Episode 78: Eric Hipple, Depression Awareness
Eric Hipple is a former National Football League (NFL) quarterback whose ten-year career was spent with the Detroit Lions. In 2000, Eric’s then 15-year-old son Jeff died by suicide; since that time, Eric has devoted his life to building awareness and breaking down the stigma surrounding depressive illnesses. He is the author of “Real Men Do Cry,” which received a publisher Presidential Award.
Eric Hipple is a former National Football League (NFL) quarterback whose ten-year career was spent with the Detroit Lions. Born in Lubbock, Texas, and raised in Downey California, Eric graduated from Utah State University with a degree in Business administration and was drafted by the Detroit Lions in 1980.
Hipple’s accomplishments include two playoff bids, a divisional championship, and the Detroit Lion’s most valuable player award for the ‘81season. From 1995-2000 Hipple was the color analyst for the FOX NFL pre-game show in Detroit. Since his 15-year-old son Jeff’s suicide, Hipple has devoted his life to building awareness and breaking down the stigma surrounding depressive illnesses. Hipple received an honorary Doctorate for his work in Mental Health from his Alma Mater while giving the commencement speech to the 2019 class at Utah State University.
He also received the University of Michigan 2015 Neubacher Award for work with the stigma associated with disabilities, the Detroit Lions 2010 Courage House award and the prestigious 2008 Life Saver Achievement award given by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
Eric co-authored a study examining depression among retired football players, the study appeared in the April 2007 issue of Medicine & Science in Sports in Sports & Exercise. He was awarded a presidential citation at the American Psychological Association’s 2006 Annual Convention for his six years of national community-based work combating adolescent depression and suicide prevention.
His message of resilience has provided mental fitness awareness to professional groups, military, law enforcement, schools, communities, and thousands of high school and youth coaches. In conjunction with Navy U.S. Fleet Forces, he has provided workshops on destructive behavior and suicide prevention over an eleven-year span by focusing on Mental Fitness. His book “Real Men Do Cry” received a publisher Presidential Award. After retiring from the University of Michigan he joined the Comprehensive Depression Center, where he spent ten years as outreach coordinator. He helped found the After The Impact Fund supporting mental health treatment for NFL Legends and military veterans. Most recently, Hipple was the recipient of the One Heart Award from the Detroit Has Heart Foundation and is currently working to provide Mental health awareness serving the public with an emphasis on military veterans, youth, and employees in the workplace. Eric's commitment to helping others find a quality in life is demonstrated through work with nonprofit foundations and their missions.
Intro Voices 00:04
Where do I go? It only happened once. I think I was singled out. The phone calls began about one month ago. What is hazing? Something happened to me when I was younger. I'm worried about my safety. He said he was sorry. Can someone help me? Where can I get help? Can someone help me? This is You Matter, a podcast for the NYU community developed by the Department of Campus Safety.
Karen Ortman 00:36
Hi, everyone, and welcome back to You Matter, a podcast created to teach, inspire and motivate members of the NYU community who have been victimized in some form or fashion and to identify resources both on and off campus that can help. I am your host Karen Ortman, Associate Vice President of Campus Safety Operations at the Department of Campus Safety, and a retired law enforcement professional. Today, I welcome Eric Hipple. Eric is a former National Football League quarterback whose 10 year career was spent with the Detroit Lions. In 2000, Eric's then 15 year old son Jeff died by suicide. Since that time, Eric has devoted his life to building awareness and breaking down the stigma surrounding depressive illnesses. He is the author of Real Men Do Cry, which received a publisher Presidential Award. Eric, welcome to You Matter.
Eric Hipple 01:35
Well, thanks for having me. It's an honor to be here. Thank you.
Karen Ortman 01:39
It's my pleasure. I'm really grateful for this opportunity to talk to you. So you are a former quarterback with the NFL. Tell me about your childhood and how important athletics was to you growing up.
Eric Hipple 01:58
You know, interestingly enough, I mean, that wasn't, it wasn't so much the athletics in the sport that drew me as much of it was being part of something. My junior year being a starter looked like, you know, it was gonna be pretty good. Then in my senior year we went to the playoffs, and I started getting some notice from scouts and coaches, and then accollades coming from your peers, and from the teachers, and all of a sudden you feel a little special.
Karen Ortman 02:26
Yeah. And accepted, I guess.
Eric Hipple 02:28
Yeah, I think it was just a reflection of the feedback that you're getting, you know, pretty cool.
Karen Ortman 02:36
And fitting in, when you were playing football in high school and you were starting to get recognition your junior year, did you have this sort of idea that you were going to pursue professional sports? Was it an option for you in your mind as a junior/senior in high school?
Eric Hipple 02:59
No, no, it wasn't. In fact, in my area I went to a three year school, a public school and the good quarterbacks around our area, it's like maybe a four City area, the good quarterbacks went to the Catholic schools, they went to the 4A schools. I knew of them. one went on when went to SC, another when went to San Diego State. They had scholarships, the big universities right. I got one scholarship offer, that was the Utah State University,
Karen Ortman 03:31
Still in high school, playing football and now feeling accepted because you were a pretty successful athlete in high school, we're talking about you being in high school, and playing football, and feeling accepted by your peers. I also know based upon your book, Real Men Do Cry that you had experienced bouts of sadness throughout your young life into your high school life and beyond. What I want to know is, at that point, you're playing high school football, you're a junior, senior, you're accepted, you're excelling, you're doing really well. How do you or manage your process that sadness, if you recognize that at that point?
Eric Hipple 04:23
Well, I never really felt accepted, though. That was the key. You know, even though I was getting this pushback, you start to like an imposter. You know, wow, they really liked me now, but...why? Growing up leading into that was this insecurity, I felt more secure around adults than I did around kids my age. Definitely with my older brother, bullying me and everything else, but I used to have these thoughts of like, why does the world have to be so mean and stuff like that. That was where the sadness came from. When I started getting to the age where the acceptance started coming to me I started drinking, somewhere like in high school around that era area to try and understand why they liked me now as I went to junior year, and now I'm kind of King in the heap? Why? I didn't feel worthy of that really. It was just all so different?
Karen Ortman 05:29
Did you drink to be accepted, or did you drink because you were feeling something that you couldn't identify?
Eric Hipple 05:34
I think both I felt better when. I drank I felt like I could be free of that acceptance, I didn't feel that guilt of being of being honored, of being on top of the heap, especially with my family. How come my dad likes me so much? I I see him arguing with my brother, I see him arguing with my sister up. And when it came to me, it was like, I was the golden child in his eyes. He showered me praise, which was fantastic. But that kind of made me feel strange in front of my brothers and sisters.
Karen Ortman 06:18
And they recognized it as well?
Eric Hipple 06:20
Karen Ortman 06:21
Tell me about your first recollection of being sad as a child.
Eric Hipple 06:28
Laying there at night, just overwhelmed with the magnitude of the universe. The concept of forever, it really scared me. What does that even mean, and what does infinity mean? They were like, existential types of thoughts, I believe. I guess that scared me.
Karen Ortman 06:52
And you speak of that, yeah, in your book.
Eric Hipple 06:55
That sadness, I think came from, well I call myself today and I would go back and call myself then, very empathetic. When somebody felt pain, I felt it.
Karen Ortman 07:09
Yeah. How was the support systems for you? I mean, you talked about your dad and that you were the golden child. How about your mother? Did your did your mother or your father recognize this sadness in you and addressing it?
Eric Hipple 07:28
My mom went through bouts of depression. In hindsight, I really didn't have a great - it wasn't a bad connection - I just didn't really have a connection with my mom, not an emotional one. She was a great Mother, I mean, when you when you talk about duty, she was a great mother; things are always in place, washed, the dishes, the food, take care of it all. That was all in place, but there's just an emotional connection that I didn't feel like I had. Actually, several years before she passed away when dementia got to her all of sudden, it was the first time I saw her really happy and smiling and laughing. It was kind of sad, because I wish it could have been her throughout her whole life, but she just didn't feel it?
Karen Ortman 08:21
You spoke of your high school football coach and how he was a rock for you in your book.
Eric Hipple 08:28
Karen Ortman 08:29
How did your coach differ from your dad?
Eric Hipple 08:34
In some ways they were alike because the cared a lot, they would give of themselves. So, that part of it they were like. Where the difference is, I think coach had a lot more discipline, and was more stern, and more matter of fact about stuff. My dad was more disappointment; f it's not done right, or it's not done, I'm disappointed in you, as opposed to, here's a set of rules, and here's what we're gonna do, and here's how you're gonna win. It was a little bit different than that.
Karen Ortman 09:09
Yeah, different parameters, different expectations, maybe from from both?
Eric Hipple 09:17
Yeah. I knew I couldn't disappoint coach Zota even though he might get mad at me, but I'm not gonna disappoint him. It was the opposite of my dad. I felt like if I didn't do something right, or I didn't perform that I was disappointing him rather than letting myself down.
Karen Ortman 09:32
That must have contributed to pressure for you, the pressure you were probably already feeling.
Eric Hipple 09:38
Yeah, back then I didn't recognize it as such, because it's just how you're being shaped. But you know, certainly going back and looking at things - in fact, I don't wanna jump too far ahead - but not until later on in his life just before he passed away, we had a chance to talk about his growing up. There's some things I had no idea about. The family stuff that he'd gone through with my watching his mom be abused. That's definitely why he left and went to the Marines. I didn't know any of that stuff, you know. It makes a lot of sense after we learn a lot of stuff as far as someone's behavior. But also there's that part where you certainly didn't want to disappoint. To me, that's been the most painful thing you can do is disappoint somebody. That was probably my big motivating factor.
Karen Ortman 10:33
And it's so common with that generation, too, you know, if your parents were born in the, 20s 30s 40s, they didn't talk about their childhood and their life experiences like I think we do today, and are more in touch and more willing to sort of objectively look at how our lives have impacted us. It's just a different sort of philosophy. Did you feel your best when playing sports?
Eric Hipple 11:06
I felt my best in the game., yes. I certainly felt good when the team was on, I guess, is the best way to say it. In other words, when you're at practice, when your in a game, when you're surrounded by the hierarchy, and everything's in order, that makes sense. Yes. Right. All is right with the world. I know what I'm doing. We know what we're doing. We're here in place. It felt pretty safe. I think I've felt best there. Then, of course, winning and performing. Even though it might not have been a win, performing is what I really enjoyed. So, big plays, the come back from behind, to hear the people saying, wow, that was fantastic, because that was over and above average. I think that that's what pushed me, it was the big play.
Karen Ortman 12:12
So it's interesting that while you're playing in the game, you characterize it as feeling pretty safe. So, contrast that to when you're not on the football field, and you're walking around amongst your peers in high school, or you're out at a social gathering. Did you feel unsafe in some respects?
Eric Hipple 12:36
I think it felt unsure. I don't mean safety from from a health point of view, but just unpredictable. Being not sure how to act in certain situations. , awkwardness or embarrassment to say the wrong thing, being ridiculed, you know. I think those are the main pieces, but like I said, when you're in the game and you got your equipment on, you're protected; first of all - physical barrier, second of all - even though the game can be unpredictable, it is predictable to the extent you have some control over what your outcome is going to be, because you're involved in it. Thething that used to scare me the most was being around a group of peers; teenagers, whatever you call a group without any adults. They used to scare the heck out of me.
Karen Ortman 13:35
That's interesting. Did you know that if an adult was present, there was safety associated with that? And not safety from a protection, public safety, security standpoint, but from a confidence perspective?
Eric Hipple 13:59
There was somebody to go to that would be there was somebody to go to.
Karen Ortman 14:08
Eric Hipple 14:12
That's the best answer to that question. There was someone to go to that was in charge. Even if they weren't, everybody iassumed they were, right.
Karen Ortman 14:27
yeah. You had a successful high school career, you ended up at Utah State, and played all four years, right?
Eric Hipple 14:39
I did. I had a redshirt freshman year, and then I was a four year starter. Just before I reported, I was in a car accident, I actually flipped the dune buggy out in the desert and a fracture. The fact that I was able to keep my scholarship and go, we didn't tell anybody what happened. One of the doctors said, I won't play, I shouldn't play football anymore. Then we went got another doctor that said, you'll be fine, just give it some time. Well, I reported in less than a month to go back into camp, so we just kind of kept the quiet. I was really worried in camp though, because I saw a lot of stars. You know what I mean? You know, some dizzy spells and stuff. I was really fortunate to be a quarterback and not get hit every play, but yeah, it affected me. I could feel it.
Karen Ortman 14:57
So what were your injuries as a result of flipping the dune buggy?
Eric Hipple 15:35
I had a big fracture, blew an eardrum out, had spinal fluid leaking out of my ear. And then, partially separated the shoulder, and let's see, uh...
Karen Ortman 15:53
It was pretty bad.
Eric Hipple 15:55
I woke up in the hospital. And then went to camp three weeks later? Yeah, about four weeks. Yeah. Well, we didn't know.a lot about concussions back then.
Karen Ortman 16:10
I don't know that that would have been your good fortune today.
Eric Hipple 16:14
Don't forget, I mean, this was this is a disappointment moment, right. This is a scholarship, this is gonna happen one way or another. It's gonna happen.
Karen Ortman 16:22
I understand. I understand. You had a really successful college career at Utah State playing football, what's your best memory from your years there?
Eric Hipple 16:34
I'm going to touch on this for a couple seconds, because I did have a couple ups and downs. I had a couple of injuries, but I also had a bout of alcoholic depression, but also drank to try and ease it. I missed a whole quarter. I had been injured and that part of not being a piece of it, I think was that disappointment; I'm not able to play, I'm hurt, you know, that type of stuff I think it had quite a bit to do with that. Not being part of it again, and then finding my way back to be a starter again the following year. But the highlight is we played some really big schools. We played Penn State, we played Nebraska, and in all those schools we were competitive. A 350 yards passing against Colorado State at the time, they were pretty far up there. Then a 48/48 tie against one of my high school nemesises, that was one of those quarterbacks that told you about, I played him in college with a 48/48 a tie, I mean, it was a scramble. So I have some really great times. I really enjoyed it.
Karen Ortman 17:55
And you excelled. You were...
Eric Hipple 17:57
Karen Ortman 17:58
...I guess superstar for Utah State. And, you were ultimately drafted into the NFL.
Eric Hipple 18:06
My senior year I played in the in a bowl game and wI blew out my knee, so my draft chances went down. I was rated as a first round draft choice, and I went down, I was chosen in the fourth round. Again, here's this opportunity and all sudden, a setback. But, resilience and stubbornness, I guess. I got the best shape ever, and when I got to camp in Detroit, I worked real hard and impressed a few people. The following year I became a starter.
Karen Ortman 18:45
Yeah. Let's go back though, because you experienced something that very few young men who wish to play in the NFL will ever experience, which is being drafted. What was that like for you?
Eric Hipple 19:03
It was a long day. The draft today, if you watch it, they put so much emphasis and highlight and everything else on it, it's just magnified. It wasn't so back then. You were waiting around the phone. The first round choices they were kind of being being painted as intersting, but other than that you're waiting for the phone to ring. I was waiting in my 10 x 50 trailer where we lived.
Karen Ortman 19:33
No cell phones, no technology, no internet.
Eric Hipple 19:37
Karen Ortman 19:38
Waiting for the phone to ring.
Eric Hipple 19:40
And nobody else could - don't touch the phone!
Karen Ortman 19:43
Eric Hipple 19:44
I might miss a call.
Karen Ortman 19:45
And we didn't even have call waiting back then, I don't think, where another call would would come through. What year are we talking about?
Eric Hipple 19:52
That would have been 1980? Yeah. So I got the I got the phone call.
Karen Ortman 19:58
How many hours were you before you got the phone call?
Eric Hipple 20:01
Man, well, this is the fourth round. So, it would have been past mid day. No matter how long it is, it seems a lot longer.
Karen Ortman 20:14
Eric Hipple 20:16
You know, the anticipation...knowing that - what if I don't get a call? First of all, am I gonna get a call? But then what if I don't? They flew me to three or four different teams, and I flunked two physicals, because I had fluid on my knee, so I was really worried. What if I don't get a call?
Karen Ortman 20:32
Up to this point, was alcohol just something you did randomly, socially? Or, was it an issue for you even at the time draft?
Eric Hipple 20:47
I was a binge drinker, I would certainly use it to wash away stuff and just kind of a reset if it went bad, you know, a bad game, bad performance, an injury, whatever it is. So I'd just get it on my system and have a reset. On the same token, if you win and everything's going great, you want to go out and celebrate and ride that high for a while, too. So I call myself more of a binge drinker.
Karen Ortman 21:18
Okay. How was your depression, or what you now know, looking back on that time? How was that? How did that come into play in this time period?
Eric Hipple 21:31
Well, the ups and downs with the with the injury, performing and then not, the unsure, I have an injury, this season getting drafted, get into camp, then again when I got into camp, even though I'm in the best shape ever, that blooming, am I good enough? When I showed up at camp I was in great shape, I had a great camp, but still there's that piece, are you are you good enough? When I made the team, when the final cuts were done, that was a glorious moment. I felt, I made it, I'm a professional athlete. That was fantastic. That was really cool.
Karen Ortman 22:16
I would imagine it would be.
Eric Hipple 22:18
Yeah, that was me.
Karen Ortman 22:20
So up to this point you had your bouts with sadness, or what you've later learned was depression. At any time did it even dawn on you that you could talk to somebody about this, or is this just something you kept to yourself?
Eric Hipple 22:40
No, this is just something I kept to myself, because I thought it was normal. I thought, well, this is what people do, they go through ups and downs. I didn't ever talk about it, it was just kept it within, partly because it shows vulnerability, and I really didn't want to show that. If you have an answer for it, then being vulnerable is great, right, because I can have a plan and we can move forward, and there's something we can do about it. But, if you don't have an answer for it being vulnerable is it's hard to do.
Karen Ortman 23:17
Eric Hipple 23:18
Because there's no coming back from it. I've shown my worst on myself, and there's no healing that, everybody knows it. So, you just don't expose it. In the opposite of that, has been really tough. I was I was tough, give me the hip,, knock me down the ground, I'll get back up again. It actually played into my resilience, you know, it kind of forced me to be that way to try and cover up vulnerability.
Karen Ortman 23:46
How bad did the episodes get for you, and were they repeated?
Eric Hipple 23:56
I would say, thoughts of death would come, but not suicide, just you know, um, if this was over with, it'd be fine. You know, I mean maybe I take more risks. Maybe I'll go up in the mountains and drive kind of wild, or maybe downhill skiing and don't care if you crash, just things like that.They came with risk. I mean, yeah, I think I took risks, but they weren't really thoughts of death. I think those came later about suicide, you know, thinking and how you would do that.
Karen Ortman 24:42
Was it more like if I'm not here, no one cares. If something happens to me no care anyway.
Eric Hipple 24:48
Yeah, yeah, I think...like I don't fit. And,if I don't fit they're not gonna miss me anyway. Yeah.
Karen Ortman 24:59
You had these These bouts of sadness and depression since you were a small child, you played high school football and had your moments in in high school. You go to college have a really successful college career. You experienced it somewhat in college as well. Did it pause when you got drafted, or did the bouts continue in that 10 year period where you were a professional football player?
Eric Hipple 25:34
Well, I got married when I was in college, and to this day, looking back on things - and I took a big hard reflection on that quite a few years ago - and I believe that the reason I got married was because I was depressed. I found somebody that I could be close to, a family, because her family lived there in town. I actually believe I was going through one of those bouts when I got married Then, of course, when I got drafted, and came out this way, I was by myself. I came out here trying to fit in and trying to get things going. Finally found I fit in a little bit, and okay, made the team and it's going, so then, you knowbringing her into this, and then I struggled a little bit.
Karen Ortman 26:29
So you're talking about out here being in Michigan where you were playing with the Detroit Lions, and the her you're referring to was your first wife.
Eric Hipple 26:40
Karen Ortman 26:41
Okay. And that, as it implies, that marriage didn't work out.
Eric Hipple 26:49
We're we're married 10 years, but in reality, it was more like seven. We had my daughter and my son. That was that was a bright spot, I mean, it still. Having them, they are fantastic. My daughter today, she lives in Utah, she's great, outstanding.
Karen Ortman 27:16
Wonderful. You got remarried while you were with Detroit.
Eric Hipple 27:24
Yep. Yeah, towards the end of my career. I got married right after I finished my career. We were dating during the in my career. I tell people that's why I'm still here in Michigan. I always think well, you could be out in California, what do you stay here for? I married Shelley.
Karen Ortman 27:49
And Shelley doesn't leave Michigan.
Eric Hipple 27:51
Right. But the reality of it is, every year I went back to California and then came back out here again, I started seeing differences. Maybe it's because I've been here for 10 years, I don't know, but people in the Midwest, you know, are nice and kind and...
Karen Ortman 28:11
And you like it.
Eric Hipple 28:14
...compared to...well, more dependable, you know?I felt more safety. I don't know.
Karen Ortman 28:23
Yeah. It's all good. You're happy there. That's good.
Eric Hipple 28:26
Karen Ortman 28:27
So you do your 10 years with Detroit. How did you come to retire from professional football?
Eric Hipple 28:37
Well, it's easy to retire from professional football if you have a really, really bad game. Yeah, I, towards the end of my career, I broke my hand. And so I was on injured reserve after training camp, came back the following year, got my starting job back and blew my I broke my ankle and broke my ankle. So I came back from that we changed offenses up now this is I, I had broken ankle on a broken hand. And so it wasn't as mobile as I used to be, and throwing the ball wasn't as is as strong as it used to be. And I got my starting job back, we played Minnesota, went in against Minnesota. And I had a terrible game. I mean, I threw two interceptions for touchdowns and just ended and I really had some conflict with the offensive coordinator. And, and so you know, when you draw that line in the sand and and you cross it, and it didn't go your way, then there's gonna be a you know, consequences to that. And so, I went in on my day off because I knew some I knew was in trouble put it that way. And I went in, they asked me to come in and they and they told me they were going to cut me. But they gave me the option if I wanted to then I could say I retired and they'd give me a press like and say goodbye to the city, the people and everything else. And so I opted for the, you know, before the press conference, so, so around here, I thought I'd be tired, you know, and I could have played 10 years beat up. But in my heart, I still feel like I had something to give. Yeah. That's his decision to retire. So I can say goodbye to the city and the people. And that's what I did, yeah.
Karen Ortman 30:21
And do you look back on that press conference fondly?
Eric Hipple 30:27
I look back on it where, Yes, it was a great moment. And I was able to do that, because I felt like I ended that right. But in the same token, I still feel like I could have got on and been a backup for sure. For some other team. If I played in the league for another few years, you know. And so in hindsight, I kind of wish I would've had that opportunity. But an overall scope of things today. I'm glad I'm glad I did it the way I did.
Karen Ortman 30:57
How was your mental health after you retired from football, especially knowing that you were really weren't ready to go?
Eric Hipple 31:08
Yeah, I took about a month, two months off. And my Shelly my wife now, and we drove around the country for about a month and a half, just a camper just drove around, trying to make sense of everything, but also put things in perspective and process things out and then came back here, and I had to go to work and to find a job. And that was something new. You know, since I was nine years old, put a uniform on, you know, every year until I was 32 years old. All of a sudden, that's not gonna happen this year. And so Who are you? What do you do? And so it was tough. It was it was hard.
Karen Ortman 31:46
So you retire from football, and you start a business that was not successful.
Eric Hipple 31:55
It was very successful at the beginning, in fact, that was, was like one of those things, like I was making, we're making really good money, you know, and it was in the job wasn't that hard. I mean, yeah, I learned a lot. I had to be busy. And I was always costly on the go and entertaining a lot. But but not knowing the business itself, you know, versus not being in the not seeing the trends, I guess a bit. So our carrier pulled out of the business when we pulled out and lost 80% of my business, like overnight. And what business
Karen Ortman 32:34
was it? You said your carrier what what kind of business?
Eric Hipple 32:37
Insurance, so GE Capital was our was our main carrier, we're in the warranty business, the, you know, the insurance business, you know, health insurance, credit life insurance, in the life insurance business, and the most of those was warranties, You know, for for automotive automobiles.
Karen Ortman 32:53
Okay. Did you have a background in insurance?
Eric Hipple 32:57
Know, that I had a background in business? Was my degree.
Karen Ortman 33:02
Okay, so the business was very successful in the beginning, and then at some point, it was no longer successful. Correct?
Eric Hipple 33:08
Yep. And then that went down.
Karen Ortman 33:11
and things took a turn for you.
Eric Hipple 33:16
They did, yeah, that was difficult. And the, the couple partners I had, he was like, you know, Mike's running off of me. And financially, things take a turn. And it was, yeah, it was difficult. And, again, you know, the that, oh, who am I disappointing in this? My wife, you know, like, my kids, my family, you know, not making the money. You know, am I gonna be one of those guys. And all of a sudden, you know, fails. And so that was hard. That was tough.
Karen Ortman 33:51
Now, at this point, you had two daughters with Shelly and then your daughter and son, were living with your ex wife in Utah.
Eric Hipple 34:03
Correct, yeah. My son was going back and forth between her and I. Yeah.
Karen Ortman 34:08
Tell me about the drive to the airport with your wife. You were going on a business trip?
Eric Hipple 34:14
Yeah, that's when that's when the the business was struggling. And I knew more than my wife did. What was going on business wise and, and, and so I was going on a business trip to actually go and try and pick up another carrier. You know, and on that way there I just felt like this is overwhelming. I just feel like it couldn't do it. No, just the idea of getting on the plane and go down to have this meeting and was just, just really, I feel like I couldn't do it. And as I wrote a quick note just said, you know, I'm sorry. I love you and handed it to Shelley. And, you know, and I opened the door and jumped out of the car. We're going about 75 miles an hour, I think is what we're traveling when I hit the pavement.
Karen Ortman 35:01
And how did that feel? jumping out of the car and hitting the pavement, pavement.
Eric Hipple 35:06
Just before I jumped, you know, writing that note, you know, I knew I was going out and, and I didn't know what's gonna happen. I know that's gonna survive it or not. It was just, like I said, it wasn't those thoughts, I'm gonna, I'm gonna kill myself. It wasn't like that. It was like, this just has to stop, you know, mean, I can't go further anymore. This is it. So one way or another, this is going to end either, you know, we're going to die or I'm not going to die. But I know we're not going to the airport. And so when I wrote that note headed to her and the look on her face when she kind of looked at me, and when I opened the door and jumped out. It was a weird look. I mean, because she was kind of in shock, like, what are you doing? And I was kind of abandoning her really when I jumped, but then I woke up in the hospital. And after, after they had done some surgery and stuff on me already.
Karen Ortman 36:06
Eric Hipple 36:09
A lot of Road Rash needed some skin grafts. But there was nothing that was, it knocked me out and obviously, but there was nothing that debilitating at all,
Karen Ortman 36:21
was it ever spoken of as a suicide attempt?
Eric Hipple 36:28
Not outside or not outside my little circle of and even then it really wasn't discussed. It was just No, actually, it wasn't I think with a therapist. It was discussed. That was there. Maybe, you know,
Karen Ortman 36:44
is this a therapist that you had been meeting with? Or is this somebody that just presented at the hospital?
Eric Hipple 36:51
The one that was in the the hospital room?
Karen Ortman 36:54
But you didn't you never saw before? Like you weren't seeking therapy at that time?
Eric Hipple 37:00
No, I wasn't. No, no. This was the Yeah, this is the one who came into the hospital.
Karen Ortman 37:09
Yeah. And up to this point, you had never sought therapy for the sadness or depression. Okay,
Eric Hipple 37:15
Karen Ortman 37:18
Did the media pick up on this?
Eric Hipple 37:22
The media followed, got wind of it went to one hospital, they moved me to another hospital. And, and so no, what came out in the paper was just the statement that we produced. That said that Hipple fell out of car. And we made up some lame story about about let's see, I had the airline tickets, and I dropped them. And so they fell down. I open up the doors, like reached out between the door and and I fell out when I open the door.
Karen Ortman 37:50
So now people bought it
Eric Hipple 37:54
That story is absurd. When you think about it, because your heart It is a push up on a car door when you go 75 miles an hour. The wind resistance itself is almost impossible, open the door up. So but you know, the alternative was probably even more absurd. You know, you jumped, you know, nobody's gonna believe that. You know? So it was never discussed outside that circle, not until I actually put the book out.
Karen Ortman 38:18
Did you ever share with your children? All four of them? What happened that day?
Eric Hipple 38:24
No, not until we got ready to do the book. And then then we talked.
Karen Ortman 38:31
Did you ever notice similarities between yourself and the sadness that you experienced as a child? And the depression as you got older? Did you ever see any of that in your four children?
Eric Hipple 38:47
Jeff, for sure.
Karen Ortman 38:50
When did you first notice that
Eric Hipple 38:52
with Jeff maybe Cara at times my youngest, um, and I and I, you know, I'd look at it. And as I was hoping I wasn't projecting In other words, I felt or so maybe he feels this way. Or maybe that's what he's feeling. But you know, it's really strange is when the when you when you do that, he reminds you of yourself. And so you don't want to face it. And so I saw him struggle a little bit. It was like, we can't be struggling because that means I identify too much with it. Yeah. So it was hard. It was harder to talk about not easier. In fact, I would say you kind of gloss over it and say well, he'll get through an idea. As opposed to sitting down talking with him. Maybe it's because you know, I never talked with anybody. So maybe that's wasn't interesting. Do that.
Karen Ortman 39:40
Yeah. Yeah. When did you notice that things were considerably different with Jeff. And in what ways from he was before it was it?
Eric Hipple 39:55
He was a sensitive kid. Okay. And so you know, I tied into that Because, you know, you know, that's kind of how I was. So he got along with everybody, but he didn't really have any really super close friends that he clicked with. There was that, that that was there. You know, he went out of his way to help other people. And he would play with his sisters, you know, and not, you know, not shine them on it's. So I mean, there's a lot of that that sensitive, caring part. Was there. So I didn't fight with that. But not until he came out. He came out here. And my ex wife said he was she wanted to move out here because he's having trouble in school. Yeah, and he want to go to school. So he came out here, and we have out here for half a year. And then he came back again, the following year. But so that's when I first noticed it were, you know, you tell us mood changes, you can tell with his head down, you know, he was, you know, wasn't vibrant, you know, exciting. You could see it.
Karen Ortman 41:02
Were you comfortable that if there were something going on with him that he would have talked to you about it?
Eric Hipple 41:10
No. I think that at that point in time, he would talk to his mother first about it. He you know, unfortunately, being you know, the professional athlete and kind of in the news a little bit and stuff, I think, a little bit of a shadow that, that he didn't know how to break through. You know what I mean? That he was he's afraid of disappointing me. Yeah. Right. So and then, you know, and that's sad. But I think that was some of that that was there.
Karen Ortman 41:48
Did he play sports?
Eric Hipple 41:50
He played basketball and he played hockey. He didn't play football.
Karen Ortman 41:56
And he wasn't he the captain of his basketball team.
Eric Hipple 41:58
Yeah, yeah. Yeah, he was a good little basketball player. But you know, if it even then his grades got to him. And so he eligible for a short period of time, play basketball. So yeah, and you can see a change in them. I mean, even the friends, you know, would say, you know, I'd ask him What's going on? Well, you know, I don't think he's, he's okay. He's just, you know, but he's hanging out with different people, not bad people, just different people in the words.
Karen Ortman 42:27
And he was just relatively quiet. When you observe the changes, he was quiet and really didn't say too much. And so I, you probably didn't get too much information from him regarding what was going on inside.
Eric Hipple 42:42
No, yeah. And, you know, that's going through my stuff as well, you know, with the the Listen, everything else about that? Oh, I mean, it was just a couple years earlier than when I jumped out of the car. So I mean,
Karen Ortman 42:54
and he didn't know about that.
Eric Hipple 42:57
No, he didn't know what happened.
Karen Ortman 42:59
Okay. You said in your book. You said, when you were a newcomer to professional football, you had your share of fame of fans following or calling you and your teammates. And as a result, you started leaving your hunting rifle under your bed, a habit you would later regret. Can you tell me, why?
Eric Hipple 43:25
Well, thinking about certain hyper vigilance, I think that you get when you're in the middle of, you know, when there's a little bit of chaos that goes on that unpredictability, all of a sudden, you know, you're up here, maybe you feel like you don't deserve it or not, but whatever those guilts are things that you have. So I started sleeping with the, you know, I started keeping the shotgun underneath the bed.
Karen Ortman 43:50
Jeff was living with you at the time.
Eric Hipple 43:51
Yeah, he was. And in fact, it was, it was just before spring, spring break was coming up right around the corner. So that meant, you know, probably be going, you know, to Utah for a couple weeks and spring came around. But the it was a Saturday a Saturday morning, and it was early in the morning. And I went and you know, shook him awake and tell him goodbye, and that I've taken this business trip, and I will see when I get back. And it was tough because he he could tell didn't want to show his face. He kind of had tears in his eyes. And I didn't know exactly what to make of it. And I knew I had to go, but I didn't know if I can open it up over that. If I start talking about now what does that mean? You know, what is it really going on? Is he sad? Because he's going back? There was just a lot of emotion in there. So I just said we'll deal with it when I get back.
Karen Ortman 44:42
And you never saw him again.
Eric Hipple 44:49
Never saw him alive again.
Karen Ortman 44:52
So you did you took the trip. And I'll I'll go back So the question I asked you earlier about your regrets concerning leaving a hunting rifle under your bed? How does that play into this?
Eric Hipple 45:11
I really didn't think twice about it. You know, I didn't think, you know, the fact was there. I didn't keep shells with it. So. So I just, you know, I really didn't think about it. You know? It was, it was so hard when I got the phone call. And
Karen Ortman 45:30
You were in Canada at that time on the trip.
Eric Hipple 45:33
yeah. And, and was, she said, you know, she asked me if I sit down, so I knew something was bad. What happened? And she said that, you know, he had gotten the shotgun and, and got into the bathroom. And when I heard that, then that's when that piece of Oh, my God its my gun. I left it there. I left there for him. It was just yeah, I mean, I couldn't live with myself in that moment. And that was real destroying, the fact that, you know, that I had allowed that to happen. And, and then the, of course, the next thing, you know, instantly, you don't want to live, you know, you just can't live with this. And that was tough.
Karen Ortman 46:23
So, you came home right away? And I believe it was you who went and did the identification?
Eric Hipple 46:33
Yep. I went to the morgue. And they said, you know, you don't have to do this. And I said, No, I need to do this. And, and it wasn't, it wasn't pretty, it was pretty antiseptic, because they had already cleaned up everything. But you know, we only have you know, you know, half a face and half of a head. And so when you're looking at is antiseptic is it can be I mean, cuz everything is clean and harvested, you know, different parts are for when you're looking at that. It's just, it's very unreal, but it's also very, very real.
Karen Ortman 47:09
Yeah. What steps did you take next to try and understand? What, what was going on with Jeff, that resulted in this action?
Eric Hipple 47:26
Well, you know, the first thing if you zero in on what was wrong, had to be something wrong, something's wrong with the brain. Because this is that, you know, even though you can go back and find, you know, build up to it. In that moment, you know, there's no, like, anything standing out, like, I'm going to do this, there's no note there's nothing. Right. And so something was terribly wrong. And so. So the, the first shift, you know, which is no, I don't want to be I don't want to be alive. Because it's way too painful. So, how can I survive this myself, first of all, second of all, then, how do I reconcile it? And, and if I'm going to figure out what happened, you know, how do you do that? So the first thing I could think about was just the brain somehow the brain I felt this way before, what is it? What's going on? Why, why? Why could he think this way? I thought about what is that thing? And so that that became between self medication and, and looking for answers, I started doing suicide prevention work for a charity group, and started educating myself in suicide prevention, because I don't want anybody else to have to go through this. And if I can save a life, I'll do that. But then it was about, you know, eventually going to University of Michigan, where there's a lunch and learn and several doctors were talking about symptoms and your brain chemistry and what depression is. And it was shocking to me that they're talking about this stuff like with everyday language, and like everybody knows it. Yeah. And why don't we know this? And I was,
Karen Ortman 49:09
especially Yeah, in a place where they're not whispering about it, where when you walk out into society out on street corners or in buildings, whatever. This is what people whisper about, and that's what needs to change. So you said Jeff did not leave a note a note, right? No, No, he didn't. Between the time that Jeff died by suicide, and you connected with the University of Michigan's comprehensive depression center. There were significant events that happened for you that preceded that luncheon that you're talking about.
Eric Hipple 49:53
Yeah. It's like, you know, trying to survive financially. So we're back to work. And offloaded the business, I went to work for somebody else struggling along the way, but you know, was able to produce and make money. But along that line as well did not want to, I stopped, I stopped, but anything I could get my hands on, you know, I was doing, so I won't have to feel anything. And, and that was tough for the family. You know, going through that, you know, because they couldn't see but you know, everybody was just trying to survive, right, and but I end up getting picked up on a DUI. And they put me in a program and, you know, I would call it's a diversion program. And I haven't, I didn't care, you know, and so I didn't listen to them. I didn't do whatever they told me to do. And so as a result, I ended up spending, you know, like 58 days in jail, they gave me a 90 day sentence, but I spent like, in and out in and out in and out. So I had 58 days left. And I spent that.
Karen Ortman 50:58
And so you did the whole 58 days in jail.
Eric Hipple 51:01
I did what actually is more than that, because when you add on the weekends, they threw me in the five days they threw me in here the 10 days, he threw me in there. It added up to like 90 days.
Karen Ortman 51:10
Were you surprised when you were standing in a courtroom and a judge in Michigan, being where you played for the Detroit Lions? You're a celebrity in Michigan. Were you surprised that the judge said no, you are doing this full sentence? You're you are staying in there for the 58 days?
Eric Hipple 51:31
No, at that time, I didn't feel like a football player. I didn't feel like my self esteem was solo. And I actually felt like I deserved it. So if I wasn't surprised at all.
Karen Ortman 51:44
Would you say it was a good thing?
Eric Hipple 51:45
Was it a good thing? At the time? Yes. Yeah. Yeah, it was. It was. You know, it was a good thing, because it was it wasn't somebody trying to tell to you know, to give you there was there was done, and it was done. And I did it willingly. You know what I mean? So yeah, let me figure stuff out. And it's almost, it's almost like a freedom to be able to build get away and not have to deal with people for a while. Except for the people that are in there. Which isn't the greatest sport, either.
Karen Ortman 52:26
So what was your experience like living in a jail cell where you want to sell by yourself? Or were you?
Eric Hipple 52:32
Two of us. I was, I was in what they call the pods. Yeah, it was. I wasn't in, you know, where you got 20 people inside of us, kind of once. And so, I mean, it was this pretty organized, you had jobs do, there wasn't really much safety issues. You know, I didn't feel that way. Like it was, you know, in harm's way. But, you know, there's no freedom. It's pretty crappy, the food's crappy, you got, you know, people you got to deal with, you know, you know, 35 people want to watch a TV. One, right. So, you know, so I tried to stay away from as much as I possibly could. And just listening to everybody's crap was just enough. Because everybody's got a story. Everybody's got their own narrative. And it's just, it's not, it's just a really unhealthy environment.
Karen Ortman 53:15
Yeah. it's a culture unto itself, really. You know, the, the jail culture
Eric Hipple 53:28
What was hard as people recognize me in there. That was that was difficult.
Karen Ortman 53:32
I was wondering that.
Eric Hipple 53:33
Yeah. Because then it was like, so you're this guy. And now look at you're just like me, you're in here. And? Yeah, well, yeah. But no, I tried to learn, you know, that was the the main piece was trying to learn as much as I could, from the experience.
Karen Ortman 53:52
When did you learn about the University of Michigan's comprehensive depression center?
Eric Hipple 53:57
Like I came out, and like I said, When I came out, I wanted answers. And so the first thing I did is I took a suicide prevention course. There is a group called Mental Illness Resources Association, that I went and started, you know, throwing out some of the training from, but really, to support your charity, because they were suicide prevention. And, and then it was at that charity event that I ran into Dr. Graden, who was the head of Psychiatry at the time, and just started the depression center at U of M and he invited me to a lunch and learn and so I went out lunch and learn those doctors were talking and that opened up a whole 'nother world to me, which was the science side of stuff. And that the thing has a name to it, and has set of symptoms and and there's things you can do about it, you know, but but more than anything giving a name, you know, there's a name to it. And that's the name I gave to him when my mom was having her issues and and so I It was like, a light going on?
Karen Ortman 55:05
Is it fair to say that the depression center changed your life?
Eric Hipple 55:09
For sure? Yeah. And they all even go more pointedly than that. I will say, Dr. John Graden changed my life. Gave me I will say, kind of saved my life. And I won't say, you know, literally, but in, in in purpose and mission and then in direction. Yeah.
Karen Ortman 55:35
Were you able to connect the dots between what Jeff must have been going through to get him to the point of death by suicide? And what you experienced throughout your life?
Eric Hipple 55:53
some of it's biological, the, you know, our genetic expression, our genetic expression, and how that gets expressed. As I said, he sensitive kid, I fit that bill, you know, cared. Artists type mentality, you know, I took art, in fact, I went to college on art scholar, to be an artist, really? So, I mean, there's, that's like, a lot of people. I mean, so all those sensitivities are there. Yeah. So there are a lot of his interactions, you know, mimics my interactions when I was young. So, so all that was there. So the main thing is, I was able to understand my mindset better. And I was able to understand his mindset, better at the time so it took some of the, some of the guilt away from me, which I was, you know, happy to give back. Yeah. And that, that was that helped with healing credit quite a bit. Yeah.
Karen Ortman 56:54
Tell me about the title of your book, Real Men Do Cry, where did that come from?
Eric Hipple 57:00
Well, you know, you know, I remember, young and having tears, and, you know, not really having a place to, to express them. And, and, you know, after all the years of sport, the way that people looked at, you know, me, which was, you know, tough and, you know, the, the apex of a, of a sport that, you know, that was men, you know, and, and I just felt like, there was a spot for it, that that's true. You know, not only do you know, real men do cry, but I think there's a time where it's necessary. And it's healthy to do so. And so I thought maybe I could just kind of bring that up a little bit, and maybe an open discussion for somebody that might felt like I do.
Karen Ortman 57:49
Yeah. It's an excellent, excellent book. I think that every high school student should read that book. I don't know, maybe even middle school. It has such important information about mental health issues, and awareness of those issues. And the resources in there are unbelievable. Just a wealth of information. For anybody who's interested in learning about depression, or mental mental health issues, it could apply to really anything.
Eric Hipple 58:35
Well, you know, we keep hearing it, especially because of COVID anything else today, but you know, you're not alone. I've seen you almost overhear it. But the truth is, you know, the one thing we have in common, and I don't care where you're come from, I don't care if you're a professional athlete, or law enforcement, or if you're military, or if you're, you know, working on the line, or your stay at home. It doesn't matter. The one thing we all have in common is we have emotions, you know, and, and we can connect on that point, if nothing else. Yeah. When you say, You're happy, I know what you're I know what you're feeling because, like, what happiness is because I can feel sad, I can feel sad. how those emotions get expressed. Okay, I think we can do a much better job of, and I think that's where we need to, really we need to focus in on those emotions can turn into feelings, and when they express his feelings, and they turn into behaviors and turn into the thoughts and all that goes along. I think we do a much better job of doing that portion of it. With that connection of we all have a common set of emotions that we all we all can feel. And once we get on that basis, then empathy for each other, and not sympathy but empathy for each other. That means that we can work together through things.
Karen Ortman 59:55
Yeah. And it normalizes the conversation, the more we talk about it. Yeah. Do you see a time in our culture where men are taught that vulnerability is okay. Do you ever see that changing?
Eric Hipple 1:00:11
I do. In fact, I think it's been changing. And I think if you go into a school today, there really isn't much stigma, the type of stigma that we know, in the past, I think that's gone. People are talking, you know, and many times they're using the right language. The problem is, though, is where does he go for help? That's still the problem. Yeah. And I think so if you identify a problem, and now you can talk about the problem, you better have some answers to solve the problem. Right, so you better have the right resources and availability to get there. And, and I think that's where we're still lagging behind,
Karen Ortman 1:00:56
What about as it pertains to athletes, though, like, you know, high school athletes, college athletes, professional athletes?
Eric Hipple 1:01:04
I think it still has a long way to come. But I think people are talking, at least in my circles, and I think that I see, and then I promote and so the programs that are out there, in fact, you know, you matter is, one of them, you know, I mean, as far as we don't promote, you know, the fact that you are a force to reckoned with, and that you do matter. Right. But, um, but I think it's out there to where guys are asking questions. Yeah, they are supporting each other. There is a camaraderie. I think it's always been in locker room has always been tough. Yeah, camaraderie. But I think now it's more of a sharing camaraderie. And they're there they are reaching out and making differences. I
Karen Ortman 1:01:44
think that's there. But then how do you respond to what Dak Prescott went through, when he was, you know, vulnerable, openly vulnerable about his brother dying by suicide, and was attacked by a sports broadcaster for not serving his purpose as the quarterback, the leader of the team, by showing his vulnerability?
Eric Hipple 1:02:15
Well, I think the fact that he showed his vulnerability and made those statements stands clear, I think the one the sports person, right that the writer isn't there yet. But, but the player was, and I saw I see it in sport more, where guys are caring. And guys do make a difference. In the high schools today, that high school teams, there's a lot of programming that's going on where guys are actually reaching out. And, and not only that, they're, they're being less click, as far as you know, the jock node, to you know, they're to community mode, I think they're even mixing in more with, with community and getting more involved with the students.
Karen Ortman 1:02:58
So you're saying that because Dak expressed it in the first place, that's, that's a huge improvement.
Eric Hipple 1:03:05
Before, you know, I think Dak, and I, along with maybe the sports reporter who jammed him up, there's probably, you know, twice as many people in his own in his own realm, you know, his own peer group, they supported him and said, great job.
Karen Ortman 1:03:21
Yeah. In Dak's peer group. Yes, yeah. Yeah. Not the reporters,
Eric Hipple 1:03:27
not the reporters. No.
Karen Ortman 1:03:30
One thing I do want to mention, in your book, you talk about the nine symptom checklist for depression, which I think is a really important checklist and reference for people. And you suggest that the person completing the checklist, take it to their doctor for further discussion. Why did you think that was valuable to add to your book, Real Men Do Cry?
Eric Hipple 1:03:59
Well, I think, and things have changed a little bit since, you know, since that where, that the time when was released, there wasn't a whole lot of screening going on at the primary care physicians. Right. There's been a lot more of a shift from the health care providers, and the health care systems to reach out and in and combine the patient into their own care more than they used to. And so there's been some laws that have been drawn or some rules have been drawn up that makes them do that. Because if a person comes back after a procedure and comes back for the same procedure and had problems, you know, they're punished for that. Right. And so, that hospital is, you know, they're not rewarded or not paid for. And so they're encouraging, make sure you do a follow up, visit, make sure so they're more encouragement for, you know, taking care of your own care. But at the time, it was like, Okay, I can educate myself. If I take this test, and this is or the server or the, the, the survey, if that's what you call it, that's what, and I take it, and I see this things, I can go to a doctor and show it to them and say, this needs to be part of my thing, right? at me for headaches, and you're treating me for, you know, you know, back aches and stomach aches, and you hear a lot because of those things. Maybe there's something more to it, you know, maybe those are somatic pains, and, and maybe there is depression. Now, maybe there's a medic that you can we can discuss about it. Or maybe you know, somebody in your provider list, you can, you know, send me to that I can talk to so I thought it was it's a way of trying to take control back of your care.
Karen Ortman 1:05:43
I like the checklist. And I think that even if it's, if it's a there's an updated means by which someone can self evaluate, then that's great. But this, this checklist, I think, still serves a useful purpose. When you think back on your NFL career, what's your fondest memory?
Eric Hipple 1:06:08
So I would still say today that my fondest memory is that was my first start, which was on Monday, Night Football, which was just four touchdowns, I ran for two touchdowns, it was just huge. But it was more than just the game, it was an exclamation point, on top of a lot of stuff, which was, you know, fighting through college, getting injured, getting there, making it making the team, you know, all the, you know, the stuff is a kid can can I am I good enough, am I not good enough, trying and making it and then, and then about halfway through that game, after throwing a 94 yard touchdown pass, standing in the endzone, just taking it all in and saying, I did it. You know, that was that was just really cool, very magical, big exclamation point, you know, prove people wrong, but also, you know, fought a lot of battles to get here and, yeah, and resilience.
Karen Ortman 1:06:58
You've been through a lot in your life, you've, you've suffered tremendous loss, you've had your personal struggles that you've had to cope with. And you are in a place now where you are helping so many people? Do you think this is your purpose? Was it supposed to turn out this way for you,
Eric Hipple 1:07:28
um, you know, I fought it for a long time. But I feel very comfortable in saying that now. And I will say today, I feel more mentally healthy than I ever have in my life. And I feel very comfortable in that spot right now. And so you can't get there without going through something and learning along the way. And I think part of our life challenges is finding out is what those challenges are, but writing to them, and they hurt, you know, life is a noise, you know, you know, really easy, you know, and, and, and the thing is if you go through those things is to take the best part about them, and learn what you can and learn how to be a better person through it. And I think that's the gift that we have to share with other people. Because one of the things I was talking about, you know, those emotions that we share, if you're able to share a positive for somebody, and give them a lift for a day, we know what that emotion is, and it feels really, really good. And be able to deal with somebody is, is a great thing. I believe somebody has done it for me. I've had people do that, you know, share a moment with me and kind of pick me up at certain points in times. And so I'm very grateful for it. And so that can be part of our purpose. Yeah.
Karen Ortman 1:08:38
I think giving people the benefit of your life experience and the honesty with which you share it is definitely a gift. Thank you definitely a gift
Eric Hipple 1:08:53
and poking fun of yourself or anyone's phone and give them a laugh.
Karen Ortman 1:08:58
You do that too. When you think about Jeff, what makes you smile?
Eric Hipple 1:09:07
You know, I think about his I go back and I think about his his insincere, his honesty, his his trueness his innocence. It makes me smile. And it reminds me of when I was a boy in that innocence before you know self doubts creep in before disappointments creep in before other things do just you know, be happy to just you know, running across the yard or something. Right. And, and that makes me happy because in that, you know, I can feel his I can feel his innocence and his joy. And, and I can feel it. That's what makes me happy.
Karen Ortman 1:09:49
Is there anything we talked a lot today about a lot of different things. Is there anything that I didn't ask you that you would like to share?
Eric Hipple 1:09:57
You know, I other than the fact that I think, gratitude towards those that are around you that they care for you and that I don't wanna see support systems, even though that's what they are. But because they're people care, showing gratitude towards those that have been there, it's really important to do. And if you ever get a chance to do that, it goes a long way. Because you know, in reality, the people that love you are gonna be there, regardless of your race or not, they're gonna be there for you because of you. But it's really kind of nice to give them a little bit of gratitude. Let them know that you're there and you care, and that you appreciate what they're giving you now.
Karen Ortman 1:10:40
Well, I thank you so much for spending time with me today on You Matter, I know your story is going to impact a lot of people who listen to this podcast. And I'm hopeful that people check out your book, and all of the recent resources contained in your book that are are so helpful to those who suffer from mental health issues, whatever it might be.
Eric Hipple 1:11:11
Thank you for having me. And this is a great, great interview podcast. I really appreciate it. Thank you very much for having me.
Karen Ortman 1:11:17
My pleasure entirely, thank you so much. Thank you to my guest, Eric Hipple, and to all of our listeners for joining us for today's episode of You Matter if any information presented was triggering or disturbing, please feel free to contact the Wellness Exchange at 212-443-9999 or NYU's Department of Campus Safety and their Victim Services Unit at 212-998-2222. Please share, like, and subscribe to You Matter on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Tune in or Spotify.