Clint Malarchuk Interview on Soul Luminous Radio

http://www.soul-luminous.com/

Another BRILLIANT interview by Clint Malarchuk, he talks about his injury, his OCD, PTSD, suicide attempts, depression, stigma, and ultimately his SURVIVAL and his thriving and living a great life now! I would listen if I were you 😉

And here is the link to by his book “A Matter of Inches.” http://www.amazon.com/Matter-Inches-Survived-Crease-Beyond/dp/1629370495

Men & Depression: NHL Goalie, Clint Malarchuck

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This is an interview that Clint Malarchuk did for ESPERANZA Hope Magazine. I’ve been looking for it and finally found it. It’s a brilliant interview. Very worth everyone’s time to read.

http://www.hopetocope.com/men-depression-nhl-goalie-clint-malarchuck/

The former hockey goalie shares his story on confronting his depression and anxiety.

By Linda Childers

There was a time when the face mask Clint Malarchuk wore as protection against hurtling hockey pucks mirrored the façade he donned to get through the day. In a rough-and-tumble sport where players are valued for their “manly” ability to get physical and play aggressively, the award-winning goaltender became a master at hiding the inner turmoil of anxiety and depression.

“Goalies are the guy everyone looks to for confidence,” explains Malarchuk, who began his professional hockey career before he turned 21. With his high-pressure job plus the stress of keeping up appearances, he says, “I felt that I had to be twice as strong.”

Over 14 years, Malarchuk tended the crease for the National Hockey League’s Quebec Nordiques, Washington Capitals, and Buffalo Sabres before finishing out his playing days with the Las Vegas Thunder of the International Hockey League. When he was out on the ice, immersed in a game, he was able to find some peace. Off the ice, not so much.

“In the locker room, I was the easygoing clown of the team, yet inside, I felt like my brain was on fire,” he recalls.

From puck drop to final whistle, Malarchuk was focused on “the save”—keeping the puck from entering the net. Nowadays “save” has a different interpretation for him—as in, keeping others who grapple with mental distress from feeling alone and hopeless.

He’s a powerful role model for other men. When he speaks in public, Malarchuk tries to stress that depression isn’t just a “woman’s disease” and how important it is for men to confront their depression and seek out treatment.

“I always knew I was physically tough, but I believed I was mentally weak until I started talking to other men and finding out how many of them also suffered from depression,” he says.

At a recent event, Malarchuk recalls, he was approached by a father and his teenage son.  Malarchuk told the young man something he wished someone had shared with him at an earlier age.

“I emphasized how there’s help … not only in the form of medication, but also in therapy, and in talking openly with others.”

‘COWBOY UP’

Malarchuk, 53, details his own struggles in his new memoir, A Matter of Inches: How I Survived in the Crease and Beyond (titled The Crazy Game in Canada). Take that “survived” literally: In a horrifying 1989 incident—witnessed by a nation of TV viewers tuned in to a Buffalo Sabres game—Malarchuk nearly lost his life when a skate blade slashed his neck.

The accident left Malarchuk with post-traumatic stress disorder—although it wasn’t diagnosed until years later—and deepened an emotional maelstrom that began during his difficult boyhood. He got a very different message then from the one he now promotes.

“From childhood, I was taught to cowboy up and move on,” says Malarchuk, who was raised on a ranch in Edmonton, Alberta.

His mask was already in place as he struggled through school and spent restless nights at the mercy of his anxiety and fear. “I remember thinking I was the only person on the planet who felt like their head was always spinning,” he says.

When he was skating, hockey stick in hand, the spinning stopped. The ice was his refuge, and the ebb and flow of the game would override his troubled thoughts. Malarchuk threw himself into the sport—and into obsessive conditioning. He would run 12 to 20 miles each day, lift weights, and box.

The “man up” message also drove Malarchuk to less healthy ways of coping: drinking heavily and erupting in anger.

“I don’t get angry anymore, but in the past, my drinking would often lead to me picking fights and being verbally abusive. I wasn’t even aware of some of the things I said when I lashed out,” Malarchuk recalls. “When I relapsed, I was angry at myself for not being strong enough to control the feelings I thought I had put behind me.”

After working with the team’s doctors and then a psychiatrist who diagnosed his obsessive-compulsive disorder and depression, Malarchuk finally found medication “that helped tremendously.” It also helped with shame and self-doubt when the psychiatrist “compared taking antidepressants to a diabetic needing insulin,” he recalls. “The doctor was the first to explain that my OCD and depression were the result of a chemical imbalance.”

While medication didn’t erase all Malarchuk’s symptoms, it did serve to quiet his mind. He continued his hockey career as a goalie and, after hanging up his jersey in 1996, as a coach.

BETTER TOOLS

Learning to manage his depression has been an ongoing enterprise. After a serious relapse in 2008, Malarchuk finally sought out talk therapy. He was challenged to face unresolved emotions related to his traumatic neck injury years earlier.

“In therapy, I had to … cry, and to acknowledge my feelings,” he admits.

He also learned more about overall mental wellness.

“I’ve tried to change my habits and focus on staying in the right emotional, mental and spiritual state,” he says.

Malarchuk relapsed again while writing his memoir, turning back to old coping methods as old anguish resurfaced. He was goaltender coach for the Calgary Flames at the time, and team administrators offered to send him to a treatment center. Part of the month-long rehab involved targeting the underlying causes of his alcohol use.

Malarchuk says he learned more about tools like self-talk, personal time-outs, problem-solving and relaxation techniques.

Last summer, Malarchuk began a new chapter in his life. He retired from hockey to live full-time on his ranch in Nevada, where he’s been raising emus for years. He is devoting himself to a second career as an equine chiropractor and dentist.

Malarchuk is living the dream, part 2. As a teen, he worked as a ranch hand during summers and thought about becoming a veterinarian. Throughout his hockey years—the dream, part 1—he maintained a love for horses, ranching, and rodeo. (Thus his nickname “the cowboy goalie.”)

“Being around horses comforts me,” Malarchuk says. “The smell of the barn and the horses, even watching them eat calms me.”

(He also gets some animal therapy from one of the house dogs, a Yorkie, “who senses when I’m anxious or upset,” Malarchuk says. “He’ll come up to me and want to nuzzle close to my neck and offer comfort.”)

FAMILY MAN

Where playing hockey was once his escape, now the barn is Malarchuk’s refuge. His office is there, and a gym space where he lifts weights and works out every day he’s home.

“Sometimes when I start to feel down or anxious, I’ll tell my wife, Joanie that I need to take some time out and go to the barn to meditate,” Malarchuk says. “Joanie has been very supportive and is great about encouraging me to do whatever I need to, in order to stay healthy mentally.”

A father of three, with one teenage daughter still in the nest, Malarchuk tries to be open with his children about his depression. He recalls one occasion last winter when depressive symptoms arose and he began to cry. Instead of hiding away, he asked his daughter to come sit with him.

“I asked if she had ever felt depressed, and I told her that no matter what she was going through, that she could always talk to me,” he explains.
Malarchuk hopes he can be there for his own children the way his mom, Jean, has been there for him.

“My mom and I are very close,” he says. “She has always supported me through good and bad, and I don’t know what I would do without her and Joanie in my life.”

In recent months, Malarchuk and his wife have been traveling across North America to promote his book. At book signings and in emails, other men often thank him for “being honest about my feelings because it has helped them to be more open and to better manage their own depression,” Malarchuk says. “I also get e-mails from women who thank me for helping their husband or their son realize that depression is a true illness.”

In the past, Malarchuk’s honesty has opened him up to attacks that he’s somehow weak. He’s heard taunts—“Hey, Malarchuk, pop another pill.” He recognizes that depression can be hard to understand for someone who hasn’t been through it. That’s partly why he’s so passionate about speaking out.

“I used to think my purpose in life was being in the NHL as a player and then a coach,” Malarchuk says. “I realize now that playing hockey gave me the platform for my real purpose—to raise awareness of mental illness, and to help reduce the stigma surrounding depression and anxiety so that no one has to feel alone.”

Sidebar: How Clint copes

By looking outward: Malarchuk has learned that focusing his energy on helping others is an antidote for his own depression, whether it’s caring for horses or answering e-mails from people who write him about their struggles.

By looking inward: Malarchuk practices his own form of meditation. “I lay down and read a book of daily reflections, and I meditate on the reflection,” he says. “I also use this time to pray about the things in my life that I have control over, and that I can take charge of, while releasing the things that are beyond my control to a higher power.”

By looking beyond: When Malarchuk begins to feel anxious or depressed, he searches for the root cause. He was experiencing symptoms after a recent trip and determined that he hadn’t been sleeping enough while traveling. “I’ve learned that it’s important for me to get 8 to 10 hours of sleep each night in order to feel my best,” he notes.

Clint Malarchuk’s Amazing Commitment to Getting and Staying Better!

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My second interview with Clint Malarchuk, posted on 2/24/15 (link below*) is pretty amazing all on it’s own, in it’s full length! In this post, I have chosen some things that Clint said that struck me as quite profound and just talked a little about those passages. Clint is amazingly intuitive, intelligent and insightful. He is also incredibly committed to doing everything in his power to stay healthy. I have learned a lot from him in just the two interviews I’ve done. I hope this post will be helpful and insightful for many. I hope he writes more books, I sincerely believe he has a lot more to tell us and teach us. Thank you Clint for doing the interviews. Best Wishes and Happy Trails 🙂  http://www.malarchuk.com/

https://bipolar1blog.wordpress.com/2015/02/24/clint-malarchuk-an-amazing-follow-up-interview-by-samina-raza/

“Like stress, when I start getting stressed out, that’s when I have to take the extra time to check in with myself. I’m not sure if I told you last time, my tools are a 12 step program, I meditate and pray everyday and I try to exercise. I have a workout routine that I try to do every day. Those things keep me balanced.”

This is pure insight and introspection and an amazing commitment to his health. This is just so impressive, it is clear that he is going to stay healthy. Every avenue you can think of that one can take in the quest for good mental health, Clint is taking here.

“I find that my animals, I have a little dog, and she is my emotional support. When I meditate, I lay down and the cat lays on my belly and the dog curls up beside me, it is very relaxing.”

They have depression dogs now, it seems Clint knew all about the healing power of animals before they were being given little sweaters and allowed on planes. I observed to him that animals pull out the love from inside of us, and Clint conceded, he said “Yes you can call it love, it simplifies things.” Doesn’t it though.

“I’m really in to animals. And people have always said that, when I work on horses for my business, the horses that no one can really get close to, I just walk up to them. And people say “How did you do that, what are you doing? This horse is always afraid of people!” I believe in your energy, we all have it. We’re animals just like they are, so I really believe that my energy is really confident with animals, so they respond to me.”

Clint observes, and quite rightly so that humans are animals, so horses respond to our energy, actually the energy of confidence. Who knows, maybe that’s how people choose their mates, sensing their energy and if it is compatible, well then they are the chosen ones for each other.

“Well I’m a big proponent of you are being treated because you’re sick. You’re not weak. And if you’re chemically imbalanced, whether it’s your pancreas/diabetes or if it’s your brain/serotonin, it doesn’t matter.”

How’s that for profound? People, mental illness is a physical illness. It involves your brain and it involves imbalances in your neurotransmitters. So don’t sweat  it, go see your psychiatrist, get your medications, and get better! No stigma, no shame, no hiding. Just do it!

“Yes, right. But don’t forget, it takes a long time to be on those medications before they either kick in if they’re going to work, or you figure out “Oops they don’t work, I have to try something else.”

This is quite another gem, don’t forget it took a long time for the medication to work. So if you have to come off it, it’ll probably take a long time for the withdrawal symptoms to go away. How insightful is that!

“I have to be kind to myself and remind myself I deserve to be happy. “

This is indeed profound. Who doesn’t need to learn this lesson? How many people, mentally ill or not, are self loathers? Shouldn’t compassion start with oneself? If you can’t be kind to yourself, then how can you genuinely be kind to another?

“I think that growing up in turmoil that anxiety was the norm for me. And sometimes, if I’m not feeling anxious, I feel like I have to think of something to worry about, to get anxious.”

This is truly a gem! Why is there always a nagging voice inside my head making me anxious, even when there isn’t anything to be anxious about? Yes it could very well be that I grew up in a very anxious environment. When things are calm, you miss the anxious adrenalin rush. This is also the definition of an anxiety disorder. So which came first, the anxiety disorder or the anxious environment? No matter. We have to realize that we are in a way, addicted to anxiety. That our minds/brains search for reasons to be anxious. That is probably the beginning, the birth of peace and calm. And not just realize, but really stay on our medication. Again, Clint says just that.

“Helping each other, that’s what it’s all about!”

Such truth in this statement. What else is life about if not helping each other? Are we here to amass diamonds? They’re just glittery stones. Are we here to build ourselves gigantic mansions? How much room de we need to live in? Are we here to be in exclusive clubs. communities, wear exclusive clothes? Well, at least in my book, we are here to be inclusive and just like Clint says: “Help each other.”

Also, how committed he is to his health is astounding! He exercises, meditates, prays, goes to AA  (Alcoholics Anonymous) meetings, checks in with himself as to why he is feeling bad or anxious, and he sees his doctors regularly and takes his medications. If this isn’t the recipe to Mental Health, I don’t know what is.

“To me it’s like a course in life. Because it’s not just about not drinking. The 12 steps are a lot deeper than that.”

That’s what Clint says about AA. He also believes, as they teach in AA, in a higher power. You have to admit that you are powerless against ____, fill in the blank, it’s your substance of abuse. Or for me Clint suggests it could be “Life” or “Moods” that I am powerless against. Then if you follow the 12 steps, allow your higher power to assist you, you will be victorious over your addiction/illness.

“So I have to communicate that to loved ones that this is what I need to do.”

Also when you are doing all these healthy things, communication with your loved ones is crucial! And not only communication, but their support for the healthy things and for the essential things you are doing to keep yourself healthy. When we have our loved ones’ support, aren’t we more likely to be successful?  And if they love us, then why wouldn’t they give us support?

“And that’s the creatures of habit! If we’re going to change habits, we have to replace them with other habits.”

This one is extremely powerful. In order to get rid of old bad habits, you have to replace them with new, healthier, good habits. How many of us try to do this but end up going back to our bad habits, because we did not replace them with new healthy habits. We may know this and have forgotten it, or we may be seeing this for the first time. Thank you Clint!

CLINT MALARCHUK: An Amazing Follow Up Interview By Samina Raza.

Clint  Clint

A really AMAZING interview with an incredibly amazing man, Clint Malarchuk. He is the author of a remarkable book called “A Matter of Inches.”

And please take a look at Clint’s website: http://www.malarchuk.com

(Also please see my first interview with him here: https://bipolar1blog.wordpress.com/2014/12/24/clint-malarchuk-interview-by-samina-raza/ )

He is a philosopher, and has a deep understanding of his illness, and what it takes to stay well. He truly understands life in general! Thank you Clint. All my best wishes. So happy to know you! It starts below.

Hi Clint, it’s so wonderful to talk to you again. How are you? Thank you so much for your response to my interview, I was so happy to get your message. I think the interview went really well last time, but I realized that I never asked you any questions about how everything is now…

C: I’ve been busy. Traveling quite a bit and public speaking about mental health, getting busier. Mostly in Ontario and Alberta.. Oh I get it, you mean where I’m at today. Yes, I can talk about that.

How are you doing now, moods, anxiety, mental health?

C: I would say that I’m doing very well today. You know that part of it is educating yourself and through experience you learn when you’re starting to struggle. Like stress, when I start getting stressed out, that’s when I have to take the extra time to check in with myself. I’m not sure if I told you last time, my tools are a 12 step program, I meditate and pray everyday and I try to exercise. I have a workout routine that I try to do every day. Those things keep me balanced. Now I can say that when I feel like I’m stressed out, and I’m starting to maybe slide into obsessive thinking or anxiety especially, it’ll get me so anxious, then I have to take my time and I double up on my medication, because sometimes my habit is to rush through and plow through everything and now I’ll take a step back and I’ll take the time to meditate, to bring my anxiety level down and then I can approach the problem or the stress or what ever is going in my life, whatever is the stressful situation a lot better and a lot clearer.

Oh wow! That’s amazing! Guess what, you just answered ALL of my question. Ok, we’re done. Haha.

C: Haha. It’s almost one question: how are you doing today and what keeps you in the healthy range. I make it sound easy but sometimes it’s not. When your anxiety gets going, it’s hard to just say “Ok, I’m going to go meditate then,” and find a quiet place. You’re trying to meditate and your mind just keeps bouncing back to what you’re trying to forget and ground yourself and center yourself. So it’s not always easy. I don’t want to make it sound like “Oh, I’m doing great because all I do is this and this.” And also the medication I’m taking is in my system and it helps me.

Are you on anti-anxiety medicines, like a benzodiazepine?

C: No. antidepressants. I take Cymbalta. And I take Seroquel, I take it at night because it helps me fall asleep. I take a 100 mg.

Ha! I take 125 mg of Seroquel.

C: Yes. But judging from Facebook and your blog posts, when they come up, I think: when does this lady sleep? So are you a night owl?

I am, I am a night owl. I go to sleep, for example at 3 am and then stay asleep, I’m not working right now, so there’s no reason for me to get up early. So then I get up around 11 am, sometimes noon. It’s BAD! I feel like i’m a teenager.

C: Some people, I think are wired differently. My wife, she gets up at 3:30 or 4’o’clock in the morning. She is a figure skating teacher and she goes up to the rink and they’re on the ice at 6 or 6:30 am. She doesn’t have to get up that early, but she does. She likes to take her time. She says it’s quiet. I can relate to that. There are a lot of people who like the quiet of the morning.  My sister’s like you, she goes to bed late.

How about you?

C: I can go to bed at 9 pm and get up at 7 ‘o’clock.

Wow, that is so wonderful! I wish I could do that! I don’t take my Seroquel till I am done with everything, like posting on my blog. I’m sure if I took it at 9 pm, I’d be asleep by 10 pm. I’m going to do that.

C: You take Seroquel? And what else do you take?

Yes I take Seroquel. And then of course, I take the mainstay for bipolar disorder, which is Lithium. I take everything at night, all at one time.

C: My sister’s like you, she’ll clean the whole house at night.

I feel very creative at night, it seems like my mind works better at night. And in the morning, I don’t want to wake up. Don’t wake me up, please. Haha.

C: I’m like you in that, maybe it’s because of the medication I’m on, I have a hard time waking up. I need a lot of coffee. I drink a whole pot. Over a couple of hours, I’ll drink a whole pot of coffee. And then I’m ready to go, but till then I have a hard time. Don’t let society make you feel bad. There are a lot of people who do better at night, they stay awake till 3 in the morning, they go to bed late. There’s nothing wrong with that. Who says that’s wrong?

As long as you don’t have to go to work.

C: Yeah. Well if you have to go to work and you have to be there at 8’o’clock in the morning, well then… But if you have your own schedule, then what the heck. You know? Society again, just like with mental illness, stigma, society, lets not let society dictate to us.

I agree with you. And you really answered all my question! The next one I was going to ask was “How are you keeping well?” And you answered that. The next one was “Are you on medication?” and you answered that. The next one is: Is exercise and nutrition important? And what do you do for exercise?

C: You know I used to lift weights a lot, but now as I am older, I am careful with my joints. I’ve got dumb bells. I do TRX, it’s straps, a suspension system. They hang from something up high. You can see it on youtube. It’s cardio and muscles. I do that with dumb bells and in my barn, I punch a bag a lot. 

Yes, ok, you look like you’re in really good shape. And you horseback ride, right?

C: Yes, I’m glad you brought that up, because I find that my animals, I have a little dog, and she is my emotional support. When I meditate, I lay down and the cat lays on my belly and the dog curls up beside me, it is very relaxing. Petting them, and hearing the cat purr and the dog all cuddled up, that all kind of gives you that calming feeling. So they’re therapeutic. And of course, when I ride, that’s therapeutic too.

That sounds great! I always feel like animals, like dogs and cats pull out the love that’s inside of you.

C: Yes, yes. Well I’m really in to animals. And people have always said that, when I work on horses for my business, the horses that no one can really get close to, I just walk up to them. And people say “How did you do that, what are you doing? This horse is always afraid of people!” I believe in your energy, we all have it. We’re animals just like they are, so I really believe that my energy is really confident with animals, so they respond to me.

Ha! You’re the horse whisperer!

C: Yes (laughing) some people say that. I take that as a compliment.

I’m going for a weekend for healing therapy with horses. I’m really looking forward to it. I’ll blog about it.

C: Just remember your energy and try to be in tune and they will respond. You’ll get more out of it if you’re in tune with the animals. Be confident with them, and supportive and you’ll get a lot out of it.

Yes, you’re right, you’re right. That is great advice and I am definitely going to follow it!

C: And you can just call it love, that’ll simplify it. Haha.

So true. It’s the energy of love. And what they do at the ranch I’m going to is, you walk into the herd of horses, and whichever horse picks you, is your horse for the weekend! Isn’t that cool?

C: Yes, it’s cool. It’s kind of what I’m talking about. Yup.

Yes, like your energy sort of matches that particular horse’s, so he’s yours.

C: Yup.

The next question was “Have you or would you try meditation?” and you just answered that. So here’s the next one: What has been the most helpful thing in your recovery and well being?

C: Well I’m a big proponent of getting yourself treated because you’re sick. You’re not weak. Because some people say “Just don’t be depressed” or “Don’t be bipolar.” They don’t know. But once they understand it’s a sickness, it’s a chemical imbalance, then they say “Oh ok.” It’s ok, I go to the doctor, it’s like diabetes or another illness. So once they realize that, they understand. I am a big proponent of medication. Some people aren’t, but I believe that when you’re sick, you go to the doctor. And if you’re chemically imbalanced, whether it’s your pancreas/diabetes or if it’s your brain/serotonin, it doesn’t matter. So I believe medication has saved me. And that in itself was not easy. As you know, you try different medications, different doses. And it’s not immediate, you have to be on it for a while before you figure out if it works or it doesn’t work. So, that was a long trial for me.

Yes, yes. Well they used to give people who have bipolar d/o SSRI’s like Zoloft or Prozac. But now they say that SSRI’s cause more mood swings, so they are taking us off them. I was taken off Zoloft, something I’d been on since the 1990’s. So I have been having some trouble coming off it after so many years.

C: Yes, me too. It’s like you have withdrawals, it’s not a good feeling. You feel sick.

Yes. But almost, the physical symptoms I can handle, but sometimes I feel depressed or anxious… but eventually it’ll go away. They say that for people to come off Zoloft takes 6-12 months for their brains to normalize! I’ve been off it for almost 6 months now. So I am hoping things will get better soon!

C: Yes, right. But don’t forget, it takes a long time to be on those medications before they either kick in if they’re going to work, or you figure out “Oops they don’t work, I have to try something else.”

You are so correct! I was on a LOT of medications. But the side effects were so awful, seemed worse than my illness. I’ve found 3 medications I can take, one was Zoloft, and then Lithium and Seroquel. That’s it.

C: I took Zoloft for a long time too.

It didn’t work?

C: Oh no. It worked really well. Then I think I was on it for so long that my body got immune.

True, your brain gets used to it. There are semi permanent changes that happen in the brain when you’re on something like Zoloft or Prozac. And when those changes happen, your brain stops responding to the drug.

C: Yes, I think that’s what happened. Because I took it for 14 years. I wasn’t getting checked by the doctor regularly either.

Oh yes, I read that in your book. I’ve had some good doctors, and then I’ve had some who were not good at all.

C: Yes. Same here! I’ve spent years trying to find a different doctor. It’s difficult to change, especially if you had one who you trusted a lot.

So true. It’s a bit scary to change doctors due to moving or their retiring. I feel it’s a traumatic event. And on to the next question: Is there something you feel you need to work on, if so how will you work on it? You sound really good…

C: No, I still have to.. and whether this is exactly mental illness, but for me it seems somewhat it is, that I have to work on my issues. There’s self love, and I don’t know if this is a product of my upbringing, what I went through with my dad. They’re just issues. I think we all have different issues. I have to be kind to myself, and remind myself that I deserve to be happy. I think that growing up in turmoil, that anxiety was the norm for me. And sometimes, if I’m not feeling anxious, I feel like I have to think of something to worry about, to get anxious. Because that’s where I’m comfortable, Even though it’s not a good feeling, but when you grow up that way, you feel like something’s missing. I think a lot of people may be able to relate to that but it’s a bit of a hard thing to understand. Think about it. You probably know people that love the drama, they love it when something’s going on, when it’s not good. Maybe that’s what they miss in their life, because as kids they had that. I don’t know, but I know for me, I think that’s pretty accurate. I have to be conscious of it, I have to be really in tune with my feelings, and my thoughts. What’s going on? Why are you feeling anxious? Why are you not feeling anxious? Be in tune with myself. And this is where medication helps too.

I think medication is key too. I would not be sitting here interviewing you without the Lithium and even Seroquel. I’d probably be in a hospital.

C: Oh I’m sure I would too. I’d probably be dead.

Oh gosh, I hope not. That’s so scary!

C: No, it’s true though.

Needless to say, I am really, really glad you’re here! Lets just keep it that way!

C: And you are doing a great job with your blogs. They are very educational. Sometimes when you read something, you say “Yeah! I just couldn’t put it into words. That sure describes me.” That’s educational.

Thank you so much! I started this blog in August of last year and I said if it helps even one person, then I am successful. So if you say that it means something to you, I appreciate it so much!

C: Oh for sure! And that helps you too because you’re supporting people whom you’re helping and when you do that, it gives you support. And you’re supporting them, that’s what this is all about. Helping each other.

Absolutely. The people who comment on my blog, and post something and the other bloggers and people who subscribe to my blog, we really have a conversation about the things that I write and it helps me and hopefully it helps them.

C: Have you heard of the magazine called Esperanza? They did an article on me.

Oh Congratulations! I’ll find it and post it on my blog.

If your emotions boil over, how do you control them?

C: That would be part of my keep checking to see what I’m feeling and why and what I’m thinking. To figure out what’s going on, if I’m feeling anxious, to ask “Why are you feeling anxious, what are you thinking?” So those things, but also everything else you do, like meditation, and working out. Those things help you keep that balance. So you don’t boil over, that is the number one thing. It’s probably as important as taking your medication. My routine of all the things I do to keep my balance.

How are you managing the alcohol issue?

C: I go to AA. I try to go to a meeting almost everyday. It’s important for me, I feel the more meetings I go to, the more I learn the tools of the 12 steps, how to properly apply them.   

Yes that is really very important.

C: To me it’s like a course in life. Because it’s not just about not drinking. The 12 steps are a lot deeper than that. (Maybe I should go to one, haha, I don’t know if they’ll let me in.) All of them are the same, whether they are for drinking or for gambling, they’re all the same 12 steps. They use the 12 step program in everything. Just look it up, 12 step AA, they’ll be the same as any 12 step program. You don’t have to be an alcoholic or anything, you can follow a 12 step program in your own life. (Ok, I’ll look it up.)

It’s a very spiritual program. It’ll help you. The first step is admitting you’re powerless over alcohol, well, your first step could be you’re powerless over your… life… (laughs.) It doesn’t have to be alcohol or drugs or anything like that. (Right, it can be anything, it could be moods.) Anything, you can apply it to anything. (Hmm, it’s a cool way of looking at it.)

Is alone time important or are you very social?

C: I’m both. I like being with people, I joke around, and I make people laugh. But I also really value my alone time. And my alone time includes my wife. I can’t be around people all the time, it’ll drive you crazy. But when I am around them, I enjoy them.

How do you think you can stay healthy?

C: Continue to take my medication, but also to be monitored, to see the doctor regularly. Because the last time I was taking the medication, I never checked in with my doctor. And I think my body just became immune to it. So, I think it is key to stay on top of things. We’re creatures of habit, and I don’t want to slip back into my old habits of not going to meetings, not doing my meditation, not working out. These things keep me healthy, and the 12 step program, which is very spiritual. So I don’t want to lose my contact with my higher power, so to speak and start thinking I can do it on my own. Sometimes I feel like I’m being selfish, because I’ll tell my wife that I have to go meditate, or I have to go to a meeting, or I have to go workout. I feel like I am being selfish. But I have to do that to be healthy. She understands that. She understands I need to do certain things to keep my balance. It’s just me communicating to her that this is what I need to do, and she says “Yup, that’s good, do it.”

Right, probably if you weren’t doing all those things, it wouldn’t be very easy to be with you and it wouldn’t be very good for your health.

C: Oh yes, she understands. So I have to communicate that to loved ones that this is what I need to do. I hate to be thought of as selfish, if you want to label it as selfish. (I don’t think it’s being selfish.) No. But again society might perceive it as being selfish, but it’s not. (No, it’s taking care of yourself.)

Have you ever looked at this book called “The Power of Now” by Eckhart Tolle?

C: Yes. I’ve read quite a few of his books. I have all of them.

Do you feel they help you in any way?

C: Yes. But personally, I find his writing to be a little more complicated for what I like. The book that I really like is “The Four Agreements.” Those four agreements are simple. I really like the simplicity of that book. I try to use that one.

Yes, I agree, Eckhart Tolle sort of blends Zen Buddhism with New Age spirituality, so it can be complicated. But for me, when I first read it, I was like: Wow, this is a new way to be! But then I sort of forgot about it so I think I have to read it again.

C: And that’s the creatures of habit! If we’re going to change habits, we have to replace them with other habits. Like when you said: Wow this could change my thinking and my everyday living! And yet we forget, because it’s a habit. So you have to resolve to practice them everyday. Like “The Four Agreements” is easy, it’s just four things.

Well that’s it, that was the last question. Unless you would like to add anything else. Thank you very much for your time and for answering all my questions. I am so happy you are doing so well. I’m going to start doing all the things you are doing. Stay well and we’ll talk soon.

CLINT MALARCHUK Interview by Samina Raza. :-)

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I had the great pleasure of interviewing Clint Malarchuk, NHL goalie, NHL coach, cowboy, horse dentist and now author of his first book “A Matter of Inches”, the title refers to the bullet in his head, as well as the skate that was actually a few millimeters from his carotid artery! This man is indestructible, thank goodness, knock on wood!

He suffered from OCD, horrible anxiety, depression, alcohol abuse, and finally PTSD because of a horrific hockey injury to his neck. Even dealing with all those mental illnesses, he became a great goalie, playing for, among others, the Buffalo Sabres. And then an NHL coach. While battling his demons and alcohol addiction, he put a bullet in his head and survived with no side effects! His book is a tour de force of honesty, truth and a no holds barred description of his life, good or bad, he put it all to paper. The book is a must read.

Talking with him was a pleasure, he was just as honest and forthcoming on the phone interview I conducted with him on December 22nd, 2014.

The interview is below. Enjoy.

And thank you again Clint. You are amazing. I am a huge fan.

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Thank you so much for agreeing to answer my questions for a post on my blog 🙂

I am literally floored after reading your book “A Matter of Inches”. I thought I had it bad with my bipolar disorder, but after reading about your struggles, battles, and triumphs over your illness, I understand that many more varied and severe forms exist. Your bringing attention to mental illness, opening up about your issues and bringing mental illness to the forefront to be discussed, recognized, confronted and hopefully destigmatized and most importantly treated, this is what you are doing by writing your book! It is extremely admirable and again shows your amazing strength!

Shall we start?

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Me: 1) In our society, it takes a lot of courage to admit you have a mental illness. And you said in your book “Mental illness isn’t something people like to discuss.” How and why did you decide to take the courageous step of writing this book?

Clint: I used to do interviews before I wrote the book and you know I talked about it pretty openly and I got feedback mostly from people suffering and it seemed to help to know that they weren’t alone mostly by telling my story. And I guess when you’re helping people by talking about it openly, it puts it into perspective right ok, I thought the book would really help people.

Me: Your book is amazing, how you talk about everything. Your book is totally Incredible. How honest you are.

Clint: I think the honesty part comes from if I only tell my story halfway, then I’m only gonna reach people halfway. Being suicidal, telling the story the whole way, the whole deep dark places that I’ve been in, most people, it will reach most people, so I have to go to be honest, the whole, way, the deep dark places, to make it relatable.

Me: True! Yes, because there are people who are suffering, and who don’t know what it is like you didn’t know, and then when they hear somebody like you, who is famous and who is successful relate your story, then I think it is extremely helpful to them.

Me: 2) Love the quote: “The truth is that I’ve been so many different kinds of crazy that its limitations insult me. Crazy is too simple a word to describe me.” Brilliant!

Yet you found the strength to become a goalie in the NHL! In professional sports where you say “…the only wounds that matter are physical. The rest is just weakness.” Can you say something about that? 

Clint: Well I think especially as a goalie, you’re supposed to be the block, the real block, that is very strong in the way he handles pressure, the one the team looks to to be strong and if you have problems then you are perceived to be as weak, and now I look at that as I must have been double as mentally strong because I handled the pressure of being an NHL goalie and the problems of mental illness and trying to fight it. And it looked on the outside that you are incredible.

Me: Yes, that is exactly what I thought, that you had to be be twice as strong, because not only were you suffering and you were not feeling well, but on top of that you had to show that strength that the goalie has to have to have pucks being shot at him at 100 mph. You have to be very strong to be able to handle that and it’s amazing that you did that!

Clint: Yes, it was amazing, it’s the perception, you learn to fight and now I look back and think “I must have been really strong” but at the time I thought I was weak.

Me: Yes, I know, that’s what mental illness does, it makes you feel very weak, but because you’re coping and living your life, living it in a normal fashion, you are really twice as strong as someone who doesn’t have mental illness. That’s what I think too. I don’t know if i’m supposed to offer you my opinions, but that’s my opinion.

Clint: You’re right!

Me: 3) You say you found peace as a kid on the ranch and on the hockey rink. How did hockey relieve stress for you?

Clint: Well I think you know I was doing something that I could channel all my focus into, so I didn’t really have time to think about my disease. And for me that was where I was thinking only about the thing I loved, rather than the other stuff. For me that was really the only thing that really got me away from my troubling thoughts and disease.

Me: That happens a lot, when you are really concentrating on something, your symptoms sort of tend to go in the background and you can really function well. I know that happens to me too.

Clint: Yes, the only problem is it’s hard to get into that zone of concentration, you almost have to be forced into it. In my situation, because I wanted to be so good at hockey, you are almost forced into that zone, because it is so hard to get your mind out of what you’re going through.

Me: 4) With all that was going on in your head, the anxiety, the post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), the Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), the insomnia, and later, the alcohol addiction, you somehow found a way to be functional, much of the time! How did you manage that?

Clint: Well it was through many trials and errors. Medication, and many therapies and again, self medicating even, thinking that that was a solution, not the best solution, but thinking it gave temporary relief from myself. Many different things, you know it’s been a long road.

Me: It definitely has! You know you’re a year younger than me.

Clint: Oh I am?!

Me: Yes you are! I was born in 1960.

Clint: Just barely (laughs.)

Me: Yeah! So… It hasn’t been that long, OK?

Clint: Laughs heartily 🙂 OK.

Me: Ok! (laughing.)

Me: 5) What would you think of a person who had done everything as you’ve done, become an NHL goalie, a wonderful father, all the while suffering from some very difficult mental health issues?

Clint: Well I guess that reflects back on the question of weakness and hiding and I would have to give that person credit for being strong and persevering through it all. I guess at the time for me I thought I was weak, and wanted to hide it. Now looking back at everything I’ve been through, I would have to say that person was really strong and persevering.

Me: Absolutely. That is the thing I was struck the most by when I was reading your book, is how strong you were! Whether you knew it or not, how strong you were to have survived all that you have. You know not everybody can come through all that you have.

Clint: Well trust me, I didn’t think I was strong and I thought I was weak, and when you’re going through all that, you are not thinking the same way as you are now, looking back at it.

Me: Right. Well because the illness makes you feel weak because you don’t feel like you have control over your emotions, you don’t have control over maybe sometimes, your actions. So it sort of takes that control and strength and it makes you feel weak, but really when you’re coping, you ARE strong.

Clint: Well and the stigma attached to it makes you feel weak. The society and the stigma with mental illness…

Me: That’s is absolutely true. I don’t want to tell people… I mean I do tell people now but I didn’t used to want to tell people that I have bipolar disorder. Because then they would think “You’re crazy, I don’t want to have anything to do with you.”

Clint: Exactly, because that is the misunderstanding, lack of understanding, lack of education. If you have diabetes or lets say an illness, and you needed to work at home a little bit or need time off for treatment, then you’d certainly go to your boss and say “Look, I’ve been diagnosed with something and this is what I have to do,” and the boss would say “We’ll help you in any way we can.” But if you have mental illness, you’re not even going to tell your boss, because of what the perception is.

Me: Yes. People don’t understand. And they also think that just because you have a mental illness, that you’re a dangerous person. When in fact, people with mental illness, as a percentage, commit far fewer violent acts than people in the general population. But it just comes with that territory, unfortunately.

Clint: I agree.

Me: 6) After the skate incident, the mask didn’t come off, it was still all bravado. What would you say to a young goalie/athlete who had suffered a similar injury now?

Clint: Oh I would absolutely say to see a therapist and maybe a psychiatrist and make sure you don’t develop full blown PTSD, which will magnify anything else along with PTSD, which comes in many forms, and illnesses like depression, anxiety. And to me, it is disturbing that there are 22 suicides a day with veterans! With PTSD, they survive the war but come back and end their lives because they can’t get the help they need.

Me: Yes, that’s really awful! That’s not a good way to pay back somebody who went and fought for your country. There’s so much in this society that really is just not the greatest. But I guess there are a lot of things that are.

Clint: Well we’re trying to make a difference.

Me: We are. And that’s one of the reasons I started my blog too, so, I feel we have that in common.

Clint: Well I commend you for that. No really.

Me: Thank you so much! And your book! My goodness! I sobbed through parts of it, smiled through other ones, and I was just really really incredibly amazed at how strong you are. You just have to know how strong you are!! You have to be very proud of that!

Clint: Thank you… Well, I still don’t see it… you’re telling me that, it’s incredible, I still don’t see it as strong. I don’t. And it’s probably a shame and it’s probably due to the stigma and you know, I guess it is strange, but for me I still don’t see it that way. Because maybe it was just survival. You know, I am probably like you, some days I just try to get through the days. And I think people that are in the dark place right now, it’s a struggle just to get through a day.

Me: True, very true. But, BUT, you don’t see it but think of it as… that’s why I asked you that question! That what would you think of a person who did everything you did along with all mental illness that you had and you said they were strong! Didn’t you?

Clint: Yeah, yeah, yeah, I did!

Me: So, you did.

Both of us laughing :-))))

Me: So now what do you think? 

Clint: Well, we don’t always look at ourselves in the same light as other people do.

Me: I know! We give other people so many more breaks than we give ourselves.

Clint: That’s true.

Me: 7) How did you first realize that you in fact did have mental illness? What were your first symptoms of mental illness? I know even as a child, you had a lot of anxiety.

Clint: You know I didn’t feel normal as a kid. And I know that I had the anxiety as a kid. And probably there was some depression in there, but the anxiety overwhelmed me to the point where that’s all I really knew. But I didn’t feel normal. I really thought the other kids were doing better, functioning, happier. And so I’d ask my mum questions, off the wall things and… but I think I just made it through until the accident (skate to the throat while playing as a goalie in a Buffalo Sabres’ game, March 22, 1989) happened and that just seemed to blow everything up in my face, as far as the anxiety, depression, OCD. It was hard for me to leave the house, and I wasn’t diagnosed with PTSD then. That didn’t come till later, but I guess what the accident did to me, was magnify everything! And it wasn’t long after the accident where I was diagnosed with OCD and depression. So I guess that was when I was really diagnosed.

Me: Right, right. So in a way, I mean not helpful, but in a way it sort of highlighted things that needed to come out, and so you got help after that I think.

Clint: Yeah, it brought everything to the surface.

Me: 8) How would you define insight? 9) And was that helpful in your life?

Clint: How would I define insight? I think insight for me it comes with age and wisdom and experience. You have a better way of breaking things down and that’s helpful and knowledgeable, with age. That’s insight.

Me: Right, right. So about yourself, in that sense, knowing, saying OK, I’m acting this way because maybe because my OCD is acting up or I’m acting this way maybe because… in that sense. Like when I get manicky or depressed, I sort of, at certain points, have insight and think this is the sick me, this isn’t really the normal me. Do you ever think that?

Clint: Well, now I am very in tune with my emotions and my thoughts. Today, I am very, very cautious. If I start to feel anxious or depressed, I have to immediately stop my day and check my emotions, check my thoughts. How are they related, you know, I have to have that insight. I also have the awareness and what do I do, why am I going there, what’s going on and really get my balance?

Me: Exactly! I mean people who are mentally ill and have a lot of insight, I think generally do better with their illness than people who don’t know why anything is happening.

Clint: Well yeah, I think it takes a lot of learning though, to get to that point. You know it’s taken me years to understand why my thoughts make my emotions go that way and and vice versa. So experience has taught me that.

Me: True! And also, you have to know yourself. For me, if I can say “This is not me, it’s my illness”, that’s insight.

Clint: Aah, yes! You have to be able to make a division between what’s real, what’s sickness, what’s a trigger. If I have a chemical imbalance, I know it’s not me, it’s the sickness. And I have to address it. It’s not normal, so I have to get to my normal state.

Me: Exactly, exactly! And if you can do that, it really does help you. Then you can call up your doctor and say “Listen, I’m not feeling well because of this, this, and this.”

Clint: Right, yes! You have a place where you can say, well this is what normal feels like and this is what sick feels like,

Me: Exactly, and that helps with treatment, and that helps you cope with your illness, and that helps you get better.

Me: 10) On the ranch, when you were young, you saw coyotes killing calves! You killed a bear at 14! Bull smashing planks and falling on you. Rodeo… Rush… adrenalin. All these things seem to be quite anxiety provoking. How do you think these affected your growing into a young man with anxiety?

Clint: Well I don’t think those things made me anxious. In some ways, people would say you can face these dangers, these things, so in some ways they brought me confidence, because a lot of kids weren’t doing what I was doing. Even though I didn’t feel normal, they couldn’t do what I could do, so that made me feel better.

Me: Right. You know in some ways, it almost sounds like you were courting these high risk activities to bring up the levels of your neurotransmitters, because that’s what happens, when you’re in a high stress situation, your brain is making the chemicals that makes you feel better.

Clint: Yes, I would agree, that adrenalin and I think it helped me. Because even though I didn’t feel normal, those kids couldn’t do this and it made me feel better,

Me: Wow! To other kids these things would be scary and you were out there going “Hey, I can do this! This is good, I’m good with this”

Clint: Exactly.

Me: Wow, you were an amazing kid too!

Me: 11) Your father was a raging alcoholic, with rages and destruction. You say “You hold on to the happy pieces and try your best to leave the worst in the rubble, but the dust of it all clings to you.” Was internalizing the way you dealt with this? How do you think your life would have been if your dad had gotten treatment? In your book, there were many instances when you and your mum were traumatized by his action.

Clint: Yeah, but I try to ignore that, because so many families are like that, you know. You know I try not to blame my father.

Me: I understand you don’t want to blame him, but just see what happened, just know what happened.

Clint: Yes I often wonder if he was mentally ill.

Me: Yes. A lot of times people who are alcoholic are self medicating.

Clint: And especially back in those days, we talk about how far we have to go yet. If you think about back then, it was not talked about at all. If it was very, very severe, they’d be locked up.

Me: Yes, yes, I know that some of my father’s siblings used to be locked up at home some of the time. I’m thinking bipolar d/o. And back in the 30’s, 40’s in India, mental health treatment was probably worse than here.

Clint: And they would say they’re crazy, lock them up and that’s where society was back then.

Me: 12)What would you say to someone who was struggling with a parent’s substance abuse problem?

Clint: What would I say? Aw man, I would try to get you to get help. Because you can’t force them to get help, and they’re in their own sickness so I would try to encourage somebody that’s around them, especially a teenager or something to get help or counseling or Al-Anon would do it.

Me: Wow that’s great advice. 

Clint: Yeah, so they can try and understand the illness and themselves and their parent.

Me: So true. Because if you can help yourself, then you can help somebody else. And if you’re in a tizzy over things, then you can’t help anyone.

Clint: No, at that point, you have no direction, so getting help, counseling, or Al-Anon would give you direction.

Me: 13) You say: “I harboured a lot of resentment towards the people I cared about—particularly women.” Why do you think that was?

Clint: Probably because of the failed marriages.

Me: 14) Playing hockey in the NHL meant obsession, hard work, constantly playing hockey. An “I have to be the best!” mentality. Obsession and compulsion, a double edged sword, that’s what allowed you to play at the elite level to play for the NHL, but at what cost?!

Clint: I think what I was trying to say there was, the obsessive compulsive disorder got me to work so hard that it helped me make it to the NHL and stay there. I think once we talk about my life, I don’t know if that would be worth it. I mean it got so bad, I couldn’t function as a player or a person.

Me: 15) When you got the Staph infection in your leg and the doctors said you wouldn’t ever play again. You said “They didn’t know the will inside of me. “Sometimes my obsessive personality was a curse. In this case, it was a blessing.” Your enormous amount of physical and mental strength got you back on the ice! Seems like when you had to be strong, you found the strength. Would you say something about that?

Clint: Yes, I think that would be the obsessive compulsive part. You know sometimes, you don’t even rationalize things. It’s all my doctor saying that to me, I didn’t even rationalize it because there was no sense. It was me saying in my head “I was going to make it, whatever it took.” So (laughing) I didn’t even hear the doctor. You know, I didn’t really register.

Me: Wow, such strong will!

Clint: Yes, it was.

Me: You mean because of the obsessive compulsiveness, you did what you needed to do to get back on the ice?

Clint: Yes, no matter what! No matter what somebody said, the doctor, or anybody.

Me: 16) You say: “As soon as the puck dropped, I was transfixed. I didn’t hear the crowd. It was just a hum in the background. Ability to concentrate while playing hockey”… You were in the zone! Right? Can you talk about that a bit, please?

Clint: Right. I think yes, the zone exactly, it’s like the zone, it’s like you’re doing it, it’s automatic, it’s getting the result. But for me it’s also, to attain that zone every game, it’s impossible, but you always strive for it. But for me, I had two zones, the one with the relief, I felt for not having to deal with my demons in my head, because I was so focused on playing and watching the puck and stopping the puck. So you know I had two zones, one was for a relief from my demons and the other was for trying to be in the zone as an athlete.

Me: 17) “Single-minded obsession is the most critical skill a goalie must have.” The very skills you needed to do what you loved, were also the traits taken to extreme, that were part of your illness. On the one hand, these made you a star goalie, on the other hand, they almost cost you your life. If you didn’t have these traits, perhaps you wouldn’t have worked so hard and been a first rate goalie. Do you think that may have been the case?

Clint: Oh for sure! Yes. That was the OCD. I credit the OCD for getting me into the NHL, but then it overtook my life. A lot like I think with Robin Williams, his incredible comic genius brought him fame and fortune and it was so instantaneous and everything. But when he was alone with himself, with his demons, it’s the extremes, just like extreme bipolar, you’re in two different poles, you know? So, his blessing was also his curse. And it was the same for me.

Me: Yes and he also had some drug problems, I think.

Clint: Yes, and that was the self medication probably. I mean, I didn’t drink to get high. I drank to get relief and to numb my thoughts and emotions.

Me: 18) You developed PTSD after your neck injury, a major life threatening injury, you were having bad dreams and just awful symptoms. And nobody really did anything. How do you think helping people with sports injuries can be accomplished?

Clint: I think they’re addressing it, they are making new rules in hockey for it. There is counseling for traumatic head injury, not just for the player but for the family. So I think that’s a big step. I think the next step would be having more of a support for players, that they can confidentially talk to someone. Just like they do with substance abuse. They can confidentially reach out and I think that would be good.

Me: Wow, that’s a great idea. So if you don’t want anyone to know, you can still get the help you need.

Clint: Exactly.

Me: 19) After reading the part in your book about the shooting accident/incident, the cocktail of meds that the psychiatrist gave you, which contributed to the shooting incident, and then the next doctor told you that they should never have been given together and at those doses. Do you think the shooting could have been a result of being on the wrong meds?

Clint: You know I can’t honestly answer that. I think they contributed to it. Whether I would have done it either way, it’s hard to say. I believe that they contributed to it.

Me: Yes, yes. I mean as much as psychiatric medications help, they also have some really strange side effects, like hearing voices and strange things like that. And you were given things that shouldn’t have been given together and not at those doses, not good!

Clint: Well that’s true. I think the doctors are still working too.

Me: You’re such a nice guy! You really are a very nice person!

Clint: (Laughing.) So are you!

Me: Awww! Thank you!

Me: 20) Your story is such an enormously powerful one. Against all odds, because of strength and love, you are still here!!! How do you feel, dodging a potentially lethal neck injury from a skate, respiratory arrest, and literally dodging a bullet?

Clint: Well, I think everything I went through, there was a reason. And I think that we all have a purpose in life, unfortunately we’re always searching for that purpose. I feel my purpose now is to speak on mental health and to help. Whether it be the book or speaking or just be an advocate for mental health and also getting rid of the stigma. I used to think my purpose was to play in the NHL, and then I did that. Then I thought it was to coach in the NHL, and then I did that. The way I look at those things, and everything that I’ve survived and gone through is the reason, my real purpose is, all those things happened so that I could speak and help people with mental illness. Having played and coached in the NHL gives me a platform to reach out and speak and be heard because I played and I coached. And now people know who I am. And I think all that happened, and all the things I went through as well, is for me now to be in a place where I know my purpose.

Me: That’s amazing really, when you know what you’re supposed to be doing and you do it! Do you have a lot of talking engagements? Are you going all over Canada and the US talking about this?

Clint: I am getting more and more.

Me: Great! I thought about something, since you have a ranch, you could do some equine therapy for mentally ill people. As you know horses are amazingly healing animals. And a lot of people who have mental issues can benefit from equine therapy 🙂 Would you do that?

Clint: Yeah, I have a few ideas about what to do and how to help and that’s one of them.

Me: You could have Canuck Ranches all over the US and all over Canada.

Clint: Well that would be awesome if that happened. Yeah.

Me: Yes it really would. Well, we are at the end of my questions. I also wanted to say that your wife is amazing too. As amazing as you are, she might even be a little more amazing than you!

Clint: Well what’s really incredible is that when we go for book signings, people that have read the book already, they want her to sign the book. Pretty cool!

Me: I would definitely have asked her if I’d gone to a book signing. She is an amazing woman. Is there anything you’d like to say or add to these questions?

Clint: You have to keep up your good work. I think you’re doing a great job. You know, together, people like us can make a difference. Always remember that!

Me: Thank you. And thank you SO much for agreeing to answer questions and being so gracious and open and honest. Would you like me to send you a transcript of what I am going to post on my blog?

Clint: No. I’ll just follow your blog now. (Big smile on my face.)

Me: Oh good. Yaaay.

Clint: Yes, and I’ll try to get others to do the same.

Me: Oh my goodness, that would be great. Thank you. You are am amazingly strong and wonderful person! It was lovely to talk to you and thank you again.

Clint: Same here. Bye.

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