“Life, in general, is just happiness and family. When I was going into my early 20’s, right after high school, I went into a little bit of a depression. I started comparing myself to some of my friends. Being that young, you don’t realize life as it is; you don’t really have experience outside your parents taking care of you. The depression was from 19 to 22, but closer to 22 is when it got worse. I always try to self-help, but it doesn’t always help. It’s not the route I recommend anyone to do. If there is support out there, I recommend asking for help and reaching out to talk to someone. Speak on it. You can go into some dark places where you shouldn’t be. You realize later on that the situation you were thinking about isn’t as bad as it is. I always thought about how my family would feel if I ever tried any harm to myself. I didn’t want to leave that behind for somebody, especially somebody I cared about. It was the family support system surrounding me that really helped. I had other outlets too; I had basketball. Just finding something to do help out a lot. I have a 13-year-old brother, and I look forward to his graduation and what life brings to him in the future. I’m going to be a brand new dad, so I’m looking forward to that chapter too. Through those dark times to now, it has always progressed to something better. Life experiences have brought me a long way from where I was then. I don’t compare myself to other people as much. Back then I was always comparing myself to somebody, but now, I have to live for my kids, my girlfriend, and my family.”

-William (Tustin, CA)