My wife and I sat nervously awaiting the psychiatrist to call us into her office. I was anxious to see this doctor, as I’d been trying to get my wife to seek marriage counseling with me for months. The fifteen-minute wait seemed like hours as we sat glaring at each other. I was sure the psychiatrist would side with me, and tell my wife that she needs to get her act together and do something with her life. Finally, the doctor called us in. I proceeded to sit by myself on the couch, twenty feet away from both of them. That’s when the doctor said to me, “Jeff, tell me what’s going on.”
I stood up to my full six-foot-four-inch height and, in an extremely animated manner, all the while inching my way closer to them, blurted out in rapid fire, “I’ll tell you what’s going on. I am a film producer, record producer, Plus Size Women’s clothing manufacturer, I know Thai Chi, and I am now taking kick boxing,” which I proceeded to demonstrate with a double punch and kick through the air. “I do all these things and she,” pointing my finger at my wife, “does nothing!”
I was ever so proud of my performance. I could hardly contain myself as I turned away to sit back on the couch, knowing full well I had to have won the doctor over. I stared with conviction at the doctor, as she said, “Can you excuse me for a second?”
“Sure,” I said, as I proceeded to pose on the couch with my legs crossed, arms stretched out, smirking at my wife thinking, now what do you have to say for yourself? Minutes later, a swift opening of the door harshly interrupted my egotistical gloating. Startled, I quickly glanced over to see two police officers and the psychiatrist walking towards me. One of the officers stretched out his hand as if to grab me, and said, “Mr. Zinn, could you please come with us?”
I was in shock. Why were they here? What had I done? It was not until we made our way completely across the street that I realized we were headed towards the psychiatric hospital.
I stopped dead in my tracks and asked the officers, “Why are we going here?” They responded by saying, “Mr. Zinn, it is the opinion of your doctor and wife that we admit you into the psychiatric ward.” I felt like a truck just hit me. All my blood rushed out of my head into my gut. This cannot be happening to me. I went from feeling like I was on top of the world, to wondering if I had any sense of reality. I blurted out in desperation, “It’s my wife, not me!”
Hours later, after interviews with various medical people, they forcibly strapped me to a gurney and injected me with various anti-psychotic drugs. They then transported me to the hospital’s psychiatric ward where I was involuntarily committed for five days.
Thank God I was diagnosed with Bi-Polar 1 disorder.
Prior to the time of admittance to the psychiatric hospital, I had it made. I earned more than $350,000 a year, and was well respected in the most competitive business, city, and industry in America -- the fashion apparel business in midtown Manhattan, the garment industry capital of the world. I was living the American Dream. I had a beautiful wife, two sons, a million dollar home, three Mercedes, and more friends than I could ever dream of. In other words, I was miserable.
Beneath the surface, I lived an extremely stressful life. I spent three hours a day commuting back and forth to the city on a train. I worked more than sixty hours a week, and flew all over the country up two weeks out of every month. My physical health deteriorated rapidly. I was forty pounds overweight and taking Maalox every day for acid reflux. I had high cholesterol, eczema, psoriasis, gout, sleep apnea and -- worst of all -- a bad case of dandruff! I was surely on the path to an early grave.
The five years following my diagnosis proved extremely difficult. I was given every combination of pharmaceutical drugs and creams known to mankind, and more…I was taking 1,000 mg of Lithium for mood stabilization, tried seven or eight anti-depressants, Allopurinal for gout, Valium and Ambien to sleep, two different prescription creams for my eczema and shingles, and a Sam’s supply of dandruff shampoo. I closed my business and proceeded to have four jobs in three years. The acute stress and body pain triggered frequent panic attacks, and I was falling into a deep depression. Just thinking about how to pay the $20,000 a month in overhead, plus the surge in medical co-pay costs, made me suicidal. I was breaking down rapidly.
On March 5, 2005, thank God my psychiatrist told me to cease and desist my occupation immediately. Relieved, I sat and cried outside the doctor’s office for what seemed like an hour. I kept thinking, all I have to do now is find a new career, downsize my lifestyle, sell my home, find a new identity (since I no longer was the successful garment center executive that everyone admired), and TELL MY WIFE! Telling my wife I quit my $350,000 a year job was going to be as easy as walking in front of an 18-wheel truck carrying gasoline, with me holding a torch.
I thought that finding a new career was going to be a snap. Heck, everyone called me the greatest salesman ever. I could sell sand to an Arab, everyone always said. First I determined to make some quick cash as a Limo Driver. Right! I was a limo driver that was forever lost. Second, I thought I could be the best Surveillance Camera anti-theft protection salesman ever. Instead, I became an anti-theft evangelist, who gave away the cameras to protect the poor business owners from their employees and customers stealing from them. My last attempt at employment was as a substitute high school teacher. I would have been the best ever if I could have stopped jumping out of my chair in panic every time the bell went off!
Thank God my psychiatrist told me that she was declaring me permanently disabled because of my acute stress and high anxiety, Bi-Polar I diagnosis, and DANDRUFF. I even came up with a name for my condition – I call myself “TRI-POLAR.”
Thank God I listened to my wife years before and purchased disability insurance. Certainly it was not even close to what I was making, but we could get by. We were lucky to sell the house before the crash in ‘06 and downsize our lifestyle accordingly. Now that I had downsized our life I decided to do the thing I had always wanted to do – become the most famous stand-up comic in the world. I would show everyone once and for all I could come back and make it big. I took classes for four months and made my debut on Broadway in New York City. I was so funny that my wife filed for divorce for mental cruelty.
Thank God I got divorced October 3, 2007. The divorce was both extremely expensive and emotionally crippling. During the divorce I sank into a deep depression once again, and checked myself into a facility that treats individuals with depression, Bi-Polar disorder, and co-dependency. It saved my life. I also got to practice my comedy in the group sessions.
Thank God I met my astrological guide and New Best Friend in May 2006. At this point, most of my “friends” had deserted me, my wife had negotiated me out of my house, and I spent that summer working as a basketball coach at a sleep-away camp in the Catskills. At least I had a place to stay.
When I returned home after the summer of 2006, I began to talk more with my friend the astrologer. She opened up to me that she had been diagnosed six years before with Multiple Sclerosis. She explained that everything happens for a reason. I found out that she understood what it was like to live in fear of what each day might bring. My friend seriously studied psychological astrology; and as she delved more and more deeply into my natal chart, the answers to questions I’d always asked myself began to fall into place.
Why did I focus on my grandfather, the honored philanthropist Harry Zinn; and why did I yearn to be like him? Why did I want to protect the underdog, help those in need, and make the world a better place? Why, when I was manic, did I give away $100,000 to charity? The answers lay in the fact that when manic, my words reflected my true and deeply felt humanitarian desires; but my mania distorted my actions.
I began to earnestly study books on gratitude and positive intentions. I soaked in the knowledge that one needs to give to others to receive abundance. I learned to appreciate the gifts that God gave me instead of focusing on the material losses that I had incurred. I began to surround myself with people who care about changing the world one person at a time. The more I followed a more spiritual path, the more I effected positive change, not only for myself, but also for those closest to me.
So, in review, I am now bankrupt, divorced, disabled, and I Thank God I am the happiest I’ve ever been.
It was because of everything I have shared with you that finally connected me to the people at Thank God I… The process of writing this story in the hopes that I may help others with similar challenges have instilled in me the greatest satisfaction and personal accomplishment I have experienced. I now am fully aware of how the act of giving and following a more spiritual path is far more important than all the wealth and material possessions I could acquire.
I plan to use the Thank God I… Book Two as a springboard to finally manifesting my dream of helping others like myself.
I am so grateful for those people who have stayed with me during this process. Finally, I am grateful – as I move along on my spiritual journey – that my path continually directs me towards my higher purpose and allows me to connect with the greater good of the universe. Although I know I have only just begun to downplay my ego and nurture my soul, I realize I must always be on guard to monitor my mood swings and stay in the moment. It’s too easy to stray toward the illusions of false paths to happiness
I am the kind of person who doesn’t “get it” until the truck, that has already hit me once, turns around and is headed towards me again… to that I now say, “Thank God, I got it. Thank God, I got it!”