I found this, and wanted to share it with my readers. It was from a few months back:
Hey buddy! How have you been and how has life been treating you? I hope that things are going well for you. So what are you doing these days? I thought for sure that you'd end up working at ESPN or TS by now. You have such an intense passion for sports, and it shows! You and "DR" helped me learn to enjoy sports talk. I may not know much about sports statistics or little known facts, but I can certainly appreciate them more. Thank you for that.
Have you heard from anyone that graduated with us? I regret to say that I've lost touch with almost everyone. I do talk to LA on occasion. The last I heard, she's working in ____ for the local CBS station as a manager of sorts. I'm glad that she's doing well for herself. She's a good kid - bright and good-natured. She'll go far, to be sure.
I think about the fun that we had at (school). That indeed was a very special time for me. In that one year, I had felt that I had "found my calling," and that I would be a superstar. To be looked up to and respected by many was an overjoying experience for me. To meet fun
people like you and R (as well as the others) was an added plus, in addition to "learning the ropes" of radio and tv.
I still think about the day that we graduated and the emotions that were welled up inside me. Words could barely describe how I felt when I found out that you all had chosen me as the "Oustanding Broadcaster!" For the first time in my life, I had won an award and truly felt worthy of it. Believe me, I wanted to cry (tears of joy) when I found out! This meant that I indeed had a purpose in life - that I WAS capable of doing something well while enjoying it. Little did I know that this was only a part of what I had to offer.
As you may well know, I landed the gig at "TEC" through B and had a blast doing overnights - first as a board-op, then on-air. That to me was one of the biggest thrills of my life! I knew
that it wouldn't last forever, so I enjoyed it as much as I could for the time I had left there.
On January 29, 2001, at 5pm, "TEC," failed to exist anymore, and I was out of work. Unfortunately, also on that day, I lost the power to the house I was staying in. I had no heat, no light, and no electricity. Fortunately, I still had water! Nonetheless, I felt painfully depressed. I was living in GI - which is not exactly a great place to live, having been voted "Murder Capital of The World" on more than one occasion. This depression kept me almost bedridden for nearly 6 months.
I remember once the power was restored that I started working on demo tapes and sent them out like crazy. A week went by, and the rejection letters started to pour in. Each one influenced me to feel a little bit worse, and to doubt my abilities. After about the 135th one, I decided to just give up and no longer try. This totally exacerbated my condition even further, and I became as close to an invalid as you could be without actually being one.
Not many people know this - but during the time (and years prior to,) I was attending school, I was experiencing the symptoms of Bipolar Disorder, better known as Manic Depression. This was the source of all my boundless energy, and flight of ideas. I could do my project, work on
someone else's, go to bed for about 3 hours, get up, go to school, stay a bit after, go work for 8 hours a day, and go home to work on another project. As my father put it, I "burned the candle at four ends." I just figured that I was just so intense and passionate about this that
it was "just the way that I am."
I remember around December of '99 that I was starting to feel upset alot of the time. I did my best to cover this up as much as I could. Some of the staff began to become concerned about me, (namely MK and MZ (instructors).) I told them what was going on, and they totally offered me their kindness and sympathy. I'll never forget them for that.
Over the past 5 years, I have struggled with jobs of several types, from factory work, to retail, to driving a delivery van. I was stricken with panic and anxiety attacks on a regular basis, in addition to bipolar disorder. I had changed medications, therapists, doctors, and the like many, many times. The last real job I had lasted 3 days, due to overwhelming anxiety attacks and a genuine fear of the job. Fortunately, I now have a source of income that is just enough to help me through a very difficult and trying time in my life. I truly believe that this in and of itself was a miracle!
As for radio, I have done alot of freelance stuff - imaging and producing shows for other stations around the globe. I started (company name) in 1999, and until recently, was a bit successful. I'm not a famous voice, but I have done stuff for stations such as (various stations,) and also helped to host an internet radio stream that has to do with radio jingles and airchecks (of course another hobby of mine,) and such.
Over time, I began to become discouraged in my abilities. I was helping my former boss at "TEC," by making IDs for his new station. It seemed that no matter what I did, he was not pleased. Eventually I just gave up and basically disappeared in the throes of depression. My belief in my abilities and creativity were basically annihilated in one fell swoop.
I can tell you that bipolar disorder will sometimes bring you to your knees spiritually, and make you hate yourself and everyone around you so intensely that you want to die. You feel as if there is no hope for you, and that's all there is to it. It's like being in a prison that you've made for yourself. You refuse to believe that you can indeed break free from all this, and that no one is there for you. You are locked up in chains - you have the key, but can't bring yourself to use it. Even though you may have many caring family members and friends, it still doesn't matter. I had a girlfriend that was willing to do everything that she could to help me. All I could do was to see the negative side of things - to criticize her housekeeping, her children, and her lifestyle. This put me at a severe disadvantage.
As a result, I sabotaged our relationship, and destroyed yet another. I ended up moving back home with my parents for a while, and that was not easy. I was still very defensive and full of hurt, anger and resentment about my past. I harbored alot of this towards my stepmother (which I'm happy to say that today, such is no longer the case.)
I moved about 3 or 4 more times after that, and ended up where I am now. There were times when I didn't make the rent in full, or at all - thinking that I would have no place to go. I remember more than a few times being on the brink of suicide, thinking that there was no hope for me, and that my purpose in life was to "get by." If it wasn't for more than a few caring friends, family members, and therapists, I would have surely taken my life. Once again, in 2002, I was taken by surprise.
Nearly three years ago, I helped to form a local band with a few great guys. The band has been through a few different line-up changes, but the core remains the same. Playing music had always been fun for me, and I had played in a few bands before, but this was different. We
actually had a goal to get out there and be known. We started playing local bars and having a great time. Several people would come up to me and tell me how much they enjoyed watching us play, or me in particular. This gave me a total feeling of bliss! I realized that I was indeed communicating with people, and I was affecting them in a positive manner. Over time, I worked more and more on my stage presence, and my overall demeanor. But the real turning point came a little while after.
We would frequent a local restaurant on Friday nights for their local "Jam Night," so that we could get some gigs. We did get more than a few, but then a really great thing happened. The band that was hosting the jam night wasn't able to do it anymore, so we were asked if we
would like to do it. We agreed, albeit reluctantly, and with the stipulation that it was for only a few weeks. I was petrified, mortified, and stupified in every sense! I mean, at the time, we could barely hold together a set, let alone play songs that none of us knew! What would happen if we failed? Nonetheless, we did it anyway. I'm happy to say that it's the best "mistake" that we've ever made!
Fast forward to 7 months later, and here we are, still doing it! What I thought was going to be the most dreadful of experiences at first, turned out to be one of the best things that happened in my entire life! I have sat in with so many people that I can't count them all! I play bass, and not many jammers bring a bass player. As a result, I was asked to sit in nearly every Friday for at least one band. I took advantage of my keen ear and learned many songs "on the fly," which is a blast! This has also helped me to gain confidence in my ability to sing and play again. I find myself playing guitar or bass, and singing lead vocals quite a bit. My dad says that I need to start playing solo acoustic gigs so that I can make a little money on the side. This is a goal of mine that I'm steadily working towards.
Amidst all this, I had reached an all-time emotional low in my life. If I wasn't playing, I was miserable. I was addicted to the internet, and too entrenched in my own worries to care at all about anyone else. That hopeless feeling started to really permeate me, and so I thought of
injuring myself to "free the pain" and have a sense of control. I am happy to say that I never acted upon those urges, but they were very real. I started to read some self-help books and listen to audio books, as I had done in the past. I listened intently, but nothing seemed to
help - it just wouldn't sink in.
But on July 17,2005, I came to terms with myself. I realized what I was doing all wrong in my life - I was TAKING IT ALL TOO SERIOUSLY! I believed that everything was "life and death," and that everything in my life (or lack thereof,) was contingent upon my life. Once I LET GO of this belief, things really started to change for the better. All I needed to do was to change my approach! Instead of being impatient, I would ask myself if this was really that important, and remind myself of the things that I have been through in the past. I didn't look at them as negative aspects, rather that I was able to survive and keep on going through the storm. I thought of other people who have been in much worse situations, rose from the ashes, and had become the successes that they are today. This alone was a great inspiration, and drove me to push myself even harder.
As a result of this constant exposure to all this positive motivational material, it began to seep slowly into my life, and eventually started spilling back out as well! Once I found out that this worked for me, I began to tell others, through support group meetings, conversations with friends, and in my blog. Once again, people came up to me and told me that they honestly tried these strategies, and that they did indeed work for them! This of course brought a feeling of joy that I cannot describe. It's truly magical, and I've never felt it in my life! I discovered my mission in life!
This helped me arrive at a very important question in my juncture - WHAT IS MY MISSION IN LIFE? The answer came back rather quickly - TO COMMUNICATE, TOUCH THE LIVES OF OTHERS, AND TO HELP THEM ANY WAY THAT I CAN! Earlier, I had been doing this, through radio and playing music, but failed to see this. To be an entertainer/media personality is to reach out to people - to let them know that THEY EXIST, THAT THEY DO MATTER! This approach helped to make it even more enjoyable a thousandfold! What a difference one little (or not so little) change can make in your life!
Along the way, I have written quite a bit in my journals. I have used them as a form of therapy to help me through those trying times. Sometimes I would let others see what I wrote, and they would tell me how much they enjoyed reading it. It was then that I realized I truly have a flair for writing - to create an image that would put them in the "story," experiencing what I was going through. When someone says, "I know what you mean - I could feel how you felt," that really hits home. The pen is indeed mightier than the sword!
So, by now you've probably guessed that I intend to do alot of writing as well. Absolutely! I find it very therapeutic, as well as enjoyable, not only for myself, but for others as well. A friend of mine (who also deals with Bipolar Disorder,) and I are going to be collaborating on a book in the very near future. It will be a unique perspective of the disease, coming from two different viewpoints and walks of life. Meetings are in the works, and we will soon embark upon our journey. I am totally looking forward to it!
Z - I'm sorry if this all sounds like some sort of blatant sales pitch, but it's truly not. I just have a natural habit of writing in this manner. Trust me, this isn't a form letter! I'm just very
passionate and honest - sometimes it can take a while to say something, even a simple hello! I know that we have lost touch over the years, and now we can make up for lost time. Maybe sometime we could call each other, just to talk about old times, and things going on within our
lives. I think that would be alot of fun, don't you agree?
I sincerely apologize for the time that this letter may have taken from your day. I know that you have a life of your own to lead, and that it's probably full of events that consume your time already. As a result, I would like to thank you for having taken the time, consideration, and genuine concern to read this. It was great hearing from you, and if there is anything that I can do to help you, please let it be known, and I will genuinely do my best to lend a hand. Hope to hear from you soon!
Unfortunately, I have yet to receive a reply from him. I wonder if the letter freaked him out or something. Oh well....