How to Bankrupt Your Business, Destroy Your Family, and Lose Your Mind

Well, it had to happen sooner or later, I suppose.

In today’s episode I share my own story of my decent into madness. Beginning with my early childhood flirtations with hypochondria, I take you all the way through my battles with depression, anxiety, agoraphobia, and depersonalization, right the way through to hitting rock bottom in early 2015 when I experienced a brief period of suicidal ideation.

If that doesn’t sound morbid enough, on the way we’ll encounter adoption, drugs, prostitution, strip clubs, brothels, lies, infidelity, gangland violence, ambition, failure, bankruptcy, nudists, modern art, tongue piercings, and my illustrious career as a dog shit picker-upper.


I’ve included some photos and links below to add a few visuals to the narrative, or just in case anyone thinks I might be telling porkies pies.


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Related Links

Hit me up on Twitter: @dannydwhittaker

Calls for investigation after brothel charges – Manchester Evening News

Clubland shooting victim named – BBC

Teen’s key-fob death is still a mystery  – Manchester Evening News

Skinbook: Facebook for 21st Century Nudists – TIME

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6 replies
  1. Gary Meade
    Gary Meade says:

    Call me a total weirdo Danny, but it was a pleasure to listen to this episode…..the whole 2 hours of it. I personally prefer the anecdotal over the academic, and found this one to be far more interesting than some of the previous, where sometimes I felt frustrated listening to a person who to me felt disconnected from the struggle they were attempting to treat. You have an incredible story and I’m keen to see your blog and YouTube for more.

    • Danny Whittaker
      Danny Whittaker says:

      Thanks, Gary. Yeah, I get that. I will be exploring more lived experience perspectives. I’ve been dragging my feet because it felt a bit hypocritical to ask other people to spill their guts while I remained vague about my own story.

      Anyway, I don’t think there’s any risk of me being accused of ambiguity after this episode. ~ Danny

  2. Chris
    Chris says:

    Thank you Danny for this look into some of your journey so far. The more I listen to the stories of others and reflect on my own, it seems to suggest to me that our experience of living is something that happens through us rather than by us – We are shaped and directed by so many influences constantly, most of which we are completely unaware of,what David Smail referred to as distal power, yet we believe we have more control than perhaps we do at the proximal level.

    We can describe/tell stories about what happens to us from our limited sensory stimulations and we automatically, invent, embellish, dream, fantasize layer upon layer – we are subject to many perceptual biases and blindness a good example is the invisible gorilla test where we see just the act of a simple counting test can prevent us from seeing significant changes to what is right in front of us.

    With his in mind I hope you can have more compassion for your lived experience Danny, many businesses fail within the first 5 years and it seems that what makes a success is largely down to random luck resources- right ideas, right time, right conditions, political, economic etc, right connections who you know etc.

    It is a strange world – here we are a loving predator species currently using earth like a toddler in a toy box, smashing and grabbing whatever we can – the political, economic, class etc systems we are born into accentuate the predator in us and diminish the loving capacity and we wonder why so many suffer.

    What if different systems came into being that focus on managing the predator while building up our immense untapped capacity for love?

    • Danny Whittaker
      Danny Whittaker says:

      Hi Chris,

      Thank you for your input. As always, a very erudite perspective.

      I think what haunts me isn’t so much my inability to navigate the circumstances that were beyond my control, but refusing to properly navigate the ones that were; being fully aware at the time that I could (and should) have lanced the boil, but instead, choosing pride over providence, so to speak, and rather than drown myself alone, I dragged other people down with me.

      That’s tough to live with. And so it should be. ~ Danny

  3. Brian
    Brian says:

    Hi Danny,
    I am glad I discovered your podcasts. The quality of your work and selection of your guests is excellent. This talks was very interesting, engaging.. vividly described… I really could see (imagine) different scenes and situations you spoke about and it made sense to me. My only objection relates to the end of this episode. As Prof. Rory O’Connor said in one of your older podcasts, talking about specific methods of suicide increases risk in some people. What I know from your podcasts is (I guess), that being honest and open about things is very important to you. Also, talking specifically in the end of this episode was probably not easy for you. ..but.. talking in details about specific methods increases risk in some people. I think that in some contexts it might be helpful to go through these things in detail, but in this case you don´t have control over the context/your audience (we don´t know who is listening). Do you think it would be possible to edit-out some of the specific details that you talked about at the end? Maybe add in a little comment to the audio in that place instead (something like “I won´t go into details because in some people talking about specific methods can actually increase the risk of suicide, but for a few weeks I was oscillating between doing it or not – and some part of me always stopped me because in reality I wanted to live (as you described)”). I think this is really important.
    Thank you and keep up! 🙂

    • Danny Whittaker
      Danny Whittaker says:

      Hi Brian,

      Thank you for the feedback. I appreciate the concern, and believe me it’s not a decision I made without a great deal of thought going into it. In fact, the section you hear on the podcast has already been heavily edited, as I originally spoke for about 20-30 minutes just on that period of my life.

      In preparation for this episode I consulted with some people from my (former) mental health support group who themselves had attempted suicide, and between us came to the following conclusions:

      Firstly, I never truly wanted to end my life, nor did I ever actually injure myself. I don’t think my situation counts as a true suicide attempt, and is more representative of somebody with disturbed thought processes engaged in reckless behaviour.

      However, even if it did, there’s a more important issue to be considered.

      When people discuss periods of suicidal ideation in vague terms it doesn’t do the severity of the situation justice. It’s not uncommon to hear stories of people who try to communicate their suicidal feelings yet find themselves dismissed by mental health services, and only wind up receiving treatment after they actually attempt suicide… and of course, only if they’re lucky enough to be unsuccessful in their attempt.

      One of the ways to resolve this problem is to make people understand just how severe the situation is in the first place. But how?

      The purpose of including this story in the episode was two-fold. Firstly, I want people on the outside to understand that depression and other mental health issues aren’t just some petty “woe is me” bullshit. There’s a huge difference between psychological negativity and genuine darkness, and only by communicating the content and nuance of the latter can we help people make the distinction.

      Secondly, and more importantly, I want to inspire people to not give a fuck. To not be embarrassed about speaking their truth. To be able to scrape the scum and shit from the bottom of the barrel and lay it all out on the table and tell people what they’re really going through.

      I think if people are only willing or able to communicate that they are “thinking about taking their life”, they risk being overlooked or not being taken seriously. Whereas being able to clearly communicate in graphic detail where their mindset is currently residing, that might just be enough to prevent them being dismissed as a “drama queen” or an “attention seeker”, and for somebody to sit up and take them seriously from the get-go without first requiring them to actually make an attempt on their own life.

      Of course, I have no research or statistics to back this up, but it’s a philosophy I believe in, and one I’ve developed through my own experience and bolstered by my communications with other people who have been through much worse than me.

      I hope it helps clarify my decision, Brian. And thank you for your feedback. ~ Danny


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