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That was good news for sure. For years afterwards that whole period of time was something that I somehow just shelved away into a far corner of my brain cause I never knew quite what to make of it.

A Puppet On The Edge Of Insanity

I traveled and worked and had big adventures all over the places with amazing folks. It seemed pretty obvious to me that my crazy behavior as a teenager had been a perfectly natural reaction to being raised in a crazy environment. You have to understand this part of the story though: I was raised by parents with pretty radical leftist politics who taught me to question everything and always be skeptical of big business and capitalism. I also spent my teenage years growing up in the punk scene which actually glorified craziness and disrespect for authority.

Also, from the time I was a little kid everyone always said that I was very sensitive to the world around me and the suffering of others, maybe too sensitive, and I just chalked it up to that.

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So I went on with my life. I was 24 years old. My clothes were dirty and torn. In fact I was obsessed with killing myself. It was like a broken record — throwing myself in front of a car, jumping out of a window, shooting myself in the back of the head, carbon monoxide in the garage, swallowing a bottle of pills, etc.

See a Problem?

It was exhausting and horrible and I was convinced it was never going to end, I was living in my own personal hell. Focused and clear and driven, getting up in front of crowds and giving talks about exciting and revolutionary things — organizing half a dozen projects — I was the model of an activist.

I hardly had time to sleep. But at some point in the middle of it all I just crashed. I stopped being able to get out of bed. I stopped being able to focus on anything and I started feeling very awkward around even my oldest friends.

Finding Hope on the Edge of Insanity

All my people were really confused about what to do for me. One by one all my projects fell apart till they were all just a halo of broken dreams circling above my head as I wandered the city streets alone.

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I was miserable and lonely. They gave me an anti-depressant called Celexa and an atypical anti-psychotic called Zyprexa. I was in group therapy everyday. There was an organic farm to work on down the road from the halfway house and after a couple weeks they let me volunteer there a few hours a day sewing seeds and potting up plants in the greenhouse. Eventually I convinced them to let me live there and I moved out of the halfway house and just came for outpatient care a couple times a week. It took a couple months, but for the first time I could see that it was obvious the drugs were actually working for me.

It was more than the circumstance — it actually felt chemical. Slowly all the horrible noise and thoughts faded and I started to feel good again. I remember watching an early Summer sunset over the fields at the farm and realizing I was happy for the first time in months and months. As obvious as it was that they were helping me, I really just saw the drugs as a temporary solution.

They made me gain a bunch of weight. I always had a hard time waking up in the morning. My mouth was always dry. They were relatively new drugs, not even the doctors knew about the long term side effects of taking them.

Walking the Edge of Insanity

Besides which, the whole idea just made me feel really uncomfortable. How would I talk to my friends about it? I was just happy to have my life back. As the leaves started to change color, I was already planning my trip back to the West coast, to my people in California.

Cooking on the Edge of Insanity

There was a room in a collective house in North Oakland and a job in Berkeley with a bunch of my friends waiting for me. I started hanging out with this cool traveling activist woman named Sera and we made plans to hitchhike across the country to participate in the big Seattle protests against the World Trade Organization. A few days after the frost came and we put the farm to bed, Sera and I had hit the road. I was quickly given the diagnosis of bipolar disorder again and loaded down with meds.

Every time you get locked up it gets harder to put the pieces back together. Physiologically, the brain and body take longer to recover. It takes a lot out of someone to go through a mental breakdown. Finally after the month in jail, a couple weeks in a Kaiser psych ward, and four months in a halfway house for people with severe psychiatric disabilities, I finally got it together to be able to move back into my old collective house in North Oakland.

I was taking a mood stabilizing drug called Lithium and an anti-depressant called Welbutrin. The ground I was walking on was still a little shaky. I was only just beginning to be able to read after not being able to focus for months and months. I got a full time job really for the first time in my life, started going to therapy and taking really good care of my body.

Made it through my one year anniversary of getting locked up and felt so blessed that I had made it that far. All archival issues are authorized by the original label or the artist. Contact Cassette Art Classics. Streaming and Download help. A perfectly matched cassette split between Yves Malone's beat-driven atmospheric synths and Grapefruit's burbling hearts of space.

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