My first real exposure to suicide happened at the age of 12. My parents were going through a divorce, something I would have never imagined my parents doing, and my father did not take it well at all. My dad has always had depression and the divorce really made it a lot worse. Seeing him go through what he went through was very difficult and had a huge impact on me. That is when I made my first attempt.

I remember as a young boy legitimately having feelings of wanting to end my life. I believed I was better off dead. I was in my room one day and I tied a bed sheet to a door knob and the other end around my neck and leaned forward to choke myself. I eventually stopped because there was no way I had the courage to go through with it. I immediately told my mother and father what I had tried to do and that led to them seeking treatment and counseling for me. That worked good for a while, but as the teenage years went on and my self-confidence continued to plummet, old feelings began to creep back into the picture.

My next attempt was Junior year of high school when I was 17. I was going through a rough patch with balancing school work and extra-curricular activities. My self-esteem had fallen to an all time low and I didn't know where else to turn. At the time my room was in the basement of my home. I was home alone and the feelings of worthlessness were overwhelming. I told myself the only way to relieve these feelings would be to end my life.

I attached a lanyard to one of the nails and put the other end around my neck. I stood on a chair and kicked the chair out and felt myself hang there for a few seconds.

On the ceiling of the basement was a support beam that had a bunch of nails in it. I attached a lanyard to one of the nails and put the other end around my neck. I stood on a chair and kicked the chair out and felt myself hang there for a few seconds. The weight of my body was too much for the nail to take. The nail finally gave way and I fell to the floor. In that moment I was scared and frustrated. At that moment I was not giving up. I then went to the railing of the basement steps where there was a gap and tied a bed sheet around the railing. I slid off the side of the steps so that it was cutting off my air supply. Finally, the thought of my family, maybe one of my two younger sisters, finding me there dead entered my mind and I stopped. That's when I knew I had to tell my Mom again what I had done and get the proper help I needed. I can't even imagine the devastating effect my death, especially at my own hand, would have done to those who love me.

Since then I have had a lot of time to think about my actions on that day. Even though I still deal with mild depression and self-confidence issues, I realize that nothing is worth taking my own life. In the wake of the suicide of Robin Williams, it brings up the terrifying truth that this could happen to anyone, anytime. It doesn't matter how much money you have or how many people love you. Depression is a serious disease and suicide as a result of depression is one of the leading causes of death in America. I bet you're asking yourself, how could someone like Robin Williams, who always seemed to have so much joy, be so unhappy? It's like the sad clown. I can't say I know how Williams felt, but what I do know is even at my lowest point of depression I would put up a facade of being happy and funny to others. Nobody ever knew what I was going through or that I was capable of something like this.

That is why it is so important if you know anyone who is struggling with depression, even if it's just a feeling you have, to speak up and get that person the help they need. If you are someone who is feeling helpless or worthless, there is no shame in that. It's important to tell someone so you don't make a terrible mistake you can't undo.

If you or someone you know may be at risk of hurting themselves or others, call the National Suicide Hotline @ 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Locally, you can contact the Center for Family Life & Recovery at 315-733-1709. The website is Another emergency number is 732-6228.

Hopefully in telling my story I will be able to convince at least one person who is struggling with this disease or is having thoughts of suicide seek the help they need to get their life back on track.

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