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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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wedge56's avatar

George, I’ve been there.  Don’t worry about refunds.  Keep it and put it towards your new laptop or next year’s prospect camp.  I don’t think anyone here thinks you are fleecing us.  Of course I have been a sucker in the past and if I find out three years from now you were taking our donations to finance your furry habit…well then…actually…no…I still don’t care.  Just keep up the reporting.

Posted by wedge56 on 09/12/11 at 03:52 AM ET

cowboycoffee's avatar

we’re all with you, George.

Posted by cowboycoffee from San Francisco, CA on 09/12/11 at 07:25 AM ET

Bradley97's avatar

George,

I have been fighting a hereditary disease called Gardner’s Syndrome for half my life. As you can imagine, I’ve gone through my own bouts of depression (try and find someone with a medical issue who has not) and simply admitting that complication to myself and seeking help was an adventure by itself. I’ve been medically disabled for almost a decade now, but I keep chugging along because that’s what I’m here to do. Occasionally I make my disease public knowledge in the hopes that someone else out there will reach out for help should they need it. I have the deepest respect for you sharing your truth with us and like everyone else I am here for you, whether it’s as a loyal reader or a friend to lean on in times of need. I think we all feel the same way about you. Please do what you have to do whenever you need to battle out of your lows and know that we are always going to be here through thick and thin (be it Wings related or blog related). We are a team, and teams are always stronger and more successful than individuals. I look forward to your return to your usual comprehensive coverage when you are ready to provide it once more and not one post too soon. You are one of my heroes, and I do not make that statement lightly.

Take care and all the best!

-Bradley

Posted by Bradley97 on 09/12/11 at 08:06 AM ET

Avatar

George, it’s ok you are human. Remember that George has to take care of George first. The writing, fans, and refunds can wait a little.

Posted by BB from Royal Oak on 09/12/11 at 08:40 AM ET

Andy from FightNight's avatar

Kudos to you for being brave enough to share this with us, George. And don’t worry about refunding my donation. Reports from the main camp is more than good enough for me.

Posted by Andy from FightNight on 09/12/11 at 08:57 AM ET

Cwix's avatar

Take all the time you need, George. And I don’t want a refund. Use it for the camp or save it for next year.

Posted by Cwix from Grand Rapids, now Roanoke, VA on 09/12/11 at 10:22 AM ET

stonehands-78's avatar

As have many others, I’ve been there, too, George.

Recognizing the issues, seeking the proper assistance and my faith has sustained me.

Please, no refund for me. It is yours, given to be used as needed.

Keep looking up!

Posted by stonehands-78 from the beginning ... a WingsFan, on 09/12/11 at 11:31 AM ET

Avatar

You provide us with so much stuff over the course of the year that taking a few weeks to take care of yourself is fine by me. I know from experience that when you are in not in a good place mentally and physically your work (even if you enjoy it as much as I think you do) will suffer. So take you time, get yourself well, and get back to it when you feel able.

Posted by jj on 09/12/11 at 12:37 PM ET

Behind_Enemy_Lines's avatar

George, get well soon brother.
Balls of steel to write that article. I have delt with mental illness first hand in my family and it can be a bitch. Not only for the person suffering from it, but the challenges it presents to family and friends as well. I feel for ya George, love your work and resilience. Keep it up mang. \m/

Posted by Behind_Enemy_Lines from Evanston,IL on 09/12/11 at 12:43 PM ET

OlderThanChelios's avatar

As the saying goes: “And the truth shall set you free.”

I know that revealing your condition couldn’t have been easy, George, but I would think that you must feel some sense of relief at having shared it with those who clearly are your friends and only want the best for you. I join with those who commend you on your bravery as well as with those who wish you a speedy recovery.

Posted by OlderThanChelios from Grand Rapids, MI on 09/12/11 at 12:59 PM ET

red_wings_49's avatar

George…

As long as you don’t get back into the details about your sinus infection gorey issues that you once discussed on Snapshots on MLive… I’ll be all good.  I remember reading that entry and going…

Well.. there goes my lunch… wink

You provide a service to many of us Wings fans, and a very unique perspective on the life that a lot of us would love to lead.  You do an amazing job at it, and I could not be any more grateful for it. 

As far as your illnesses go?  Dude… we are all effed up in many different ways.  We all have our own personal battles that we endure each day.  Wether you go to a doctor and put a name to it… or just realize it and deal with it… everyone…. EVERYONE… has it. 

For the money I donated?  Keep it.  The gas money from South Lyon to Detroit has got to be racking up pretty badly… and if there is one thing I can do to keep my favorite Wings blogger going, then so be it. 

And if not, maybe one day we can meet up for a giant Wings viewing party at a local establishment.  smile

Hope you feel better… and just remember, the best time of the year is right around the corner. 

- Ken

Posted by red_wings_49 from Mad Heights, MI on 09/12/11 at 01:01 PM ET

awould's avatar

George, I said before but will reiterate.

Use my donation for whatever you deem necessary to continuing your writing. Buy a new computer, travel to Traverse City, copay on prescriptions, whatever.

Hope you get yourself back on track very soon and I will wait patiently while you work it out. Good luck and Go Wings!

Posted by awould on 09/12/11 at 01:22 PM ET

WestWing's avatar

Seems like many of us know all too well how debilitating bouts with depression can be, so George, really, it’s probably not quite the stigma you fear it may be.  Although I suspected the vast majority of your readers would be empathetic to your plight, it’s still heartening to read the outpouring of support.  You’ve clearly earned the respect of your readers.

As for finding a sugar mama in Oregon, I’ll let you know if I should come across any who might fit that description.  I’ve met a few out here who are pretty fanatical hockey fans, but I’m afraid they’re more puck bunny than sugar mama.

Posted by WestWing from Portland, Oregon on 09/12/11 at 03:35 PM ET

Slumpy's avatar

Remind yourself to laugh often. Plenty in this world to be depressed about going about our daily lifes, turning on the news, war etc.
Life is a game, make it fun.
We all got problems, join the party.
Keep writing, I enjoy your work.

Posted by Slumpy from Detroit on 09/12/11 at 04:46 PM ET

Avatar

George, I’ve been one of your biggest critics.
You really didn’t need to post all that info about yourself and probably should remove it.
But dude, you take care of yourself and get back to writing a zillion words a day so I can take you out to the woodshed smile

Posted by Captain Bob on 09/12/11 at 05:26 PM ET

MsRedWinger's avatar

Reading this outpouring of support for George from all of you (well, maybe except for Captain Bob) has really touched me and made me very happy that I followed George over here from mlive.  What wonderful group of people.  I’m proud and happy to be among you.

Posted by MsRedWinger from Flori-duh on 09/12/11 at 06:22 PM ET

dougie's avatar

I would gladly pay the amount of my donation for the comprehensive coverage you provide, even if you never left your sofa.

I think it is a good thing that you were willing to discuss your issues. These things need to be discussed more often and more openly in our society. Maybe I shouldn’t joke about this, but meds helped me be a kinder, gentler, much more tolerant borderline racist f*uckhead.

Posted by dougie on 09/12/11 at 06:58 PM ET

Wings_Fan_In_KC's avatar

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.

———————————————————————-

19 Stick Taps

Posted by Wings_Fan_In_KC from ...somewhere southwest of The Motor City... on 09/12/11 at 08:28 PM ET

George Malik's avatar

So let me get this straight, I can talk about mental illnesses freely and openly, but it’s having bone spurs removed from your sinuses that’s taboo? The world has changed…probably for the better.

Thank you again, everybody. I’m focused on getting better and doing my best to get up to TC for the main camp. I’m sorry I was so jittery…This is just something that I’ve been terrified about admitting for a long time, but have thought long and hard about doing so for just as long. I know that many people have issues much worse than I do, but I just felt that the truth was the best thing I could give you, even if it is too much information.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 09/12/11 at 09:02 PM ET

Avatar

George, 

Keep hanging in there.  And keep getting better. Your my one read of the day, because I know if its about the wings you’ve got it covered.  Just wanted to you to know we stand behind you all the way.  And I don’t want a refund use it as you see fit.

Posted by Derrick Sleezer on 09/13/11 at 10:51 AM ET

Avatar

Well I don’t know if there’s anything left for me to say that hasn’t been said by my fellow readers. I think it’s pretty clear that your depression isn’t an issue at all to any of us and you will certainly be our go-to guy for all Red Wings news. Keep it up George, you’re one of the hardest working writers in the business and we truly appreciate you. Go wings!

Posted by Foltz22 from Clarkston, MI on 09/13/11 at 06:13 PM ET

hockeychic's avatar

George,

I’ve been kind of taking a summer break from hockey, popping up here and there but I’m starting to gear up for the season and just came and read this.

Just wanted to offer you my support and wishes for getting better.  Mental illness runs in my family as well and I had a serious bout with clinical depression in my early 30s.  I still battle with anxiety occasionally. 

I hope that writing about it shows you the support for you is out there and that your friends and loyal readers only care about you getting well.

You are appreciated and valued.

Posted by hockeychic from Denver, CO on 09/19/11 at 06:16 PM ET

CC Moor's avatar

George,

Sorry to hear you are not 100% but thanks for your candor, which I salute.  You do a fantastic job bringing news and views to Red WIngs fans and we hope that continues for many years to come.  All best.
CC Moor
Washington DC

Posted by CC Moor from Washington DC on 09/26/11 at 08:36 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.