Because I’m Ready
“6 years means a lot of time for many people. It definitely meant that for me.
6 years I was in treatment, in and out of different centers and places. They all had different things about them that were good and bad. That’s normal.
But normal is a completely different thing for me.
What’s normal? Everyone always asks. It seems like normal for people is always different.
And it really is.
Normal, by definition, means, “conforming to a standard; usual, typical, or expected.”
That can mean so much.
But my normal isn’t normal for most people.
My normal is being with staff 24/7, being around people 24/7 and not getting a break from them for longer than an hour, being in the constant state of mind thinking, “oh I wonder if so and so will find out about this.” Even if it isn’t bad.
My view of normal is going to a high school, having prom, going to dances, going on dates, having my first kiss without worrying if someone will catch us and write us up.
I never got that. And that’s what sucks.
Living in treatment centers was always a struggle for me because I wanted to be out in the world, getting a job, getting my drivers license, going to prom. (As you can tell, I always wanted go to prom!)
But my life had different plans.
At the age of thirteen, I got put into my first treatment center.
I got woken up at 4 in the morning, just barely having fallen asleep. Two people came in and took me into a car. We drove for hours and finally, we reached my destination. We were early so they took me to a park.
I remember looking at the girl and she said that it was going to be okay.
I wasn’t so sure.
I was so confused.
What have I done?
Why is this happening to me?
Will I ever see my friends again?
We finally went to my first treatment center and I got checked in.
Then my dad came in and all my feelings came out. I can’t remember if I cried, but in my head, I was screaming, yelling, cursing.
Why am I here?
What have I done?
What did I do to deserve this?
But no one told me that my life would be completely different.
While being there, I struggled with my depression, anger, and other issues, some issues coming up along the way.
Eventually I had to leave the place because I was too much of a danger to myself.
I remember going into my session with my therapist and she told me that I was leaving the next morning. I cried.
That night, everyone went bowling but because I had done something and was in trouble for it, I had to stay back and watch movies.
I was mad.
I wanted to be with my friends for my last night but they didn’t let me.
The next day I left, and went to an adolescent treatment center.
It’s mainly for adopted kids and kids with attachment issues.
And I was both.
Little backstory, I was born in Russia and got adopted at the age of three.
At this program, we had dogs. For my first few months, I, as treatment people would say, “faked it to make it,” but on Thanksgiving, I broke. I started breaking things, punching walls, and eventually had to be taken to the more restrictive home.
I was in that home for 6 or 7 months straight. I would get out for a few days to test and see if I was okay to come back to the community, but I could barely last.
I was an angry kid. I was a depressed kid.
I was a mentally ill kid.
God I used to hate when people said mentally ill. I used to think of it as you’re too crazy and you need to go to an asylum.
But I learned that it doesn’t mean that.
I couldn’t tell you what it means, given I’m still trying to figure it out, but I know that it doesn’t mean that I’m crazy.
And you aren’t either.
You may feel like you’re crazy. Hell, some days I just wish my voices in my head would shut up. I wish that my brain wasn’t on a constant circle of thoughts. I wish that I could look down at my arms and not see scars.
But you’re not crazy.
I know, people tell you that. I’ve heard it a billion times.
But being in a treatment center doesn’t mean you’re crazy. It means that you want to better yourself, and that’s what you’re trying to do.
A year ago, I had a very severe attempt, the most severe one I think I’ve ever had. I got put into wilderness.
And some of you know what it’s like in wilderness.
I hated the hiking, I hated it so freaking much. But I grew so much there. Not physically, obliviously because I’m still tiny.
I learned about myself and I learned about self love.
Now I’m not saying, “oh after wilderness my life is so much better and I love myself so much!!!” No. That would be a lie and you know it.
But I learned tools to help me.
And after wilderness, I realized, it’s time for me to be done. Done with treatment. Done with staff. Done with being around people 24/7.
I got to Fulshear and I worked my ass off.
And I knew, this will be my last treatment center.
And I’d be lying to you if I said that I wasn’t afraid of leaving treatment life. Like I said, treatment life is my normal.
Today I’m here and I’m still thinking, “will I be good enough? Will I do good? Will I mess up and get put back into treatment?”
I know, though, that this is it.
My new normal is about to begin.
And honestly, that’s scary. I’m honestly terrified of leaving here today and never having to wake up to staff saying “go to groups” or “eat your breakfast.” I’m terrified of leaving here and having to make new friends, meet new people, finish college.
But I know I can do it.
And so can you.
Yeah I know that’s cheesy as all can go, but it’s true.
Don’t give up on yourself. I gave up on myself many times, yet I’m still here.
“How the hell am I still here?” is what is playing in my head currently. How the hell am I still here?
Because I’m wanted. Because I have people who haven’t given up on me, even though I’ve given them many reasons to give up on me. I’ve had therapists who stayed, I’ve had friends who supported, I’ve even had dogs cuddle me when I’m getting too irritated.
It doesn’t matter who or what wants you, just know, you ARE wanted.
And I know this is your normal for now, but it’s not your normal forever.
Normal isn’t always forever. Normal always changes, and you’re changing.
Normal isn’t normal.
You aren’t normal.
And that’s okay.
So thank you to my friends, family, therapist, who all stuck by me, who all supported me, who never gave up on me. Some of you I don’t know, but I want you to know that I care about you. Yes, even the people that think I hate them. I care about everyone.
Thank you for showing me love and acceptance when I couldn’t give that to myself. Thank you for supporting me when I couldn’t support myself.
My life is going to be completely different in a couple of hours, and that’s okay. Wanna know why?
Because I’m ready. “