Grateful Family: The Gift of a Future
November 10, 2018
Like many of the families who have been treated at Skyland Trail, we were surprised and unprepared when it became apparent that our daughter was living with mental illness. We felt isolated and afraid and learned that our society often considers mental illness a choice rather than a medical condition. Without any knowledge of what to do or how to help her, we were confronted with a crisis like none we had ever faced before. We were unable to find mental health care in our community that we felt would be effective for our daughter, and we were determined to access the best treatment we could for her. When Skyland Trail was mentioned to us as a potential residential treatment option, and after researching similar programs all over the country, we became convinced that Skyland Trail offered exactly what we needed.
What the staff at Skyland Trail did for us was nothing short of remarkable. On our arrival at the campus, we immediately felt the relief that comes with being in a place where you feel truly understood and supported. We relaxed for the first time in several months, knowing intuitively that our daughter was in competent and caring hands, and that she was receiving excellent treatment. The multidisciplinary approach at Skyland Trail was impressive. While working with our daughter intensively every day, the staff communicated with us regularly, and included us in the treatment plan. She learned the tools that she needed to cope with her condition from the team assigned to work with her, while we set about doing our part. We learned that our well-intended strategies for communicating with her were ineffective and often had unintended negative results. We learned how to communicate more effectively, how and when to be firm, how to truly show emotional support, and how to set appropriate limits when needed. We learned the importance of validating her experiences, and how to do that effectively. The Skyland Trail staff held us all accountable, and gave all of us the strategies we needed to move forward in this new reality.
Our daughter finished her treatment at Skyland Trail over a year and a half ago, and has been continuing her progress at home. She did very difficult and productive work during her time at Skyland Trail, and we are fortunate that she accepts her diagnosis and is willing to do the hard work of practicing the methods given to her in DBT while she was there. We are confident that when the inevitable hard days come along, she will use the resources she internalized while in treatment to move back to a place where she can cope. There is so much more for us all to do, but the foundation provided to us by Skyland Trail has given us what we need to continue our efforts together. We will always be grateful to Skyland Trail for giving us the opportunity for a future with our daughter.
We are fortunate for so many reasons. We have a large and loving extended family and many wonderful friends who have supported us through this journey. We had the insurance coverage and resources to access the care at Skyland Trail when we needed it. We are also aware that there are many families dealing with a loved one's mental illness who may not be as fortunate. This is why we give. Having benefited from Skyland Trail, we want to do all we can to help make this place strong and available to all who may benefit from that same support.
- James and Beth S.