Love, Madness and Music: A Bipolar Relationship
In the last few days, I have tossed around an idea for a new category in one of my other blogs, Blue Beach Song™ Music. The new category of articles would serve as a collection of backstories for the songs I have written and included in that blog.
However, I kept changing my mind and changing it back. Who would be interested in reading about how any of my songs came about? And why would I want to write about such personal, usually painful, things?
This morning I made the decision and wrote the first blog post in that category. Perhaps all that pain and perspective could help someone else in a similar situation, if only to know that they are not alone in what they experience, not the first to suffer a broken heart, and not the last to emerge from the ashes and begin again.
The first backstory, included below, is for a song I wrote shortly after the ending of a relationship I had with a man afflicted with bipolar disorder. The relationship was wonderful and miserable, surrounded by music and art, and woven with love and madness. As painful as it all was, I have to admit that there were beautiful moments and lessons learned that helped form the fabric of who I am and why I am the way I am today.
The song is called “He Used To Be Crazy About Me” and to borrow the words he would say before every song he performed, “It goes something like this…”
[You can listen for free in the player below. It may not work with FireFox, but it does work with Internet Explorer and other browsers.]
He Used To Be Crazy About Me is a song I wrote reflecting back on a relationship I had with a man who, although imperfect as we all are, was infinitely talented as an artist, musician, songwriter, and poet. This renaissance man was passionate and romantic, playful and child-like, intelligent and well-read, adventurous and well-travelled, “an explorer, a bon-vivant.”
Sadly, after the end of our relationship, this brilliant and talented person was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. He had been suffering from it for most of his life, but he didn’t know it and no one had given it a name. This mental illness of emotional extremes affects not only the person suffering from it, but every relationship in which they are involved.
At the beginning of our relationship, everything was beautiful, romantic, and passionate, but within a short period of time the mood swings began and the relationship embarked on a roller-coaster ride. If he was in a hypomanic state – the upswing – the relationship soared and he produced some of his best art and music. During the downturns, he would fall into an abyss of depression, anger and stagnation. As he went, so did the relationship.
In time, it wasn’t just his moods that were affected by the bipolar swings, it was his personality and his interactions with others… with me. These swings brought on scary, risky and irresponsible behavior, unpredictability, infidelity, withdrawal, sadness, meanness, bouts of crying, and suicidal thoughts. As I helplessly watched him spiral down into his abyss, I reminded myself that there was an incredibly intelligent, passionate, and talented man in the midst of all that.
We would have the most fascinating conversations that would last hours and hours as time stood still on a beach in Half Moon Bay or on the floor of a walk-in closet. He had a brilliant, creative, genius-like mind. I also had immeasurable admiration for his many talents and was honored when he would find inspiration in me. “He used to sing me his melancholy love songs. He’d paint me into his bi-polar pictures. I used to be his inspiration. I used to fire his imagination. We used to be his greatest creation of love.” The relationship perhaps was a creation of his bipolar condition, a fairy tale romance that could abruptly and unexpectedly turn into a nightmare.
As time went on, his condition worsened. He wasn’t under a doctor’s care and he wasn’t taking medication because we didn’t know he was bipolar. But I felt something had to be wrong. This couldn’t be normal for anyone. I became his caregiver, his everything, “I used to be his one and only. I used to be his purpose, his life. I used to be his best friend, his lover. I used to be his mother, his wife.” No, we never married, although he did ask and I deeply loved him, I just couldn’t commit to a life of pain and uncertainty, hopelessly watching him self-destruct.
The end came suddenly for our relationship, after suffering for years. One day he was passionately in love with me and the next day he left. Although we had met and fallen in love in California, our relationship was only two months old when I accepted a great job offer in Florida. Two months later, he was knocking on my door and had moved to Miami. He asked to stay with me until he found a place, but he never found a place of his own or perhaps he never really looked. Two years later, just as abruptly as he appeared on my doorstep, he decided he was going back to California and he left.
After he returned to California, we still talked regularly. He would call me when he was really up and when he was really down. He would call me during and after the writing of a song or the creation of a painting. He would call me when he had a gallery opening of his art or a performance of his music. He wanted to come back, but I didn’t think it was a good idea. He had started seeing a doctor and he received a bipolar disorder diagnosis. They had started experimenting with different drug cocktails to help his chemical imbalance, but it can take years before the doctors find the right drug combinations that will help.
One day he called me after a horrific night. In great detail, he told me how he had pulled off the side of the road, crying uncontrollably, screaming at the night, and contemplating jumping off the bridge where he stood. “Oh, yes, he used to be crazy about me. Until one day he simply went crazy. He was afraid of life, afraid of me. He would cry like a small child, uncontrollably. He’d pull off the road and scream into the night. One day he wanted me, and the next day he did not.”
Thankfully, he didn’t jump off that bridge, instead he checked himself into a psych ward. Eventually, they found the right drug cocktail to help this brilliant man manage his bipolar condition, not in time to salvage our relationship, but in time to save his life. He lives happily in the northwest now with someone else, painting beautiful pictures and writing beautiful songs, no doubt, but I’ll always remember when “He Used To Be Crazy About Me.”
For best sound, use headphones to listen to He Used To Be Crazy About Me.
He used to be crazy about me.
He used to love me so passionately.
I used to be his one and only.
I used to be his purpose, his life.
I used to be his best friend, his lover
I used to be his mother, his wife.
(End: I used to be crazy about him.)
He used to be crazy about me.
He used to be my partner, my soulmate.
I used to be his playmate, his confidant.
I used to be his past, his future,
He used to be an adventurer.
He used to be an explorer, a bon-vivant.
He used to be crazy about me.
He used to sing me his
Melancholy love songs.
He’d paint me into his bi-polar pictures.
I used to be his inspiration.
I used to fire his imagination.
We used to be his greatest
Creation of love.
Oh, yes, he used to be crazy about me.
Until one day he simply went crazy.
He was afraid of life, afraid of me.
He would cry like a small child, uncontrollably.
He’d pull off the road
And scream into the night.
One day he wanted me,
And the next day he did not.
But I remember when…
[Go to Verse 1]
He Used To Be Crazy About Me | Martie Hevia (c) All Rights Reserved
Martie Hevia (c) All Rights Reserved