Broken and Complete

by Johnny Solomon

I've spent an inordinate amount of time thinking about how I want to introduce myself on this inaugural post.  Do I lead with my accomplishments? Do I lead with my struggles? Do I just start in the middle and hope we all get to the end together?   It seems I’ve spent the better part of my adult life staring at blank pages thinking about how to start something.

I’m a musician, and I’m an addict, and I’m bipolar, and I’m broken, and I’m complete, and I’m happy.  It’s taken me years to find peace with all of those things.  It seems that my life up until about 6 years ago was a constant struggle.  I felt like I was barely keeping my head above water or maybe I was slowly starting to drown.  Right up until that fateful night when I decided there must be another way I just thought I was cursed.  I looked all around me and I saw people succeeding and growing. I had no idea how they did it.  I seriously had no idea.  It felt like everyone had one more sense than I did.  That 6th sense that allows you to step forward and grow.  I lived my life trying to trick the world out of success.  If I could hold it together for just a little bit I might find a little success, then hopefully when it falls apart there will be something left to build on.  It was an exhausting and wholly disheartening way to live.

The only thing that seemed to make sense was that people called me “creative.”  I was an artist, given to emotional explosions, both good and bad.  They say “out of great suffering comes great art,” so of course my life should be a hallmark of suffering.  There was some part of me that felt maybe I was just touched by God to put into words and music the plight of the undeserved and under achiever, the loser and the has-been.  I was the musician for those of us that fail and self destruct.  I knew that everyone struggled, so maybe my life was to struggle so that I could be a martyr for my music.  It was a noble way of saying I was ready to fail, and ultimately, I was ready to die unloved.

5 years and about 8 months ago from today I couldn't handle that anymore.  I had some sort of epiphany, or maybe I was going to fail at failing. I realized that the only conclusion to my life was death, and that I was dangerously close. I was scared.  So maybe I would give one little shot to the other direction, just to see what it was like.  I checked into rehab, I was there over Christmas and New Years, I was there for months, I watched people come and go and come back again all while I slowly came back to life.  While there, I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder and they put me on medication, and I with a lot of help, and a little grace, I came to terms with something I never thought I would be able to.  

I wasn't cursed, I was just a little broken.  And luckily, with a little help I was able to work around that and find out that life was quite a bit easier then I thought.  Life, and everything that came with it was more good than bad.  I still struggle, and I still write songs about it.  But who doesn't struggle?  Why am I any worse then someone diagnosed with diabetes, or even someone that simply has a bad back.  Just change some things about your life, adjust the way you find your place in the world and you’ll be fine.  I take medicine, I don't drink or do drugs, I exercise, I eat healthy (most of the time) and I accept that my reality is different than yours, but we both understand each other.  I’m still an artist, in fact, I’m an artist that can finally step forward and grow.  So yes, I’m a little broken, but just like a brick wall, sometimes patching up what’s broken actually makes it stronger.  

That’s the main reason I want to help.  I want to reach back into that dark place and help some people climb up.  Everything is better up here and you can still be an artist without the curse that addiction or untreated mental diseases bury you in.  Hi! My name is John, I’m an addict, I’m bipolar, I’m broken.  I’m also complete, and happy, and I’m a musician.


Johnny Solomon is a Dissonance Board Member.