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  • Writer's pictureNick Hartkop

Updated: Aug 21, 2021

My team and I have been having an ongoing discussion and have decided that it would be appropriate for a merch store to exist for McCafferty. I wouldn't feel comfortable having a merch store unless it exists to help people, so the profits from the merchandise that will be sold through my site will be donated to Easterseals. To be accountable, my team will update the site with the profits that were donated after a merch run, no matter how small, because every little bit helps. Easterseals is a charity that is important to me.

You can find out more about who they are and what they do here: Easterseals | The Story of Easterseals (I will also include a brief description at the bottom of this blog and a permanent section to the site). I do not have any interaction with the website or store, my team runs it and will be in charge of its day-to-day operations.

We have decided to start with 50 shirts. I have had people email me interested in merch, but I want people to feel right purchasing it knowing that it goes to helping people. If there is more interest, we will expand into other merchandise.

The new EP (which may become an album) will have a vinyl pressing and be sold through the site as well (again, all money raised on the site will go to Easterseals). I will include a mock-up of the T-shirt design we have chosen and the color we are working with, so people can see if they are interested. My team will update the blog and Spotify when pre-orders go live. The color of the shirts is subject to change because we won't know what it looks like physically until orders are up, but we are hoping it will be close to the color shown. The temporary mock-up below shows men's sizing, but the final product will have neutral sizing options. If you have any questions, feel free to send a message.

My team doesn't have specifics on cost, but we are aiming to have pre-orders up in the next two weeks (again, nothing is concrete but we have begun working with a production company).

I want to thank everyone who has been reading these blogs and connecting with them. I'm going to continue my journey of treatment for my Bipolar, my BPD and becoming the best version of myself. Thanks for listening.



The Story of Easterseals:

As America’s largest nonprofit health care organization, Easterseals is committed to the comprehensive health and wellness of the more than 1.5 million people it serves each year and is prepared to respond to the needs of the one in four Americans living with disability today with outcomes-based services for all disabilities throughout the lifespan. Among our services: early intervention, inclusive childcare, medical rehabilitation and autism services for young children and their families; job training and coaching, employment placement and transportation services for adults with disabilities, including veterans; adult day services and employment opportunities for older adults – in addition to a variety of additional services for people of all ages including mental health and recovery programs, assistive technology, camp and recreation, caregiving support including respite – and much more. Additionally, we’ve served transitioning military, veterans and their families and caregivers since WWII and continue to be the “go to” resource for them to help ensure their successful transition to civilian life. (Link: Easterseals | The Story of Easterseals)


McCafferty T-Shirt Mockup:

Updated: Aug 26, 2021

I think the world is becoming more understanding and accepting of mental illness, but I still see a stigma towards people who suffer from Borderline Personality Disorder and Bipolar.

I think because other mental illness, such as depression or anxiety, are often associated with a personal internal struggle, it makes it easier to empathize with and relate to. People with an illness such as BPD or Bipolar tend to have external struggles that hurt people around them and themselves, and because of that, it’s easy to dismiss.

I saw an article about a celebrity who is struggling with BPD and one of the top comments said, “people with BPD are irredeemable” and it really hurt me to see. Living with Borderline and having the manic highs and lows of it are unlike anything you alone are prepared for. The highs of my mania are like snorting cocaine up your ass and I feel like Superman, but at the same time I feel violent and angry, so I describe it as kind of like Superman on Ketamine. It’s like losing all control of yourself and every angry thought, every impulsive word become unfiltered. In my case, when I was manic, I would become verbally abusive in fits of rage that I wouldn’t stop until the person was ground into dust.

I’d lash out and put holes in walls and tell people I didn’t care about them and become so self-destructive that I hoped people would just let me spiral into my death. The thing I learned is that people will let you do that. No one was going to save me from my mental illness. I came from a small rural town in Ohio, where the concept of mental health was pretty unheard of. My old social circle had little understanding of mental health and no intention of learning about it. They would tell me I was making up my mania and that I was “crazy”. And they were right, I am crazy, I have Borderline Personality Disorder.

How they perceived mental health was how I perceived it, it was something to be ashamed of and to just “get over”. They were raised by families who never discussed mental illness because it was a weakness. My parents were the same way, they would tell me if I was “really crazy they would take me to the doctor” and they made it out to seem like having something wrong with you was meant to be bottled up and ignored. If you let it show, you aren’t normal and you won’t amount to shit.

I think that stigma is also perpetuated by the media. Take Kanye West for example. I think he is an incredible artist and a savant for his craft, and created songs that have changed the course of music and saved millions of lives, but I think he is a horrible example of handling Bipolar and it offends me. I don’t like the idea of labeling your mental illness as a super power and as something that fuels your creativity so you won’t be medicated because you “can’t write music.”

Medication is a must for my mental illness. I take it for my Borderline and it keeps me balanced chemically. If I miss my medication, I become an entirely different person. Therapy is necessary to maintain mental health and rehabilitation at our lowest. But therapy alone isn’t enough for Borderline, or for Bipolar, in my experience. It takes all of those things and the willingness to understand your own mental illness and grow with it. You won’t ever cure your mental illness, but you can control it.

I wish I could figure out a way to help the stigma of Borderline and Bipolar become less of a thing, but look at me, my past self is a contributing factor to why it’s stigmatized. I remember when I was on social media and people would say things like “I’m sick of waiting for Nick to get better” and I understand that. It’s hard to see someone being outwardly mentally ill and it tests patience and acceptance, and before I started treatment for my mental illness I didn’t care about “getting better.”

I’m proud to say that I am at a point now where I am getting better. Am I better? No. I still struggle daily with my mental illness, but I recognize the toxic behaviors that come from it, and how to counter those things. Medication for the mania, therapy for the anger, recognition of triggers and situations that are unhealthy for me and being able to handle those things in a safe way. I work hard to be self aware of my behavior, even in my mania. I struggle with being manic a lot still, but the way I am manic has changed completely because of my treatment.

The way I live my entire life has changed completely. I have a lot of regret about how I’ve lived my life and how self-destructive I was. It hurts looking back on, and I know it hurts other people too. But what I’m trying to do now is be someone who has failed so badly publicly, because of my own choice not to treat my Borderline the way it needed to be, and show that it is possible to life a safe fulfilling life with it, and do the things you want to do in your life.

I didn’t know I had BPD until I was admitted after my suicide attempt, but every day since I have taken it seriously and it has changed my life for the better. I am a reason that BPD is stigmatized, and I have a responsibility to be a reason that it can be seen as something that can be controlled and “redeemable.”

All mental illness is redeemable, but it takes work to do that. It takes time and follow through and commitment to doing what’s right, even when it’s not easy. That’s what I’ve been trying to do, and my journey is one of millions of other people who have fucked up their lives with this illness, and hurt others with it. I want to be a good person, I want to help people. My mental illness is not an excuse for my failures, but it helps me understand the way I was. If I were acting the same way, it would show I haven’t grown at all.

How do I become the person I want to be while having Borderline? How do I maintain staying healthy? Who am I hurting with my mental illness, and what are the long term consequences of what I’m saying and doing? These are all things I actively think about because I never did before. The external damage that is caused by failing to control BPD or Bipolar is the reason it’s stigmatized. It’s because it’s scary and intimidating and people without mental illness can’t imagine acting that way, and I understand that. It’s hard for me to look back at how I used to act before my treatment, and it scares me. It’s hard to empathize with someone with mental illness who is hurting other people as well as themselves.

I want to redeem myself and my mental illness, and I don’t care how long that will take. Despite my massive failures I want be someone with BPD who has survived it and came out the other side for the better. It will take the rest of my life, but the last year and a half has been the start to a journey that I’m not going to give up on. I am ashamed of the struggles I face, but I openly accept it because if I were to run from it, then the path to recovery has never really started.

Everyone is worthy of being what they want to be, and growing alongside their illness. Staying off social media is a must for me with my with Borderline and Bipolar, and nothing good comes from it. The impulses of posting, arguing, and obsessing are fed every moment you are online. The paranoia, anger, and need for social acceptance that come with it is harmful to anyone’s mental health. That being said, everyone’s mental illness is unique to them, and up to them to understand their triggers and what works.

I am interested to see where the discussion/public perception of BPD and Bipolar are headed in our lifetime. External destruction from mental illness is hard to empathize with because it seems selfish, and it is, so it’s up to us who have that illness to show that we can grow with it and overcome it. If you are struggling, you aren’t alone.

Over the course of last year I wrote a film that took inspiration from the situation I created for myself and BPD, and I have been shopping it around to agents. I am debating publishing it also and putting it out, but it’s too early to tell. Either way, it’s important to never stop creating, despite our failures.



On a music-related note, I’ve finished two demos for songs that I think are better than anything I’ve put out recently. I like the electric I’ve written on them, and they keys remind me of my older stuff. It’s annoying because I get overwhelmed when I think I’ve written a good song and I want to record it immediately and upload it so people can see that I’m capable of writing good music. As I mentioned in my previous blog, I’m using this EP as an opportunity to not feed my paranoia that I’ll be forgotten, and take my time releasing it. It also doesn’t matter because not that many people care anymore, so I want to give the people who do something that means a lot to them.

I’m really proud of these songs and want to share them when the time comes. I’m excited to be able to share more with you soon. Thanks for listening

Updated: Aug 26, 2021

I worry a lot about the exact date and time that I will die. I usually wake up in the morning wondering if today will be my last day on earth. I'm scared shitless of dying, which seems hypocritical coming from someone who has attempted suicide. I guess that made me less scared because it was my choice, but the uncertainty of death is terrifying. Last week, I was struggling with self harm, and my Rabbi came over to console me. I struggle with the concept of God. It scares me to write, but I don't think there is a god, and yet I do.

Coming from a religiously abusive home made me resent God most of my life, but I worry that if I don't believe in them, that they will damn me when I die. I try to have religion because the way I see it is, if I get on God's good side while I'm here, and they are real, then I'm safe. But if I'm like, "Fuck God" and they are real, when I die they are gonna think I'm really fucking stupid. But still, somedays it's hard not to think "Fuck God." When I see someone who is incredibly physically or mentally disabled, it makes me think it. I don't know why. It's just like, why would they let that happen? If God is real, then it's their fault. At least that's what my brain tells me.

Sometimes when I get high, I try to think about how this started. Just life, like who hit the start button? The big bang is cool and all, but who hit play on that? Whose fault is it that we all are stuck here? But that gives me hope that there is a god too. There are so many beautiful things here. I watch mountains outside my window and like how they make me feel small. I like the way it feels to hold my partner when we lay together, and feel like we are the same person. I like the way it feels when I find a note on the guitar that I can write around. If God is real, then I am thankful to them for music.

What gives me the most peace is hoping that there is nothing after we die. That it's like before we were born. We weren't mad that we weren't alive before we were born, so I'm hoping we don't know or care when we die either. But there are things here on earth that I want to experience, so I'm not ready to die. I want to know what it feels like to be happy. I am happy in moments, but in my day to day. I don't want to think about people hating me and base my worth on their opinions. I've gotten better at it, but I have absolutely no self-worth in my life. I have a fantastic support system and partner, and everyday with them is what I imagine heaven would be like, but when I'm alone with myself, I hate it. I absolutely hate myself. Most days I think about harming myself, but I don't want to stop growing and experiencing life. And what if we do die and it's all fire and brimstone and an eternity of burning? I'm not in a rush for that, I mean, I'm already there mentally, but physically I'm fine waiting. I used to never look for the good in anything, and thought the worst of the world, but I see so much good in it now.

It has been nice has been messaging people who reach out through this blog. It's comforting to know there are other people out there who have the same struggles I do, and are looking for acceptance in a world that doesn't accept them at their worst. Thank you to anyone who has reached out. My team sends me messages, so I will get back to you. It's nice sometimes to be able to converse about the struggles we face.

One of my biggest weaknesses is that I am impatient. I have a fear of being forgotten and it carries over into how I do music a lot of the time. Whenever I write a song I want to get into the studio because I have this fear that "people will stop listening to me" or that I will die before the song is recorded and I want to share my song instantly hoping it will be "the song" that connects universally. I have had a unique music career so far and am blessed that my songs have resonated with so many people, but I still feel like that insecure musician who is just writing songs for their friends, and afraid to share them with the world because rejection is hard for me.

In the stage of music I am now, I have been able to deal with that paranoia. Sometimes it feels surreal when I look at my Spotify, and see the listens that my songs get. In my past, I always felt like I needed to be front and center, in peoples constant vision so they won't forget about me. That fed my ego a lot, which coupled with my Borderline Personality Disorder was a deadly combination. I realize that the best and worst parts of McCafferty are Nick Hartkop. It's weird to refer to myself in the third person, but I think it is a good way to look at my music. I have a gift for writing, but I also have a lot of mental problems that make me unfit to be a public figure. I have been working through those problems through my rehabilitation, therapy, and medication, but even with those things I see how my public persona was obnoxious, cringey, and fake. I am thankful for the mental struggles I have because I wouldn't be able to write the way I do if I was "normal." But I still wish everyday that I was, and I work to be as normal as I can be. But ultimately, I am not a normal person and I am okay with that. The EP I'm writing is something I am using to be okay with not constantly putting something out to be relevant. I have 4 songs written for the EP so far, and it takes a lot of self control to not just record it tomorrow. But I have been writing parts for the songs and revisiting them daily. New guitar parts, new synthesizer parts, different vocal melodies, I have written all of my lyrics into a book that I review to make sure they are honest and important to me. I want to make something that I am so proud of, and it doesn't matter to me if I am forgotten. I still feel that I haven't written my best song yet, and I am trying to make that happen, at least for myself. I enjoy everything I have written, but I want to be content with where I am at with my music. I have started working with a manager and merchandising company who understand my past failures, and cancellation. It was hard for me to believe that there are people out there who still see potential and good in me, and I am at a point in my life now where I am going to do my best. I talk about it frequently, but my time I spent in rehabilitation after my suicide attempt changed my life, and it wasn't just the first time. I was hospitalized last September also for threatening to jump off my apartment complex. I was incredibly lost last year and felt like my time on this planet was over. I truly believed that my life had ended and that I should just die because no one would care anyway. It has taken my continued treatment and forced maturity (I say forced because it's fair to say if I wasn't cancelled I wouldn't have ever been the person I have grown into) to realize that the world is a place where there are people out there who are glad I am still here, and I am glad they are here too. There will be a physical run of the new EP with merchandise for the band when the time comes. My request is that everything from the run is donated to charity. I am looking into what charity to work with, as well as with my manager and company because I don't have any involvement with that side of things anymore. I don't think there is much interest in merch, so anything that will be made will be very limited. I've written a song that I personally think is the best song I have written in years, and I am going to make it the single for the EP when the time comes. When I was active on social media, I would say literally every song I was writing was my best song because I was so ego driven, but now that I am stripped of it, and the majority of people dislike me, it has allowed me to go back to that place of having nothing to do but write out my pain. No audience, no one to brag about with screenshots, no stories showing off my gear, just me and the guitar. That's how it used to be and it's helping me create some lyrics and melodies I am proud of and hurt to sing about, which is necessary to create art that connects with people. I have nothing to hide and can't pretend to be anything other than who I really am now. It sounds silly because of the public perception of me, but I care a lot about people. I try to think deeply about the world we live in and the things people go through. I want to create art that helps people. I want people to be happy. Education isn't the same for everyone, and my education came at my lowest point because I wasn't right mentally and wouldn't be educated. I am excited to be able to work with a team on this release, and I am excited to see who I end up producing this EP with, I have some hopes for it. If you've made it all the way through this blog, thanks for reading. I won't be posting daily to it, because then it becomes as bad as social media and I know that's not something I am able to have and maintain a healthy life. I will always try to get back to you if you send a message though. I value you taking the time to read this. On a final note, Trevor Moore died today, and he was one of my favorite comics growing up. He made an incredible impact on comedy and millions of people just like me adored him. He leaves behind a son and wife that will never see him or hold him again. I wonder if he ever thought about the exact date and time of his death, I think we all do. He was too young and when I heard the news I immediately thought "Fuck God." It's not fair, but life is unpredictable and unfair. All we can do is live each day to the fullest, be kind to one another, accept each other, follow our dreams, celebrate our lives, and try to change ourselves and help others change for the better. He changed mine with the countless hours I spent on YouTube as a teenager watching him. His art will live on forever. Nick

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