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February 27, 2024 86 mins

Battling inner demons is an all too familiar narrative, but when David Shamszad peels back the layers of his struggle with bipolar disorder and addiction, it takes on a profound resonance. His raw and honest recount of hitting rock bottom and clawing his way back into the light offers not just a story but a lifeline. As we navigate the often misunderstood nuances of mental health with David, you'll be touched by his vulnerability and emboldened by his message of hope. This episode is a testament to the transformative power of recovery and the indomitable human spirit.

From the grips of a suffocating depression to the dizzying heights of manic success, David's journey underscores the importance of therapy and medication in managing mental health conditions. His intimate discussion about self-medication and societal stigmas reveals just how hard it can be to seek help—and how crucial it is. The candid conversation further delves into his personal battle with alcoholism, the escalation of substance abuse, and its profound effects on personal relationships. It's a stark reminder of the internal turmoil that fuels the cycle of addiction and the undeniable impact it has on both the individual and those they hold dear.

As David's narrative unfolds, his path from self-destruction to a fulfilling life of purpose emerges as an inspiring blueprint for change. His commitment to sobriety, coupled with the unwavering support of his partner, paves the way for professional success and personal growth as a father, partner, and entrepreneur. This is more than just an episode; it's an emotional expedition through pain, redemption, and the enduring belief in second chances. David's upcoming book, "Coming Up for Air," encapsulates this entire journey, promising to be a beacon for anyone seeking to navigate their own path to wellness.

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Episode Transcript

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Speaker 1 (00:00):
Welcome to the Fuzzy Mike.
The interview series, thepodcast, whatever Kevin wants to
call it, it's Fuzzy Mike.
Hello and welcome to the FuzzyMike.
I owe you a sincere thank youfor all of the new followers,
subscribers and listeners thathave been joining our family.
I'm so grateful to have anaudience for this show Now.

(00:24):
My guest for this episode,david Shomsod, has a somewhat
similar story to mine.

Speaker 2 (00:30):
He wakes up in a strange room white walls, white
bedsheets, white everythingexcept a blue chair, one small
window, it's gray outside, aplastic bracelet on his wrist
with blue letters butlerpsychiatric hospital.
The last thing he remembers isthe knife, watching it press
down His skin.

(00:50):
It's tougher than he'd expected, stretching and contorting,
pressing harder than nothing butblack.
As a teenager he studied hard.
He mentored at-risk kids,busted his ass at basketball and
crew practice.
But in his early 20s bipolardisorder ripped through his mind

(01:10):
like wildfire, maddeningpendulum swings between despair
and euphoria that he kept secretand untreated.
He'd sworn off alcohol afterseeing addiction torment his
father.
But in distress, he turned tothat familiar lifeline that he
knew would ease the pain.
Years wore by as alcohol andbipolar disorder led him through

(01:31):
a certain hell.
Nothing could free him fromaddiction not getting up by cops
and cellmates, not spendingweeks in a psychiatric hospital
after a knife was pried awayfrom his wrist and not losing
his partner after she'd doneeverything she could to help him
.
He was on the verge of drowningand ready to surrender, tearing
through the streets, screamingwild eyes, shut windows down,

(01:53):
engine gunning 90 miles an hour,100, 110, will it be over
tonight?
I'm ready to be swallowed whole, he thought.
But he wakes up bloody andalone, alive, though His
partner's love is that tough,leathery kind, the kind that
holds on to someone danglingfrom a cliff, even if both might

(02:16):
plunge.
She feels his pain in fullmeasure, every tear, in each
drop of blood, her faith helped.
From those that stood by hisside and his own grit, he sets
out to beat back massive wavesof addiction and depression.
Someone new emerges from thewreckage of a former life.
A decade later, he's a father,a partner and an entrepreneur,

(02:41):
and with true, raw vulnerability, he's got a hell of a story to
tell about mental health andrecovery.

Speaker 1 (02:50):
Hold on, man Damn brother.
That is powerful.
That's amazing.
David Shamsdott is my guest.
Thank you for sharing that.
That is the start of yourupcoming book, isn't it?

Speaker 2 (03:02):
That's right.
That is right.
This is your story, this isthis is my story.
And yeah, this is a story.
It's got me here to this point.
I'm 42 now, but my story startsoff when I'm in high school and
when I first started seeingsigns of mental illness.

(03:25):
I didn't know what it was atthe time, but I found out later
it was bipolar disorder settingin.

Speaker 1 (03:31):
So what were those first signs in high school for
you?
Because that's when I figuredout I had something off too.

Speaker 2 (03:38):
So by the time, by the time I was, like you know,
18, so it was the very end ofhigh school, you know, getting
ready for college.
I mean I was, I was a upbeat,you know I was.
I was bound for for greatthings, man.
And you know, I had gotten kindof a straight A resume in

(04:02):
college or in high school and Idid all the things and I did the
yearbook and the photographyand all the, all the stuff to
get myself into an Ivy Leagueschool.
And yeah, I, just when I lookback at pictures from that time
as recently I was puttingtogether some pictures from this
is like a couple of weeks agoand I just noticed pictures from
high school and I'm justfucking smiling and all of them

(04:26):
and I'm sure I wasn't ear to eargrinning every day, but but it
but when I look back at thattime, like that is kind of how I
remember it.

Speaker 1 (04:34):
But is that real or are you masking something with
that smile?

Speaker 2 (04:37):
No, no, it was 1617 and I really felt great.
And then, when I was about 18and then heading into college,
that's when things started tochange a lot and all of a sudden
that I would have days where Ifelt great and all of a sudden,

(04:58):
out of nowhere, those days justgot swallowed up by sadness.
That was that was crippling,that like literally could felt
like gravity, keeping me in bedand keeping me from moving.
It almost like it felt like aphysical sensation, like that's
how dejected and sad I could get, and I had no idea what was

(05:23):
going on.
I hadn't really felt it before,but like talking to people was
really hard and I would need tospend a few days like just in my
own head brushing my teeth,like showering these, like basic
things that you don't reallythink about, like can become.
They feel like monumental tasksand I know, you know what I'm

(05:46):
talking about.
But and then it would, it wouldbe gone and all of a sudden I
was back to like yeah, I wasexuberant and like I think
that's how that's how peoplethought of me was just always
kind of like flying high andalmost hyperactive and excitable

(06:06):
and enthusiastic and peoplekind of fed off that.
But and then, just like thatpendulum swing I mentioned it in
, you know, the beginning of thebook like that would be gone
and I'd be back to feelinghopeless, like I didn't even
deserve to be there.
I didn't deserve like thetiniest little space in the

(06:29):
world I shouldn't even be there.

Speaker 1 (06:32):
It's not anything that happens exteriorly that
sets you off, it is completelyinternal.
This switch.

Speaker 2 (06:40):
Yeah, you just wake up like that one day.

Speaker 1 (06:43):
Exactly.
And people can't understandthat, when you know and, like
you said, people thought youwere outgoing and gregarious,
but inside you're fighting thisbattle every single second of
every single day.

Speaker 2 (06:54):
And you know.
So, like this is 20, 25 yearsago, when this is all starting,
and like we've come a long wayas far as like having
conversations about mentalhealth, particularly in the male
community, like it's so muchbetter than it was back then and
you have, like you haveathletes, you have celebrities,

(07:18):
you have influential people whoare being, who have been open
about depression, bipolar placesthat people didn't really go
before, and but this is 20 yearsago and like I didn't have the
vocabulary, I didn't have thelexicon to understand or think
about these things, so I sure ashell wasn't like talking about

(07:41):
how I was feeling, let aloneunderstanding it and so and
things just got.
What I was functioning, youknow, like what I learned to do
is I was feeling great, likegreat.
I had a, had a weird amount ofenergy and people fed off it and
you know it served me well.
Sometimes I was like I was on ateam, I was on the crew team and

(08:03):
I think I sort of like on mymost euphoric, hyperactive days,
yeah, I like probably, it wasprobably useful in a way to the
people around me, you know, andwhat I learned to do on the
other days when I was feelinglike I literally couldn't have a
conversation with somebody.

(08:24):
I was so frozen I that lifeline.
You know, I learned to drinkwhen I was really young.
I learned it growing up.

Speaker 1 (08:34):
How did you learn that?
I read, I read in your synopsisthat you started drinking at 13
.
Yes, I how did you learn that?

Speaker 2 (08:44):
Um, well, I mentioned my.
You know my family and my my.
There's a history of it in myfamily.
Okay, serious and yeah, reallyserious history about closing in
my family.

Speaker 1 (09:01):
And I think that's a gene.
I think that's a gene that canget passed down.
I also think depression is agene that can get passed down.
Yeah my dad.
My dad was the fifth person onhis side of the family to kill
himself.
Five, five yeah it's tragic.

Speaker 2 (09:17):
So sorry to hear that .

Speaker 1 (09:19):
Bro, it's it.
You know what man I I.
The only thing that bothers meabout it, david is.
I don't know his mindset whenhe was walking down the stairs
to go hang himself.
I don't know if he was sad, mador just that hopeless, because
I didn't really.
I mean, I look at pictures ofhim now, david, and I don't
recognize that guy.
I don't know who he was.
You know he was prettysecretive.

Speaker 2 (09:41):
Yeah, and there's, you know, I I think there's just
such a huge correlation, likeif there's no vulnerability and
there's no room to talk aboutthis, then there's no room to
get help and to get treatment,because you don't start taking
the steps.
And you know, and that's kindof I'll get into this later, but

(10:03):
that that's kind of like what.
That's.
What's got me on this missionnow is like hearing stories like
like that which you shared andyou know, and my own story and
everybody's story, who who hasyou know, really a tragic ending
, or almost a tragic ending, andI started just thinking about
like the only the only way toget better is to get help,

(10:25):
because there is help out there.
A lot of help, like you're justnot going to wake up one day
cured of a mental health illnessor disorder.
Mental illness or disorder.
This is.
This is not how it works, andbut if you're not talking about
it, you'll never get that help,the helps there, and between
medication and therapy,cognitive behavioral therapy

(10:47):
there's so much that can be done, but if you never start doing
it like that's, that's wherethose tragic endings can happen.
So, going back to where was I?

Speaker 1 (11:00):
at your 13 and you started drinking.

Speaker 2 (11:03):
I'm not drinking.
So, yeah, I mean, I got a bigtrouble with drinking when I was
, yeah, like between eighth andninth grade, that's what.
Yeah, I mean I was familiarwith drinking, and if you're
around drinking all your lifeand you watch your parents do it
, this is something interestingthat, from my experience at

(11:23):
least, you really don'tunderstand and you have a really
weird relationship with it.
Like the amounts that I thoughtwere normal to drink and the.
I thought something all adultsdid was come home after work and
pour a glass of whiskey not ashot or something on the rocks,
I'm just a full glass of it,like it was fucking water.

(11:46):
Yeah, that was just part oflike the boxes you check during
the day when you're an adult.
I thought the adults to rankwhile driving.
I thought that was normal.
To have a glass of wine whiledriving around to dinner, I
thought that was just like, ohcool, you know, when you're
older you do that.
So I just had this like reallydistorted perception of what was

(12:12):
normal and, yeah, I startedexperimenting with it and like,
dude, I remember I can stillremember the feeling that I had
when I, the first feeling I canremember having when alcohol
first soaked into my bloodstreamwas like you know it's 12.

(12:33):
And it was intoxicating, liketo a to a degree that I know now
looking back was was a majorred flag, like it felt like it
had been.
I was 12 and it felt like thething I'd been missing for 12
years.
You know it was, and I wasreally excited to explore.

(12:53):
That.
I mean, I wanted to know is,when you're that young, you
can't, it's hard to get thatmuch.
You're sneaking little littlebits here and there from water
bottles that people filled upwith their parents bars and I
just remember being so excitedto explore that and when I first
did, I didn't know how much todrink, like me and me and me and

(13:14):
one guy this is the first timeI remember getting blacked out
me and one guy were like lanky,skinny, 13 year olds.
We split a fifth of vodkabecause I'm like, well, I don't
know, let's get a fit.
And we drink the whole thing.
You know we're two summer aftereighth grade, so I mean that's

(13:34):
an amount that like I don't knowman, that's, that's I could
probably kill kill some peopleAbsolutely, and it's awful Big
gap in that night that actuallyscared me so much, cost me a lot
of friends in my community.

Speaker 1 (13:51):
I ended up changing schools and can you share what
happened that night?

Speaker 2 (14:00):
Another time.
Our next meeting we're going togo to that.
Will we read that in the book?
It is in the book, okay, it was100% in the book and the you
know the thing was just likethat scared me enough to take a
few years off off of drinkingand I was like so I'm in ninth

(14:23):
grade and 10th grade and I'mlike I can't touch this stuff,
like I don't know, it's crazy.
And then, like, coincidentally,I started doing really well in
school.
It's like why I did grade inschool, I think in high school,
and got into a great collegebecause I like was terrified of
alcohol.
I was terrified of it.
So I like kind of took uphomework as like a homework and

(14:47):
extracurriculars, like thatbecame what I was obsessed with.
But so drinking like fell backinto it big time in college and
because I was starting to feelthese periods of time, a few
days at a time, where I was justso depressed and anxious and

(15:08):
panic-ridden Over nothing at all, and drinking was the way out
of that and it felt fine and itfelt great and I got really used
to it.
And even when I was feelinghigh and manic, drinking was
great too.
It just makes those sensationsfeel even better.
You're like, damn, I'm feelingon top of the world.
I'm literally an invincibleperson.

(15:28):
I could drink and drink andnever drop, and so drinking was
fun then too.
So I just basically starteddrinking, no matter how I was
feeling, and that's why Ilearned that behavior.
And then so, like, fast forwarda little few more years and now
I'm out of college and I'm inlike my early 20s, and that's

(15:51):
when that's when the symptomswere like at their heaviest and
on setting to the fullestcapacity.
And now, all of a sudden, thesedays of feeling despondent
became weeks, and it wasn't anylonger despondent.
It was me questioning, it wasme being so scared of how awful

(16:11):
I was feeling and being in somuch pain that I was questioning
if I wanted to be alive.
That's that's where I hadgotten to.
So now I'm like 22 and 23 andmy worst moments, these episodes
, they gripped me in a way that,like, I shudder to think about
it now, 20 years later, becausewhen you're in the middle of a
depressive episode and this iswhy I think it's really hard to

(16:35):
talk about this stuff is becauseit's really hard to explain,
and if you tell somebody, likeyou know, you try to explain to
someone how depressed you wereand, on the other end of that,
if someone's never experiencedit, they can't see it, they
can't touch it, they can't itdoesn't come to fruition.

(16:56):
The same way, and people arescared that when they explain
that, people are going to hearweakness or hear fear or hear
something defective and it'sWhereas, like if I have a broken
leg, it would be like oh, kevin, I broke my leg snowboarding

(17:17):
and you'd be like Dave, youshould go get crutches.

Speaker 1 (17:20):
Get that checked out.

Speaker 2 (17:21):
Yeah, your shit is wobbling Like go to the doctor
and you don't question mytoughness or my composure or my
makeup.
You're just like dude broke hisleg.
What a badass.
He was hitting down a blackdiamond.
But with mental health it'sdifferent, because if I'm scared
that you're going to judge mefor being fragile or weak or

(17:45):
some fucked up notion of what'snot masculine right, then I'm
not going to tell you how I'mfeeling and I'm going to pretend
and I'm going to self-medicateand I'm going to go through life
that way.
And so I think that's where Iwas at and I think it's where a
lot of young, particularly youngpeople are at.
Is there's not a not feeling, asafe space to talk about it and

(18:07):
be vulnerable?

Speaker 1 (18:08):
Now.
I spent 30 years on the radio25 of those were on Morning
Radio program with the samepartner for 25 years and he
never understood it untilsomething happened to him late
in our career together.
And he's like dude, he goes.
I never understood why youcouldn't just wake up and be
happy he goes.
But since this thing happenedto me, he goes.

(18:31):
Now I get it and he goes.
I'm sorry he goes.
I never, never understood itand that's what you were getting
ready to do.
That's what you were saying wasit's hard to articulate how we
feel just at the drop of a hat.

Speaker 2 (18:45):
No, it's.
It's.
It proved nearly impossible andit proved nearly deadly to me,
honestly.
And so, yes, and so the thingabout these episodes, when they
hit and if you know to, to, toeveryone listening, you know, if
you've never felt this thereally uncanny thing about a
depressed episode is is like, nomatter how many you have and no

(19:07):
matter how much sort ofintellectual, cognitive
understanding that it's anepisode, when you're actually in
it you lose all sense of itbeing temporary.
You lose all sense of like okay, I'm going through an episode.
In three to eight days, thiscycle will be over.
I just, you know it's all good,this is normal, this is what's

(19:29):
happening, it's characteristicof my condition, I will survive.
That's all out the window.
And it's like you forgeteverything you know and you
truly believe in those momentsthat that is how you will feel
for the rest of your life and itand that sounds hard to imagine
, but you know it's imaginewaking up, imagine groundhogs

(19:51):
day and waking up every day andbeing the exact same day.
You believe it's going to belike that.
You just think, okay, I feel, Ifeel so bad.
This is the worst day of mylife.
If every day felt like this.
I wouldn't want to be alive,and every day will feel like
this.
Therefore, I don't know if Iwant to be alive.
It's like it's that basic andelemental.

(20:11):
So I started, I'll go ahead.

Speaker 1 (20:14):
It's the thing that keeps me alive, is that thought
that how I feel right now, if Iend my life right now, will I
feel like that for eternity.
That's what keeps me alive.
You know it does, because Ifear the afterlife If we die of
natural causes.
You know we had no hand in that.

(20:37):
But what if it's punishment inthe afterlife for and again on
our own accord?
You know, in that I've talkedto many, many therapists about
that and they're like hold on tothat thought If it keeps you
alive.
Hold on to that thought.
And you're right, it is a cycleand it does end.
But what you're talking about,the three to eight days that

(20:59):
you've got to you're underwaterand you just have a Niagara
Falls cascading on you.
For those three to eight daysyou can't breathe, you can't
move it, just it's absolutelydebilitating.

Speaker 2 (21:13):
Yeah, it's absolutely debilitating and that's where I
was getting to.
These episodes were gettingworse and worse and you know, I
don't know if it's something Ilearned from my dad or from like
doing fucking crew at five inthe morning, but I just I had a

(21:35):
pain, tolerance or sort of a.
It was a little masochistic, itwas a little bit of like a
misconception of toughness, butI had an ability to like just
stomach as much as I could,whether it was like just getting
through the day and going towork and doing things.

(21:57):
I did my best to just coverthis thing up and like so I, but
eventually it's just too muchand what happened to me was like
, all right, so my job at thetime it's just ironic that this
was my job, but my I was insocial work.
I worked with at-risk kids.
So these were kids that were.

(22:19):
They were in the foster caresystem and they were in the
juvenile justice system.
Okay, so this was a facilityfor kids that had come out of
those programs.
So all these kids, like many,the majority of these kids that
had significant trauma in theirlife, this was a high stress,
demanding environment to work inand it was.

(22:40):
It was a residential treatmentfacility.
So I literally lived there andit lives.
It was a 24 hour, a day job.
I mean, I went to bed, but ifthe kids woke up, no, you know,
I'd go back down.
You're on call man 100% and andin a way that the job helped me
because I couldn't I was neverreally, I was by myself, so, so

(23:03):
sparingly, and I was alwayscalled into action and I had a
motor like I could, I could, Icould function and jump in to
working with these kids, and itwould be breaking up a fight or
it would be talking to somesomebody who had, like, tried to
run away.
It was pretty much alwayscrisis management in that it

(23:26):
sort of helped me because I justalways had something to fixate
on.
But you can't really run awayfrom yourself like forever.
My routine was like I got up atsix and woke the kids up
shortly there, as soon as I hadmy coffee and you know, usually
it wasn't till one AM that Iwould even get back to my little

(23:48):
cabin and my routine was likeokay, I'm so wired, my mind is
racing, I'm having thoughts inmy head that are they're scary
and they're so weird and I needto have a drink and then I'll
sleep.
And then I'd sleep for a fewhours from like 2, 30 or or one

(24:09):
to two, two, 30 until six, andthat was it.
And I did this like for weeksand months and months and then
eventually I had I finally I hada couple of days off.
I remember I had worked like along stretch it was like two
weeks and my co-counselor hadjust quit and I was kind of just
playing a solo.

(24:30):
But I was killing it.
I was kicking ass and like thesupervisors were like, wow,
you've got your group likerunning and everybody's in line
and they're the best groupcleaning up their, their shit,
like they're doing a good job,and it all looked good to them.
But I was breaking on theinside.
I was the thoughts I was having.

(24:50):
If I was, I was standing next tosomebody, standing next to
another one of the kids oranother staff member there I was
.
I would obsess about like Iwould think I was going to hurt
them.
I would think that I was goingto do something violent or or
insane I would think about everytime a car drove by, I just

(25:13):
thought that I was going to jumpin front of it.
Every time we were in you know,I was taking these kids we used
to go like on canoe trips and Iwould just stare at the water
thinking, oh, I'm literallyterrified that I'm going to jump
in and drown myself right now.
I just couldn't.

Speaker 1 (25:31):
I was breaking on the inside 100%, and then finally,
so I had these couple of days,probably because you were
drinking and you weren't gettingany sleep.
Yeah, absolutely, dude, without, without your thoughts.
That could have killed you.

Speaker 2 (25:45):
Yeah, I was in really bad shape.
I had a lot.
I mean, I was probably.
I probably lost like 25 poundsbecause I didn't really eat that
much and I was.
I was sort of always so anxiousI never really had an appetite
and I was just running, dude, Iwas just running and running and
running away from myself.

Speaker 1 (26:03):
And I was talking to somebody the other day about
bipolar disorder, which isdepression and mania.
Okay, and it's just what cycleare you in?
And I think and I said this tothat person I said I think
sometimes manic episodes areworse than depressive episodes,
because you do some stupid shitwhen you're on mat, when you're
manic mode.

Speaker 2 (26:24):
Oh yeah, no, there's, there's, there's no doubt about
it, I mean, and some of the,some of the more typical ones
that you kind of you know, thatyou read about, and these are
the ones that people can kind ofunderstand, like you spend all
your money, like that's a realthing.

Speaker 1 (26:39):
That is a real thing.

Speaker 2 (26:41):
Oh, I barely made any .
And I had gotten, I had maxedout credit cards that I wouldn't
have been able to pay them offin years.
Like I don't know what I wasdoing.
I would just maxed out everycredit card.
I spent every dollar I could onshits, like I spent a lot of it
on alcohol, but it was like Ibought all these clothes, I
bought all this crap like stuffI'd never would touch, gifts for

(27:05):
people that, like they didn'twant.
It was just.
It's really strange.
It sounds like it soundsillogical but it is illogical.
It is illogical, but whenyou're in the moment, it just
seems like the thing that youhave to do, exactly.
So, okay, so here was theinflection point, like here's

(27:25):
where, like, my whole lifechanged.

Speaker 1 (27:27):
That's what I wanted to find out.
When did you decide enough isenough?

Speaker 2 (27:32):
Oh no, I'm not even like not for a while, not for a
while, oh geez, okay, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, no, this is just
when things started to reallyreally go south.
So I had worked this stretchand I had a couple days off but
like, instead of being tiredlike I should have been, I was
like I'm still running.
I have all this energy, my mindis racing.

(27:53):
Maybe I should.
This was my idea.
I was like maybe I should go, Ishould ride 50 miles on my bike
and then I should go for like along 13 mile run and that'll
put me to sleep finally.
And so my first day off, andI'm exhausted and I'm now
nourished and I haven't sleptand I have this idea that I
should go to.
And that wasn't like thatwasn't really shit.

(28:14):
I did Like I was in good shapeand I like I ran and I did stop,
but I wasn't like doingtriathlons and spending the
entire day on my bike.
I just was an idea that I hadand I saw I did it and I felt
like, oh man, I'm a god.
Right now I'm running throughthe hills and like the wind in

(28:35):
my face and I'm inhaling theroad in front of me and
breathing it out behind me.
I just thought that I was likejust this, I don't know, like on
top of the world, and Iremember at the end I finally
got back into the run.
So I've been like out runningand biking for the entirety of
the day and I remember the endof the run I was like, oh cool,

(28:56):
I think I finally not like inpain, but like I'm numb, like I
think I finally ran out ofenergy.
This is great.
I'll be able to sleep like ababy tonight.
And I didn't drink that night.
I didn't need anything to drinkthat night.
I just fell into like thedarkest, longest, like the kind
of sleep where you don't haveany dreams because your mind is

(29:18):
just like it is on E and it'slike that.
I woke up next morning.
The sun comes through thewindows and I knew within
seconds, like I knew within amoment, that this was I was
about to begin and I had justbegun the worst episode I'd ever

(29:39):
had in my life.
I knew in that moment this wasthe worst I had ever felt.
I knew that this would beunlike anything I'd ever gone
through and immediately wasobsessed with the idea that I
needed to end my life.
That was the only way out ofthis pain.
So it's like seven in themorning and I have like feel my

(30:05):
mind is racing.
Every second that passes feelslong, like the day will never
end, because you're feeling likethis and my first thought was
like I need someone around mebecause I'm going to do
something if I'm alone.
So I went and, like you know, Ilived at the.
Even on my days off, I wasstill there, so I lived there at
work.
So I went and found my boss andhe was the first person I

(30:28):
thought of.
But I went to his officebecause I needed someone to.
Like I touch.

Speaker 1 (30:33):
You just got to lay it out on.
You just got to get, we got torelease this negative energy
somewhere.

Speaker 2 (30:38):
It was more like I was just scared to be alone and
it's the one to distract me insome way, to like put their arm
around me or say something orengage with me in any way would
would help me in that moment.
And you know, I go in and he'slike Dave, you know, and I
couldn't even talk and I juststart tears pouring down my face
and I'm like choking and Ican't talk and he immediately

(31:00):
knew like he'd never seenanything like this from me and
so he's just like, hang on, letme, I need to.
I'm going to go get Mike.
All right, and Mike is apsychologist that works there,
he works with the kids, but he'slike I'm going to go get Mike,
like that's the.
I know that you need to talk toMike, so he leaves, but like I
couldn't sit in this office andso I had to start wandering

(31:20):
around and I eventually findsome space, you know, in the
back of all the buildings, inthe woods, in this kind of
abandoned area that you know wewould hang out in sometimes, and
we always had a knife on usbecause this was like an outdoor
, you know, it was like outdoortherapy, so we always had a
utility knife on us, it's a clipto our belt and I was alone in

(31:43):
the woods and the the only I hadthis thought and it felt all of
a sudden, felt clear and madetotal sense the pain will leave.
The pain will leave if I cutmyself and I bleed it out.
I thought the pain will leavein a stream of blood.

(32:05):
That's the way out of this and Itook the knife out, like I read
it in the beginning, and Itouched it up against my skin
and I pressed down and Iremember the last thought I had.
Just the fucking weirdestthought was like skin's
resilient, it's like it's alittle more leathery than people
think.
You know it's, we're not thatfragile.

(32:25):
It has a toughness to it and itstretches and it contorts.
And I had that thought and Ipressed down a little harder and
then Mike found me and hetackled me from behind and he
brought me to the ground and thenext thing I know I woke up in
the hospital, wow, and heblacked out in his arms and he

(32:46):
got me in his car and it wasobviously a wake.
I got into his vehicle and Iwalked through this facility,
but I don't remember any of it.
I was completely blacked out.

Speaker 1 (32:59):
You know, you just you just hit upon something that
in our earlier part of thisconversation we were talking
about trying to describe ourdepression pain to somebody who
doesn't understand it anddoesn't have to deal with it.
I think because I was a cutterin high school too.
Okay, that was something that I, that was something I did to
relieve the pain, what you weretalking about.

(33:20):
Let's let it bleed out.
Imagine, if you are and I'mtalking to the audience now
imagine that you just wake upone day and you just start
taking a razor blade to your arm.
How comfortable would that be?
It wouldn't be very comfortable.
Well, imagine that.
Imagine that 10 times harder.
That's what we feel on ourworst days.

Speaker 2 (33:42):
Yeah, and imagine that you were actually drawn to
it, that that seemed like theanswer to a fairly hard question
.

Speaker 1 (33:48):
Exactly.

Speaker 2 (33:50):
And so I woke up in the hospital and I had, like I
said, a tag on my wrist and Iwas in a psychiatric hospital
and I'd been put there andvoluntarily, and it was there
for two weeks and like within aday or two of talking to the
doctors there and they medicateyou.

(34:11):
Good, they medicate you very,very heavily right away and it's
I mean, I was like a zombie,but they do that.
I mean their very first step issafety, right.
So they're like, okay, you'regoing to be on.
They put you in my case it wasanti-psychotics and it's
basically to sedate you andyou're a zombie and you're not
going to hurt yourself.
That's their first step andthen from there it's figuring

(34:34):
out what's going on with you.
So, after some conversationswith doctors, they're like what
you've been suffering from is is, in all likelihood, bipolar
disorder and it's alternatingphases of mania and depression
and what you're describing likefits that very, very clearly.

(34:56):
And I'm like, on the one hand,I remember feeling kind of
relieved, right, because, dude,I just thought I was going crazy
this whole time when I'm havingthese thoughts and I'm running
around and I'm swinging back andforth on this crazy emotional
like roller coaster.
I just thought I was losing mymind.

(35:16):
I thought that the person thatI had been when I was a kid,
when I was a teenager and I wasdoing good in school and rowing
crew, I just thought that he waslong gone and that I was a
crazy person, like I didn't knowanything else.
And I remember feeling a littlerelieved that like okay, it's
got a name, like it's a thing,other people have it, there's a,

(35:39):
it's in the DSM or whateverit's got.

Speaker 1 (35:43):
Well, it has a title now and now you know how to
attack it.

Speaker 2 (35:46):
Yeah, but on the other hand, so I'm sort of
relieved that at least there's alanguage around this that
people speak.
But on the other hand, myimmediate thought, and keep in
mind, I just had the worst dayof my life and I'm lucky to be
alive and I'm in a psychiatrichospital, and one of the first
thoughts I had was oh man, whatdo people find out about this?
What if they think I'm weak?

(36:08):
And like how in the fuck isthat?
The first thing I went to Idon't blame myself for that, and
what I put that on is justsomething that we're kind of
programmed and brought up tobelieve, particularly as, like
young men in this country and ina lot of demographics is just

(36:30):
like you're talking no matterwhat, and like sadness is sort
of something for the weak, ordepression is something for the
fragile, like some of thisbullshit notions that we're kind
of programmed with.
And so my ear I am, and I'mlike lucky to be alive, and my
first thought is like, oh my God, what if someone finds out?

(36:55):
And I had begun seeing somebodyand more and more on her later.
But like I had begun seeingsomeone and so I had a
girlfriend who worked there too,and I had been trying so hard
to keep myself buttoned uparound her, like all I wanted to
do is for her to not know that,like all this stuff was
happening in my mind and Iremember thinking like, oh God,
like what if she hears?
What if she finds out?

(37:16):
Like she's going to think I'mnuts and yeah, so I'm in this
place and like I spent two weeksthere and I learned a little
bit and you know I, every day wetalked to doctors and there
were some CBT cognitivebehavioral therapy, there was
group sessions or were there allthis stuff and I participated.
But I, you know, and one of thekey things they tell you in

(37:38):
which is 100% true, is that,like abusing drugs and alcohol
will absolutely trigger theseepisodes and sure, we make them
worse.

Speaker 1 (37:47):
They're depressants.
They're depressants when I left.

Speaker 2 (37:52):
I had like an instruction manual.
It's like, okay, you take thismood stabilizer, this
anti-depressant and thisanti-synchotic.
I had been subscribed thesethree things and do this every
day at this time, and then, nomatter what like drugs and
alcohol are, real.
We really advise you stay awayfrom them.

(38:12):
And I'm like, okay, I'm goingto take the pills for sure, but
like other than that, like no, Ijust couldn't really wrap my
head around the idea that I wassick or had something
debilitating or had like.
I just perceived it as aweakness and so I kind of just
like pretended that none of thishad ever happened.
And I went back to work and Idid take my pills and, like my

(38:34):
girlfriend did know, how did shereact?
Well, here's the thing about herdude.
Like I mentioned in thebeginning to my partner, that
girl is my wife today.

Speaker 1 (38:50):
That's awesome.

Speaker 2 (38:51):
We have a family and we have a life together, and she
went through hell with me, dude.
She's an amazing person.
If it weren't for her, I tellyou for sure, I wouldn't be here
right now.
I don't mean not hereinterviewing and talking to you.
I wouldn't be here period.

Speaker 1 (39:11):
My wife is the person that I feel the most sorry for
on this planet, because she hasto deal with me.

Speaker 2 (39:16):
Yeah, but look at you now and the person you are now
and who she waited around for,and it's worth it.

Speaker 1 (39:22):
Yeah.

Speaker 2 (39:23):
I'm sure she feels that way.
I hope I believe she does.
So I got out of the hospitaland that was just the beginning.
That was the beginning of abouta decade of okay, I have an
illness, but I'm not talkingabout it.
I'll take my pills, but I'mjust going to pretend that I can

(39:44):
stomach this thing.
We moved back to Californiaafter we finished working there
and got an apartment and bothfound some jobs and I just
started, and now I'm in the cityand I'm not working 24 hours a
day and now it is really easy tofind alcohol and drugs whenever

(40:08):
I'm feeling any kind of way.
And I started drinking a lotmore.
And I was already drinking alot.
I started drinking a lot more.
I started drinking a much highervolume when I was drinking and
over the course of years,drinking wasn't just like taking
the edge off or having likethree glasses of wine or six.
I came to understand drinkingas consuming alcohol to the

(40:33):
point of unconsciousness.
That was, if I'm drinkingtonight, that means just going
and going and going until mybody and mind shut off.
That's what going out to drinkwas.
It wasn't anything less thanthat.
It was never like cool, let'shave a few beers and then go
dance.
It was like no, we're going tokeep drinking the entire night
until we are stumbling andalmost unconscious or blacked

(40:58):
out.
That was sort of the process,and I did this more and more and
by this time like whetherbecause of my condition or
because of the medication andswirling all this shit together
when I drank I was a badcustomer.

(41:20):
I got very aggressive.
I always got angry.
All the pain that I was feeling, it just spilled out, go figure
.
Right, yeah, right, exactly.
And so I always got aggressive.
I often got into fights.
I ended up getting arrested andput in jail on three different

(41:40):
occasions, and I'm lucky I wentto jail, because who knows what
would have happened the rest ofthose nights if I was out in the
fucking world.

Speaker 1 (41:51):
Were they PI, public intoxication, arrest or were
they for fighting?

Speaker 2 (41:54):
Both, wow, two more from fighting, and one of them
was for public intoxication.
And one of the fights that Igot was with a cop.
No kidding yeah.

Speaker 1 (42:09):
Did you win?

Speaker 2 (42:10):
No, Not at all.
Man.

Speaker 1 (42:15):
I had to ask that.

Speaker 2 (42:16):
But I'm sure I thought that I was going to and
I'm sure I felt absolutely justengrossed with the sensation
that what I was doing was theright thing to do.
And I'm sure the people onlooking at me and watching me
just on the street gettinghandcuffed were like, wow, dude,
this is fucking sad and itsucks to think about, because

(42:39):
when this stuff happened I waswith my friends.
I was with people that werestill, that still knew the
person they knew in college, whowas like a sweet kid and
oftentimes very exuberant andgregarious, to use the word you
use and so they were stickingwith me, but like people were
kind of disappearing from mylife, because one of the times I

(43:02):
got arrested like the guy I waswith got arrested too, just
because he was with me.
He didn't do anything at all,but it was like, well, we're
arresting this guy that you'recoming to.
It was You'll buy association.
Yeah.
So I got like one of my bestfriends, like he had to spend
the night in jail because of me.
I didn't do anything wrongother than go out with me.
And things went like this foryears and all of a sudden, like

(43:26):
and work is going very badly andrelationships are disappearing
and my girlfriend the same onewho's like, trying desperately
to you know, to help me andcling on to the person she knows
is inside me somewhere.
She's like I can't do thisanymore.
I can't watch this from upclose, like I can't not know if

(43:46):
you're going to come home or ifyou're safe or if you're or if
you're hurt.
And she was you know she was.
She had one foot out the doorand I was deteriorating and at
that point I was pretty readyfor her to go, not like I wanted

(44:08):
her to, but in a way.

Speaker 1 (44:10):
Kind of just to save herself.

Speaker 2 (44:12):
Yeah, here's like.
Here's the thing about beingaddicted to something like that
is always going to be your firstlove, like that is going to be
the relationship and the partnerthat you're most loyal to.
So like you could be married,you can have a girlfriend, but
your, your.
The love that you have isalways sort of illusory.

(44:33):
It's always going to be secondplace to what you're addicted to
.
You go out to dinner and Iremember this so clearly.
Like you go out to dinner andyour wife or your boyfriend or
whoever is talking to you andthey're telling you about how
they feel, about their day orwhatever.
The only thing on your mind ishow can I get an under glass of
wine here without interruptingher?
Maybe I'll just go to thebathroom?

(44:54):
And I used to take a flash withme when I went out with her so
that I could go to the bathroomand drink without her knowing
that I was like wow, and yeahand like.
That's not a relationship.
No, that's like, and so that'sthat's the position I had put
her in and like absolutely lovedher to death.
I was not willing to give upalcohol because it was the thing

(45:17):
that it was the lifeline that I, that it was certain and I knew
that like I could count on itand it would make me feel a
certain way every time and itwouldn't question me and it
wouldn't abandon me and I couldalways.
It was always there for me and Iwas kind of like the image I
have of myself at this time waslike I was hanging off a cliff

(45:38):
with one finger just kind ofwaiting for something or someone
to just pry it off, and thendon't the.
And so then, like here's thenext inflection point in my life
, and now I'll take a pause Ihad, I had, I went out one night
and at this point, like a lotof people had kind of, you know,

(46:01):
she was one foot out the door.
A lot of my friends were prettywary of being with me,
particularly at night.
And I, you know, I went out andI found some people to hang out
with, people that I did thatwere out of town, from out of
town, that didn't really know meanymore.
They didn't know who I was, sothey were just kind of excited
to hang out.
And when you're drinking thatmuch, this is counterintuitive

(46:26):
that people don't realize.
But you actually start blackingout a lot earlier and you, you.
You start experiencingblackouts after like a much less
volume, and so you'll start.

Speaker 1 (46:38):
Is that because you still have a lot more in your
system still?

Speaker 2 (46:42):
Is it?
It's just part of the conditionof being alcoholic, is you?
Just your memory and yourcognition just gets shitty, and
so you'll function.
But your memory is juststarting to really go to shit
and so you might.
You might stop rememberingthings after five drinks where
it used to be 10, or 10 drinkswhen it used to be 15.
You're still walking around andyou're still functional.

(47:04):
You're just like your.
Your, your memory is reallystarting to to take a beat and
so.
But so people talk aboutblacking out and like you always
remember something when you,you know, when you say blacked
out, it's kind of a euphemismfor it's a euphemism for 95%
unconscious.
But you but you always rememberlike oh yeah, and then we got,

(47:24):
then we got pizza at that place,oh yeah, and I took a cab to
and I saw this fucking guy andyou have four or five little
things and then you start tolike chain the night together
and you kind of inventory acouple things and you have like,
all right, I got the summary.
I know, I know everything thathappened was in these parameters
, so like we're good to go.
This was entirely different.

(47:45):
This was, this was a nightwhere the I I refer to it as
like pages completely torn outof a book.
And I remember going out and Iremember drinking a ton and I
remember thinking I'm going todrown myself in a sea of fucking
alcohol tonight because I justwas done and that was it.

(48:06):
I remember dancing to a song,having a cigarette, and then
nothing.
And I woke up who knows 10hours past and I woke up and I
was on my couch and I couldn'tremember a thing.
And all of a sudden I startlooking around and feeling my my
body and I have all thesebruises and cuts and I have this
blood all over me and got cuton my head, on my hands, and I'm

(48:33):
like I have no idea.
You know, when you get hurtthat much, you can usually
remember like I got in a fight.
I couldn't have the faintestclue what had happened to me.
It looked like I could havegotten in a fight or falling
down a set of stairs.
I had no idea.
I regret it Absolutely.
Yeah Right.
So then I'm like oh fuck, well,how did I get home?
I have no idea how I got home,but I know that I was the last

(48:56):
thing I remember.
I was like on the other side oftown and I was started to mean I
hate to admit this, but it'strue and I have to be honest
with myself and with you.
Like I used to drive from allthe time, like just no doubt
about it, and a lot of people do, and you drive buzz, you drive
drunk, you know.

(49:16):
Hopefully you don't drive inthe kind of condition where you
couldn't walk, but I definitelydid.
And I started thinking, man,did I drive home?
And I'm looking around and I'mlike I find my keys and I have
no recollection of being in abus and I don't have any like
receipts for my cab.
This was back in the day whenyou got paper receipts for

(49:37):
everything.
And I'm starting to think likemaybe I drove home, oh my God.
And I start running around myneighborhood.
I'm like jogging, looking formy car, just hoping to God I
don't find my car.
Sure, and I go a few blocks and, sure enough, I see like the
silver bumper that I'm afraid tosee and it's my car.
And I'm like my heart sinks andI'm just imagining all of the

(50:00):
awful things that might havehappened.
And I get to my car and likethere's blood on the door and
there's blood inside the car andI'm just I'm like praying to
fucking God that it's mine,right.
I'm like I have no idea whathappened and I just prayed that
I'm the only person hurt rightnow and I run inside and I'm

(50:22):
like going online and I'm like Iwas going to the SFPD website
and I'm looking at was there anyaccidents or reported hit and
runs?
And I'm trying to find that'swhere I was at, like I thought
maybe something awful like thathad happened, awful involving
somebody else.

Speaker 1 (50:39):
Yeah.

Speaker 2 (50:41):
And I, you know, I didn't find anything and I come
to the conclusion like, okay, Ididn't hurt anybody, this is my
blood, and like I got back intomy car after whatever the fuck
happened out there.
But that was it.
Because, as obvious as it isnow, at the time I would not let

(51:06):
myself believe that I washurting other people.
And not because I wasn't, it'sbecause your mind is just, your
mind is, is is the cleverestfucking thing and it will twist
reality and you can convinceyourself of all the bullshit in
the world in order to get yourfix, in order to not break the

(51:29):
habit that that is causing harm.
Your mind will protect itselfand it will let you keep doing a
bad thing.
And I just I had never believedlike I'm going to hurt somebody
.
I just couldn't accept that,that obvious reality.
And all of a sudden, thatmorning I just pictured

(51:50):
everything.
I saw myself.
I saw my friends likedevastated at, like, watching me
get arrested.
I saw myself driving around thecity drunk or blacked out and
putting, like everybody in mypath and jeopardy.
I saw and I saw my partnerwatching this up close, like she
said, just wondering if I wasgoing to make it home and I

(52:14):
realized for the first time thisisn't about me, like.
This isn't about how far I'mgoing to go and if I'm going to
fall off that cliff.
This is about who I'm going totake fucking with me.
And who am I to like destroysomeone else's world?
Who am I to like drive throughthe city drunk and maybe hurt
somebody or kill somebody?
Who am I to destroy that?

(52:34):
That, that person's world?

Speaker 1 (52:36):
That's a heavy thought, man Wow.

Speaker 2 (52:39):
And like.
Once I had that thought and Iand I understood the gravity of
the situation, I knew itcrystallized that I needed to
stop Like because I was okaywith hurting myself.
You know, I really was I wasokay with giving up and I didn't
have career going, I didn'tlike have a lot of things going.

(53:00):
My girlfriend, I think was wasessentially done.
And that moment, though, Iremember, within hours, I was
driving.
I was driving with a Bay Bridgeand in San, from San Francisco
to the East Bay, and I was clear, okay, something's changing now

(53:21):
.
And I talked to my partner andI'm like, look, don't leave,
give me another fucking chance.
I'm going to do this, I'm goingto do this for you, I'm going
to do this for me, I'm going todo this for all the people who
have, who have hurt, and justgive me one more chance and help
me see this through.
And, like, I promise, I'm goingto do this.

(53:42):
And she helped me get checkedinto a chemical dependency
recovery program.
This was in days of like thatnight, and I met this counselor
there and this is like anothershe's another like angel that,
I'm lucky, came through my lifeat some point and this counselor
, she was a clinicalpsychologist and I met with her
and I told her, you know, forlike 20 minutes.

(54:04):
I told her like the story thatI've told you and all the shit
that's happened and what I wentthrough at, going all the way
back to you know, thepsychiatric hospital and, dude,
she told me straight up, she'slike you got to stop or you're
going to fucking die.
She told me straight up that Iwould not survive and she'd only
know me for 20 minutes.
There you go and she told me Iwas going to die.

(54:27):
She's like it might be all of asudden or it might be you just
wither away, but like you, youare not going to survive at this
rate.
And I she barely knew me, but Ibelieved her because of her
experience, because of, I don'tknow, because I was ready to.
Maybe because of the way shesaid it the way she said it,

(54:47):
everything the moment that I wasin.
I was also ready to receive it,you know, and so I believed it.
She's like you don't need tomake this decision right now
what the rest of your life isgoing to look like, but I, just
I want you to give yourself 30days.
I want you to stop drinking for30 days and take care of
yourself.
Take your pills every morning,don't drink.

(55:10):
Just walk this line with withme for 30 days.
And I was like, okay, like Ican do that, I'm good.
No, I'm going to do that.
And I made that commitment andI told my partner and I did it.
And all of a sudden, likethings were really starting to

(55:33):
come into focus and I and I knew, with that, I knew that I
wanted to keep going.
And so what I did?
And this is the best thing Iever did.
Everybody should do this, youknow, you like the phrase, like
accountability, partners, youknow where.
Like you set a goal but you gotto share it with other people.
So then, in case you letyourself down, other people,

(55:56):
other people are there that youdon't let down.
So what I did?
And I had this idea and I wasimpulsive, I didn't think that
through and if I thought moreabout it I probably wouldn't
have done it.
But like I had this idea onemorning, I'm like, okay, I'm
going to email everybody, I know.
Like I'm going to email Kevin,I'm going to email everybody
who's like a name is in my Gmailsaved you know contacts and I'm

(56:19):
going to tell them what's goingon.
And I, because I want to, Iwant to scream this from the
mountaintop and I want everyoneto have to keep receipts.
And I want because I knew Icould let myself down.
But like I'd always been a goodfriend and always been a good
teammate and I knew that like ifI was, if I was backed into a
corner and I needed to helpsomebody out, I knew, I knew I

(56:40):
wouldn't let them down.
So I wrote the email and Iwrote.
I woke up with blood all overme the other day.
I told them, you know quickly,what, what if it had brought me
to this point?
I know I'm going to hurtsomebody, I know I'm going to
hurt myself for all of you, andI know I need to stop and I need
to not have a drop of alcoholin me for, for you know, six

(57:01):
months a year, I don't know,maybe forever, and I wrote that
very deliberately.
I said maybe forever because Ihad the courage.
I had the courage at thatmoment to put that commitment
out there and cause I knew thatI, I knew that I could not back
down If I, if I, if I tell youI'm going to do something, I'm
going to do it.

Speaker 1 (57:22):
Yeah, if you write it or say it, it's, it's in stone,
you can't go back on it.

Speaker 2 (57:26):
Yeah, yeah.
And so um, and I sent it andlike sent, hitting send on that
email is crazy, but I sent it.
And um was that that night wasthe last.
That was like 12 years ago.
It's the last time I've everhad a drink of alcohol.

Speaker 1 (57:39):
What was the reaction from your friends?
There are people who receivedthat.
What was the reaction?

Speaker 2 (57:43):
Oh my God, dude, people were so supportive.
They were like, I mean,everybody wrote me back and was
like you know, this is the mostamazing thing I've seen.
I've heard.
I'm so proud of you.
Like, let let me know what youneed.
Everybody said let me know whatyou need.
Do you want to go to a movie?
Do you want to go for a walk?
Let's go to the gym.
Like, whatever you need to helpyou do this, I'm game, let's go

(58:08):
.
Let's go see Fast and Furiousthree, because that's what was
out.
Then you know, let's go, doanything you want to help you do
this.
And, um, yeah, and my partner,like she, she kept 10 toes down
for me and she stayed with meand she like took me to these
appointments.
I stayed.
I kept going to the chemicaldependency recovery program for

(58:28):
six months Just to go talk tothe therapy, to the same
counselor, and to do their, uh,their group meetings, um, every
day, like, like, very often, um,and I was taking my pills every
morning and trying, um, andgoing to my psychiatry
appointments and starting toreally like, okay, I also got to

(58:49):
think about the thing that'sgoing to make this easier is if
I'm doing a better job, caringfor my bipolar disorder, which
will, which will help me notwant to drink as much in the
first place.
Um, and I just started climbingthis mountain and I started
doing like I, I I wasn't badshape Like physically, I just

(59:09):
was like I looked, felt andlooked like shit, and I had used
to be in great shape and youknow, but I didn't care about
going running anymore when I wasliving this life, you know, um,
but now I'm like, okay, Istarted going to the gym at
night, because I would startgoing to the gym during the
times when I usually wasdrinking, uh-huh.
Okay, saturday, and there was a24 hour gym, like 24 hour

(59:30):
fitness, and some of them areactually open 24 hours.
Um, and I go to this gym onSaturday.
I went a lot, but I always madesure to go on Saturday night,
um, and around midnight, becauseI'm like this is, this is when
I'm at a bar, it's totallyloaded and let me just like lift
these weights, let me go, letme hit the treadmill, um, and

(59:50):
eventually I started playingbasketball with this.
It was this crew of guys and Ialways wondered, like why they
were there and we didn't like wejust knew each other on the
court and we always played it'slike the same group every
Saturday night and we alwaysplayed basketball until like one
in the morning and I we didn'ttalk about it, like we just
played hoops, and but I alwayswondered.

(01:00:10):
Looking back I'm like I wonderif they were there, for like I
wonder if some of those dudeswere there for the same reason,
if they were kind of in shit.
And you know if, if, if, theywere there for a similar reason,
and but it was this place wherewe just connected and it was
this place that was there for meat this time when, uh, so I was
relearning behaviors, I wasrelearning how to just to go

(01:00:32):
through a day or a week or amonth without drinking and
understand that I had an illnessthat I needed to care for and
that it could get easier tomanage if I cared for it.
Um, and that started a longjourney.
And, like, within a year, um,within a year, things are

(01:00:52):
looking, starting to lookamazing.
And it was like with therelationship, it was like we met
again for the we'd beentogether for 10 years.
It was like we met, we met eachother for the first time is is
how I, like would express it.
It was like the thing wasalmost dead and all of a sudden,
like water and sunlight, itjust blossomed again and we got

(01:01:13):
a new place.
Like we got out of the placethat we had been living.
Um, I started doing good atwork and like career started to
like go in a direction.
Um, within like a year or twoyears, we were engaged and we
got married and like that wasone of the like three or so best
days of my life and, um, youknow, all my friends were there,

(01:01:36):
all my family were there, likethe same friends that had like
seen me getting hold into apolice car, you know, and but
had stuck with me through allthis shit and, like the hell, I
probably, I probably, put themthrough.
They were all there, you know,like my groomsmen, and it was
amazing.
And then, like a year after that, I, like, without even trying,

(01:01:58):
just from being healthy andcaring for myself and getting
therapy and not using, notdrinking and not using all of a
sudden, like like, career isblossoming and that's taken off,
and I had this idea, um, likemaybe I could start my own
company.

(01:02:18):
And I had been, like I had areal estate license and I had
been working, doing a shitty joband like barely putting
together enough money, but I hadbeen working as real estate
company and, um, you know, sothat that was, that was the work
I was in, and I just had thisidea, like maybe I can do my own
company and I don't know, I wasjust like kind of riding high
and I had all this momentum andI keep hitting these green

(01:02:40):
lights and and so I did it and Ilike got a sublet and shared an
office with this guy and Ididn't really know what I was
doing.
Like I had two clients and youknow a computer and a phone,
like that was it.
Um, but I just felt like thisknew me, the one like that's not
drinking and that's caring forhimself, um, and beginning to

(01:03:03):
understand that like I can besuper happy and super successful
With bipolar, that it's not aweakness, that it's not
something I have toself-medicate.
I was just like I'm going tokick ass, fuck it, and yeah, and
then it was like two clientsand four clients and eight
clients.
And then I got, you know, uh,hired someone and then hired
another person and like that wasin like 2012.

(01:03:28):
And now we have a team of like50 people and here at this
company and I've got like anamazing uh group that I get to
run this company with and sharethat with every day.
And it's amazing, um, and likeI just think, I just think, um,

(01:03:49):
I just think how eat like poofand it could be gone if I hadn't
, if I hadn't had the courage tomake that change.
Like this disappears, you know,my family disappears.
And I have.
I have an overwhelming, rawsense of gratitude for what I
have right now, because I knowhow easy it it could all just

(01:04:10):
disappear.
And then I think, like thehappiest day is, you know, a
year and a half ago, and, um, mywife and I and had a baby, and
the same person that saw me in ahospital, that picked me up
from jail, that watched me justdrag myself through the fucking
mud, that didn't give up on me,um, we had a baby and he's he's

(01:04:35):
amazing, and he's he is, he isabsolutely magnificent in every
single way.
And um, you know, and that'sthe journey, and um, it all
started that morning when, like,I finally had the ability to be
vulnerable enough to say I havea massive problem and I need to

(01:04:59):
receive help, and I need to beopen about it, and I need to
tell people what's going on, um,or or or, like I'm not going to
survive, just like my counselorsaid.

Speaker 1 (01:05:11):
So four things I want to touch upon here.
Sorry, um many addicts tradealcohol and substance abuse for
another addiction.
Did you say that work in yourcompany is your addiction now?

Speaker 2 (01:05:24):
It was for sure.
Like I well, dude, I becamelike very much a workaholic and,
you know, very obsessive aboutit and yeah, I definitely my
wife and a lot of people woulddefinitely point out, like, dude
, get off your phone, you know.
Like it's like I'd be at like afootball game, you know,

(01:05:47):
emailing something literallylike out of the 49ers game and
I'm like trying to tackle somework stuff.
But it, you know, and it's likethere's phases of this shit,
like the work, the work has beenup and down, but like steadily
gaining every year.
And like I wasn't, I didn'tknow how to be a CEO when I
started that just printed thaton a business card, but I didn't

(01:06:09):
know what that meant yet.
I didn't know what a leader was.
I grew into it through learningand failing a lot and went
through the phase of like, yeah,being a workaholic and
micromanaging myself.
So it's been a process to getto this point where I'm at, but

(01:06:30):
I know, I don't feel like I'maddicted to work anymore.

Speaker 1 (01:06:33):
So the process, the ebbs and flows, sometimes
they're great and then, like yousaid, sometimes you feel like a
failure.
How does that not affect yourbipolar disorder?

Speaker 2 (01:06:44):
It does.

Speaker 1 (01:06:45):
I'm sure it does.

Speaker 2 (01:06:47):
Yeah, and that's been the biggest change for me has
been and I've had ongoingtherapy for years Like I started
.
I started therapy you know theback at this point in time and I
met with that counselor for sixmonths and then I got another
therapist and I've had the sametherapist now for quite a few

(01:07:08):
years and you know so a lot ofwork has been put into this.
But the one thing I've learnedthat what he calls it and what
I'll call it is just managing myemotional responses and
understanding my condition andlike stepping outside of it,

(01:07:31):
watching what happens whenevents trigger certain thoughts
and feelings and watching itfrom a distance and saying like,
okay, here's an example for you.
Like, let's say, I've beenworking on a deal, trying to get
a client and put together somebig, you know, client engagement

(01:07:52):
.
Let's say I want to work withthis person and buy, help them
buy some buildings and do somedeals, and we want to, we want
to manage their building, allthat stuff.
Let's say it falls throughRight and they say you know what
, dave, we're going with Kevin,we're going to go with Kevin and
his company.
The challenge in that moment,and the thing that that would

(01:08:13):
absolutely wreck me when thathappened was I would go from, I
would.
I would crash so hard in thatmoment.
And it wasn't just like, ahshit, you know it was a shitty
day, but like, whatever, let'slike, let's tomorrow be fine,
let me just get over it.
It wasn't like that at all.
It was like you are the worstbusiness owner and you are the

(01:08:37):
worst business and you're theworst CEO and you're the
shittiest real estateprofessional that there is and
like what are you even doing inthis industry?
That that's where I would go inthose moments.
And what I learned over timeand it's really hard, like this
wasn't just like oh, revelation,like this took this takes a ton
of practice.
But what I learned was likeokay, step one understand that

(01:09:01):
it's then I'm going to feel thatway, that it is who I am.
I'm going to have a superextreme reaction and let it flow
through you.
Don't try to like be someoneyou're not and don't try to
fight it too hard.
Just understand like some ofthose thoughts are going to hit.
Okay, that's step one.
Don't fight too hard when thathappens.
Step two after you, after I'velet that run its course a little

(01:09:25):
bit, step back and do a realitycheck.
Okay, is there any evidencethat any of those things are
true?
Yes, it was lost, but doesn'tevery company lose deals?
Doesn't every CEO like not getevery single whatever he wants
to get he or she wants to get?
Didn't you do 10 of these dealslast year and this is just like

(01:09:48):
the one that didn't comethrough?
Isn't that a net like greatyear?
And so I call that part thereality check, where you just
like you look at this, thisnegative factor and this trigger
event, but you look at it inthe context of everything else
and I'm like, oh, wait a second.
Okay, yeah, that sucks.
Would have been great to getthat deal.
You know, buck and Kevin gotthe client again.

(01:10:10):
Sorry, I know, man, but yeah, Igot these other 10 ones done.
Oh shit, like it's pretty good.
And then I do the reality checkand then the last step is how is
this an opportunity?
Okay, what did Kevin do in hispresentation or his pitch or
whatever that like helped himget it and where?

(01:10:33):
What can I learn from it?
What can I adjust or tweak orbetter prepare myself with for
that next opportunity?
So you do so.
There's one, two and three, andfirst let it flow through you
and understand that, like, yourreaction to events is going to
be extreme and that's okay.
Right, that's who you are andthat is okay.
Step two do the reality check.

(01:10:56):
Put the whole event in thecontext of all of your successes
, so right that you don't justsee this one negative thing.
And then step three cool, thenegative thing happened.
What do you learn from it?
And like, how are you betterthe next day Because that
happened?
How can I be actually fortunateand this is the, this is
fucking next level, which I'mnot at yet but how can I be

(01:11:18):
fortunate that that happenedBecause of how much better I'm
going to be next time?
So that's like what I'velearned.

Speaker 1 (01:11:26):
That's an amazing ability to step outside yourself
and be able to look at it likethat, though.

Speaker 2 (01:11:30):
Oh, but it's super hard and it's not like, it's not
like.
Someone explained those, thosesteps to me and I was like, oh,
cool it's.
It's been like reps at the gym,like slow and steady
repetitions and practice andgetting in, like getting the
mind in better shape, just likeyou would, you know, on the

(01:11:51):
treadmill.

Speaker 1 (01:11:52):
So the story that you just said brings to mind the
story that I had with my guestlast week who is a professional
musician, who's in the Rock Hallof Fame, and we were talking
about critics and he said in youknow, a lot of musicians or
artists will jump off the stageand try and go after that one
person who says you suck, andyou've got 89,999 other people

(01:12:15):
in there that want to be there,why do we always focus on that
one negative?

Speaker 2 (01:12:18):
Why yeah, and I well, I think, like we're hardwired
to I'm 100% sure of that LikeI'm very hardwired to, I take it
personal.

Speaker 1 (01:12:31):
I any criticism I take personally.

Speaker 2 (01:12:35):
I started.
Yeah, so I've recently similarnot at that level, but similarly
, you know, I've started to tryto publicize my book and I've
started to build a platform overthe past year of putting myself
out there as, as you know,somebody that's that's maybe a
thought leader on this stuffthat can help others by, you

(01:12:55):
know, telling my story and whatI've learned from it.
And I, you know, and it's likeI knew this was going to happen
before I did it and it's stillhard to manage now, you know,
you put something out there onLinkedIn or Instagram or
whatever, and it's like a lot ofpeople are like this is awesome
, like thank you for postingthis, like I can really connect
with this.
And then the 30th one issomeone being like you don't

(01:13:22):
know what you're talking about,like you don't really know about
depression, like you're full ofshit and and I knew that was
going to happen and it even whenit happened that first couple
of times I was like I was reallyreactive to it, you know, and
but I had, I had prepared myselffor it because I knew that was

(01:13:42):
coming, and I've done this workof like getting myself ready for
situations like that, so it wasa little bit easier to manage.
So the way to practice like theemotional response to those
really hard triggering thingsit's not practicing it when that
stuff happens, it's practicingit like on way easier stuff,

(01:14:05):
right, like he my therapist,would do role plays with him.
He'd be like we're going topretend a situation is happening
, you're going to close youreyes and imagine it, and he
would like pretend to be theclient that rejected our
business or some other scenarioto trigger some of these events.
So let me practice walkingthrough it and I go through

(01:14:29):
those steps Like I do it when II mean this is seems small, but
I do this all the time.
Like I got like a workoutschedule and I'm free.
Like I try to keep it.
It's part of my whole physicaland mental health package.
And when I don't keep it,yesterday I fucking miss the
workout and I will immediatelyspend five minutes thinking I'm

(01:14:52):
in terrible shape, I'mphysically of a piece of shit
and there's so many moredisciplined, tougher people out
there.
How come I can't work out everymorning like those people?
Why am I like lying in bedbelly aching?
I shouldn't even bother withthis.
I let myself have that for fiveminutes, but then I remember, no
wait, practice the emotionalresponse.

(01:15:13):
Okay, what's the reality check?
You worked out the other sixdays of the week, dude, cool,
that's six wins and like oneomission.
I wouldn't even call it a loss,that's one.
Like that's one little slip,like it's all good.
What's your plan?
Okay, you don't like thisfeeling.
Work out tomorrow morning anddig in and get after it Cool.
And that's in like so and sowhen those come up, that's when

(01:15:37):
you have to practice it.
It's like in the small examples.
So then when something badhappens bigger, I'm like I've
got some repetitions where I'vewalked myself through that
process and I can handle like anegative trigger not getting out
of control.
So that's advice for whoeverwants it.

Speaker 1 (01:15:56):
How would you have reacted to this?
Okay, because I didn't know howto react to it.
I was speaking at a suicideprevention rally, Okay, and I
was talking about my own trialsand tribulations and I had
somebody come out to me at theend and say so how do we know
you're just not doing this forattention, Because most people

(01:16:17):
who try to commit suicide anddon't succeed it's just a call
for attention.
I'm like I was asked to be hereand I was asked to share my
story.
You know you're always going tohave cynical people like that.
It's just crazy to me.

Speaker 2 (01:16:32):
So yeah, there's no doubt and like it's funny that
you it's uncanny that you saidthat, because that's like one of
the role plays that I did withlike therapies.
He's like let's, let's, let'sfast forward a year.
You have your book out.
It did really good.
You had a bunch of people thatloved it.

(01:16:53):
You got invited to do a reading.
Imagine you do the reading andpeople are happy and they're
applausing and then someoneraises their hand and say and he
was literally that he's likewhat if they say, like no, this
is all kind of bullshit.
You know you're just doing thisfor, like you know, money or to
get attention.
So we actually like walkthrough that scenario and I was

(01:17:14):
like that's a really good one todo because, like you literally
walk through it and anytimeyou're put, anytime you're
putting yourself out there andyou want to have, you want, if
you want to have a big impact,like you do and and and like I
do, and you want to really helppeople, you are going to, you're
going to run into that every10th person who questions what

(01:17:34):
you're doing, who's probablyfrustrated with their own
experiences and like wouldprefer to drag you down into a
similar feeling or maybe justthinks they know better and that
you are off track, like that is100% going to happen to
everybody who wants to make abig impact in the world, whether
it's helping them orentertaining them.

(01:17:56):
Whatever it is, there are goingto be some serious detractors
and being ready for it.
I think is is hugely importantstarting with, like that very
first person you know andgetting used to that feeling.

Speaker 1 (01:18:10):
Well, it's like we, what we said earlier.
You know, we always harp onthat one negative.
I'm sure you've had this sameexperience.
You might have one negativecomment, but you might have 99
other positive comments most ofthe time, because I had a an
audience, a weekly audience inHouston of 1.1 million listeners
, and whenever I'd go out andtalk about this, they'd be like
you're the last person I thoughtwould be struggling with

(01:18:32):
something like this.
Thank you for sharing this.
Oh my gosh, I'm not alone, youknow, and that's why we do it.

Speaker 2 (01:18:38):
Totally, totally.

Speaker 1 (01:18:39):
That's why we do it.

Speaker 2 (01:18:41):
And I got to a point.
So I mean, this was not alwaysmy plan, like I didn't.
I didn't intend to write a bookand I didn't intend to hold
myself up and try to be a mirrorto people to see what they
might be going through and seesome pathways out of it that
they didn't think were possible.
I really was like I'm doinggreat, I'm so fortunate to be

(01:19:06):
alive and have success, and Igot my, my business and I have
my, my relationship.
I got my routine Awesome and,like some changed for me a few
years ago where I got to, I justgot to a point of like the
thing that'll make me feel thebest, yeah, I want to keep doing
all that stuff and like I wantto, I want to keep growing this

(01:19:29):
company Like we're doing awesomeand we have an amazing set of
people and values and I want tosee it flourish.
But something that I need thatwill make me feel like really
fulfilling the whole picture forme is helping people who are,
who are going through or or whowill go through, some of what,

(01:19:51):
some of what happened to me, andbecause I want, like if I could
help one person go from where Iwas at 23, 22 to where I'm at,
at 42.
Now, if I could just help oneperson do that and save them
from like who knows what canhappen, you know, if that, if

(01:20:14):
they take the other fork in theroad right the other direction,
that would be an amazingaccomplishment and something
that I would feel incrediblyhappy with.
Haven't had the chance to helpthat person, and if I help two,
three, a hundred, great like,even better.
But it became clear to me thatthat was something essential to
me in like my career path andgetting outside of my, my, just

(01:20:37):
my business, but also using mysuccess in in in business to
hold, to hold up as an exampleto say hey, you might be an
alcohol, you might be strugglingwith addiction, you might have
no idea how to get out of themental health challenges you

(01:20:59):
have and you might never thinkthat anything that you wanted to
achieve might be possible.
But let me tell you, like, letme literally prove to you as an
example, that, like, there is apathway to it and you can be I
don't know the entrepreneur orthe musician or the actor or the
chef or whatever that goal waslike.

(01:21:19):
It is available.
Super hard, no doubt, like hard, hard, hard work but it is
available and like to helpsomeone, even just to be a small
piece of helping them in theirjourney of getting from that
rock bottom spot to where theyactually see their dreams
materialize.
It is an incredible feeling,you know, and it's something

(01:21:44):
that I decided I really wanted.
And that's when, like at first Iwas just writing, like because
it's a therapeutic exercise, andI started really like writing
about my life, particularlystarting at the same spot that I
told you as a kid and walkingthrough that journey Just for
myself.
I started putting on paper torelive it a bit, to understand

(01:22:05):
it, to see this is what washappening then.
And eventually people startedto kind of figure out what I was
doing and this is my friends,you know, because I would kind
of disappear for a few weeks andjust go write.
And they're what are you doing?
I'm like I'm just writing now,just like literally writing full
time, 95 every day, like why?
I'm like I don't know, likemakes me feel better, I'm just
putting short stories togetherand eventually someone's like

(01:22:27):
dude, people need to read that,other people need to see that,
and I'm like you think so.
And then like yeah, and I'm likeI don't know, and sooner or
later, like these short stories,I just started to weave them
into a book, and enough peoplearound me gave me the signal
that like, oh, dude, you couldreally help people out here with

(01:22:49):
the way you're communicating itand the experiences you've had.
Like a lot of people out thereneed to know that they're not
alone.
You know, just like you thoughtyou were, and I was just like
you know what.
The idea of that messageresonating with people and
actually helping them changetheir life in a positive way

(01:23:09):
really inspired me, and sothat's why I'm so.
I'm on podcasts with you nowand that's why I'm putting a
book out later this year.
That's why I'm doing all thestuff I'm doing.
You know that I'm doing.

Speaker 1 (01:23:19):
The book is called Coming Up for Air, if I'm not
mistaken right.

Speaker 2 (01:23:23):
It is.

Speaker 1 (01:23:24):
Coming up for air.
Final question for you, DavidShamslad you win a $2 billion
lottery or you're still alivetoday.
Which one shocks you more?

Speaker 2 (01:23:38):
That's an awesome question.
I say this with no bullshit atall.
Every day, at least once, Ihave an overwhelming feeling of
gratitude that I am alive.
I feel like every single day.
I've never held it up next to$2 billion in lottery and done a

(01:24:00):
side-by-side Pepsi Cokecomparison, but I do choose the
latter and I can tell you thatevery single day, especially
when things might look likebumpy around me, I just look
back to what my life could havebeen and I do that and I think
of that poof and how quickly,like everything, could disappear

(01:24:22):
and I have an overwhelming,immense sense of gratitude for
my life.
That brings tears to my eyes.
So I'll fuck the $2 billion,whoa, okay, I'd rather go try to
figure out a way to earn it andjust focus on the gratitude I

(01:24:42):
have for being here.

Speaker 1 (01:24:44):
Absolutely, brother.
I'm in the same boat with you,man.
I think that's why we got alongso well and I think that's why
there's such a greatconversation is because you and
I are, I think, we're so similar, just so similar.
We have such similar paths andwe have such similar desires.
So congratulations on the baby,congrats on the marriage,
congrats on the business andmuch success to you, man.
I can't wait for the book tocome out later this year.

(01:25:05):
You said right.

Speaker 2 (01:25:06):
Yeah.

Speaker 1 (01:25:06):
My thanks to David Shamsad for joining me, for
giving us his time, for tellingus his story and for sharing
such intimate details.
His book Coming Up for Air willbe released later on in 2024.
Thank you again for listening.
I appreciate you beyond wordswhen you share your time with
the Fuzzy Mike.
And feel free to share theFuzzy Mike with your friends and
family.
It's not illegal.

(01:25:27):
Stay connected with the FuzzyMike.
You can follow me on Instagram,Facebook and Twitter, or you
can email me at thefuzzymike atgmailcom For video.
Please subscribe to the FuzzyMike YouTube channel.
The Fuzzy Mike is hosted andproduced by Kevin Klein,
production elements by ZachSheesh at the radio farm.
Social media director is TrishKlein.
I'll be back next Tuesday witha dynamic new episode of the

(01:25:51):
Fuzzy Mike.
I'm going to be speaking with amember of the Rock Gods Hall of
Fame.
He was a bassist for OzzyOsbourne and he's worked with
many, many other great rock androll icons.
Tune in.
You don't want to miss that onenext Tuesday.
So grateful for you.
Oh and, by the way, I'm also ona new podcast, the Tuttle and
Klein podcast, episodes everyWednesday.

(01:26:14):
Look it up, Tuttle and Klein.
Thank you so much.
That's it for the Fuzzy Mike.
Thank you, Thought Fuzzy Mikewith Kevin Klein.
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