Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Reflection on a Student's Journey at Cedar Ridge Academy Therapeutic Boarding School

As students graduate from Cedar Ridge Academy Co-ed Therapeutic Boarding School, they reflect on their beginnings and where they have ended up now.  Tomorrow, one of our students will be graduating with a high school diploma and a certificate of completion of the program for successfully achieving level 900. This blog was written by her.

Our soon to be graduate
I was shaken awake at 5:00 am on my thirtieth night at the psychiatric hospital.  There was no motivation in me to get out of bed.  The staff that had woken me up removed her icy hand from my shoulder and said, “Pack your stuff, your mom’s here.”  At the sound of this, I went from being a depressed sloth to an energetic dog ready for a ride in a car.  No motivation? Not anymore! There was no more hesitation in me, I could not wait to return to my friends and my drugs outside of those hospital walls.  After I had packed, staff took me to the lobby to bring me to my mom.  However, it was not my mom who was waiting there.  My heart stopped as I stared into the eyes of two people I had never seen before.  I was told to get in the car with them, but I knew that it wouldn’t be a ride home.  I didn’t move to go with them; I just didn’t move at all because I didn’t know where to move.  My mind wouldn’t function.  Next, I heard, “We’re just going to have to grab her” and I felt hands grip my wrists.  It was then my heart started beating again, my mind started thinking again, and my body started moving again.  I started feeling panicked and pissed-off, but everything else was a blur.  Next thing I knew, I was gazing out the car window at my passing city.  Tears began to form in my eyes at this realization that was probably going to be the last time I saw my home for a long time.  A year and a half later, my eyes still tear up thinking about the situation.  However, in contrast to being produced from depression, these tears are generated from gratitude.

The car stopped approximately 1,100 miles from where it started.  I stepped out into the surreal environment of my new home.  The place was called Cedar Ridge Academy, a therapeutic boarding school.  I hated everything about it.  I told everyone, “Nothing is wrong with me.”  However, it wasn’t just a lie to others; it was a lie to me.  For the first three days, I just ignored most everyone and held my emotions in.  By the time my fourth day at Cedar Ridge came, I couldn’t do it anymore.  I was like a steam cooker, and I couldn’t hold any more steam.

I began crying uncontrollably and acting oppositional. Due to my behaviors, I landed myself in a bright orange T-shirt on safety watch level four. With a lot of hard work, I started to talk about my issues with the staff and I was following rules and being respectful.  Due to my behaviors, I was taken off my watch level.  I never got put back on for the rest of my stay at Cedar Ridge Academy.

Don’t get me wrong, things were not perfect for the 18 months after that, but every time I did struggle I worked through it.  I didn’t have to do it on my own either.  All of the other students and staff that were there helped me through all of my issues.  As I progressed, my mood did as well.
She recently celebrated her birthday

Not only were my moods changing, but my relationships were too.  Before Cedar Ridge Academy, my mom and I wouldn’t talk to each other unless it was an argument or if I was trying to manipulate her.  I thought our relationship was going to be harder to put back together than a single colored 700 piece jigsaw puzzle.  Don’t get me wrong, it was difficult at times, but the results were much worth the effort.  In contrast to our past broken relationship, I now talk to my mom about anything and everything.  Other relationships I improved were: my one with my brother, my relationships with supportive friends at home, and I built relationships with the students and staff here.  I don’t think I could’ve endured all I had without this support system.

After all the work, my life is now on a much healthier path, and I’m enthused about my future.  I sometimes get emotional just thinking about
how lucky I am to have been sent to Cedar Ridge Academy Therapeutic Boarding School.

Search Cedar Ridge Academy