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The Hopelessness that Turned Into Hope

June 17, 2014

The Hopelessness that Turned Into Hope

I really was ready to die. Skyland Trail saved my life, plain and simple. I had suffered from depression and anxiety for over a year since losing three jobs in a row through no fault of my own...and hit bottom in December 2013. I finally was properly diagnosed and put on the right medications by a psychiatrist, not by the nurse practitioners and internal medicine specialists who had me on the wrong meds for several years. 

Once my meds were adjusted and became therapeutic, I knew I had to take a step to overcome my dependence on others to take care of me, along with all the phobias that come with depression. I had several recommendations for Skyland Trail, but made the mistake of trying another facility first. It was a nightmare. They took me off all my meds (albeit the wrong ones for me) cold turkey and sent me into a spiral the likes of which I had never experienced. I felt trapped there, stuck in a medical facility where I was to remain for a week before being transferred to a house. Everyone else there was in various stages of alcohol and drug rehabilitation, and watching their suffering as they detoxed depressed me even more. The food was terrible, the sleep disturbed by noisy staff, the environment sterile and frightening. I left after four days, miserable and worse than when I entered. 

A month later, I was at Skyland, and what a difference it was. Helpful and encouraging staff who knew me by name from the first day, a safe and welcoming environment, lovely location, well-prepared, much better food on campus, comfortable housing within a short distance of the campus, lovely apartments, great roommate assignments...such a change from the lonely, disinterested, medical feel of the first place. 

The most important change was the clinical staff, who kept me on the meds that were working for me, and met with me weekly to ascertain they were continuing to work appropriately. I had proper therapeutic counseling weekly, and spent six wonderful hours a day in classes learning, among other topics, about Codependence, Self Esteem, Anxiety Management, Meditation, and most important, Dialectical Behavior Therapy, the tools of which I will utilize the rest of my life. 

We had outings, social opportunities, cooked in our houses, learned to even play together in the new world that was appearing before our very eyes...I made many strong relationships, the bonding of which is to be expected under the circumstances. Several of those will continue throughout my life.

I would caution anyone entering a long term residential treatment facility to be ready to do it and commit to it fully. It's a hard road to recovery no matter what your diagnosis. 

I unequivocally recommend Skyland Trail. I absolutely was terrified going in, but by the end of the first few days, I loved it and embraced the program. By the end of my eight weeks, I didn't want to leave. Moving out of the "bubble" was a challenge, and I am happily reintegrated into my life with my family and new jobs, renewing friendships I had put on hold while I was so sick, and a newfound love of life, my long-suffering partner, and my dogs. Everyone who greets me says, "My Tara's back!" Please visit the campus and speak to the staff about the issues you're facing. I know you won't regret it, and if you decide to enter the program, it will change your life. It did mine.

Tara B.
Skyland Trail Alumni