Scott – Rescued From Depression By Standup Comedy

Marcus and David,
I have to start by saying thank you. Your podcast is an inspiration. I read Marcus’ book and have been a fan ever since, so I was excited when I found the Team Never Quit Podcast. My never quit moment happened a year ago. I was diagnosed with depression in 2011, though I have battled with it my whole life. I grew up in a house hold where men don’t show emotion or feeling that was a sign of weakness. I was bullied unmercifully in grade school but never told my parents because I did not want to be thought of as weak or a wimp. So I internalized it. This became my standard approach to life, internalize it. The problem is you are always on guard for the bad so when it happens you can internalize it. What happens is, you miss the good even when you are there for it. I met and fell in love with my wife when we were in high school, she has seen me at my worst and has stuck by my side for the last 31 years, 26 years married. She gave my 3 beautiful daughters who have grown up to be successful strong young women of 17, 21, and 24 years old. For years I have been physically present but emotionally I have not. I worked so hard at turning them off early in life, I forgot how to turn them back on when I needed them. At times it was like at out of body experience, I could see the moments happening but could not let myself be apart and enjoy them and it started to tear my family apart. I don’t think people realize that after a while depression becomes a physical pain which can sometimes be unbearable. This causes many people to turn to substance abuse to make the pain go away. Sometimes the pain is so bad, you feel there is only one way to stop the pain, to end your life. It consumes you and you are not thinking clearly. Even though I had sought treatment since 2011, in 2015 I had reach that point. I felt I had only one option to make the pain go away. I even convinced myself that my wife and kids would have a better life after I was gone, that’s how crazy you get. I was at the end of my rope.
Now in 2002, I decided to try a lifelong dream of performing stand-up comedy. It came naturally to me. I rose in the locally scene quickly, getting pay work much sooner than other comics had in their careers. On stage I truly felt happy, having the power of bringing joy to people was exhilarating and I did it as much as I could. It was like a drug, I became addicted. If I did not perform for a while I became cranky and unbearable. If I had a bad set, same thing. As time went by I learned how the comedy game worked and witnessed the backstabbing and the jealousy. The thing that brought me joy became tainted. I kept doing it but it didn’t bring me the same satisfaction. I still did well but more from mechanics than passion. So the dissatisfaction with my passion and my depression causing me physical pain truly brought me to the end, my never quit moment.
On one of my worst days ever, a fellow comedian who I had become good friends with reached out to me and asked me to lunch. I met and he asked me how I was, he said he could tell something was wrong. I confided in him. He asked me to work with him on a show the upcoming weekend. He and another comic had started a company call Funny 4 Funds. It is a comedy night fundraising company that helps people maximizing their fundraising efforts. They have done amazing things. In 2 years they helped groups and causes raise over $2 million dollars. As they say they don’t book shows, they book moments. He wanted me to be part of it from the beginning. He was deaf til the age of 40, got the Cochlear ear implants and became a comic. He believes in paying it forward. Mike felt if I was involved with something where I was truly making a difference in other people’s lives that would help me. He could not have been more right. Not only did the thoughts of suicide go away, my drive and passion for life are stronger than ever. My relationship with my family especially my wife is in a great place. I now have my own branch of Funny 4 Funds and we recently launched the Behind the Funny with Funny 4 Funds podcast. Mike Murray, Bill Simas, and Funny 4 Funds truly saved my life. They were the divine intervention I needed at the exact moment I needed it. Sure I have bad days but helping groups with their fundraising, spending time with my family, and listening to your podcast lets me know that if you push through the hard stuff the good stuff is awesome.
Thank you for what you do.
Scott Higgins

Author: Scott