Daniel’s Story


In middle school I had a tough time because I didn’t feel good about myself. I was dealing with a lot of traumatic memories that I had been repressing. Then one day I remembered that I was abused as a child. I was dealing with things someone at my age should not have had to deal with.

I tried a few times to kill myself because I couldn’t stand the pain. I remember standing in the bathroom after taking a bottle of my mom’s medicine. I looked in the mirror. I couldn’t see anything. I couldn’t see myself. It was just some stranger in the mirror.

I had a brief stay in a psychiatric hospital. It was a very scary experience. When I got out, I was sent to The Child Center.

“I tried a few times to kill myself…”

I didn’t really believe that there would be help for me. Then I met my therapist Sandy Gajstut who is a very very caring person. At first I didn’t trust her, and it took me a long time to face my issues. But we got there. Sandy saves lives. She helped me come to terms with who I am. She helped me be more comfortable talking to people and encouraged me to go out and make connections. I joined a youth group and some clubs at school. Now I’m in the music club and the science olympiad. Sandy also helped me get a job through the summer youth employment program. I had a great time meeting people and getting experience, and it helped me get into a routine.

She also made sure I had plenty of ways to cope, so that if I fell back into the darker places, I’d always have something to remember. She made a list of people for me to call if I was thinking about killing myself. But I’m way past that now. I don’t even think about that anymore.

For a long time, I wasn’t making plans because my only plan was to do nothing–to just be done. When I was in middle school, I thought I was stupid. I thought I would never be anything. I didn’t get good grades. But now that’s changed. I get mostly A’s. I’m taking Advanced Placement Physics.

I love science–it’s one of the most important things to me. I’ve started looking at colleges. Quantum physics is very thrilling when I think about it. I’m also interested in nano-technology or nano-biology because it is going to be the next big science. I’ll be able to get a job in a lab or a business. It makes me feel very happy that I discovered this.

A lot of this came from within me. It was a lot of hard work. But Sandy was my guide. She helped me find hope and save my own life.

–Daniel, age 16

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