Katie S

An Orchid Who Survived the Storm

All my life, I have felt like an orchid in a field of daisies. The daisies were tougher, more capable of holding their own when a windstorm rolled through. As a child, I had outbursts of anger and aggression. Mood swings. One second I felt like the happiest girl in the world and the next, the most miserable person ever. I was also a perfectionist, an overachiever, scoring highest in the class. I felt so disappointed and angry when I wasn’t perfect, that it caused me to isolate, avoid, and procrastinate. My biggest fear was losing someone I loved or being abandoned by someone who was really important to me. That fear caused me to stick extra close to people and do everything I could to please them. My petals began to wilt.

Katie S

Today, I don’t only want to survive, I want to live a life worth living.

In high school, my depression and anxiety became more severe. I started counseling and taking medications, but this barely seemed to make a difference. I started thinking about how much better off the world would be without me. I fought so hard to just keep myself alive one more day. I was so angry with the way I was feeling, that I started punishing myself. Cutting my arm, pulling on my hair, strangling and holding my breath, and banging my head in hopes of breaking my skull… this had become my life. A life where I felt so unworthy of love and as though I was such an inconvenience to my family and friends, that I deserved consistent punishment for something that I could not control. My beautiful petals began to fall and sink into the dirt beneath me.

One night, sitting on the edge of a bridge, staring at huge, sharp rocks beneath me, I thought, “I deserve that kind of punishment.” I asked God, “If you are really there God, this is your last chance to save me.”

An angel showed up. Bright lights hit my back as a man in uniform told me this was not the end, that there was more to my story, while another police officer grabbed me from behind and pulled me off the ledge.

I stayed in the hospital for a week. The doctor diagnosed me with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) and general anxiety. Researching BPD, I felt a sense of relief. I wasn’t alone. I was sick and in need of care. The people trying to help me were trying to nurture a daisy, but an orchid needs a different kind of care to grow strong and healthy. It helped all of us, knowing that my behaviors stemmed from orchid roots.

Unfortunately, I fell back into the same patterns because I wasn’t getting the treatment I needed. I attempted suicide four more times and continued self-harming. The last attempt happened on my first day of college.

My parents saw the pain I was experiencing, and we started looking for a treatment program that specializes in Dialectical Behavioral Therapy designed for people suffering with BPD. Skyland Trail was a perfect fit.

Skyland Trail genuinely changed my life. Today, I don’t only want to survive, I want to live a life worth living. I have learned skills that help me manage my mood swings and impulsive behaviors, as well as ways to calm myself down when I’m in crisis. I feel ready and equipped to overcome every situation that hits me.

I thank God for Skyland and all the people who have brought me to this point. I have made it through the storm, and the sun has come out. My stem has grown stronger, and my petals grew back beautifully.

I feel extremely excited to explore the path God has laid out in front of me. He placed many people at Skyland Trail who have impacted my life immensely. He gave me such wonderful parents who care so much about me and made it possible for me to begin to grow again. I know now that today is not the end—it’s the beginning. My roots are planted strongly in my home, family, and friends, and I’m ready to flourish.