A flare of light, a moment of anticipation, the excitement builds. As you take a long deep inhalation the adrenaline kicks in, pumping through your veins and flooding your brain with such a buzz that you’re sure you’ve never felt this alive before. Long or short, it’s all the same, and before the first fix has started to fade you’re craving the next. That’s how it all starts.

I had my latest quick fix last week and boy oh boy have I had a comedown! I’m already suffering withdrawal symptoms and wondering depressingly if I’ll be able to get that kick again and whether I can face chasing the next one while feeling so robbed of that delight I felt but a few days before. Surely it would be wiser to stop and play it safe? But my busy search for the next opportunity, the excitement of future prospects and the exhilaration of the act itself always eclipses the aftermath of performing. Which is lucky really, otherwise I wouldn’t be doing what I do.

It’s funny because, even though I’m in the process of getting involved in other projects and I do have work coming up, I still feel as though I’m not doing anything and the future is as blank as ever. I know that it’s only because I’m now on the downer from a considerable high, but I have this niggling thought in the back of my head that I’m not doing enough, which is daft because I’m actually doing quite a bit. Like other addictions, after the initial low, there’s a feverish burst of action to bring on the next rush, to prove absolutely that I can pull the next trick out of the bag, that the next fix is only just around the corner and it’s all just a matter of reaching for it.

After a week I’m about back to normal. Ish. I don’t think you can qualify as ‘normal’ if you willingly subject yourself to this time and time again. It does make me question how healthy you need to be to take this particular career path. You need to be able to withstand some monumental highs and endure rather a lot of dizzying lows. You also need to be able to bounce back to the mid-point in an instant and for an indefinite length of time, not to mention needing a certain enjoyment of instability. Is that an exciting challenge, part of the everyday or just a little bit exhausting? I guess it depends on your perspective.

Now, some people would say you surely shouldn’t be in this profession if you can’t handle those long and inevitable periods out of work, which I agree with, but there are different ways of ‘handling’ it. Sure I might mope for a few days when a show is over and I don’t know when the next one will be and, yes I occasionally succumb to those horrible thoughts of ‘why oh why?’ when I’m not directly involved in anything. But then if I didn’t occasionally feel like that I probably wouldn’t work so hard and enjoy it so much the rest of the time. Besides, I know that the harder times will pale into insignificance as soon as I begin to focus on the hunt for the next opportunity.

Onwards and upwards! Now that I’ve stabilised somewhat and reached that middle ground again it’s a little easier to keep the momentum going and I’m very excited about the opportunities on the table – a small performance, several workshops and a new platform for young artists, a veritable hive of activity to keep those cravings and withdrawal symptoms at bay. And then of course there are auditions to prepare for, applications to be made and new ventures to be found. Hurrah! So it seems that the next fix may be just around the corner after all.