I talk about Missy and how awesome she is a lot on this blog. That’s because we have truly been through the fire and then some. When I experienced my breakdown in San Antonio fifteen years ago it was just us down there. Mom and dad sent care packages. Jerry sent nothing. He disapproved of us moving down there to begin with. Why? I don’t know, the man is a chronic alcoholic who is a real asshat at times and I was so hungry at times and I called him once and he denied me any help. He simply told me to move back home.
Here’s the truth of it, Missy calls Texas our grand adventure. It was absolutely nuts the way we packed up everything we owned, shoved it into her Ford Escort and drove from Bullitt County, KY to Bexar, TX all in an effort to make it in the film industry.
Yep. You heard me. Because we couldn’t afford LA or NY we opted for an area rich in independent film country. We were going to make it in the film industry. We attended the 6th Annual Austin Film Festival on producer’s badges. That’s right. We quit our jobs and moved clear halfway across the United States when I was already exhibiting signs that I was not a well girl.
Once at the Festival we thought we were the shit. Good Lord we were dangerous. We happened to encounter a man by the name of Jim Vaughn. I only wish we could find him now. He was the best thing about that Festival for us. We commuted two hours each way during the course of the Festival. Once, leaving the headlights on, forcing us to walk back to the Omni hotel where the clerk refused to let us use the desk phone and pointed us in the direction of the pay phone. (Russell Crowe, we feel your pain) and call a tow truck. I asked anyone if they had jumper cables and heard someone actually utter the bullshit phrase, we jetted in.
We had no furniture. Only air mattresses to sit and sleep on. A tiny 13 inch, yes, you heard me right, a thirteen inch television on which for a good deal of the time we were down there we had no cable or internet. Yes boys and girls you can survive without either. And meals consisted of spaghetti five days a week and hot dogs the other two.
My condition, fragile to begin with, quickly deteriorated. Common sense would have sent us home much earlier than when we finally broke and returned.
I heard my name being called from a distance. It sounded like fingertips tapping on glass. I saw shadows out of the corners of my eyes. A lot. Sleep deprivation was my enemy. Each night sleeping less and less. Until only getting an hour, only to be awakened by Missy opening the refrigerator.
The breaking point came when I became so enraged I wanted to destroy everything in the apartment, (and we didn’t have a hell of a whole lot). I walked in circles, pulling at my hair, crying, raging through clenched teeth. I needed to get help. I needed it badly. So Missy called my Aunt Rosie (a Roman Catholic Nun who is the coolest bitch you’ll ever meet) and she and her fellow Ursaline Sister Norma, who didn’t speak a lick of English came and picked us up and took us to the University Hospital.
So I waited and after an eternity I went numb, just absolutely the opposite of what I had been feeling. I was taken back to be seen. I have an extensive family history of bipolar disorder. I talked about how I had felt earlier. I talked about how I felt then. I talked about my family history of it.
The younger psychiatrist said yes, you have bipolar disorder. Her boss said no, it’s all in your head. I shit you not, that’s what the lady said. Only they didn’t call it bipolar disorder then they called it manic depression. Honestly I didn’t care what the fuck they called it as long as I got the treatment I needed. But I didn’t and by midnight I was crying and depressed and on the other end of the spectrum
Rosie took me and Missy home. But it was Missy who, at midnight, in a city she barely knew, in an area of the city that could be a little scary for the most brave of souls took me to the mental health clinic where they diagnosed me as dystemically depressed and put me on Zoloft. Folks, do you have any idea what an anti-depressant does to a rapid cycling bipolar chick. Let’s just say it doesn’t help.
After three days of torture my sister Sara instructed me to go back and ask to be evaluated for depression and manic depression. It took all day, but I got the diagnosis I needed. I got the medicine I needed and thanks to Patrick, an angel whom Missy and I worked with at Northwoods Cinema we had a wonderful Thanksgiving after going to bed hungry and waking up that way for a good chunk of time.
There are many other stories of how Missy was the kind of friend anyone should be so lucky to have stand by them. But sometimes I get so busy helping everyone else with their work, listening to everyone else about their stories, that I forget to help the one person who has been with me through thick and thin.
Today is Memorial Day here in the United States. I honor those who have served and sacrificed so that I can have the life I live today. But I also honor Missy, because without her perhaps, there would be no career, no festivals, no films, no books, and no Cons. You should know she is a brilliant author, screenwriter, and filmmaker in her own right. She is an award winning screenwriter and short story writer. The success with the documentary is due in no small part to hers and Pamela Turner’s hard work alongside me. So as much as the blog and book are mine. The documentary is truly ours. And I hope you tune in tomorrow when I talk more about Pam.