We have two children who both required residential programs. Our daughter has borderline personality disorder. It began with cutting and eating disorders in middle school. Her first suicide attempt occurred at age 12. By 13, she’d been hospitalized 6 times for suicide attempts and ideation. Additionally, she had individual therapy, group therapy, IOP’s, psychiatric support and a 504 plan. After 18 months of watching her suffer, we were told she needed a residential program. But where? Nobody could answer that.
After hiring an educational consultant, we found a terrific Wilderness Therapy Program with the best therapist we’ve ever experienced. After WT, it was recommended that our daughter continue to a Therapeutic Boarding School. Again, our EC found us an excellent program with stellar therapists. After being gone for 15 agonizing months, our daughter graduated her programs and returned home.
We got our daughter back. She learned how capable and strong she really is. She stabilized. She uses her coping skills. She advocates for herself. She has learned how to have healthy relationships. I don’t think our daughter would still be alive if we hadn’t taken this action.
After our daughter returned home, her older brother fell apart. He had been suffering with depression and had begun drinking alcohol to cope. He has some trauma and neglect associated with the chaos from his sister’s issues, as well as a strong family history of alcoholism. He realized he had a very serious drinking problem, but he was unwilling to get help. He tried repeatedly to stop on his own and was unable to stay sober. Eventually, we had him transported to a WT program and then a TBS with the help of our EC.
After being gone 16 months, our son also graduated his programs and returned home. He learned how to cope with his depression without the use of drugs and alcohol. He also made some very deep and strong friendships with the guys at his TBS. He’s been staying sober, graduated school, and working full time since he’s been home. Just like our daughter, I am not sure where he’d be now if we hadn’t gotten him help.
Now our whole family is finally back together. We still have issues, but we navigate them together. We don’t keep secrets from each other, and we confront each other if we have something that is heavy on our hearts. We’ve learned the language and therapeutic skills to have difficult conversations, and we’ve become much more comfortable with intense emotions. The programs have healed our family.