The first serious incident occurred when Rizzo was a young man and was getting ready to go out to a nightclub in Albany. He didn't go after a friend made a comment about the clothes he was wearing.
"I cut myself," he said. "I actually cut my face with a razor when I was 21 above my eyebrow. It's embarrassing to talk about, but I did it."
More than half a decade later, Rizzo was in anger management counseling and felt as if some people were treating him as a loose cannon. He said the looks and comments from loved ones made coping with his issues even more troubling for fear of propagating suspicions he would "fly off the handle."
"I was going through anger management, and it was really good. It was working," said Rizzo. "I realized I was changing, but people around me still thought I was that 'rage-aholic.'"
It all came to a head inside of Rizzo's head one day while he was putting up a pool in his backyard with his younger brother. Like many home projects, things didn't go smoothly.
He described the isolation he felt when people would treat him like a patient in counseling and saw the simplest of irritations as rage.
"And when they walk away from me, it's like, 'I'm fine; I'm changing and you guys don't see that,' and it made me frustrated," said Rizzo.
It was in 2007, just after his first son was born, that the multitude of emotions surfaced and overpowered him. For Rizzo, not being able to complete a normal family project like putting in a backyard pool became the symbolic dynamite to his dysfunction and the impetus to what happened next.
"I became struck by that, and I came in the house and I remember thinking 'I'm just gonna go to bed, I'm just gonna lay down and go to sleep," said Rizzo. "And I saw the knives, and I just buried the knife in my wrist four times."