Grappling, Depression, and Suicide; My Story

I’m going to open up and be very personal today. The story I am about to share is one I have shared many times before, though never so publicly as this and I share it in hopes that it will help anyone reading who may be silently struggling. I suffer from depression and it has led me to consider suicide twice.

Below is the story I shared with Erin Herle when she was gracious enough to do an interview with me about ‪#‎submitthestigma, an organization and a movement
designed to reduce the stigma attached to mental illness.

If I could offer any advice to someone struggling with depression or suicidal thoughts it

would simply be to not be afraid to seek help, and to just hold on. I can’t promise that it immediately gets better. But with help, it does get better.

I personally have suffered from depression and ADHD for much of my life. In the summer of 2012, I had made the decision to end my life. Just a few months prior, I graduated college with a teaching degree. Myself, my wife, and my children were forced to move in with my in-laws, who made it extremely evident they did not care for me. We were woefully unemployed and struggling in every way.

I went from training Jiu-Jitsu multiple times per week to not at all. I had no outlet. There was no longer even the hobby I had loved so dearly to help buoy me up during my mental health crisis. I had nothing but unanswered job applications and failures. I felt as though I were drowning. Everything seemed hopeless and I had made up my mind that if I died, it wouldn’t matter. No one would miss me, and those who did would eventually get over it. The life insurance money would provide my wife and children the head start they deserved and that I couldn’t provide them.

My father-in-law owned a gun but it was kept in a safe and I had no way of accessing it, so I came up with an alternate plan. There was an abandoned farm-equipment shed a few miles down the road from where my wife and I were staying. My plan was to walk over there and take enough pills to kill myself. It was the perfect place. My wife wouldn’t have to be the one to find me, my children wouldn’t see it, and no one I cared about would have to clean up any mess.

A day or so before I left, an old friend from college called me. She had also struggled with depression and recognized what I was going through. She convinced me to seek treatment immediately, but I was so scared. I was more afraid to seek help than I was to die. But I managed to gather enough courage to tell my wife, who in turn helped me find the professional help I needed.

On top of getting professional medical help, I also started forcing my way back into grappling as well as I could. It was irregular and a slow start and it didn’t cure anything, but it gave me something to look forward to. It gave me something to enjoy. It helped me to recover. Make no mistake, I would be dead had my friend not reached out to me.

Too often, those of us who suffer from depression and other mental health issues are too ashamed to tell anyone, so we hide it. When we hide it, it becomes worse. Part of the reason for hiding it is because of the stigma associated with such issues. People who have not experienced it, though they may be empathetic, do not understand it. Worse still, many lack empathy or even belief in such mental health issues entirely.

I am happy that people were willing to help me and that I was able to get my life back on track. There are so many beautiful things I would have missed out on had I made the choice to die. Living has been worth it.


If you are suffering from suicidal thoughts or depression, it is never too late. You can pull through with proper care and help. You can always reach out to the organizations below:

National Suicide Prevention Hotline (1-800-273-8255)




  1. Thanks for being bold enough to share your story. I work with women who suffer depression, PTSD, and are just generally struggling. I share my own journey and offer them encouragement and support. I just started BJJ and find it very helpful for my own mental & emotional health, not to mention the physical outlet. It is my wish for many ladies (and men) I encounter that they would give BJJ a try. Though I ache physically at times (ok, most times) after a roll, the increase in positive outlook was an eye-opening surprise for me…it keeps me coming back to the mats. Thanks again, Jared, and best wishes to you and your family…


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