Our Son’s Story

Dominic’s Story

Could Dominic have been saved? A question often asked by those affected by the traumatic loss of a loved one – and a difficult one to answer. To say ‘yes’ leaves us feeling regretful of what we did not do to help our son. To say ‘no’ makes us feel helpless. But the exercise of asking the question is nevertheless useful to the narrative.

Though the wonder will remain, asking the question has propelled us to compile and disseminate information that may have helped us save Dominic. We share this research and excerpts of Dominic’s story with the hope of preventing others from ever asking the same question.

Recalling some of his statements made us realize that Dominic exhibited some of the classic tell-tale signs of depression. We believe that our continued effort to distribute a mental health curriculum to adolescents may have helped Dominic and has the potential to help other youth combat their feelings and de-stigmatize the topic.

Age 13

'I’ve stopped participating in class because my classmates roll their eyes whenever I respond to a teacher’s question. They snicker every time I ask a question. At first, this made me mad, but now it makes me sad. I’m sad all the time.' - Dominic

Age 16

'The worst mistake that I ever made was dropping karate so that I could take the lead role in the school play. The only time I felt completely normal was when I was in karate class.' - Dominic

Age 18

'Everyone went to the University of Maryland football game – except me. My friends asked me to go along, but I just couldn't go. I spent the entire day all alone in my room. I watched the fireworks after the game through my bedroom window.' - Dominic

Age 18-29

'I think that I am losing my mind. I just can’t seem to think clearly. I know that people are talking about me all the time. I am sure that my teachers and classmates hate me.' - Dominic

Age 23

'I just can't bring myself to turn in my qualifying exam. I work and work at it night after night and I just can't seem to get it right. No matter how many times I modify my answers – they just aren't right.' - Dominic

Age 25

Dominic finally recognized that he needed professional help.

Age 28

Dominic agreed to partial hospitalization after years of struggling to get better with very limited positive results. Unfortunately, hospitalization may have come too late.

Age 29

'I want to relive my teens and twenties. I want those lost years back. I want to start over.' - Dominic

Age 30

On his 30th birthday, October 29, 2012, Dominic asked, 'Do I have to threaten to kill myself to get some treatment?'

On March 25th, 2013 – Our beloved son Dominic took his own life.

Early intervention is key. PAD is committed to bringing young adult depression out of the shadows and into the light of discussion and discovery.