Former Suicidal Student, Others Share Stories at "Stand For the Silent's" Biggest Event
March 31, 2014 at 2:41 AM CDT - Updated July 10 at 5:51 PM
MIDLAND - "A smile can hide a lot of things." That's according to 20 year-old Daniel Perez. Behind the McCamey boy's pearly whites is his secret- that he was suicidal.
"I was basically just going down a straight road, going 105, 110 miles per hour thinking if this crash doesn't take me out then I'll take my own life with this gun I had in the back seat of my car," he said.
Perez had the chamber locked with one bullet and he was ready to play Russian Roulette with his life. But then something happened.
"Actually one text message saved my whole life," he described.
It was a simple one, a friend saying she hoped to see him during the weekend and that sent him on his road to recovery. Up until then, a feeling of loneliness sent Perez on a downward spiral with drugs, alcohol, depression and three suicide attempts. No one would have guessed as he was on basically every sports team plus in the band at his high school, usually covering up his inner torment through a plastered smile.
"But knowing that someone cared enough about me to hear it out meant a lot to me. Right after that, it made me realize that I needed to be a better role model for my brothers and for the community in McCamey," he said.
Nearly three years ago, he stopped using cocaine cold turkey, created a Facebook page called "A Road of Possibilities" and started reaching out to anyone who had been facing with similar struggles.
But no one knew the whole story, including his parents, so Sunday he was coming clean about it all. He had committed to speaking at Stand for the Silent, Midland's biggest anti-bullying event to date.
According to the event coordinator, Melissa Chandler, "there have been a lot of issues as far as suicide with kids hurting themselves, being bullied and they just stay quiet. So we just want them to know that we're here for them, if they can't go to their principals or counselors, just to know that there is an outlet."
The organization brought in multiple young speakers to Grande Communications Stadium to share their stories about bullying and teen suicide in hopes that both will decrease. The stands were filled with supporters, including Rosa Garcia of Odessa, who is afraid her 11 year-old daughter could become a victim.
"I've told her and I've asked questions, if anyone has bullied her or intimidated her to come tell me," she said.
Regardless of who these kids come to with the problems, the message is clear: Talk to somebody about it.
"It's important for more events like these to happen because not a lot of kids want to talk about it. They're scared," Garcia said.