“The year 2015 was a rough one for me. After stopping my medication in 2010 for no other reason than thinking I didn’t need it any longer, the depression began to creep back in increments. It was so gradual that I didn’t realize it was returning. By 2015, I knew that it was back; I just didn’t want to admit it. I didn’t want to talk to my therapist because I knew deep down inside I needed to get back on medication, and that was what she was going to tell me. But each month, it seemed like it would get worse. Being consumed with death began to invade my mind again.”
“The depression was so thick it was almost physical. In fact, it was so thick; it was almost visible. Day by day, it got worse until it was hard for me to get out of bed. By the time that Thanksgiving, the anniversary of Mom’s death, and Christmas all came around, it had gotten scary. I hid it from my family and everyone. I spent many days googling on the Internet how to end my life painlessly. I didn’t want to suffer or be maimed in some type of permanent way and yet still be alive; I just wanted it to end. I watched video after video on YouTube of suicides, people shooting themselves in the head, people hanging themselves, and jumping from buildings, thinking I just needed to find a painless way to end it. I became morbidly fascinated by watching these suicides and couldn’t stop watching them. Every time I would Google ‘painless suicides,’ a suicide hotline number would come up on the screen and say, ‘call immediately.’ I didn’t want help. I just wanted it to be over.”
During his college days, he became friends with Donny Hathaway, who also had a major impact on his career. Smallwood also played and wrote music for numerous productions at Howard University’s Drama Department, where he worked alongside fellow students and sisters, Phylicia Allen-Rashad and Debbie Allen.