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The Malik Report

Regrettably doing things by halves

As you’ve probably surmised by now, I haven’t made it up to Traverse City for the Wings’ prospect tournament, and after some difficult decision-making on my part, I’ve decided that my health’s not recovered to the point that I could go up and do my job. My goal now is to attempt to head up for the main camp, but as many of you generously donated to specifically receive reports from the prospect tournament, I’ll be issuing refunds as necessary.

Put simply, in between the successive technical issues which persisted over the past week, I became incredibly ill and am still just starting to recover. I’m very sorry about all of this, and while I don’t want to get into the details of what’s been ailing me because doing so might mean that I’ll never get another job, you’re owed more than your money back. While there’s more than a little stigma attached to admitting something that may change how I’m perceived, for better or worse, for the rest of my career, Paul’s willing to support me with this, so…

I’ve dealt with both an anxiety disorder and major depression since I was 14, and despite proper medical attention, it remains a chronic illness that is moderate to severe in nature. I can cope with it well enough to maintain this blog most of the time, but depressive episodes still occur from time to time, and when a nasty one gets past my defenses, it impairs my ability to function. I had a pretty severe episode last week and I’m still recovering from it. What genes and brain chemistry have dealt me in terms of my anxiety and depression merit neither sympathy or excuses on my part as most everyone deals with a chronic illness of some kind—“It is what it is,” if you will, and s*** happens from time to time.

Given the tragedies the hockey world suffered this past summer, however, if there’s ever a time to stand up and say that there are people who deal with similar issues, I guess it’s now.  People who suffer from mental illnesses are, at least generally speaking, neither “crazy” nor uncommon.* I’m one of them.

As a professional writer I’ve certainly learned to develop a thick skin, however, so the ups and downs of doing what I do, cheering for the team I adore and interacting with my audience aren’t ever an issue. Writing is in fact a solace for me, a relative constant that allows me to be of use and be useful to others, even if it is just in talking about a kids’ game for a living.

My brain chemistry’s just screwy, and despite my best attempts to balance things out, sometimes I still get knocked for a loop. That’s what happened this past week, and it’s prevented me from attending the Wings’ prospect tournament. I’m just sorry that my illness got in the way of being able to do what I love for a living, for the best readers any blogger could ever hope for.

I hope to be ready to go up to Traverse City for the Wings’ main camp this week, which means you’ll get half of what you paid for, so I owe many of you a refund, and I’m very sorry about the inconveniences I’ve caused.

I’ll do my damnedest to get back on my feet ASAP, and I don’t mean to excuse myself from my responsibilities, but instead to simply explain what’s been going on. I don’t want to be the God-damned “depression blogger,” and I’d hoped that I would never have to write this entry, but it is what it is.

*I’ll readily admit that my maternal grandmother was bat**** insane, and yes, there are nut jobs out there. The “bad crazy” does exist, of course, but most of us are relatively, well…No more abnormal than anyone else.

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Comments

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MsRedWinger's avatar

George, your readers love you and I don’t think I’m being presumptuous in saying we’re with you.  To me, an illness is an illness and I don’t think anyone would blame you for not being able to function at 100% all the time if you had cancer, or any other physical illness.  It’s good for people to understand others’ challenges.  Hopefully it helps us all develop empathy and compassion, things that are sorely lacking in much of our society today.  So thanks for being courageous enough to write about your chronic illness and don’t feel bad.  I don’t want any money back.  Just do what you can, as you can.

Posted by MsRedWinger from Flori-duh on 09/11/11 at 08:57 AM ET

EDJ's avatar

George,
You’ve got balls to be able to admit that publicly. You’ve got my support and prayers and I know you never give less than your best.

Posted by EDJ on 09/11/11 at 10:32 AM ET

Baroque's avatar

Everyone has, at one point or another, something that affects how they can do their jobs. Whether it’s depression, cancer, diabetes, early-onset dementia, whatever, if we live long enough something will get us.

Concentrate on getting better. And if people don’t want refunds, then take half of what you have, stick it in an account, and save it for next year. That way you will get a head start on 2012 before the Mayan apocalypse gets started. smile

Posted by Baroque from Michigan on 09/11/11 at 10:34 AM ET

Baroque's avatar

I don’t think you have to worry too much about being the “god-damned depression blogger” either. If any positive has come out of the recent spate of tragedies, more than you have gone public with their own personal struggles with mental illness. Once people realize just how common it is, that is a good basis for the beginning of greater tolerance and empathy.

It’s unfortunate that anyone has to suffer, but fortunate that no one has to suffer alone.

Posted by Baroque from Michigan on 09/11/11 at 10:39 AM ET

Paul's avatar

George wanted my advice on if he should go public with his depression episodes.

I responded I felt the decision is totally his but that I would back him no matter what path he decided to go on.

I am glad to see that he chose to address this head on.

Going back to his Mlive days, I am sure some of you always wondered about some of his absences from blogging and now that it is out in the open, George and all of us should be relieved and only look ahead.

Posted by Paul from Motown Area on 09/11/11 at 10:54 AM ET

HockeyTownTodd's avatar

Just get better George, and take as much time as you need.
Coming back too early may be like fertilizing your condition.

The TC events are covered pretty thoroughly at Left Wing Lock.

Sarah is not George, but she is pretty damn good.

Posted by HockeyTownTodd on 09/11/11 at 11:02 AM ET

squirrely's avatar

Hey George, everyone’s a little screwy.  Take your time and get back to what you love doing when you’re ready, we can all deal with your absence, it’s not the end of the world if we don’t read about the tourney.  I think after the whole Lokomotiv incident, it made people realize that we shouldn’t sweat the small stuff, and this (not reading a blog for a few days) is small stuff.  Take care of yourself and come back when you’re ready.  You don’t owe anyone anything, you’re heath is more important than a blog.

Posted by squirrely from Dirty Jersey on 09/11/11 at 11:12 AM ET

cigar_nurse's avatar

George. I know it takes alot of intestinal fortitude to come out in the open and let your loyal readers in on your illness. Depression is a thing that can destroy a person both physically and mentally.  We will stand by you on good days or bad. I am glad that the Emperor understands your   plight and will continue to support you .

Put out threads when you feel up to it and don’t beat yourself up when you don’t .We all will understand. You just keep my donation and use it toward anything you see fit. If we can be of any more help to you , don’t hesitate to let us know.

Posted by cigar_nurse from Greenville South Cakalakee on 09/11/11 at 12:00 PM ET

christpuncher's avatar

George,
I fully understand this situation also. Mental illness runs deep in my family, it took my younger
sister 3 years ago and I also go through very deep “spells” of depression to the point that I can barely function at it’s worst times. Although only my closest friends are privy to my situation, I do agree that the more this subject is out in the open, somehow it might not stay a “secret” that has to be surpressed in public.
Thank you for this post, and maybe it will help you in some way? I’m an avid reader of you’re blog and KK hockey. I look forward to the 2011-12 campaign, and all of your incredibly through Wings coverage!

Josh D.

Posted by christpuncher from Detroit, MI on 09/11/11 at 12:10 PM ET

Avatar

What r u talkin’ about, buddy?! Don’t even think of that! Just get well soon - it’s the main thing! Prospect tournament is nothing when we talk about health!

Get well soon, George and don’t worry about you reader’s feelings - anyway we’re so much appreciate you for your job!

Posted by Lexa23 from Moscow, Russia on 09/11/11 at 12:14 PM ET

Wings_Fan_In_KC's avatar

This changes nothing for me.  GM is and always will be one of the premier RW Bloggers in cyberspace.  Personally, I have bouts with bi-polarity and understand completely when your brain isn’t chemically balanced.

Posted by Wings_Fan_In_KC from ...somewhere southwest of The Motor City... on 09/11/11 at 01:03 PM ET

calquake's avatar

but most of us are relatively, well…No more abnormal than anyone else.

You’re preachin’ to the choir my brotha…

 

so I owe many of you a refund, and I’m very sorry about the inconveniences I’ve caused.

Don’t make me come over there and punch you in the mouth… cheese  Keep every cent I sent… refund?... refund?... I don’t need no stinkin’ refund.

Posted by calquake on 09/11/11 at 01:07 PM ET

Evilpens's avatar

As a fan of the Hated Penguins I always read your blog on KK’s & I have friends who are Depressed, Bi-Polar, Alcoholic & other problems

I have Celiac Disease which is More Uncommon than Mental Illness & as  
squirrely said everyone is a little screwy

Posted by Evilpens on 09/11/11 at 01:09 PM ET

Forlorn in VA's avatar

George, I applaud you for being open about your illness.  Keep the money i sent.  If you can’t make it up for any of the camp, use it for the new laptop and/or stick it in an account for next year.

Posted by Forlorn in VA on 09/11/11 at 01:12 PM ET

Avatar

George, Even though I really missed your daily one-stop posts on everything hockey…had to scour through them all myself….your health is soooo much more important. Can’t add much to what the others before have said. You are the best and you must take care of yourself so that you can continue to be among the very best bloggers out there. Do what you can and we’ll be there to support you. Oh, and incredibly admire you for being brave enough to let us in on something so private. Luv ya George!

Posted by wingsluver4ever from TC on 09/11/11 at 01:46 PM ET

Avatar

Keep the money, George. Can’t wait to see the work you do once you get up there!

Posted by RyanVM on 09/11/11 at 01:59 PM ET

MsRedWinger's avatar

Posted by Paul from Motown Area on 09/11/11 at 09:54 AM ET

Paul, now I know why George always says you’re the best boss in the world.

Posted by MsRedWinger from Flori-duh on 09/11/11 at 02:10 PM ET

Avatar

Get well soon George. The world needs more people who are strong enough to ask for help.

Posted by Rob Benneian on 09/11/11 at 02:21 PM ET

George Malik's avatar

Someone suggested that I might be a little retarded…And before, during and after writing this, I felt like I was making one of the biggest mistakes of my life. I’m sure I’ll lose readers because of this and it can’t be undone…

But eventually the weight of having to refer to what’s really going on with winks and oblique glances, living in an illness closet for so long…It was just time to explain what’s really going on, and I can’t thank Paul or you enough for your support.

As for refunds, I’m not trying to pander toward anyone’s sympathies here. I promised a product and I’m going to deliver half of it. If anyone wants me to forward their contributions to the H2H fund I will also do so.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 09/11/11 at 02:28 PM ET

Paul's avatar

George, the retarded comment was deleted quickly.  Just a flamer who won’t be back.

Posted by Paul from Motown Area on 09/11/11 at 02:33 PM ET

Stevis's avatar

George:

a) Good luck to you in your fight for your health.  And faux anyone who doesn’t treat it as a real chronic illness, they’re not worth your time.  It’s affected someone close to my life, and I have some idea what you’re going through.  Also, kudos for being open…we’ll be in a lot better shape when everyone can stand up and do so, and every little bit helps.

b) Keep my damn money, do what you can with the camp.    If you can’t make anything, save it for the next deal.  Say, road games in the Finals. smile

Posted by Stevis on 09/11/11 at 02:43 PM ET

Avatar

Talking to your fans about your chronic depression and its flares is a good thing, both for us and for you.  This is a matter of you facing the issue head on and doing the best thing. 

We will look forward to your posts when you are feeling better as we know you do your best for us.

Doc

Posted by DocF from Reidsville, NC on 09/11/11 at 03:19 PM ET

Forlorn in VA's avatar

And before, during and after writing this, I felt like I was making one of the biggest mistakes of my life

Nothing could be further from the truth, and I hope in the future you realize just how liberating it can be to live openly with mental illnesses.  I have mental health issues too.  The stigma associated with it is something I’ve had to deal with.  Speaking out is the only way to end the stigma.  The support shown to you in this thread, and the number of regular posters admitting that they battle it as well should serve as proof that you have nothing to be ashamed of, or ridiculed for.

Posted by Forlorn in VA on 09/11/11 at 04:04 PM ET

Avatar

George, about ten years ago a man who I consider much wiser than I said “Don’t ever tell anyone you know how they feel.  Because you don’t.”  But as someone who has suffered from a couple of bouts of clinical depression in my lifetime my thoughts and prayers are with you.  Depression ain’t fun, but there’s certainly no shame in it.

And now that I’m on a new credit card cycle (anyone else play that game?), I’ll be donating a little monetary token of my appreciation for the best Wings blog out there.  Use it toward camp.  Use it toward a laptop… or a lap dance, for that matter.  I don’t really care.

Posted by BobTheZee on 09/11/11 at 04:14 PM ET

Avatar

Get well soon George.  You’ve got our support.  I’ll be eagerly awaiting your next report.

Posted by loojay on 09/11/11 at 04:24 PM ET

monkey's avatar

Well shit I thought you were going to say you had syphilis or gonorrhea or something you caught hooking up with underage male escorts in the Philippines.  Now that would be something better kept to one’s self.

“everyone’s a little screwy.”

I second that emotion.  You have nothing to be ashamed of.

Posted by monkey from Praha, Česká republika on 09/11/11 at 05:45 PM ET

Avatar

George, always enjoy your reporting. Take care of yourself ,  I need the Wings coverage down here in CBJ land

Posted by JEG from unfotunately ohio on 09/11/11 at 06:14 PM ET

Avatar

Everyone has problems George - fix your computer and save the $$ for next trip. Feel better!

Posted by LA1wing from LA CA on 09/11/11 at 06:43 PM ET

MarkK's avatar

George,
Don’t you dare give me a refund. Save it for next year bud.

Posted by MarkK from Maryland on 09/11/11 at 07:31 PM ET

Avatar

I have similar issues George - it’s caused me to lose friends, jobs, etc. Add chemical dependance to that, and it can get really messy.

Don’t sweat losing readers, if anyone here is a big enough of a d-bag to go “Wait, that guy has depression? I can’t read his blog!” then they have bigger issues than you do.

All of us Wing fans who know of your work are very appreciative of what you contribute to our hockey IQ’s.

Stay well George!

Posted by LGRWeh on 09/11/11 at 07:52 PM ET

joedaiceman's avatar

You are more to your fans than a premier hockey blogger, you are family. We can always wait for your great reports and when they do not show up for awhile - we understand and we support you all the way.

Posted by joedaiceman on 09/11/11 at 08:34 PM ET

George Malik's avatar

I do know that I’m gonna lose some readers due to sharing way too much TMI for anyone’s liking and the stigmas attached to admitting that I deal with what I deal with, but the bottom line was really simple for me:

This is my job, and when I’m unable to do it I have a responsibility to my readers to let them know what’s really going on. That’s the biggest-assed bottom line here: this was not done for my benefit (it still scares the hell out of me) and it’s got jack and sh*t to do with pandering to keep donations that could be better used; it’s about letting you know what’s going on and why I’ve been unable to fulfill my duties.

I’m overwhelmed by the support here, truly overwhelmed in the best of ways, but I need to make it very clear that I didn’t do this to get a pat on the back; I did this because I wasn’t doing my job, and there’s just no point in hiding the reasons why that’s happened.

Like Baroque said, what I deal with is as every-day as any other major chronic illness, and as the only voices I hear in my head are my own, I just happen to battle an illness that is neurochemical in nature, and even the best psychopharmacology and psychiatric care can’t nail everything down. :/

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 09/11/11 at 08:56 PM ET

Avatar

George,

1. If you lose readers, it will be the readers you don’t want anyway.
2. You give us more bang for the buck than anyone else in sports writing, in my opinion. Name me another writer/blogger who writes/collects as much relevant stuff as you in any sport. If anything, we should be paying you more.
3. I was going to help pay for new sinuses, but I can’t afford paying for a new brain. So, your loyal readers will help you in the next best way—to help you cope with what you have and remind you (even with computers crashing and sinuses clogging) that you are still appreciated. We’re giving you empathy, not sympathy. Keep this blog entry as a reminder when the emotions start swaying and if you wonder if your efforts are worthwhile. Just take care of yourself and don’t overextend yourself.

Posted by Bugsy on 09/11/11 at 09:56 PM ET

Avatar

George,

I just wanted to tell you that you have oneof the best blogs here on KK. Also, I’ve dealt with some bouts of depresion myself. Wasn’t fun, and I can even begin to imagine what chronic depression can do to someone. Just rest up and get ready for a new season. Finally, I repair computers for a living. If you ever need help in that regard, let me know. If you are still having issues, I maybe be able to help as well.

Posted by RedWing_In_DC on 09/11/11 at 10:56 PM ET

Avatar

George, I considered my donation more of a payment owed for all the past info and enjoyment I have gotten from your blog.  Also, now that your illness is out in the open, I’m just glad it is not lycanthropy, as I was beginning to suspect.  Please don’t take offense, I’m not trying to make light of your situation, but “the” situation.

Posted by herschel c. wollmack on 09/11/11 at 11:42 PM ET

w2j2's avatar

George:

Your work over the years speak for you.  We are friends.  Just get well.  Keep the money.

Walt

Posted by w2j2 on 09/12/11 at 12:08 AM ET

Nate A's avatar

No worries George, take care of yourself first. If what limited funding I contributed doesn’t make it up to TC this year, keep it and use it for the next expense need.

I’ll have some photos, video, and comments from Saturday’s session up at some point in the next couple days too. Feel free to use my crappy content once it’s up.

Posted by Nate A from Detroit-ish on 09/12/11 at 12:19 AM ET

SYF's avatar

Shut up, George.  You’re getting my money anyways.  grin

Get well and TAKE YOUR TIME but please don’t go it alone.  We’re here.

Posted by SYF from The Revenge of Johnny E on 09/12/11 at 12:25 AM ET

Avatar

Made an account to show my support. Love your blog George.

@andres_rw

Posted by angularcrayon from Boulder on 09/12/11 at 01:32 AM ET

George Malik's avatar

Thanks again everybody…I don’t mean to sound so panicky, but this process…I’ve been thinking about when or whether it would ever be appropriate to reveal what was going on for the entire five-and-a-half years that I’ve been doing this.

This is a scary thing to do when all you want to be known for is doing your job well when you are able to do it. red face But now it’s out there and I’m gonna just heal up and get back to doing my job as soon as my health permits it, without having to make it sound like I’m just dealing with something.

So those of you who’ve been wondering about the sugar mama in Oregon or hanging out at the racetrack, you lost the pool wink

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 09/12/11 at 01:53 AM ET

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About The Malik Report

The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.