Damaged Goods? Surviving Mental Illness… My way!

jared-covered-faceI sit here tonight, laying it all on the table…

For so long, I have been stuck in my own head, struggling to catch my breath! I’ve suffered most my life with mental illness. Diagnosed with severe anxiety and adult ADHD as well as long battles with deep depression. Yes, I am on medication. I’m sure a lot of you who know me have read the last sentence with a response of “oh, really? I wouldn’t have guessed!”  Or may be you knew all along, but it has taken me 36 years to understand it and use it to develop a life worth living. You may think I’m damaged, and believe me, sometimes I feel as though I am,  but i’m here to tell you that I am not and my successes are that much sweeter at the end of the day!

I’ve battled many days and nights with thoughts of what my funeral would be like, who would come, what stories would be told and how long it would take to be forgotten. I have gone so far as to think of play lists of songs to be played at the service, what videos of my life will be shown, what foods would be served and who’d speak of great moments in the life of Jared. Does this sound disturbing to you? Not to me! I’ve never gone to the edge or tried to take my own life, but my illness forces me to dive deep into this way of thinking. To me, it’s normal and on some occasions, it’s all I know. 36 years and I’ve masked my true self through humour and outrageous antics to ensure people around me don’t see this illness and just see ‘ME’ as the fun, adventurous, creative person they’d WANT to be around.

Ya see, the most creative people on the planet have been blessed and cursed with mental illness. It’s a completely different way of thinking that offers insight to various levels of human consciousness. We are able to reach deep down and connect with dramatic feelings away from the typical. It allows us to write incredible screen plays for movies, develop paintings that test the human experience and lets us connect with ‘dramatic’ emotions that ultimately possess the power to create amazing projects. For this, I embrace all this illness has to offer because, well… I have no choice. It’s embrace it or die. That’s how one sided it can be!

You take medication for your heart disease, or for your over active thyroid, but why is it looked upon with such judgement that IMore-JROD take medication for my faulty serotonin levels? Do you think it will make me less funny or compassionate? Less human? There is no such thing as normal, my friends. If there was, this world would be a pretty bland tapestry made up of the same repeated colour of yarn. The brain is an organ, and just like your heart, it too needs to be looked after, helped and jump started sometimes. The medication I take does not alter my reality or personality… It helps me maintain my humanity.

Adult ADHD and ME

ADHD to me, is not something I throw out there like others do who aren’t clinically diagnosed. ADHD to me, a clinically diagnosed recipient, provides a million thoughts at once without capability to choose which one to focus on and it can be crippling. I’m not hyperactive, but hyper thought – high functioning. I can sit in front of my computer and write a 40 page proposal for work, all while worrying about that pain in my back, why I can’t stop eating at 2am, what bills I have to pay, what friend I have to impress, the lengthly event ‘load in’ I have at a venue, the Star Wars Tshirt I want, where I’ll be in 15 years, Oh! I can’t get that song out of my head, how long it’ll be before I go home to lie in bed and what my death would be like – Ultimately, my funeral. To not control your thoughts is the scariest part, but again, I have found a way to harness it and guess what? BRAINSTORMING has never been easier. It’s taken me a lifetime to figure out the power I possess and how to harness it for everyday life. I can come up with eight incredible ideas to your one and you’ll never understand how! The hard part is, strategically making these ideas come to fruition and THAT part takes every ounce of energy I possess as my ADHD squeezes me breathless!

Intimate Relationships

This next paragraph is the hardest part of my illness –> Relationships! On a daily basis, I am contacted by friends and family who want to set me up with a girl they think would be PERFECT for me. Perfect? How can this perfect woman want to be with someone who has so many damaged goods? I’m going to be completely honest right now or this post would lose its purpose. I choose to be single (alone) because I think I’d burden the one I’m with. Sick right? No, it’s not. It’s my way of thinking! My relationships have been short and for the first time in my life, I can explain why. Imagine looking at your soulmate, looking into the eyes of this perfect woman in front of you and the only thing you can focus on is 20 reasons why Final-JRODshe’ll dump you or 20 reasons why you’ll ruin it and ultimately 20 reasons for hiding your true self – The illness! I am a unique and amazing individual, but I keep my distance to protect ‘my illness.’ Take that in for a second and really think! I choose to be alone to protect the one thing that damages ME! It comes down to this point, where the reasoning for not being intimate with someone is because you don’t want them to know this and losing them feels like you’d go over the top. This is the ONLY part of mental illness that makes ME selfish, because mental illness IS selfish! Think about that before you call someone who commits suicide selfish! You can never imagine how dark this reality is.

I write this not to gain sympathy from you, but to KILL the stigma and hopefully persuade more people who are suffering to stop holding it in! You’re not damaged – You’re unique (possibly gifted)! Robin Williams died yesterday and it hit me hard. He was the only actor I could relate to and so many of his roles reflected my way of thinking. He was a genius on all levels and you could tell he was suffering from internal issues. He talked about it. He tried so hard to entertain, provoke thought and inspire everyone around him. Even though I never met him, I connected with those sentiments he carried with him. I posted last night on Facebook about my illness and within 30 minutes, I had an incredible amount of private messages from people you’d have NO clue are suffering from similar issues. Not a few, but MANY! They thanked me for my bravery of speaking freely to the 1800 people on my Facebook. Some even said they could never do what I did. That hit home! Could it be that by laying it all on the table, I released my internal hurt? Suffering with this illness is SO individual! It’s not lonely, it’s debilitating and it alters reality for many. Telling me to JUST BE HAPPY is not in my DNA, literally, and saying it won’t make it so.

Jrod-final-2Today I start this column called DAMAGED GOODS in hopes to inspire true change and understanding for those who don’t understand. I’ll try to never plan my funeral in my head again, because my imperfection is now broadcasted; I don’t need to hide! Today, I vow to TALK and say those things that others will not say in hopes that my GREAT IMPERFECTION proves that this illness is a curse, but also a gift.

For once, I understand why I have this unexplainable disease is in my head —> It just is!

The on going battle continues….

An incredible video that really helps sum up the above:

In Response To Robin Williams’ Death, The Most Powerful Description Of Depression I’ve Ever Heard.

Jared Golberg.

From ‘Pop Culture’ to ‘POP SULFUR!’

I’m going to try and not say her name or reference her media hungry marketing plan TOO much, but it’s hard! Really really hard…

It’s very hard not to say the name Miley Cyrus at least once a day – and good for her! It worked – WELL DONE… She has made the whole word watch, drool, cheer, turn in disgust, gag and like I’m doing, write about her! It’s actually funny how calculated her new image is. It’s almost like pointing a finger at Gen Y and saying ‘YOU ARE SO PREDICTABLE!’ but I digress! This is not an open letter, nor an actual post about her. It’s the IDEA of Miley that really saddens me. Not like a parent, but like a music fan who ‘may be’ jaded (as a friend just told me), but simply who understands what it means to earn respect through true talent and hard work.. I AM sad….

Pearl Jam

The legendary PEARL JAM!

I grew up in the 90’s! An era that really changed pop culture forever! Heck, anyone will say their era changed the game, but let’s think about it for a sec!! The 90’s broke down walls, giving birth to an amazing urban pop/rap culture! Boys could wear earings in both ears, running shoes were EVERYTHING to style and backwards ball caps became the norm! Everyone was in a band – like, EVERYONE! With access to recording technology, instruments and albums written by icons who pushed away from over polished music to messy, sloppy, dirty sounds – a new generation exploded! The 90′ had a vision to break down corporate barriers by actual attacking the corporations! Pearl Jam fought Ticket Master and took a stance on something worth fighting for… Hip Hop made legends that to this day, paved a pathway for artists to build conglomerates through clothing, headphones, vitamin water and restaurants. What do we have today? Miley Cyrus….. Sigh!

Miley Cyrus

Miley Cyrus in all her glory

The 90’s…. well, I lived them and may be I am getting old, but pop culture today has been engulfed by flames and all its clothes have been burned off! Today, artists NEED shock to be noticed! Every pop song could be sung by any top rated pop star and there’d be no difference.. shows like X factor, the voice and American Idol have literally turned the music industry into an assembly line of (as they said in Starship Troopers), ‘fresh meat for the grinder’. I understand this is how money needs to be made and with the ‘EVER GROWING’ digital world, artists need to stay relevant a lot faster, but come on… Sell your soul and bath in dolla bills y’all! – What a message! It’s almost like artists do not trust their talent.. At all…

I never thought I’d say this, but I’m too old. I don’t get music today and I’m ok with that.  We used to say “if it’s too loud, you’re too old!” and that is DEFINITELY not the case anymore! I LOVE IT LOUD! I just don’t like, well, it!



I’m exhausted!

Literally exhausted…

Millions of posts… Millions of self proclaimed critics… Millions upon millions of  digital data comprised of selfies, memes and #LoveLife Instagram photos! If I see another picture posted with fifty hashtags spanning from #YOLO to #Shoelaces, I swear I’ll die from stupidity transfer (it’s become air born)! Endless posts of breakfasts, family BBQ’s, gym check ins and CATS…. CATS EVERYWHERE! I feel our daily productivity as human BEINGS has decreased substantially in order to capture online followers who seem to ‘like’ (insert thumb here) that white egg omelette and quinoa salad protein shake you shared online this morning via ALL your platforms!

Ok, I am completely blowing steam, but when you actually think about it, am I far off? Go take a look at your feed, RIGHT NOW! I’ll wait…..

What will the next generation gain from this online dichotomy? Obviously we won’t have historical data showing concrete social growth… Unless we’re ok with six second video clips of Will Sasso driving in California as Arnold Schwarzenegger. Don’t get me wrong, I can watch Will Sasso all day long on both youtube and Vine, but with over 55 hours of data posted online every hour, shouldn’t we have countless bites of historical representation of our generation? No, we have the narcissistic story of ME (I mean YOU!)…

I’ve become cynical, yes, I admit it, but with good reason. I used to believe  the internet and social platforms were the greatest gift created BY the people, FOR the people!  An open system to share ideas, meet like minded individuals and collect ‘useful’ information that will enlighten and ‘engage’ communities across the globe –  This open system is hanging by a thread and I feel like I’m the only one who believes this! To each there own, but if you’re reading this and believe all is well and that your Facebook and Instagram HAVN’T been hijacked by North American culture terrorists, well, keep posting pictures of cats using the hashtag #Adorable all you want.

I used to be seen as a thought leader online who promoted social platforms as a way to connect with your industry or community and I still believe this to be true. But as time goes by, concrete information is ultimately masked with tarnished journalism, un-factual facts and pictures/video’s taken out of context for virality (is that a word? IT IS NOW!). When I see spelling and grammar mistakes in crappy writing from top news portals, in order to be the FIRST to broadcast a story, ultimately THAT information is compromised – and so are we. It’s so hard to find the truth and the bombardment of CRAP has desensitized our culture.

We wait to hear the latest celebrity death like it’s bound to happen (WHO’S NEXT?). We constantly hear of our glorious Toronto Mayor drunk, posing for videos and pictures like it’s OK! It’s not, and no one does anything about it! I, myself am so fed up from clicking the entertainment section of ALMOST EVERY news portal to see that top stories are almost all about death, fraud, rape and schizophrenia – but I guess that IS entertainment after all, right?

This is a rant, I know! I’m not a professional writer, journalist or doctor of sociology, but HEY, everyone has a voice now, right? I just choose to be the cynical voice of doom for once because at this moment, I HATE HASHTAGS!!! For real!

Happy posting! Can’t wait to see pictures of your BBQ’d pork chop with honey glaze mint salsa #LoveLife!

That is all!


The Digital Staircase

The monster has grown and taken shape! The Digital Sphere —-> or ‘STAIRCASE’ as I now call it…

Jared Golberg's Timeline upgrade

I have not blogged in some time for purpose of staying out of an over saturated highway of banter regarding Social Media and its capabilities. I was content on sending and receiving micro snippets of content snacks via my Twitter and Facebook. It’s grown, taken shape and all that’s left is – ‘COMMUNICATION’. Nothing more, just endless opportunity of communication with peers, clients, partners, friends and family. What is Social Media, Really? My answer is – who cares!

With the formal release of Facebook’s Timeline this Friday, there is much anticipation on it’s impact for professional users and those who dabble. Will we like it, use it or be overtaken with backlash from this a grand overhaul? Have we turned into ‘over users’ without real connection, or have we translated digital platforms into our main means of communicating? Are children becoming ADD monsters with arthritis in their thumbs? Do we really need to be everywhere, online?

Over the last four years, I have swam in the deep end of the digital sphere, waiting for the end result. What i’ve learned is, there is no Social Media! I/we communicate the same way we always have, but it’s clear that the speed in which we deliver our messages have hit the ‘speed of sound’. Instead of one means of communication, we have hundreds! I for one use Twitter and Facebook to make plans, meetings and converse with friends. Very rarely do my friends and I SMS or even use Live Profile or Whatsapp. The phone has transformed into a worm hole, transcending messages beyond time and space. The iPad has transformed our ability to perceive images and information with the speed of touch. And the computer has provided the ability to handle multiple tasks with the swipe of a finger and a touch of a hot key. What does this mean for the ever rising digital staircase? How has/will this impact us moving forward once updates like Timeline provide the ability to dive deeper in ourselves and place emotions and history online…?

Body of my new Timeline Facebook page

I’ve been using Facebook’s Timeline for almost a week now and I love it. No, I am not worried about over sharing personal content or private content. It’s up to YOU to ensure your settings, application approvals and posts are catered to your needs. If you don’t want stuff shared, don’t share! Just stop whining! It’s very annoying! Social media is FREE!

Why am I rambling with undertones of Timeline and no real Focus? Well, that’s just it. We’ve created a never ending digital staircase, climbing with no real goal. It’s become a playground of people sharing, chatting and posting. With the ability to share everything from birth, we’ve created the ultimate portal of personal communication. Anyone can know who we are before an initial conversation! The impact of job application and resume delivery may change. The way we perceive co workers and friends may change and the function of email may also progress – all integrated within the growth of Facebook and it’s grasp of you. Obviously this is a personal view, but really, do you see the same thing? I for one cherish the ability to share. We are in the age of WE/ME and EVERYONE has a voice. Why not use it?

In closing, the new Timeline has shifted my focus back to professional use. The ability to personally brand your space, share photos and stories within larger real estate is much much better. The implication? When does it end? The sphere is still heavily over saturated and when Google+ launched, of course I tried it, but it just made me angry! I don’t want to be everywhere on applications that have the exact same purpose and feel! I want to be where it ALL works – FOR ME! After four years, I am still focused on the same applications I’ve always used and they have grown with me. All I need now, is integration into the progressional functionality of our daily jobs for this all to make sense… I want it all to work in unison!

Just my personal views…


It’s 1936, Canada! Let’s celebrate Fascism!! YAY!

Mr. Gil LeBreton! Hello sir… Welcome to Canada! We’ll take your personal belongings and you can join the other ‘NON’ Canadians in one of our lovely Vancouver concentration camps!  All day, you’ll stare at our ‘Maple Leaf,’ while working twenty hour days making hockey sticks for Sydney Crosby! Sound good? Oh, your hungry? There’s a maple tree ten yards out, here’s a straw…. Good luck!  

The above stems from an article I read Monday (which most of you have  read by now) by Gil LeBreton, a journalist from Texas comparing the sensation of patriotism felt by Canada to that of Nazi Germany during the 1936 Berlin Games. If you have not yet had the PLEASURE of reading his FANTASTIC views, read here before moving on! 

What a good looking uniform for our 'HARPER' Youth! Scary, but stylish none the less!

 I AM CANADIAN! Yes, I am, but I’ve never said it before. I never felt the need to. We live in a country where family, friends and personal experience has always been a heavy focal point. I am a musician, a writer, an event designer, Social Networker, graphic designer and a REALLY good friend. To me? That is Canada. A place where you can do MANY things with endless possibilities, test limits, learn different cultures, experience all four seasons and embrace stereotypes as personality traits because in all honesty – it doesn’t bother us! It really doesn’t!

Gil, you crossed a line from critiquing production, press and broadcasting to ‘fascist communication’ of a country completely assimilated to the worlds offerings – We ARE the cultural mosaic this world needs and by using the leverage of journalism, you have stirred controversy into an unlevened cake (oops, did I just poke a little Jewish humour? Mmmm.. Matzah).  I’m not going to be an angry Canadian, yelling for retribution from your words. I am, however, going to be civil and just write, as I like to do! Through the age of new technology and social platforms, I have a voice and so does 36 million other Canadians who own a computer, so I beg you Gil, do not hide, you brought this on. 

What we experienced as Canadians is nothing more than magical! Our country came together as ONE nation, ONE body with ONE goal! To be compared to Germany 1936 is wrong. As a journalist, you should have realized the backlash you would receive. Yes, you showed facts of ticket sales, venues heavily fitted with Canadian fans, the abundance of Canadian Jersey’s bearing our maple leaf, Canadian networks broadcasting Canadian Olympians and the amount of partying in the streets of Vancouver after incredible performances.  Our athletes, who trained night and day for years to sit on a podium in our HOME country, united a nation through sport and competition – NOT fascist views of a religion or people! We will not apologize for this and we never would have too! 

A gorgeous shot of the incredible structure bearing the flame for ALL nations, uniting the world for 17 days!

The torch is out… The streets are empty… The red and white flags bearing our ‘fascist’ symbol have been put away for another four years.  It’s back to business as usual. Our country, that saw many heroes, has digressed back to reality.  We have not united in imperialistic views to take over Buffalo and we are not building our military into ‘CTU,’ combatting every nation with minimal threat. I will say this though – For a split second, Sydney Crosby changed us! He showed Canadians that it’s ok to wave our flag! It’s ok to wear RED and we ARE powerful in something other than military or economics. We are a country full of people who want to live without fear or persecution. We are a country full of kind people, tolerant, accepting and hospitable! 

I am Canadian, Jewish and incredibly proud! That’s all… I’m done, Gil. I have to go meet one of my Muslim friends at an Indian Cuisine diner in Little Italy, so good luck… The next few weeks will be tough for you! 


Gil LeBreton has been kind enough to leave his number and email available! glebreton@star-telegram.com phone number: 817-390-7760 Feel free to speak your mind, Canada! 


Staying out of Social Media Rehab!

Yours truly fighting the digital addiction!

I just watched Surrogates this week! The movie features legendary ‘underdog’ action superstar Bruce Willis as a human being confused in a world of machines customized to the individual! It’s based in the future where humans are isolated and interact through surrogate robots of themselves. Yes, Sound familiar?

A Surrogate is engineered to your biology and functions in everyday life as if it were YOU! Scary thought, but certainly in today’s reality – not far fetched.

More and more each day, we are tapped into the digital sphere quick to dis-regard HOW it will affect our futures. A new platform is born and we begin to test its features. Quick ‘disregarded-ness’ (It’s a word, I made it up) is like taking a bullet to the chest! I’m a firm believer in finding your angle and running with it. If Twitter works for you, then stick with it! If WordPress is your outlet, then write as if your life depended on it! As quickly these platforms rise, others are rapidly dying, because, let’s face it, their features SUCK! So, again, stick with what works…

If you have been following my writing/Tweets or Aaron Kaufman’s ( @AKthe5th ), my partner in crime, you’ll know we leverage face to face connections through all our portals and work hard to ensure there is a human touch in everything we do! After all, we are an event firm and interaction is in our blood.

The reason I’m talking about futuristic cyborgs, is this: If human history has taught us anything, it’s that we make quick decisions without forecasting. A human made the Atom bomb without the question ––> SHOULD I? Of course my Macbook will not blow up into a large mushroom cloud (although lately I feel it may – I need a Macbook PRO), but more and more each day we tweet, status update and profile ourselves without real strategy – A definite gateway drug leading to rehab and my mommy told me never to take drugs! The anxiety of needing/wanting new platforms is definitely bad for your health and as more and more platforms arise, the more we have to acknowledge what our digital needs are to reach personal and professional goals!

Below are ways to stay out of social media rehab and slow down the process of becoming a surrogate cyborg. Social Media is a gift, BUT you must use it the best way to compliment YOUR needs! Being EVERYWHERE is not as helpful as you think… Choose wisely young padwans!

Stick with what works for YOU!

I mentioned this in the above, but it is vital to your fleshy and boney existence! Build your hub and run with it! I continue to use Facebook as my hub, hosting everything I do from Blogging, pictures, updates, groups and chats. Twitter is my push and connection to the community I reside in and WordPress fuels my creativity. I don’t detour from this and I have yet to find a new platform or application that works for ME! Don’t join Google Buzz because you feel the need to be EVERYWHERE. Focus and strategize your wants and needs and aim to meet your end goal!

Schedule your online presence!

As soon as I get to work, I use the first hour of my day to tweet, Facebook, answer DM’s and connect with my online community. I send out interesting articles and connect them back to what 5th Element Events does, or even to personal likes. It’s ok to build your PERSONAL brand online on the job. You represent your company online and it’s a necessity to build yourself as a thought leader. Just don’t spend all day tagging pictures of yourself drinking Patron. Next? Lunch! I can tweet and message while eating! It’s fun! And last but not least, 4:30pm – 5:00pm, I end my day with final thoughts and relevant information to leave people with! At home, I un-wind and rarely connect to the digital sphere – ALONE TIME IS KEY!

Ask questions!

This has ALWAYS been hard for me to do. For years, I always thought I needed to figure things out on my own in order to be recognized as a worthy employee. This is extremely hurtful. If you are unsure about anything, whether it be about a platform, application or even your hair style – ASK! Learning is asking! Get the answer and draw your conclusion. I havn’t touched Google Buzz yet because I have been researching and asking questions to see if it is relevant for ME! Sometimes you just can’t find the answers on your own and that’s ok.

Lately I have been writing more about the negative side of the digital sphere, but this is not because I don’t like it. I love it! I just have a feeling it’s moving too fast and younger generations are being conditioned to this quick digital evolution. The human mind is a very complicated map and I don’t think GPS will help you find your way! Only you can!


Are there consequences of rapid digital growth?

It’s 2010 and most are reflecting back over the past 10 years and analyzing the road taken to this point. I have thought long and hard over choices made and paths chosen… what’s next?

To say there was huge growth in Social Media in 2009 is repetitive and annoying (To say the least). We talk too long and too hard about ‘Social Media.’ We know it’s big! We know it’s changing fast, but are these changes affecting our lives positively or negatively? Don’t get me wrong, I am connected online for most of the day through various platforms and I love all it’s brought me, but as my good friend @JonCrowley mentioned in his post last week regarding connectivity 24/7, are there consequences for ‘NOT’ unplugging? Is there a need to stay digitally connected for fear of losing relevance? Who knows! I’m asking you….

A topic I adopted in 2009 is that of the ‘Thought Leader’. @ready2spark (Lara McCulloch) discusses this topic in her speaking engagements and is one of my choices for most inspirational  people of 2009. What is it? A thought leader is someone who directs the conversation online and leads the digital community in their discussions. Their topics, Tweets and postings are often shared through the digital pipeline and provides great content on trending topics. Most connected individuals aspire to become a thought leader and spend most their time online. with applications forming daily and new platforms being programmed equally as fast, the risk of overload can have consequences. These consequences are different for everyone and in order to protect your mind share, I suggest creating a plan to demolish the risk of burnout or even worse. You’ve built a great network and you DO NOT want to damage or lose it!

I have spoken often of keeping your network face to face. There are plenty of ways to develop your brand live and in person and I recommend taking steps to bring a more personal touch to your online adventure. One huge growth I absolutely love and look forward to starting myself in 2010 is video channeling. To take your brand one step further, try to create a youtube, Vimeo or Viddler channel. This will rejuvenate your passion and help create fantastic content for your community – and will also replenish your creativity. Hey, get your favourite tweeps and friends involved too. Flip video recorders are dropping in price fast and are an incredible tool (not to mention extremely portable). To sit and type is one thing, but giving your online presence picture and sound changes the game! It’s simple and a no brainer if you ask me. Take the time and have some fun.

Change is good, but know your limits and prioritize your outlets. Know where you need to be and ensure you execute your plan accordingly. Do not sign up for ‘EVERY’ platform in order to make your presence known. Stick with platforms that work for ‘YOU’ and run with it. If you run the risk of burnout and need change, add a new creative element that will accent your brand. My choice is video channeling, as mentioned above! It’s fun, personal and gives your personal brand the voice it truly deserves. It’s NOT new, but you can sense a huge shift in the amount of personal channels being born everyday. Time to begin my 2010 journey!

Keep a watch out for my new video channel!

Happy New year from @JaredGolberg


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