle every night. I never watch sports. I am much more of an opera fan and perpetual fiction reader. And my wife and I have totally lost our way with sex.
But I wouldn’t trade my manic eccentricity for blah blah blah let me spend an hour talking about my fantasy football team. There’s a billion guys like that. Do we really need another? The feeling of intense feeling most men get from touchdowns, is what I get in music and fantasy and delusion. The difference is that most men don’t start thinking they are star quarterbacks after the game.