October 03, 2016

Mr. Gilman

Hi Juan, I’ve been meaning to write to you for the longest time because I wanted to say a few things about Dawn.

Last year when she first started coming to see me, I was at an all-time low in my life. I hadn’t even left my apartment in over three months. I truly was scraping the bottom of the barrel trying to find a reason, any reason, to go on. To say that I was suicidal would be an understatement. I had gone from fleeting thoughts of suicide to making real plans. I was in serious trouble. It was a horrible way to survive and that’s all I was doing – surviving, but not living.

Then, Dawn showed up. I didn’t want to let her into the apartment because I was suspicious and fearful with no trust in anyone. I had mile thick walls surrounding me that I didn’t want anyone to climb. But, I did let her in and that was the decision that saved my life.

Dawn treated me like a scared kitten. She didn’t move too fast or push too hard. She showed me that someone truly cared about me and that I had to start caring about myself too. She encouraged me to take my medications, visit doctors, and go to the hospital.

I went from going to the hospital twice per week to making it six months with no hospital visits. She taught me that to have a sound body, I needed to have a sound mind. Slowly, I started crawling out of the hole I’d been in for so long. She opened the door and guided me through with patience, understanding, and love.

I learned how to talk to her without fear of judgement. There is still a stigma attached to people with with emotional and mental illness, but Dawn made me feel accepted. I learned how to be responsible and accountable for my own care. I know that I will always have depression and anxiety, and I’ll occasionally have an exacerbation. I’m not well, but I’m better. Considering how bad things were, I’ll take better.

So, I’d like to thank you for sending Dawn. I can’t even tell you how much she means to me and how much she has helped me. On a bad day, I know that I can always call her and she’ll listen and make suggestions a refuse to let me go into the darkness. Just knowing that someone cares about me has has made me a better person and taught me that I owe it to the people in my life to not make the selfish and irreversible decision to commit suicide.

Although Dawn refuses to take credit for my improvements, I insist that the credit belongs to her. I couldn’t have done this without her. I don’t have the words to express how much she has helped me, but I hope these words convey that in some way.