Telling Your Story...
Achieving Success One Step At A Time
Five years, almost six. A lot can happen in that time: negative setbacks or positive achievements. I have had both. For a while though it felt as if I could only do things wrong. My problems began back when I was thirteen - almost six years ago. My “real” problems that is, because every pre-teen and teenager has their problems. I would sit in class and walk out, because I couldn’t handle being in a room with approximately sixteen other people who I strongly believed hated me with a passion. My only friend had turned on me and it had felt like the rest of the school felt that way towards me as well. My school work would never get done and at the time it was a shame because later on I came to realize that I actually am a decent student. Then, I would just stop showing up to school. My parents were well used to the “I’m too sick to go to school” routine, but they knew how much I dreaded it so they turned a blind eye on some of the days I would come into their room in hysterics about a simple stomach ache.
I also started to experience these odd moods that I didn’t understand what they meant. I would be very sad, to the point I would just cry and do nothing. I would go periods of time that I’d quit going to karate - which in total I completed eleven years worth of training - and I’d withdraw from my family and the little social interaction I had with the outside world. The worst were those feelings of dread to wake up, or to shower, or to go to school, or to live. On the other hand, sometimes I felt on top of the world. I could do anything. I never had to sleep or eat or even listen to anyone but myself.
I eventually picked up the habit of self-harming. That brought me to my first visit in the hospital. Over the next year I was in the hospital and in some programs and put back into school and was expected to act like everything was okay. It wasn’t long before I was in the hospital again for having some negative thoughts about my life’s worth. At this point, I think people thought I was having these little outburst, incidents, tantrums, whatever you would like to call them, for attention.
I didn’t even know why I was having these whatever they were called.
All I know is that, I did NOT want to be the center of attention. But in my house, that’s exactly what I got.
Once I got to my sophomore year of high school I was doing…okay. Until I wasn’t. I was in the (therapeutic) program at school and I practically lived in that office, if I even bothered to go to school at all. The day they told me that I had to go and complete a partial hospitalization program instead of school I lost it. But I went. For six months. Then I was in the hospital again. They said public school wasn’t an option anymore and that I had to go to a therapeutic school. In comes Cornerstone Day School. I excelled there. My grades were on top, I was doing better. Of course I had some slip ups here and there that landed me in a hospital or program but I got through it.
Fast forward to age seventeen, starting my senior year. August 24, 2016, the worst day of my life. The day that should have been but, thankfully was not my last. After spending three days in the medical hospital, I was transferred to the psychiatric hospital that I was way too familiar with. I was there for sixty days. Sixty.
My time there was not easy. By this point in time I’ve been on pretty much every medication known for bipolar. I was still self-harming, I was not eating, or I was hiding or discarding my food by other means, I was being uncooperative in my treatment due to my lack of will to live at the time. Then I was transferred to an IRTS residential - the highest level of residential. And something clicked. I was done living this miserable life. It was evident in August that it is not my time to go yet, so I got everything together and I started to work the program. I went home some weekends and started to work things out with my family and our tricky, but loving dynamic. I was fortunate enough to still go to Cornerstone, my school. I went to prom with my
even. I went on my senior trips. Graduation was just around the corner. I left IRTS in May, but we decided that home still wasn’t the best option. I moved to a transitional residential for kids eighteen to twenty-one. There I walked in graduation, gave the senior speech, received five senior awards, and said goodbye to the school I loved. After that, there was nothing left to do. School was over and I was not going to give into old habits. In the residential clients were lucky enough to have the privilege to apply for jobs if we were suitable to hold one down. I applied to several restaurant chains as a hostess and got turned down by all of them. I tried for one more - Friday’s - as a hostess or even a server and they hired me on the spot. I worked serving tables close to forty hours a week and I loved what I did. When I was back at the house I went to groups and talked to the staff and clinicians and everyone. I even applied to college towards the end of my stay.
I came home on January 12, 2018 after 17 months not living at home. I feel like a completely different person. I am happy, and I feel like I have a purpose in life. Plans are falling into place for me. I still work at Friday’s, but at the one in my town. College letters have come and I have already been accepted onto two four year universities in New Jersey. I’ve just been so driven to do these things and to succeed. Throughout my journey I had all of my CMO’s support and I thank her for that. As well as my family’s who has been through the wringer because of me. I’m about to be nineteen years old in a month. My life is finally on track and I am blessed to be the person I am today. I can honestly say that I am happy to be alive and finally be on the road to success.