Sunday, August 28, 2005

12 Hours Later...

Gathering Thoughts...
Sigh...I looked at the clock and decided that it was time to wake up - after all, I had been asleep for at least 12 hours. I got in from the gig around 4am. Let me rephrase that - I got home about 3:30am and proceeded to park my truck in the driveway. I was so tired that I just sat there for a few minutes. I remember turning the key to the accessory position, so that I could listen to the radio. Eventually, I passed out behind the wheel for a good 30-45 minutes, before I realized I still had not unloaded my gear yet. I know that it was around 4am when I brought everything in the house - that much I can be sure of. I remember going to the freezer and getting my last pint of ice cream, eating it, turning on my radio, and going to sleep. That's the end of a pretty eventful day - in positive and negative ways.

What Happened?
Considering that I had been running on about 2.5 hours of rest from the previous night (morning,) I knew that Saturday would be a "dynamic" day. It ran the gamut from being extremely happy to enraged. The beginning of the day went well - everything just seemed to click together like magic!

The Conference...
I had a great time at the DBSA Road To Wellness Conference! There were several great speakers who had so much to say. Of course I took copious notes so that I could bring them back to share with my support group. I grabbed as much literature as I could, and bought a copy of Andy Behrman's book, Electroboy. The group that I rode with was very cordial,
and I enjoyed my time spent with them. I couldn't ask for a better day - however, I was constantly aware that I was running on only 2.5 hours of sleep, and it was starting to get to me.

The Rush...
I got home around 7:30pm and quickly changed into my gig clothes. I stayed home about 10 minutes at the most. Thankfully, I had given my gear to our drummer so that I wouldn't have to run around like a madman setting it all up - it would all be there, ready to go when I got there. I grabbed some food on the way and showed up to soundcheck. Things still seemed to be OK for the moment.

The Gig...
We were set up and ready to roll by 10pm, which is our usual start time. Things seemed to get off to a somewhat rocky start, but it didn't seem to be an issue. As time went on, I started to notice people just getting up and leaving. Of course, this started the negative self-talk in my head, "now they are leaving! I guess we just suck so bad that they don't want to stay and listen. Damn!" The incidences of mistakes and "fuck-ups," was increasing, and it was taking a strain on everyone. It seemed that we all had our moments of falling on our faces. The first set wasn't so bad, and I just spent a little time walking alone outside.

Break Time...
By the end of the second set, I was feeling pretty nasty. I went outside and sat on the ground, and became nearly catatonic - I didn't know if I wanted to meditate or just to cry. I just sat there, looking at the reddish-pink glow that played on the grass. The neon sign was pretty bright, and I guess that it provided the landscape for that moment. Perhaps it made me see red, literally, which was foreshadowing things to come. The guys came outside to find me, asked me if I was OK, and helped me back inside. We played the next set, looser than the previous, and then it happened... I lost it.

WHAM!
We were about halfway through the set, and we decided that I should sing a few. I was tired, but I agreed to do it. As I was getting ready to grab my Strat, the club DJ stepped into his booth and said, "take five, guys." Of course, this totally caught me off guard, and I just gave him a look of death. Then our drummer and guitarist came over to him, and I could feel the anger building within me. Old thoughts surfacing, saying things like, "Who the fuck does he think he is? Does he not have any respect at all for musicians?" I reached a fever pitch (screaming my thoughts about hip-hop noise,) and threw my Strat on the ground, hitting my amp and nothing else. I ran outside, screamed for a few seconds, hit the brick wall with my fists, and sat down on the ground. I stayed out there for a few minutes, realizing that I had spun out of control, and that everything was starting to come at me from all sides. I truly thought that I was going to have a psychotic episode. The urge to "walk across the street," was there, but I didn't act upon it. I just watched the cars go by and eventually made my way back into the bar. The DJ came up to me almost immediately, apologizing and trying to justify what he had done. I looked at him and said, "It better not happen again." I was still pretty angry, and that wasn't going to change.

The Side That I Didn't See...
I found out that he did that because he thought that we were going on break again. Our vocalist sat down, as I was going to sing for those few songs. Around the time, a girl came up to the DJ and asked him to play a song - of course some crappy ass hip-hop garbage, and proceeded to play it, after saying "take five, guys." I still think that he was in the wrong. His personality irked me, and if I was still stuck in my old ways, I would have kicked the shit out of him, ended up in jail, and not asked to play there ever again.

Left Over...
Eventually, I got over it, and finished up the night - to a nearly empty room. For a performer, that is one of the most painful and discouraging things that we sometimes have to do. For the remainder of the night, I didn't move much, and just played as best as I could. On a positive note, we did have some folks come up to us and ask us when we are playing next. That's always a great feeling. I was feeling pretty run-down, so I just started to tear down the equipment, while that crap was blasting in the background. Hearing that doesn't help to make tear down any easier, and I again reverted back to my old ways. I began extolling my virtues of how I pretty much hated that kind of music. They whole-heartedly agreed. That helped to ease the frustration and get things done in a timely manner. By 3am, I was ready to roll. Of course, then I came home, had my snack, and went to bed.

Lesson Learned...
Well, that's it - in a nutshell. I learned a very important lesson from all this. The next time several events pop up over a 48-hour timespan in this manner, some of them I will refuse to do. I don't care what it is - even work. I've always known that loss of sleep is one of my triggers, and I do my very best to get enough sleep. I'm not going to be Superman ever again. Some things will just have to wait. I know that I didn't use the techniques that I am learning, but that's OK.

Going On...
I'm not going to beat myself up for it. I just know that I was extremely vulnerable yesterday, and that it would make anyone feel "out of their element." Of course it would be difficult to be ready for anything. I think that bad days like this, help me to appreciate the good ones - even more than I do already. I refuse to dwell on it any longer. I tell these thoughts, "Thank you for all that you have given me. Thank you for serving as a reminder of the person that I am working to be. You can go now." I borrowed this phrase from the very first guided imagery tapes that a therapist gave me. Now, on with today, already in progress...

2 comments:

ariadneK, Ph.D. said...

You sound like you are holding up quite well at the current time, and I really salute you for that. :-) I still never HAVE, with all of the work this weekend, gotten back to the email you sent me but I WILL tomorrow. :-) Just keep riding whatever relatively stable wave you're on right now; it suits you.

Radin said...

Thanks God it came out alright in the end.