By spring, 1986, I'd slipped into what seemed a bottomless pit of panic disorder, agoraphobia, and overall debilitating depression. Hard to know exactly why I didn't do the dirty deed. Probably because there was always a glimmer of hope deep within me no matter how bleak things appeared at any given moment. Yeah, that's probably it. The most important thing we can do in life is hope. It keeps us alive.
By the summer, I'd left a horribly self-destructive situation, struck out on my own, and started taking comedy improvisation classes at what was then known as the ImprovOlympics in Chicago. Smartest thing I ever did. A fabulous education for performing on stage and in life itself.
I was at a crossroads — continue on as a writer or switch my focus to the stage. I chose writing. Either would have been the right choice. I've gone well beyond panic disorder, agoraphobia and debilitating depression.
So my butterfly 25 years ago was taking an acquaintance's advice and enrolling at the ImprovOlympic.