By now, I’m sure most of you have seen and heard the radio interview Barret Robbins gave to CBS Houston on the Super Bowl loss, his role in the team collapse and his own struggles with bipolar disorder.
I don’t have a lot to add about the game aspect and whether Cuntlahan threw the game or not. We can debate what really happened that week till the cows come home but the truth is we’ll never know the full story.
Instead, I want to talk about bipolar disorder. As I have mentioned before on this site, I too suffer from the illness in addition to borderline personality disorder. I don’t have the time to go into details about either of these – I’m writing this at 1am and I need to sleep – but the idea that medication solves all issues is a fallacy.
While bipolar medication is useful, the fact is that being on it fucking sucks. Like really. All the stories you've heard about it turning people into zombies is very true. I got prescribed it at 10, but stopped taking it at 16. No matter what happens to me, I'll never go back to taking it. I'd rather self-medicate for the rest of my life, however short that may be, than take the meds again. Self medication may be dangerous and I certainly wouldn't advise it for anyone, but it's the only thing that works for me.
I can understand why Barret wasn't taking his meds, as much as it cost the team and in the end himself. Maybe he should have had it written in his contract that he needed to be taking them, but it probably wouldn’t have helped him much anyway if he was in as bad a state as they say. The only thing I’ll bring up regarding the game; if Callahan really did fuck around with the gameplan the Friday before, he basically pushed Barret off a cliff. I know that the most comforting thing for me is having some sort of routine. When that gets jolted, things often take a turn for the worse for me. A massive change just before the Super Fucking Bowl? Why not just drive the guy to fucking Tijuana, give him a bottle of tequila and tell the fans we’re up shit creek with no paddle? (Pardon my swearing. I can’t help being Australian sometimes. That’s one thing beyond my control. At least I didn’t drop any c bombs).
However, as someone who battles the illness every day, I'm proud to see that he's taking responsibility for his actions and turning his life around. I went down the "blame the illness/blame everyone else" stage for quite a while especially with regards to my own legal and personal problems, but once I realised I was gonna be a dad I knew I had to man the fuck up and realise that I ultimately am an individual with free will who has always acted upon it even if driven by inner demons.
I, like MAK, am on record saying that I want to see Barret return to Oakland and light the flame. One of the biggest turning points in my life was going to see my old friend who I made a tetraplegic in a motorbike crash, apologising to him and letting my baby sit on his lap. I doubt he will ever truly forgive me for essentially taking his life, but all I can do is beg and hope. I'm still trying to track down the other person who I fucked over and one day I hope to meet him again.
For Barret, returning to light the flame would provide him, the Raiders and the fans with some true closure for one of the darkest periods in our team history. More than that, his return, hopefully with his life going a bit better, acts as a beacon of hope to sufferers of mental illness that there is hope out there. That you can turn things around, that there is a light at the end of the tunnel as long as you want to find it enough.
That if home is the Raider Nation, you can always come home.