By Harley Nefe
Over one million people take their own lives each year.
One Lees McRae College alumnus is striving to make a difference and help as many people as possible overcome their everyday challenges.
After battling his own suicidal episode in 2016 and losing a friend to suicide in 2018, Darius Malbon felt a calling to write and publish a book titled From Darkness to Life: Win the Battle, which is about suicide awareness.
“Those experiences are what opened up my eyes to what people experience during those times,” Malbon shared. “It took me about eight months to tell my family what I was going through, and then last year with everything going on with all the negativity, the Lord was like, ‘It’s time for you to write a book.’ I’m just glad the Lord was able to use me as a light for other people and to help people get through those dark situations that they go through.”
Darius was born and raised in Hickory and grew up playing various sports such as football, baseball and track. However, his main sport was basketball as he played point guard for Hickory High School.
During his high school years, Darius was part of conference championships and was fortunate enough to play in the North Carolina 3A State Championship while also being an honors student enrolled in AP and IB programs.
Following high school graduation, Darius received both an academic and athletic scholarship for basketball to attend Lees McRae College, where he was part of record-breaking seasons for the most wins in a season at the time.
Darius graduated from Lees McRae College in 2017 majoring in Sports Administration and minoring in Mathematics.
“It’s crazy because since I have a math minor, I never thought that I would write a book because I honestly didn’t like writing or reading,” Malbon said. “But what helped me was I did take a creative writing class in college, and that was the first time in my life where I was like, ‘Woah, if I can write about whatever I want, it’s actually kind of fun.’ I do think that played a part in the sense of me being able to be comfortable enough to write a book.”
Darius described the writing process as smooth as it only took him about three or four months to write his book. Then he got the book edited, the cover situated and it officially was published on June 30.
From Darkness to Life: Win the Battle is a personable, realistic fiction novel taking place in Hickory that centers around a character named Elijah who suffers depressive episodes of his own. He searches for the solution and seems to never be able to find peace. Darius would like for readers to put themselves in Elijah’s shoes to best understand the struggles that he endures.
“It’s a mixture of my personal experiences and other people’s personal experiences and a little bit of fiction,” Malbon said. “There are some true elements in there, and then there’s some that are fiction, but it’s definitely all relatable and very realistic.”
As the book description states, suicide is a darkness that can attack anyone. It does not discriminate against gender, age, race or economic status. What makes it worse is that there isn’t just one cause that creates this darkness. On average, 132 Americans die from suicide each day, and an estimated one million people worldwide die from it each year. It is up to people to speak up about their experiences and direct people to professional help. Remember, one person can help change the trajectory of another person’s life.
“The biggest thing is if somebody has never experienced it, I want people to have a greater understanding to see what is in the mind of somebody going through it,” Malbon said. “And for the people who are struggling, I want the book to be something that they can relate to, and hopefully, they know that they are not alone. That can push them to overcome the obstacles that they’re struggling with.”
While Darius is trying to get his book in the hands of everyone possible, he is really targeting youth.
“In middle school, high school and college, there’s a lot going on,” he explained. “Students are trying to please parents, they are trying to figure out who they are and relationships. They put a lot of pressure on themselves, and there’s a lot of stuff going on, so I really want to focus on youth and help them get through some of those troubles they may be experiencing.”
Darius has a deep connection with mental health and volunteers with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. A portion of the proceeds from his book will go toward suicide prevention research.
Darius said so far he has received nothing but positive feedback about his book.
“They say it’s relatable and an easy read,” he shared. “There’s definitely a good chance that I’ll continue writing in the future, but I can’t say for sure. Writing this one was exciting, and just seeing the positive feedback is definitely inspiring and very encouraging. I’m definitely motivated to write another one, but obviously I have to figure out what I’m going to write about.”
Interested individuals can learn more and purchase From Darkness to Life: Win the Battle on Darius Malbon’s website at https://www.dariusmalbon.com/book or on Amazon.
Apart from his suicide prevention work, Darius’s other passions include finance and travel.
“I’ve always liked helping people,” Malbon said. “Finance is one of those things that they do not teach in school, and I wish they did. I believe everybody deserves their right to know where they are, what kind of life they want to have in the future and how to get there. I believe everybody deserves that. I really like what I do.”
From a financial standpoint, Darius began investing in his early 20s, which allowed him to become debt free at an early age. In addition, he had the opportunity to generate over $4 million in profit for a top company in less than three years.
When it comes to traveling, he has had the opportunities to travel to Africa, Europe, Canada, Mexico, The Caribbean and across the United States.
“Travel is a way for me to learn,” Malbon said. “When I was younger I just went just to go, but as I got older I realized travel is a way to state my perspective and learn about other people and cultures. That’s what I do now when I travel. Obviously, I go to have a good time, but I’m really trying to see things through other people’s eyes that I normally wouldn’t see here in America. It’s been really good. I enjoy it. It’s fun.”
Through all of his life experiences so far, Darius now enjoys giving knowledge and encouraging others. He desires for people to find their purpose in life and have that eternal peace that everybody searches for.
Darius said, “The desire for gaining knowledge and learning motivates me to continue to make a difference in this world.”
For more information about Darius Malbon and to contact him, please visit his website at https://www.dariusmalbon.com/.