Aaron's story, 2009
This story was originally written on a webpage called antiwwasp.com, which is not online anymore. All rights and credits goes to the author Aaron, who posted the original story on antiwwasp.com.
My parents told me that I would be home in three months to the day, landing me 4 days before my 16 birthday. For someone like me, who has never done drugs, had sex, or put a drop of alcohol in their body, a place like Ivy Ridge was a little extreme. I spent most of my time there on level one. I had no points ever.
I sincerely believe that I would have died in that program; sometimes I wish that I had. When I came home after 25 months of only being allowed to talk for a maximum of 15 minutes a day, my social skills had atrophied.While I was there, I ran into the problem that has hurt me every day, and will for the rest of my life. I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, and no matter how much my therapist told them that I needed help since they hadn't found good medicine for me, I was still in trouble all the time. I didn't want to be in trouble, contrary to popular belief. The thing is I never even needed to be there.One day, I decided that I should die. This was about three weeks into my stay, so I attempted suicide. They caught me, and I was sent into observational placement.
I sat on a tile floor in an under heated building in February in so far upstate New York that I could see Canada, for about a month. The thing about being so far north is this: I got so cold that it couldn't snow. All the moisture froze out of the air. I was cold all the time anyway, and there I sat. This didn’t help me. When I got up, I wanted to die. I had said that I wanted to before, but never REALLY meant it, well, I meant it, but I had never experienced pain like this before.My grandfather died while I was there. When I found out, I screamed for about an hour. I begged to talk to my parents, and they said no.
When I asked them about it later, they HAD asked to talk to me, and to have me home for the funeral, and the school had said no. they sent me to O.P. again, and I sat on the tile and cried for a week. No one cared how I felt.By far the most scarring thing that happened to me there was when my brother got married. The weekend before I was to leave for the wedding, a staff member, my family representative, told me that I would do nothing in life, and that I would ruin the wedding. She said it to me about five times before I got mad enough that I yelled back.
I yelled about all the times that I had been put down. I yelled for all the times that I had needed someone and no one was there.They came and restrained me. I was put in "intervention" which is code for observational placement. (OP sounded bad so they changed it)The staff member, who said it to me, came to see me later. They laughed and said "See? I told you. You won't do anything with your life." I wasn't the only person she had said that to. She told my parents that I was a waste of time and money. That I was useless and that it was pointless to keep me there. She said that I would never amount to anything, and that I would only take up their valuable time.My mother came to the rescue. She had, for the first time in 20 months, stood up for me, and brought me home for the wedding. It was the best thing that happened to me there.One day, I woke up in bed, and was so depressed that I couldn’t move, because it made my body hurt. I asked them to help me, and let me stay in bed for the day, or do something about this, and they proceeded to restrain me. I have never screamed so loud in my ENTIRE life. I screamed and screamed. They then walked me out holding my arms behind my back in front of all the girls in the program. I cried, and they made comments about my inability to control myself while other girls were there.
They threw me off the bed, and broke my jaw. I found that out after I got home and my mouth hurt still.There was also a time where I could not sleep. I was scared because I had nightmares about the day. Things that should not have happened at all happened more than once a day.I hated life. But what was worse was that I hated God. I cursed him daily for making me the way I am. I would try so hard to do well, and all I could do was fail. And they never let it go. I was never able to be me. All I could be was this person who eventually became me. I was withdrawn and mad all the time.I still am that way a little. Every time I think of ivy ridge, I try to imagine what it would be like if I hadn’t been there, and the only things that come to mind are these:
- I would have graduated in time to go to school with my friends
- I would have a semi-normal life and personality
- My sister and I would have a relationship that wasn't based on her anger that I left her.
- I could have gone to the music conservatory and done nothing but play the flute. Unlike now, where I rarely play and every time I do, I cry because all my talent is gone.
- I would have gotten to say goodbye to my grandfather.
- I would have seen my sister and brother graduate.
- Most importantly, I wouldn't be so socially retarded.
I have had more trouble since I left the program then I had when I went in. I have been in inpatient once and in therapy once a week for more than a year and a half.Some girls do well, and it always seems like they are the same.
There are addicts and alcoholics who everyone feels sorry for in the beginning and they get their start there. It is never the girl who comes in for small problems and makes good. All they care about are people with big problems. They didn't care about me and bipolar disorder. They didn't care that I was dying.I sincerely believe that my spirit died while I was there. All the things that were fun and good about me disappeared along with the bad. Now I am just a ghost. I walk through the days, and nothing is accomplished. All that I feel is terrible. I get depressed, and every time I do, it seems like I have been thinking of that place.I gained so much weight that when I got home I was at risk for diabetes. I was obese. And that isn't just a statement coming from me; it is on my doctor’s record.
I left at 110 pounds - 4'11", I came back at 189 and 4'11".
There are some things that happened to me there that I do not feel comfortable sharing. They are so terrible that I cannot even think about them. All I have is the time before the program and the time after. It is like there is a black hole in the middle of my life, and it hasn't only sucked time. It sucked my personality. I am gone.