Mcdaggot’s Demise

Mcdaggot’s Demise


“Carrying a mental health diagnosis without social support or the skill to evaluate which supports can be considered true allies in your recovery is taking an unnecessary step towards relapsing”  (Maxwell Guttman, The Role of the Support System in Improving Mental Health Prognosis) 2018



Mcdaggot, my friend from New England University, is one of a kind. Or, at least, he was one of a kind. Now, he’s become no different than any other used up depressed alcoholic in the outer boroughs of New York City. 


Mcdaggot never did get over the mishandled so-called intervention he spearheaded in liberty when I was sick. He didn’t even show his face in the hospital. And I called him, over and over again. He would pick up, and then after a few minutes, I could hear him sliding into that drunken despair, drinking away the pain of his mistakes, over and over again with every sip of cheap whiskey. “Okay, Jacques, I really have to go.. I’m not following you much…” He would say, using my illness as an excuse to get off the phone. But really, he couldn’t stand the sound of his own voice, and the loss of dignity with every sip of his drink. 


The problem was clear as day. From what I gathered about his situation, after I was discharged, and would meet with him in Queens, he just couldn’t keep it together long enough to move up at work or any of the positions he held. Chronically letting himself down, over and over again, Mcdaggot moved from receptionist job to secretarial positions but never seemed to make it past an assistant to someone more capable and better suited for the stronger and more lofty position. 


Angry with himself, he would call Jacques on the phone, “Peters, how are you doing?” But really, Mcdaggot was only interested in himself. Yet, he continued to pretend to care about my condition as it only steadily improved over time. As the schizophrenia lifted for me, Mcdaggot’s facade of compassion shifted, ultimately to disappear altogether by the time I was ready to enter graduate school in social work school. 


I would travel down to Astoria every few months to visit Mcdaggot. Each time; he was angrier than the last. He talked a lot about me but we all knew, at least, those that knew him best knew he was talking about himself. Life just seems to keep turning on Mcdaggot. It’s hard to watch, really. 


“What’s hardest to watch about your friend’s situation, Mcdaggot’s ongoing problems, Jacques,” Clarissa asked.



“The wasted potential” I knew all too well, what was so hard to watch. I only wish Mcdaggot could look at himself in the mirror long enough to see it too.



J. Peters

J. Peters

Max Guttman '08, MSW '12, is the owner of Recovery Now, a private mental health practice. Through his work as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, therapist and disability rights advocate, Max fights for those without a voice in various New York City care systems. He received a 2020 Bearcats of the Last Decade 10 Under 10 award from the Binghamton University Alumni Association. Guttman treats clients with anxiety and depression, but specializes in issues related to psychosis or schizoaffective spectrum disorders. He frequently writes on his lived experiences with schizophrenia. "I knew my illness was so complex that I’d need a professional understanding of its treatment to gain any real momentum in recovery," Guttman says. "After undergraduate school and the onset of my illness, I evaluated different graduate programs that could serve as a career and mechanism to guide and direct my self-care. After experiencing the helping hand of my social worker and therapist right after my 'break,' I chose social work education because of its robust skill set and foundation of knowledge I needed to heal and help others." "In a world of increasing tragedy, we should help people learn from our lived experiences. My experience brings humility, authenticity and candidness to my practice. People genuinely appreciate candidness when it comes to their health and recovery. Humility provides space for mistakes and appraisal of progress. I thank my lived experience for contributing to a more egalitarian therapeutic experience for my clients."
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