A Rare Medium Well Done: 2.26.13


The beast never reveals its identity. He comes in many forms. He may have the face of a gnome. Or maybe a gremlin. It might be a sinister figure employing Draconian tactics. It could be a beautiful woman tempting you with salacious fruits. But make no mistake, it is there. And this creature operates with both lance and shield. This thing will unleash terrible forces. It will meet you with both brilliance and blindness. It will set up a network vortex of whirling passions that delight. And bedevil. It’s apocalyptic.

It’s depression.

They say you are born with this illness. It’s always been there, it just takes time for the karma gods to fire their pin-point missiles with pugnacious precision. In my case, it was around 2005. I noticed that things were feeling different. I felt weird even in times of joy. I no longer enjoyed things I loved. My blithe lifestyle suddenly turned to disconsolate. But still I passed it off as a “phase”. For I had it all. Three houses. Fast boats. Even faster cars. A job that paid me an insane amount of money. What was there not to love. Cankered heaps of imaginary riches. Then the bastards got me. A direct hit. My mind took on the appearance of a murder scene. And it got worse. It was too late. It was an irreducible matter of principle and common sense. Life became a time of surfeit and the hold cards were uproarious, shrieking and frenzied.


If someone 10 years ago told me that depression was a disease, I would have laughed them off as minstrels of foolishness. I can vividly remember a time where I said of depression: ” just suck it up. Be a man”. My uneducated, arrogant solution was…”don’t be depressed”. It was easy. “If you’re depressed, don’t be”. With my audacious conceitedness, I rolled on. The multi-veined matrix I was in would stun a mastodon.


Recent statistics reveal that over 35 million suffer from some sort of depression.That is confirmed cases. And of those 35 million, over 80% are receiving no treatment. A staggering number. This disease ( I still have difficulty identifying depression as a disease) is treatable. Given the correct medications can lead to a healthy, vibrant existence. Notice the word ‘existence’. Not life. A valid case of depression can be administered and harnessed. You can lead a seemingly ‘normal’ life. But your whole being will be a complicated mix of accomplishments and dreadful mistakes. Take the white pill, three oval orange pills, a green and blue capsule, this, that and some more. That’s in the morning. Then a whole new barrage at night. Do all that, and you can walk among the living. But you’ll never have absolute, authentic life. No true life. Your demagogic mind will become an undeclared rebellion. Take your medicine little boy, and you’ll be alright. You will exist. But you will not have a tangible life. Counselors will argue, but I’ve been there. Most of them just read from a text-book written by someone who never experienced the gloomy facade of this disease. But the process is superior to the alternative.


I would like to think that I’ve seen the darkest days. I saw it all disappear. I could no longer make the mortgage payments. The cars were gone. The going out and picking up every tab was over. No more shopping sprees. And certainly no monthly American Express bills that often topped $3-7 grand where nothing of substance was bought. Greed. I was a money whore. Friends disappeared. And who could blame them. But I was too cheeky to get it. I was Greggo. Bulletproof. Untouchable. Someone forgot to alert the karma gods. They shoot, and they never miss.


In 2008-2010 I was tortured in a world of hellish bunkers. I felt the wrath of this brutal gargoyle. Having only recently been diagnosed with it, I struggled to exist. I spent weeks in a blacked out room, with dark thoughts. I was wearing a gas mask trying to survive my own soul. Just staring mindlessly at the ceiling. Wondering. Pondering. Meandering through a river of deadly currents. Work? You must be kidding. It was a chore to rise. I went weeks without a shower. Months in that room. Trapped in the grips of that thing.


It was around the first of the year 2010 that Richie Whitt contacted me. It had been almost a year since I had any conversations within the media circle.
He just called every once in a while. Just keeping up. Then one day he called and asked if I wanted to meet with the new PD for The Fan. I anxiously said yes. But I was in no shape. Looking tired and haggard I made the meeting. Nothing came of it. But a few weeks later Richie called again. He asked,” how would you like to do a try out show with me?” Once again, I gulped yes. And for two solid weeks I prepared. And I mean prepared, because of my dark time I totally avoided sports. Somehow I made it. Somehow I was decent. Somehow I got the job. But it was Richie that reached out, vouched for me. Stuck his neck out for me. Grabbed when everyone else gouged. Fairy book ending right. Wrong. How did I repay the one guy that gave me yet another chance? I screwed him over and lost his trust. Whose fault? Mine. 100%!


This is not meant to be self-serving, pity-for-me, feel sorry for me missive. Just the facts about a war that cannot be won. I am in no way lending an excuse. Just a reason. No woe-be-me times.


One of my favorite quotes is by Tom Wolfe. It was pasted in his groundbreaking book, ‘The Electric Kool-Aide Acid Test’. He simply says, “you’re either on the bus or off the bus”. I desperately want a seat on the carrier.


I am paying the credit card minimum on the game of life. No, pardon me, existence.



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