A BIT TOO MUCH ABOUT ME: New York Show Explores Creative Bipolar Mind – And How A Social Worker Helped My Family


(9-12-17) My good friend, Steve Weiss, recently asked if I would help publicize A BIT TOO MUCH ABOUT ME, a performance by Zac Sandler. The show is being performed this coming Friday, September 15th, beginning at 7 p.m. at The Triad Theater,  158 W 72nd Street, New York City. (It also will be live streamed, details below.) If you live in the New York area or happen to find yourself in Manhattan, please check it out.
What’s the show about?

“Welcome to what’s inside Zak’s head.  From the piano, Zak narrates his experience with a serious mental condition as it progresses from out-of-control to chaotic, to in-control and harmonious, while he strives to navigate his relationships and his writing career.  Joining Zak is a group of actors who play younger Zak, his exes, and the parts of his brain that come out during his mental episodes.”

I am especially pleased to be plugging this performance.

My friend, Steve Weiss, whose recommending the show, has been someone who has unselfishly helped my family numerous times during crises.


After my book was published, Kevin stopped taking his medication. I called a mobile crisis response team and explained that I was concerned because I could see Kevin was beginning to slip into psychosis.

Is he dangerous?” the dispatcher asked me.

“No, but let me tell you about the last time this happened and how he got arrested.”

“That’s unfair,” the dispatcher said, interrupting me. “You can’t judge him on his past. Call us when he is dangerous.”

The night Kevin became violent, I called that same dispatcher.

“Wait, is he dangerous or violent?” the dispatcher asked me.

“He’s violent.”

“We won’t come if they are violent. Call the police.”

I called the police but also called Steve Weiss at his home. It was after eleven p.m. but Steve got into his car, drove to the house, and intercepted the police. He talked to them about approaching Kevin calmly and he offered to enter the house (Kevin had chased us outside) to speak with Kevin.

They already had decided to go in on their own so they rejected that offer.

They ordered us to stay away from the house  (down the street) and when they brought Kevin outside, he bolted when they tried to handcuff him. (He later explained to me, “I didn’t want to be handcuffed because I hadn’t done anything wrong.”)

They shot him with a Taser twice.

Clearly that wasn’t the best solution.

Since that incident, I’ve been assured the mobile crisis response team has changed its policies and now the police are receiving Crisis Intervention Team training. But I also fear what might have happened if Steve Weiss hadn’t been there initially to intercede and calm the police before they rushed inside RAMBO style.

Steve accompanied us to the community mental health treatment center that night to until Kevin was seen by a psychiatrist. (You know how long and nerve-racking that can be waiting to know if someone is dangerous enough to be held for 72 hours.) Steve stayed with us nearly until morning, reassuring us that Kevin would get care.

Since that incident, I have learned about other incidents when Steve Weiss went to individuals’ homes to help their families, without regard to the clock.

After Steve retired, our paths continued to cross. His mother was in the same Alzheimer’s unit as my father. In fact, I took my father to the same facility, primarily on Steve’s recommendation, after my father became aggressive and no longer could live in our home. I watched Steve at his mother’s bedside when she finally passed, daily sitting with her to help help ease her confusion and suffering. He did the same for me when my father died.

That’s the kind of compassionate, caring man Steve Weiss is.

He became a social worker because he genuinely cared about those in need and he spent most of his career working in jails, helping those with mental disorders and drug addictions.

I realize that I have spent most of this blog talking about Steve Weiss and not Zac Sandler and his upcoming performance. (His show has nothing to do with Steve or my story)  For that I apologize. But Steve is Zac’s nephew and if Steve tells me that Zac and his show are worth watching, then I believe him and am grateful that he called both to my attention. In his email, Steve wrote:

“Zak is a remarkable, brilliant and very talented young man who lives in NYC. He’s a Yale graduate and an extremely gifted composer, pianist and playwright. He’s a wonderful, kind and funny guy who also lives with a major mental illness (diagnosed with bipolar disorder). After several years of consideration, Zak has decided to share his private struggles in a very public way. He courageously guides the audience on a journey through his head – his intrusive and chaotic thoughts, his fears, his relationships and his efforts to live a life that balances creativity, happiness and stability.”

Steve asked for my help in promoting Zac’s show.

How could I possibly refuse?

I’ve always found it interesting how many creative artists also have bipolar disorder. Thank you Zac for having the courage to tell the world about your journey. I hope your show, which will live stream on Youtube at 7 p.m., is a huge success because I know your story will help others, just as your uncle has helped so many. Bravo!

Here is a parody video about an iPhone from YouTube that has nothing to do with mental illness, but it shows off Zac’s considerable writing and singing skills. (Video is not related to mental illness.)

About the author:

Pete Earley is the bestselling author of such books as The Hot House and Crazy. When he is not spending time with his family, he tours the globe advocating for mental health reform.

Learn more about Pete.