"Ok, God, you have one week to give me a reason to live."
I sat staring at the knife stuck in my bedpost like it was some sort of magical talisman. After the ultimatum I had just made, my future only had two possible outcomes: either God showed me why I should keep on going or I would take that knife and end things.
As I tried over the next week to find reasons not to take my life, I thought of my friends, family, teammates, classmates, coworkers, and the hundreds of people who I associated with. I thought of all my experiences in bobsled, school, with my career, and life in general. I started to think of all that I had done: bobsledding since age 17, graduated high school, served a Christian mission, received a college degree, made my college's President's List, finished two compete book manuscripts, had a successful career, loved and lost and loved again, and the list went on and on.
People saw the accomplishments and thought I must be happy; how could I be anything else? I always tried to be positive, to make the most of every day, work hard and be kind to those around me. But the anxiety and bouts of depression I had wrestled with since Junior High were tough opponents, ones that I felt had finally beaten me. I was out of strength, energy, and optimism. Even so, even though it seemed so dark, I knew I was a good person and that I still had big dreams and plans for the future, that I was going to do things that would shake up the world. I was through playing the victim. It was time to take action.
I couldn't give up. I wouldn't.
I hesitated telling my story like this in such a public place. As you can imagine, its incredibly personal and not the easiest thing to talk about; yet as I had friends, fellow athletes and professionals in the emotional and mental care fields participate in creating this website, they all encouraged me to leave my story in place. They helped me realize that it was a strong voice for hope, for change, and for the reality that at The Athlete Outreach Project we really do understand where you are.
That's why I founded the Athlete Outreach Project, to use each athlete's influence, story and personality to reach out and to lift. If just one person who comes to this website or watches our video messages finds hope and inspiration, it will all be worth it. I know what its like to be at the rock bottom. I know what its like to feel like you've tried everything, that you've run out of steam, that you can't see any way out of the current situation.
If there is one thing I want the Athlete Outreach Project to teach you its that there is always hope. That's why we share our stories with you, so you can see that as athletes we struggle at times just like you might be right now. We want you to find the help and strength you need to reach out to those who love you, who care for you and who want to help you. We know that to change you have to dig down deep and let out the inner champion so you can gain victory over whatever struggle you might be facing.
But guess what? We believe in you. I believe in you. And I know that you can overcome.
My friends, you are not alone. There is always hope
Or, if you'd like to read some of his inspirational quotes you can do so here