Sam’s Story

Yes life is more than unpredictable, it is sometimes unbelievable! When I was 10, I suffered one of the greatest loses imagined. I lost my Dad to suicide. He left me, my sister Emma, my Mom, his brother, mom, dad and lots of other family behind. I learned that you can either be a victim or a survivor early in my life.


Trauma affects everyone in a different way. I suffered from Depression and Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). I was a patient at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. On March 30, 2008 my Dad (Rob) took his own life. I couldn’t imagine how our family would survive without him.

My Mom took us to therapy, individually and as a family. Art therapy was fun and it helped some. I was stuck in my grief. No one could see that because as a survivor you learn to hide your emotions. You go through the day to day trying to be strong but in October 2010, I became very depressed and thought about taking my own life. My mom took me to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and I spent a week in the Mental Health unit at College Hill. I saw firsthand that depression and PTSD was real.

Lots of things changed in our lives. My Mom hired a nanny and she made sure we got to school and picked us up when we had extra events. Otherwise we rode the bus and she was there when we got home. All of my family tried to change things up so that we were making new memories and new traditions. Our Christmas tree was a “Diva” tree that year all decorated in bright neon colors! It sure helped but in March 2011, I became very depressed again and had to spend another week in the mental health unit. There I met other kids like me. They suffered too from the effects of many different types of trauma.

I also attended the day program at Cincinnati Children’s. My Mom took me there in the morning and my grandpa picked me up. After that program ended, I went back to my junior high school. In my mind I was determined to succeed and survive. I had to see a counselor once a week and she came to my school. I was also on medication. Without the help from the doctors, nurses and counselors at Cincinnati Children’s, I might have made the same mistake my Dad (Rob) made.

I went on to graduate with honors from high school and received scholarships to attend Georgetown College. I attended there for 2 years and transferred to Thomas More University. I hope to become a teacher. So many teachers in my life made a difference for me. I would like to think that being my classroom will make a difference for them.

Depression and PTSD will always be part of my story and I have learned to not let them be part of my daily life.