Dominick Rizzo had it all the quintessential American Dream. But, for some reason, it just wasn't enough.
Growing up in Albany and then Guilderland, where he graduated from high school, Rizzo lives with his wife and two children in the very home where he was born. At age 30, he works at a retirement community in Slingerlands and talks with the confidence and experience of a person nearly twice his age.
Rizzo said it has not always been this way, and his writing is a testament to those struggles. In his first book, The Spiral Staircase of My Life," published by Author House, Rizzo outlines through poetry his transition from a teenage boy to the man he is today.
"Friends, family " I had everything. I had love, cars, a job, the college I wanted I went to," Rizzo said. "The point I really want to [make] is that depression just comes to some people. There's no reason; you can't help it."
He said a "chemical imbalance" led to his depression and ultimately his suicide attempt in 2007, which is why Rizzo is donating all of the proceeds of his book to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
From a young age, Rizzo was a "cutter," a type of self-mutilation that can be associated with depression and other disorders, and had anger issues that led him to seek anger management counseling. But it was the isolation and over-analytical self-pity that got the better of Rizzo, not the anger, he said.
"I was a quiet and shy person. I had certain friends I would communicate with, but I was always the listener, the silent one. I was a very negative person," he said. "There's always that stigma, what's his problem? Why is he behaving like this? Why isn't he laughing? Why isn't he going out to the parties and doing this?"