Nerd of Batman, sports, logic, objectivity, Star Trek, personal enlightenment, Lincoln, the Rays, psychology, mic dropping. Kind've in that order.
WARNING CAUTION WATCH OUT. There's excessive cursing in this post. You've been told.
Royce Fucking White.
It’s been some time since I’ve been this pissed off. If you keep reading, you’ll learn why my temper and emotions are in check.
Though I risk coming off like the athlete I’d like to eviscerate, I think there’s going to be a lot of expletives in this post. A post which will likely lack my usual attempts at eloquence and high mindedness.
But White’s stance on mental illness has me fucking irate.
Typically what sets off us mentally ill (resume forthcoming) people is the failure of those to acknowledge the existence of such debilatiating illnesses and diseases at all. “Ohhh, cheer up! There’s nothing wrong with you.”
Actually, asshole there is.
You just nailed an interview at your job for a promotion you’re absolutely certain you’ve got the tenure and talent to earn. But, office politics got in the way and you’re stuck where you’re at, and someone far less qualified got the salary hike you were expecting.
You’re a bit angry. You’re confused. You’re down. You’re depressed.
Someone close to you dies. You grieve. You’re depressed.
Unless you’re completely robotic, this is a totally natural feeling for a human being. When bad things happen in your life, it’s perfectly acceptable to feel like shit.
For me though, when I’m depressed, it’s usually caused by the very un-fun half of bipolar. That’s depression. (Mania is exciting and productive…my creativity is ratched up to warp speed.)
There’s really no rhyme or reason as to why I don’t feel like getting out of bed, and when I do…as soon as I get out of the shower, I’m counting the minutes until I can get back into bed and fall asleep so I don’t have to struggle with existence. Getting one too many emails in a short period of time or being needed for something when I didn’t count on it, and all of the sudden a minor deviation from my day feels like the world is tugging the limbs from my sockets and each minute task is like trying to climb a mountain. Mundane challenges are unimaginably unmanageable. Everything is a chose. Life…is an inconvenience.
When you’re depressed, enjoying time with friends is often the perfect remedy. When my depression sets in I don’t want to be around a single living creature besides my dog. And if he asks to go out when I don’t feel like taking him, well the fucks and shits will fly.
When my depression consumes me, I could be offered a blank check with a private plane with the woman of my dreams yet a cloud of indecision and uncertainty would hover over me. That’s my depression’s definition of hopelessness, another shitty symptom of the worse half of being bipolar. “Heyyyyyy, you just won the lottery!” Sorry. Don’t fucking care.
A couple of years ago I went through the machinations of how I’d kill myself. I think the most prevailing thought was, “if I stab myself in the stomach, how long will it take me to bleed out and die?” I didn’t have the balls to buy a gun. The other harrowing thought I’ll never forget was driving on 22 while living in Allentown, talking to my dad on the phone and in my rage of hopelessness saying something to the effect of ‘dad, I don’t care if my car runs into this wall on the road…’
One day I should ask him how he felt at that moment. Hopefully he’s erased such a chilling thought from his memory, but I doubt it. They say burying a child is torturous. What’s to describe a son ready welcoming death, as a reprieve.
There’s a good portion of the resume of feelings and my brain. Am I aptly experienced to tell Royce White he’s a fucking idiot and his words and actions are doing far more harm than good when it comes to raising awareness about the serious dangers of mental illnesses?
A short background on Royce White.
He’s got some mental illness. It’s an anxiety disorder, about travelling. Without it, he probably would’ve been a top five NBA draft pick. Instead he was 16th overall by the Houston Rockets, who, in my opinion had no idea what they were getting themselves into by drafting a player who was so vocal about his illness and need for help and constant support.
Over the course of their dispute, both sides have made their share of mistakes, but to me, the Rockets look like a babysitter who said ‘sure’ to the easy Friday night money, not understanding they were getting the spawn of the devil. Seriously, White has been at points, petulent.
The Rockets general manager, Daryl Morey has a modest reputation of being the Billy Beane of the NBA, though without the wins. I’m probably over-generalizing here, but those metrics he fancies are extremely linear. Handling someone like Royce White is anything but. If the Rockets are linear thinkers, then White is Einstein’s concepts on the space-time continuum.
If you go to White’s ESPN stat page, you’ll notice something missing. Stats. He hasn’t played yet because of his conflict with the Rockets. You can look up the details on your own, but it’s basically about how he thinks the team should handle his illness. It’s messy, and again, I think the Rockets didn’t practice enough due diligence on White before drafting him.
I thought White would eventually make it onto the court as a Rocket. Maybe not right away, as he gradually adjusted to the travel heavy disjointedness of the NBA schedule and the Rockets perused which ways they could peacefully concede to compromises dealing with White’s illness.
White has become defiant. He’s become an asshole. He making people like me look really bad and I don’t appreciate it.
After reading Chuck Klosterman’s Grantland piece on his meeting with White I’m angry.
I’m an advocate for mental health. It’s a problem in society, though it’s not the plague White would have you believe.
OK, just so I get this right: You’re arguing that most Americans have a mental illness.
Exactly. That’s definitely correct.
Royce, some people, actually…a lot of people just have shitty jobs, or shitty relationships. They’re not clinically depressed, nor suffering from a diagnosable mental disorder. Though as much as Royce is kind’ve underdiagnosing mentall illness, I do think some medical professional OVERdiagnose mental ailments. Being depressed gets treated with drugs, instead of ‘hey, get a hobby, or have more sex.’ Those doctor’s are killing a fly with a bazooka. Their motives? Ehh.
The truth is that mental illness is a moving target when it comes to diagnoses.
When you rip up a knee, there’s an MRI that says, yea, you might wanna tweet Adrian Peterson and ask him for some post-surgery rehab exercises. The tear is concise, visual and conclusive.
It’s anything but those adjectives when trying to decipher a chemical imbalance – you may have – that leads to mental disease. There’s no brain scan, there’s no X-ray. You just have to describe your feelings and thoughts and hope to whoever-you-believe-in that you’ve got a psychological or psychiatrist who can successfully provide you a solution, whether it’s meditation or cognitive therapy or go through the rigors of trial/test of finding the proper medication to keep you balanced.
And after reading that article, Royce White is anything but balanced. He’s erratic and spastic. His rantings reinforce the stereotypes and allow those who don’t fully understand mental illness to recklessly toss around the words like nut, lunatic and crazy. In his current condition, I think Royce is all of those.
To deviate for a moment, I loathe when the topic of mental instability is only broached when there’s some type of heinous murderous tragedy. The common person can’t always identify a mentally unstable person, and they’re certainly not going to say, ‘yep, that person’s locked and loaded and ready to bring a parade of terror.’ But we can be more observant and better listeners to those close to us. Just as Brady Quinn suggested after the Jovan Belcher murder/suicide.
“The one thing people can hopefully try to take away, I guess, is the relationships they have with people,” Quinn said after the Chiefs beat the Panthers 27-21 for their second victory of the season. “I know when it happened, I was sitting and, in my head, thinking what I could have done differently. When you ask someone how they are doing, do you really mean it? When you answer someone back how you are doing, are you really telling the truth?
“We live in a society of social networks, with Twitter pages and Facebook, and that’s fine, but we have contact with our work associates, our family, our friends, and it seems like half the time we are more preoccupied with our phone and other things going on instead of the actual relationships that we have right in front of us. Hopefully, people can learn from this and try to actually help if someone is battling something deeper on the inside than what they are revealing on a day-to-day basis.”
I’m not suggesting you need to play psychologist and overanalyze everyone’s effortless response of ‘OK,’ to a greeting of ‘how are you?’ But, if it’s a friend…be just that to them if your spider senses tingle.
Back to White, who I’m not saying is about to commit some horror, instead he’s just seemingly trying to turn himself into a living, but worthless martyr. From Klosterman, White’s language is intense and discursive. Though usually well delivered, his statements toggle between progressive common sense and difficult-to-decipher, contradictory aphorisms.
I don’t know what White sounds like, nor have I ever heard him interviewed. I’ve followed the back and forth between he and the Rockets, and after reading the article, I’ve flushed away any sympathy I once had for White.
You know, this is turning out to be quite a lucid post. Agree? Any idea why? I’m medicated. I use Wellbutrin. I’d tried other drugs in the past. The most recent drug use, before this go-round with Wellbutrin, was I think…in summer of 2010. I was on Abilify and Lamictal. It did the trick. No more suicidal thoughts. But then, as I needed more to sustain my stable mood I began to become so sedateddzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. Sorry. No matter how much coffee I had, around three everyday I could’ve fallen asleep at my desk. I could have gone to bed before eight every night. I rarely was up past nine. I was depressed because while my mood had stabilized and some of the mental fog has lifted, I didn’t have the energy to enjoy life! I took myself off the meds but still saw a very helpful psychologist named Carol Carr, in Whitehall, PA.
2012 was a trying a year as I’ve ever had. The depression was unending. I made attempts with two psychologists, who like the Rockets, seemed out of their league trying to help me. While the suicidal thoughts were infinitesimal and of really no worry, I needed to step to the plate once again with medication. Thankfully, the Wellbutrin worked almost immediately. If I’d not been on it as I went through a job restructuring in December, and a potential career change…I honestly can’t say how despondent my mood would’ve become as a result, and what the repercussions of that might have been. I’m glad I didn’t find out. I don’t thiny my dad would’ve wanted another of those phone calls as I drove 9 hours home to Philly. That’s a lot of road to off myself in to.
So again, this has turned out to be a thoughtful 1700 words (at this point, yes I count). No? I got my ‘crazy’ taken care of. Royce White should do the same. He says he’s working with doctors. I don’t know if I believe him. If he is, then they’re the most inept crew of mental health professionals I’ve ever come across. Wait…they’re about as helpful those clowns (pun somewhat intended) trying to rehabilitate the very sick, but always escaping inmates of Arkham Asylum.
White’s consistent defiance paired with his ostentatious tone is almost like him saying, ‘see, I’m crazy and there’s a lot of us. Look at me. Look at me.’ That’s not the way to advocate for the banishment of any taboo attached to mental health problems. He’s being a fucking idiot.
Royce, get the proper medication. Live up to your physical talents on the court. Speak powerfully and coherently about your struggles. People will listen. People will educate themselves. Those afflicted will look up to you, and hopefully seek help.