Boston sports radio host Kirk Minihane revealed Thursday night that he had been absent from WEEI’s Kirk and Callahan for a few days because he checked into a hospital last week after experiencing suicidal thoughts. On today’s show, he elaborated on what happened.
Minihane spoke with co-host Gerry Callahan about how he considered killing himself, and how he rationalized those thoughts as acceptable. The audio is here, and a partial transcription is below:
For the first time in my life, I had suicidal thoughts. The way it manifested itself for me was I think I hid the fact I was thinking about doing it, by pretending in a weird way like I was almost doing research on it, so if you, Gerry, or you, Mut or Mike [Mutnansky], came up to me and said, “I’m going to commit suicide on Day X, and I’d like you to put together a plan for me,” that’s how I started to think about it. I read books, I went online, and if you want to go online for it, like anything else it’s a rabbit hole. It never ends.
Minihane decided that he wanted to jump in front of a commuter train. Last Thursday, he went to the train station but convinced himself not to do it, and instead go to the hospital:
I was lying to myself, saying, “I’m going to look.” I’m thinking about it, thinking about it, thinking about it. And there I was, at 8:00ish, wandering around the Wedgemere train station, going around the parking lot, walking around the field around there. A few minutes before, I stood in front of my car and said, “I don’t want to do this. I don’t want to die.” But I also know this thing in my head that keeps talking about this, saying “examine this” and “look at this” and “look at this” and the word “suicide, suicide, suicide,” and the fact how I felt internally, and how I felt for the last couple of weeks, I felt like I was having a heart attack almost all of the time. I was having a hard time breathing. I was also playing this character on the air, who was feeling good. Around my family, who was feeling good. Talking to my brothers, who was feeling good, and joking and doing that. Meanwhile, I was sort of dying on the inside. I said, “I simply cannot live like this anymore. I have to give up whatever power I have.” And I drove the car to Winchester Hospital and walked up to the emergency room woman and said, “I’m having very dangerous thoughts.” That was the beginning of five days of hospitalization. I went in, and feel a little better now.
Minihane attributed his depression to a combination of things, including both of his parents dying within two months last summer, and a person who has been “trying to bring down our show.” Recently, one listener contacted WEEI’s advertisers and had a sit-down meeting with the station after the show’s hosts made offensive remarks while discussing a news story about a transgender 4-year-old.
There was a burden I didn’t handle well in this last year. You know, just between A) my parents and honestly, B, the thing—and I have to get past it, I don’t know why I’ve been so hyper-focused on it—is this guy who’s been, you know, trying to bring down our show, honestly, and I have not handled that well. I should just say, this is a bad guy who’s trying to screw with us, but I think, moved the anger I have still about my parents, it’s kind of unresolved, and all that stuff—I’ve festered that and sort of allowed myself to get hyper-focused on this person who’s not worth a second of my time. And I will never be bothered with him again. He can do what he wants to do. And I just have to move on. I just have to stop getting worked up about stuff like that. I have a great life. I have a great family. I have a great job. I work with people who I love.
Kirk Minihane’s job involves punching down, picking on marginalized groups, and harassing any critics to come on his radio show so they can be cornered and berated. If a critic chooses not to fill some airtime by getting ambushed, Kirk calls them a coward and gets his followers to harass them.
With Minihane’s permission, the show then took callers. One listener (at the 29:30 mark) who said he had suffered from depression suggested that sometimes it comes from an inner conflict, and wondered if Minihane’s radio persona created a conflict with his personal life. The host dismissed that possibility.
MINIHANE: I had depression before I was here, while I was here, I’ll have it after I’m here. I do think there’s layers of stress to that, obviously. There’s no doubt. We know that. But that’s also—I mean, I care about my show more than, say, Rich [Keefe] does or Dale [Arnold] does—I just do, I mean more than anybody.
CALLAHAN: Which is not always healthy.
MINIHANE: I just think I care more than anybody else to the point where it gets unhealthy.
MINIHANE: That’s all. I also happen to be more successful than anybody else here.
If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255.