Stepping Back to Help Our Daughter Move Forward

Tina and Peter W., parents of an adult program graduate

In 2017, our daughter was struggling badly. She was working with a therapist and psychiatrist, but she didn’t seem to be making any progress. When her providers suggested residential treatment, they were unable to give us recommendations for specific places, which left us feeling completely blind as we searched for the right program.

When we found Skyland Trail, it struck a chord with us. It was both professional and welcoming, and we were drawn to the fact that the Rollins Campus was geared toward young adults.

Peter and Tina W.

Peter and Tina W.

As a patient, our daughter absorbed a great deal from her classes and developed a bag of tools that allowed her to more fully engage in a positive and productive way. Her vocabulary changed with the adoption of the phrase, “Yes, AND…” that gave her the ability to accept several views at the same time. With these lessons, she came away with an understanding that she CAN engage with the world and deal with it.

As parents, we had to change too. The biggest challenge was stepping back from our caretaking role for our daughter. We hadn’t always been sure when to step in. “Do I make that appointment for her?” “Do I lease that apartment?” We understand that there are some things that our daughter must do for herself, and we are working hard – and getting better at – taking a step back and allowing her that control.

Among other things, the last six years have taught us patience and the power of hope. Our daughter has been at Skyland Trail on two occasions now, and she will need to continue to work on her mental health beyond her time as a patient there. But we know that, thanks to the education and the tools she learned at Skyland, she has the ability to get better.

“…we chose to make our first gift to Skyland Trail in honor of the staff who work there and who supported our daughter’s journey.”

We also now understand that mental illnesses are medical conditions—a concept that Skyland Trail’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Ray Kotwicki, explained to us at Family Orientation. This was an epiphany for us and helped us to recognize that it’s not about willpower or pulling oneself up by the bootstraps. With that realization, we gained renewed hope for our daughter knowing that as a medical condition, her mental illness was treatable.

During our daughter’s second admission to Skyland Trail, we had a better appreciation of all of the different departments and staff members who were working in tandem to help ensure that she was receiving the best care possible. From the psychiatrists to the therapists, to the financial counselors and appeals with our insurance company, we felt that there was an entire team at Skyland Trail supporting our family every step of the way.

For this reason, we chose to make our first gift to Skyland Trail in honor of the staff who work there and who supported our daughter’s journey. We feel that those living with mental illness too often go unseen and do not get the treatment that they need. We wanted our donation to help others find their path toward recovery.