KEVIN AMUNDSON: Growing up I did not think of myself as somebody with depression. I knew people and I had friends who I knew were diagnosed with depression and were depressed but I never thought I was depressed until that day. KEVIN AMUNDSON: Hi, I’m Kevin, I’m real big into trucks, and at the age of 20, I tried to kill myself. KEVIN AMUNDSON: Prior to the attempt, I had not thought about committing suicide, it had never even crossed my mind. KEVIN AMUNDSON: We’re at the lake where I attempted. KEVIN AMUNDSON: That fishing pier right there is where I actually pulled the trigger, I was out on the end of the pier. KEVIN AMUNDSON: Right here was when I was like, “Ok this is actually going to happen”. KEVIN AMUNDSON: The lake that day was calm, it looked like glass, clear blue skies. There was a blue heron over there in those reeds. KEVIN AMUNDSON: It’s kind of hard coming back here, probably always will be for the rest of my life. This is the place where I hit the lowest, the lowest point in my life. The biggest thing that was going through my mind when I got out here was just relief and fear. I was going to finally take the burden that was me away from the world. KEVIN AMUNDSON: I had my phone out that day and I actually typed a message to my parents just, “I love you” probably five or six times but I never sent it. I had my phone out to call 911 and let them know who I was, where I was and what I was going to do. The 911 operator, on the other end of the line, she tried to talk me out of it. She asked me why, she asked me how I was going to do it. But I didn’t really, I didn’t really give her a response other than, “Just please send someone out”, and then I hung up the phone. I sat down and then pulled the trigger. KEVIN AMUNDSON: Afterwards like my eyesight was black, my ears couldn’t hear anything and then everything just kind of goes dark after that. I shot myself through the bottom of the jaw up into my brain cavity with a 22 Hollow Point, which I thought would do the trick. DAVE: On the day that we found out about Kevin’s attempt, I was sitting over here, just came home from work and I was just laying down on the couch for a couple of minutes when the sheriff’s cars pulled into the driveway. I can remember, you know, first thing they said was, “Kevin shot himself”. And of course like an idiot first thing I said is, “You’re joking” you know, and then right away when I said it, it’s like, obviously he’s not joking. AMY: It’s like the pain and the emotion shuts off and you just go into the mode of, our daughter was a hero. It was like we have to get our daughter, we have to get to the hospital, you just started into the mechanics. JESSICA: I had gone to my, at the time, boyfriend’s house after school, and my parents planned on him bringing me home later in the evening and about two hours earlier than I was supposed to be home, my parents showed up and I knew instantly something was wrong. My Dad had been crying, and my Dad does not cry. My Mom was just a wreck and all they could say was, “Kevin tried to kill himself.” DAVE: I thought he was gone and my initial thought was I need to say goodbye to him. AMY: The doctors told us, the first five days, there was a 50/50 chance Kevin won’t survive. And they also told us that if he did survive, it would be highly unlikely that he would have any use of the right side of his body and the majority of the bullet was lodged in the speech centre of his brain. So they said there was a very good chance he would not be able to speak and possibly not be able to process. KEVIN AMUNDSON: That first thing I really remember after the attempt was, I was laying in the hospital bed in the ICU. My Dad asked me, “Do you know what happened? Do you know why you’re here?” And I thought I had gotten in a car accident and he was like, “You tried to commit suicide” and then it kind of all came rushing back. And as soon as he said it, his voice broke and that hurts because my Dad is not the type to break down and he broke down and that I think weighs the most on me. It was very hard and it’s not an emotion that I think I’ll ever get over. I was in the ICU for 28 or 29 days and then I hopped around from hospital to hospital for just over three months before I was finally allowed to go home. KEVIN AMUNDSON: I did feel regrets about the suicide attempt for a very short time after I woke up. Once they told me that, “You’re going to make almost a full recovery”, then the regret went out the window and I was one hundred percent focused on getting better. So this is the photo of my truck that was at the foot of my bed from probably day six until I got out of the hospital about three months later. This truck just kind of meant a lot to me because it was something that I purchased very shortly before the attempt, and it was my baby, it was my pride and joy at the time. So knowing that I had a goal to work towards and that was to drive this again, that was a big recovery factor for me. KEVIN AMUNDSON: I had to regain use of the right side of my body. I had a speech impairment. I would just slur some words, had a hard time with pronunciation which still bothers me every once in a while. My brain and my mouth don’t exactly work the same way that they used to and I no longer have a sense of smell. They had to block my nasal cavity with a chunk of my skull because I was leaking spinal fluid out of my nostrils. The scar here is when I woke up out of the coma in order to let my brain swell. They had to take what’s called a bone flap out, so they actually had to go and cut this chunk of my skull out so that my brain could swell into that hole. I went probably three and a half months with a little divot in my head like this. Because I didn’t have any skull there. It used to drive my mom crazy but when the scar was healing, before my bone flap got put back in, I would itch it. And I would tell people that I could feel my brain because I could actually push in right there and squish it around and it drove most people crazy. KEVIN: So today is four years to the day since I attempted and it means a lot for me to be here at the site because I don’t take anything for granted anymore. Everything from the little fish that are jumping in the lake to the sounds of the crickets and the cicadas. It’s the little things that didn’t matter before that I just pick up on now. I think I’ll come out here every year because it means something to me, it means something to be able to say, ‘I survived a suicide attempt and I’m still here’ KEVIN: We usually host a party every year just to celebrate the miracle of me still being here. KEVIN: I do still have depression. It’s probably not something I will ever outgrow or get away from. The mental help that I get now is I am on Prozac – which is antidepressant. KEVIN: I am way closer with my family and friends than I was before and, you know, my parents and my grandparents and everyone will ask me, you know, any time we are together, ‘How you doing? You doing all right? Are you okay?’ KEVIN: Before it wasn’t like that. Now it’s nice to be able to have someone know and be able to ask you know, ‘Are you okay?’ And actually understand what ‘Are you okay means’ truly. JESSICA: You know a lot of people think that this day is really rough. It was actually something that was said today that today’s going be a tough day and the best way that I can put it is it’s not a tough day. It is a grateful day. We don’t call it the anniversary of his attempt. It is his miracle day. It is the day that Kevin became a miracle. JESSICA: That he was given a second chance at life.