Carol Z.

My name is Carol. I’m 21 years old. I grew up in a rather neglectful and abusive household, so I’ve been struggling with anxiety my entire life. It’s led to a lot of generally negative values and sentiments throughout my entire life. That has led to lots of depression starting at age 17, and that sent me to the hospital multiple times.

This is not an uncommon story at all among the clients at Skyland Trail. I’d like to just emphasize that I’m not representing myself, but representing the full experience here that I’ve witnessed throughout my time here at Skyland.

Before I came to Skyland Trail, I was really struggling with classes and concentration. I had a lot of negative expectations towards residential treatment and psychiatric treatment centers in general. Coming here, I was expecting something very cold, locked in, with bright luminescent lights, and people running around with nurses screaming at you. But Skyland Trail turned out to be completely different. The facilities at Skyland Trail are beautiful, and we have the most amazing support system here. Not only with the clientele but also with the supportive staff.

I was placed into the cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) program. Through this program, I have learned to notice and realize that my actions and my thoughts affect my personal emotions and those around me. I have also achieved, finally, peace of mind through comprehensive psychiatric testing with my diagnoses. That has been something I’ve been struggling with for a very, very long time. Finally being able to achieve that has been a great thing here that has been provided within the program.

I’ve also made many meaningful connections with other clients in treatment. This is the first time I’ve been able to feel fully and deeply understood by a group of my peers. It made me feel not as lonely as I was before. Through these connections with the clients, staff, and multidisciplinary treatment team. The staff here are all so welcoming, nice, loving, and really understanding. My psychiatrist here is the first psychiatrist that has been able to take my emotions into account and understand and listen to me and my personal opinion. The nutritionist at the clinic has also been able to help with the ups and downs and medication turnover and all those difficulties. Residential treatment has provided me a safe space to really start adjusting to those medications and to myself. Then I moved to transitional where I slowly learned to be more accepting and loving of the outside world around me. I’ve also achieved many things there.

Through work adjustment at Skyland Trail, where clients get the opportunity to work with the Skyland Trail community and staff in different areas, I have worked with vocational services to help create a curriculum and help others with my personal experiences. I’ve also been teaching on the side at a remote, online English job where I’ve been able to really meet many new people and expand my worldview a little bit more. I’ve also been able to finally start networking again and overcome the anxiety associated with networking. I really look forward to a potential career in consulting.

The Skyland Trail program has really allowed me to connect to the world around me, and also connect to the world within myself and gain a better understanding of that world. Nowhere else is there really a program like this that allows clients to fully insert themselves into a community that’s just purely therapeutic. I wouldn’t have been able to recover this much if it weren’t for this program.

Personally, my insurance stopped paying for the cost of treatment. Without financial aid, I really would have not been able to come to where I am today. Thank you so much for everything that you have done, not just for myself but for my peers as well.”

Carol Z., a graduate of the Skyland Trail adult residential mental health treatment program.

Carol originally spoke to the Skyland Trail Financial Aid Committee about the impact of receiving financial aid while in treatment. Through the generosity of Skyland Trail donors and friends, the Mark C. West Financial Aid program helps clients and families who meet need-based financial criteria complete treatment.