Tommaso Ciampa

Tommaso Ciampa on past Suicide Attempt, Dealing with Depression


WWE NXT star Tommaso Ciampa was recently a guest on Lilian Garcia’s “Chasing Glory” to talk about several professional wrestling topics.

Here are the highlights:

Abusing pills when he was a server at Fridays:

So I go to OVW, have that rough experience of just, oh, I don’t have life experience. When I get released, I come back to New England and I’m just in this halt of trying to figure it out. So this is before I meet Jessie [his wife], I’m at a halt, trying to figure out what the heck I’m doing. I’m working at a Fridays as a server and wrestling is not going all that great. I also had a banged up knee, it wasn’t bad, but I had to get a scope on, so physically I’m not feeling my best, the whole thing.

So when I was at Fridays, when I was a kid in high school I had drank a couple of times, I wasn’t a partier, I didn’t get into anything, and somewhere during that stretch of serving and stuff, I started getting into pills, and I have no idea, I don’t even know what I was taking. At the time, I definitely wouldn’t have said I had a problem because it was one of those things where like a couple of other co-workers would be taking something, ‘Oh, just take it, it’ll get you through this miserable shift.’

So I’d take a couple of things and I’d notice, oh, there are these few people who might come in as guests who tend to also have stuff. It just got from one of those, oh, I’ll take a couple when someone gives them to me or whatever to I will seek them out to, I hit a point where, I would never name him, I just remember one older gentlemen who would come to our bar all the time, he definitely had a lot of prescriptions given to him for various things, and I would just take a handful of them.

How he attempted suicide:

I lost a lot of myself. I’m just in a bad place, and I remember hitting this, I have bad thoughts but I wouldn’t act on them or anything. I do remember a time where, my attempted suicide was reversing the exhaust in the car, and the worst part to this day to me about it is, so my sister had an ex-boyfriend who years after they broke up, committed suicide, and that is how he did it. I knew it was possible from that. To this day, it eats at me in a different way. It doesn’t eat at me in a way like, I’m really good at the past is the past, I live in the moment. It’s just one of those things like, goddamn, I can’t fathom my sister then hearing, I can’t even fathom what went through her mind. But that’s how I attempted it.

A mall security guard seeing his car and calling the police:

The attempted thing, it was one of those, even after it happened, for awhile, I reasoned with myself, ‘Oh, it was a cry for help.’ But realistically, I was sitting in the car, doing the reverse exhaust thing. The reason it didn’t work is because I was in this weird, back parking lot area of this mall, and it was like 2-3AM, and somebody who was off shift, who was done, the mall security, for God knows what reason, decided to do one more circle lap and saw this car, and called the cops.

And when the cops show up, I’m like virtually passed out, because I remember I was doing some of the cry for help texts with my brother and an ex-girlfriend, and then those stopped because I was, I do remember, I don’t know if some of this is I remember or just being told by the cops after, but when they came my phone was shut off and I was not in it and they knocked on the window and got the door open and once the oxygen started to circulate again, obviously I started to come to, and ended up going to get help.

Not remembering a lot of that year of his life:

If you ask me about that one year stretch of my life, I have the faintest memories of it. It’s one of those things where, but it’s bizarre how elapsed that time is. It was as if I wasn’t even on Earth for it. I just have no, not even just that year, but that year trickling extra time, I have no recollection. And I still think to this day, it has effected my memory.

How he recovered after his suicide attempt:

I just remember hitting this point where I finally had some time at home where I was clean, I was off everything, and I just had this, ‘Well, what do I want to do with my life, do I want to wrestle, do I not want to wrestle,’ and my big decision, and God bless my parents for saying OK, but my big decision before I got signed to Kentucky, I was about to move to Missouri to train at Harley’s. Just for six months, just wanted something new, and I wanted to get that life experience ironically that I didn’t have.

And I just remember hitting a point where I was like, well that’s what you were going to do, at 20 years old, you were going to go to Missouri and you were going to try to learn how to wrestle and get better and maybe go to Japan and do this stuff, so do it, do it for six months, and if you love it, great, and if you hate it, at least you know, at least you did it.

How going to Missouri was a cleansing process:

I went to Missouri and it was the beginning of everything, healing, a cleansing process. And don’t get me wrong, things did not go great, I had a crappy little studio apartment in Elden, Missouri in the middle of nowhere, but it gave me time to be alone and go train and meet new people and be forced into the environment, basically that I was forced into in Kentucky but learn how to adapt better, and Harley was a great mentor to me, he just took me under his wing quite a bit. Harley’s not the I love you type but he cared and showed that he cared.

How he continues to deal with his depression today:

It’s not like you just beat depression. It’s not like one day you wake up, and you’re like, ‘I win.’ I think once you have it, I don’t know if it’s a chemical imbalance, for me I view it as this is a lifelong thing. I never wakeup one day not mindful of ‘Hey, it’s on you to make sure you check off all the boxes.’ And a variety of things help. Exercise is big for me, that’s a huge one that helps, whether it’s cardio or running or lifting weights, that is a release for me.

I’ve tried meditation and there is an app called Calm that I always recommend to people, yeah, seven days of Calm, 21 days, that I actually got really into after neck surgery, because that was a different version of depression. Even where I’m at now, I’m very optimistic, everything on the surface is exactly what I wanted life to ever be, a home, my wife, my dogs, my baby girl, the career, for real, but that just doesn’t mean that you have some weird body armor on that makes you numb to it all.

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