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What the hell happened to Mike?


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#1 Mike

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Posted 03 July 2006 - 11:05 AM

What the hell happened to Mike?

That's a good question and I'm not sure how to answer it. Everyone here deserves to know why I have been missing in action, but that's going to be a little difficult.

In February, a minor medical problem that I've been dealing with for a while suddenly flared up to became a major problem. The nature of the problem is embarrassing and I really don't want to talk about it. It was nothing life-threatening, but it had to be dealt with. It was an unpleasant experience and thankfully it seems to be over.

There wasn't time to warn anyone that I was going away for a while. Even my family didn't know anything was wrong at first. If I'd known I was going to be gone for so long, I would have let someone know about it and would have made some arrangements.

I see that there were some ugly problems with the site while I was away. This is the first time I've actually visited the site since early March, so I don't know exactly what happened. I can take a guess. I was convinced that I would come home, load the address and find a suspended site or worse. I'm relieved to see everything is still up and running.

I've done a little lurking today and it looks like you people went through quite a lot of trouble to fix whatever went wrong. First of all, I am deeply sorry that I wasn't around to fix whatever the problem was. Second, thank you for jumping in and taking care of it. You guys (and ladies) are awesome. I owe everyone here a debt of gratitude.

Anyway, the problem I had is under control, or so I've been told. I am home now for good. I am back. God help us all.

- Mike
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#2 Falu

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Posted 03 July 2006 - 11:11 AM

Hi Mike, :D

The most important thing: you're okay and .... welcome back! :thumbsup:

#3 cnm

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Posted 03 July 2006 - 11:17 AM

It is really wonderful to see you back safe and sound. :thumbsup:

Any chance of a newsletter? :unsure:
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#4 Chancellor

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Posted 03 July 2006 - 11:28 AM

Hello Mike,

Just wanted to say "Glad to hear that you are alright" and "Welcome back - you've been missed!"

:D

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#5 mbridges7718

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Posted 03 July 2006 - 12:02 PM

Welcome back Mike :)

#6 tooseyboy

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Posted 03 July 2006 - 12:27 PM

A warm welcome back to you Mike and good to know all is under control. :wave:

#7 Merijn

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Posted 03 July 2006 - 12:49 PM

Just glad to see you're alive and well Mike. I was starting to worry you got so sick of it all that you moved to India. ;)

#8 RubbeR DuckY

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Posted 03 July 2006 - 12:53 PM

Good to have you back Mike, =). I missed the newsletter! Hope your ok and wish you the best.
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#9 pivonka571

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Posted 03 July 2006 - 02:26 PM

Mike - Thanks for the update. God help us all, indeed.

#10 dave38

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Posted 03 July 2006 - 03:00 PM

Welcome back Mike! You have been missed, but Noggie has managed to keep the home fires burning.
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#11 Budfred

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Posted 03 July 2006 - 04:04 PM

Welcome back... :wave: :wave:

I am also glad to hear you are okay... :thumbsup:
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#12 Maddoktor2

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Posted 03 July 2006 - 05:42 PM

Glad to see you're ok, Mike - Welcome Home. :)
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#13 Daemon

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Posted 03 July 2006 - 05:55 PM

Good to see you back Mike :D
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#14 motherfury

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Posted 03 July 2006 - 07:03 PM

Hi,

I am glad to hear that the founder of this awesome site is in good health. I met you previously in the chat before your untimely disappearance and found your humor to missed shortly thereafter. Since then I have decided to take up the fight and joined the boot camp and can't wait to help here when I am done. I am so thanksful that there is a place like this where the members are so caring (and as well as informative) that where the closness grows to such concerns for it's members. Since being here, the "family" here has been most receiving. You would be proud! ^_^

It also has to be said, that our staff has been working so hard to keep SWI intact and running smooth. But specifically, Noggie, deserves a special mention as she had put in extra work in keeping it to the same status of quality since your departure. She is certainly an asset to this place as a mom is to her baby. Truly she has gave her most as the level of responsibilty had fell on her. She's been awesome! :D

Again, I am glad to hear that your back in the saddle again were you belong. I look forward to seeing you in the chat once again. And look forward to the much talked about and missed newsletter! :wave:
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#15 markkhunt

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Posted 03 July 2006 - 07:28 PM

Hi, Mike. It's really great to see you back! :D
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#16 teacup61

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Posted 03 July 2006 - 07:45 PM

What the hell happened to Mike?


Who the hell is Mike? :huh:

Nice to finally see you. :D I've been hearing about this fella for months now, and glad he's all right.
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#17 TheJoker

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Posted 03 July 2006 - 08:10 PM

Welcome back!!
It's good to hear that you are ok :D

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#18 Nick

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Posted 03 July 2006 - 09:01 PM

Welcome back Mike.

#19 miekiemoes

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Posted 03 July 2006 - 11:22 PM

Hi Mike :wave:
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#20 tashi

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Posted 04 July 2006 - 01:05 AM

Welcome back Mike. :love:

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#21 Kirstin

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Posted 04 July 2006 - 05:23 AM

Hello Mike,

I am sooo glad to hear that you are safe and well and am really happy to see you back!

Can't wait to read your next newsletter (once you've had the chance to catch up).

Kirstin ^_^


#22 mitchshrader

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Posted 04 July 2006 - 05:25 AM

did you remember to it was your turn to bring the pizza? :p
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#23 didom

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Posted 04 July 2006 - 07:20 AM

I am also glad to hear you are okay!

Welcome back :wave:

#24 Bobbi Flekman

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Posted 04 July 2006 - 07:34 AM

Welcome back!

#25 tj416

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Posted 04 July 2006 - 08:13 AM

Welcome back, Mike! :wave:
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#26 Abhorsen

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Posted 04 July 2006 - 09:26 AM

Welcome back Mike!

#27 Trilobite

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Posted 04 July 2006 - 10:44 AM

Welcome back!

#28 NonSuch

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Posted 04 July 2006 - 01:29 PM

Welcome back! :wave:

#29 rambro

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Posted 04 July 2006 - 06:32 PM

Dear Mike, :)


I am glad that you are feeling better, but you should of let your top people at this website know what was going on with you. It just does not seem right that you should not let your top people (who work with you at this website) know your situation. Noggie, has instituted some good ideas on this website, and I would give them some meaningful consideration. Glad that you are back, but listen, keep your top people in this online organization informed of your whereabouts. Thanks for listening.

rambro :)

#30 Piatan

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Posted 04 July 2006 - 08:33 PM

Good to have you back, Mike. :D
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#31 Sempurna

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Posted 05 July 2006 - 06:29 AM

Welcome back, Dark Lord!! :wave: :thumbsup: :wave: :thumbsup: :wave:

If you hear of a coup d'etat, it wasn't me!! :whistle:
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#32 racooper

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Posted 05 July 2006 - 07:47 AM

Good to see that "angel" face back around! Between Noggie, cnm with some help from Dok and the folks at Dixiesys, we're still around...and patched...and going strong!

Looking forward to the next newsletter, whenever that may happen to be!

#33 drex23

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Posted 05 July 2006 - 09:00 AM

Hi Mike, welcome back. :)

#34 mjc

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Posted 05 July 2006 - 09:47 AM

:wave:

Welcome back...I guess everyone is coming out of the woodwork.
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#35 SuburbanWolf

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Posted 06 July 2006 - 01:14 PM

I couldn't help but take an objective look at the entire situation, and came up with this post on my blog.

Note this is not spam, it's related to this topic.

#36 suzi

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Posted 06 July 2006 - 02:29 PM

I couldn't help but take an objective look at the entire situation, and came up with this post on my blog.

Note this is not spam, it's related to this topic.


Most interesting, SurburbanWolf. I had seen the links at Galactic Civilizations but not the others.

I suspect plenty of people are thinking what you expressed. IMO, Mike has some explaining to do and owes a lot of people apologies -- especially the people who essentially got dumped on by his absence.
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#37 cnm

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Posted 06 July 2006 - 02:48 PM

On the other hand we owe him a great deal for starting SWI and running it all these years, and for the inspiring leadership he gave us. Whatever way he spent the time during his absence, I think he deserves our support. We do not know what he may have been going through, and it could be that he badly needed the distractions of games etc.
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#38 Kat

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Posted 06 July 2006 - 03:11 PM

cnm, I agree with you completely on one hand, I really do. It's truly not our business what Mike was or wasn't doing during his absence. He does deserve support to a degree for everything he's done. This site deserves our support for all it has taught and given us.

But, there's that other hand. I believe that Mike does owe a giant apology and explanation at the very least to you, Noggie, and other key players who kept this site going. If he was gaming and needed a break, fine. We've all been there, and we all understand that. BUT, being the owner of this site and the ONLY one with access to keep it updated and secure...he should have taken two minutes to email you or Noggs, and adjust your priveledges so you could handle things. To just walk away without a single word is just well, not cool. I think more along the lines of irrational, immature, and irresponsible. :(

Mike, I love ya dearly, and you know that. I'll always be a friend, and I still care about you and respect you. But taking off the way you did turned some people's lives totally upside down, and caused a lot of problems.

All the thanks in the world go out to cnm, Noggie, Dok and all the others who worked so hard to keep this place going, and continuing to help others.

#39 Gimpi

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Posted 06 July 2006 - 03:21 PM

I couldn't help but take an objective look at the entire situation, and came up with this post on my blog.


Very good points, SubWolf. I would also like to add that myself along with others left numerous voice mails on Mike's home telephone number and have heard no response. And still have not.

#40 therock247uk

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Posted 06 July 2006 - 03:55 PM

That blog post does bring up alot of good points if mike needed a break he could of said so we always get times where we just want to do something differant or we burnout (ive been there) because of doing something so much but just say so a simple post saying you were taking a break would of been good and giving people like cnm noggie and dok the access they would need to the site as a hole for upgrades etc... even if you did not want to post on the forum you could of contact someone by phone letting them know etc....

#41 suzi

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Posted 06 July 2006 - 05:11 PM

On the other hand we owe him a great deal for starting SWI and running it all these years, and for the inspiring leadership he gave us. Whatever way he spent the time during his absence, I think he deserves our support. We do not know what he may have been going through, and it could be that he badly needed the distractions of games etc.



Mike did a great thing by starting SpywareInfo, running it and inspiring many people -- certainly I agree with that.

But, IMO, that doesn't excuse irresponsible behavior, for Mike or for anyone. At the very least he could have notified someone that he wouldn't be available but that didn't happen, and for that, I think he owes his supporters an apology. If Mike is willing to take responsibility for his behavior, then he has my support, but I can't support irresponsible behavior. I can't forget so quickly now many people were worried sick about his disappearance, only to find out he was ok, just not communicating with people who needed him and had been trying desperately to contact him for weeks, maybe months.
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#42 hornet777

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Posted 06 July 2006 - 07:58 PM

Somewhere in between that fact that some people give the benefit of the doubt to no one and those that never fail to take advantage of it when it is given lies the truth.

The issue isn't forebearance, its abandonment, and has been all along—yet it is not to in any way be inferred that I personally am taking a stand on this either way.

I'm not entirely sure if "objective" is the proper way to express how all this should be interpreted, but unbiased and dispassionate certainly are characterisations I could get behind with no qualms. Let truth speak and the chips fall where they may.

In the meantime, we all have things to do, like what we are here for in the first place: computer security. None of our reactions will make a hill of beans of difference to this matter what so ever.

Edited by hornet777, 06 July 2006 - 08:03 PM.

After all is invested in correctness, then how does it stand with truth?

#43 SuburbanWolf

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Posted 06 July 2006 - 08:29 PM

Well said, hornet777.

#44 Mike

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Posted 06 July 2006 - 09:36 PM

Like I said, it is a private matter and I didn't want to discuss it publicly. I have a recognizable name, a reputation that certain people would love to smear and I just might want to work for someone other than myself at some point. But I see we have amateur detectives demanding answers. So be it. There are a few people who deserve to know exactly what happened and at least one person who knows me well enough to have probably guessed what happened anyway. I did let cnm in on what happened, but only today.

I'll ask those of you with web sites that get a lot of traffic to refrain from repeating any of this on them and to please remove any links back to this thread.

I'm sure you all have noticed that every so often, I have a tendency to drop off the face of the universe for a week or two and then come back without explanation. You may have noticed that it started to happen more and more often over the last year or so, until me being missing was more common than me being present.

Those who know me fairly well may have noticed that my temper was getting more out of control for the last few months before this last disappearance or that I'd started drinking myself under the table more and more often. A very small number of people knew that I had started smoking again recently, something I had managed to quit doing years ago.

You generally get several idle hours per day in the common room of a mental hospital, after the shrinks are done asking millions of questions and the orderlies are satisfied that you are properly blitzed on antidepressants. So yeah, I had time to play a lot of video games. And read a lot of books. And watch a lot of TV. And type out a lot of nonsense articles on my laptop. When I was lucid anyway. No idea who that is at eBay though, I swear.

I'm not going to say what led me to that hospital. I'm keeping that private, although I'm sure it's in a police blotter somewhere.

I've been in and out (mostly in) of a mental health clinic for the better part of 4 months, as "inpatient" and later as "outpatient". Not all of that was voluntary. For most of it, I was flying on some really nice medications, except for the one early on that made me nauseous.

I've been diagnosed with Atypical Clinical Depression and several strong anxieties that border on being phobias, including one about this very site. All of which seem to have been caused years ago by a chemical imbalance leading to severely depressed levels of Saratonin. That, according to the doctors, was itself caused by a traumatic and stressful event that happened to me about 9 years ago. Some of you know that story.

The Saratonin becomes suppressed by too much of a hormone that I won't even attempt to spell. That leads to psychological depression and stress. The stress turns into anxiety. The anxiety turns into acute paranoia, insomnia, dementia, overeating and overdrinking. And then I can't take any more of it and I go away for a week or two and sit in a dark room, watching TV or whatever. And then I snap out of it and everything is fine afterward - for a few weeks. That's been going on for a few years now.

Every now and then, the anxiety just keeps building, the paranoia gets much worse, to the point that I can't bring myself to go outside or turn on the lights at night (because *somebody* might see the lights are on) and where I run to the blinds every time I hear a car engine, because I'm convinced it's going to pull in the driveway. I get self-destructive, start drinking and lose my temper at people for no good reason, spend hours writing insane "articles" that I look at the next day and delete because they're crazy. Noggie's seen a few of them. No one else has, thankfully. My regular disappearances start happening more often and there's less "normal" time in between them. And then finally, I take an abnormally long break from the world that doesn't end after just a week or two. It lasts 4, 5 or 6 weeks or sometimes longer.

And then, when it's over, I come back. I'm back in the chat room killing everybody with jokes, a newsletter is sent out the next day, the message board is taken offline, backed up, tweaked and updated the day after that, there's 2 brand new articles on the site that everyone talks about for months and my blog suddenly gets real active. Then I settle down and everything is normal for a while.

The doctors call all that "manic behavior" and it usually marks the end of one of these really bad cycles. Once I'm back, I'm usually good for the next 5 or 6 months before it all starts again. Apparently I like Summer. Not so much Winter.

That's what started to happen to me in February, when I fell off the world again. Only this time, it led to me doing something really stupid a couple of weeks into it and THAT ended with me strapped to a hospital bed in Macon, GA. I stayed there a while.

My treatment has been transferred to a local doctor. I've been sleeping at home each night and visiting a clinic near here for most of each day since May. I had strict instructions to not interact with any of my sites in any way until they told me it was ok. One of my most extreme anxieties, believe it or not, revolves around this site. If you've ever wondered why I rarely visit my own message board, there you go. I was also told to stay off the news sites, although I cheated by peeking at Slashdot a few times.

The chemical problem has been brought under control. The psychological problems it caused are being worked on by the shrink. He tells me that I should be seeing the end of all that soon enough, now that my hormones are under control and I understand what was going on. I might actually become a regular visitor here again, god help us all.

I let cnm in on some of this earlier today. She mentioned something that people might notice when I start writing again. Supposedly, once they reduce the dosage of my medicine in a couple of months, I'll be more mellow. My "feisty" newsletters might not be so feisty anymore, since they won't be the work of a deranged mind anymore. The doctor couldn't say one way or the other, but said that a lot of artists were completely bonkers and did their best stuff while stoned or in the middle of some sort of manic episode. I guess we'll just have to see what happens with my writing.

Anyway, that's where I was. Basically, I had a nervous breakdown and had to be put back together. They told me not to call it that but that's as good a name as anything. I'm sure this story will spread around now, but I'll ask that nobody here help it along.

I've done some more lurking to get a feel for what's gone on the last few months. I'm really sorry for all the trouble that I wasn't around to fix. I think I know what a few people went through in my place and don't think I don't appreciate that effort.

So, like I said the other day, I'm back. According to medical science, I might stick around this time.
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#45 SuburbanWolf

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Posted 06 July 2006 - 09:43 PM

Uhh, wow.

Edited by SuburbanWolf, 06 July 2006 - 09:47 PM.


#46 Gimpi

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Posted 06 July 2006 - 09:45 PM

Damn..

Edited by Gimpi, 06 July 2006 - 09:46 PM.


#47 Budfred

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Posted 06 July 2006 - 09:46 PM

I am sorry you felt pressed to tell that whole story and I also appreciate that you chose to let us know... I wish you well and offer my support in whatever way you might need it...

I can tell you that the people that told you that people who are manic or otherwise suffering from mental illness did their best work in that state are wrong... There has been some very good research done to look at that exact question and it found that they did their best work (and continue to do so for those that are living today) when they were most lucid... While there may be a rare exception, it is likely that your work will be better if you are stable...
Budfred

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MS MVP 2006 and ASAP Member since 2004

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#48 Kat

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Posted 06 July 2006 - 09:46 PM

For the first time in recorded history, I am absolutely speechless. It took a HELL of a lot of courage and humility to write what you did, Mike. I applaud you for that. I've been there, too many times to count. not exactly the same, no...but been there, done that, got the tshirt a few times. It takes a giant amount of strength to be able to admit what you just did, and I'm proud of you for doing so.

You know you have the support of everyone here, Mike, or this site wouldn't still be here, know what I mean? Each and every member of your Staff and Site did whatever little bit they could to help keep this place going in your absence. What does that tell you? NOT just that they love SWI itself. It's also due in large part to the influence YOU personally have had on each of us. You know you have our support, to both your site and yourself. All you gotta do is ask, silly. ;)

You know where to find me, anytime, day or night. Friends are hard to come by, and ones who will tell you like it is even when you may not like it are even harder to find. You have been that to me...and to many others. Take care Mike..and holler when you need us, ok?

#49 therock247uk

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Posted 06 July 2006 - 09:47 PM

Wow... I really don't know what to say...

#50 admiraljustin

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Posted 06 July 2006 - 09:54 PM

Mike, let me be the first (possibly, if I'm not too slow in posting) to say this.

You didn't need to reveal those details you did in that post.

You did, however, and those of us here who understand everything you said can probably say the same thing as I will now.

We cared more about YOU being gone than the maintenance of the site. The site is convenient, but the world keeps going, even if SWI isn't here.

You, however, can not be replicated, like the site can. I was not worried about spywareinfo, I was worried about what had happened to Mike H.

The details in your post make it more than clear that you did exactly the right thing in how this was to be handled. I know others who have a condition similar to yours so this type of thing isn't much of a shock. (honestly, I had suspected you to be manic/depressive). My personal history has kind of led me to be able to somewhat identify people who go through manic and depressive episodes.

If this site causes you pain to read, by all means, stay away until you are ready.

Stay strong, Mike, and here's me hoping that, when you and your physicians are satisfied with your recovery, that you will wish to remain with us. Take what time you need. Don't feel pressured.




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