My name is Abbey and I am writing this letter to you for hope and inspiration so that you may find yourself at the same point I am at now, graduation. I want you to know first and for most that you are worthy of love, respect, success and happiness. Although I may not know who you are and what brought you here I can say that much.
I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I was told that but didn’t believe it. I truly believed that at one point I wasn’t good enough to be loved or respected and that’s what led me into staying in a toxic and abusive relationship. While I was in this relationship, I started to become more depressed and more anxious and angry. And it wasn’t until I realized that school wasn’t a good place for me anymore that I decided I needed help. I decided to try out this independent living program in Colorado. After one month I was feeling as though I was incapable of doing anything for myself. After a major incident happened in January of last year I was faced with the only option that seemed like it could work, and that was wilderness.
My parents found a really great program and I was very glad that they supported me all the way through. I was out there for 12 weeks and had made such significant achievements like pushing my limits and working through some of my anger management issues. When it was my time to graduate that program, Fulshear was next on my road to recovery and getting healthier and stronger.
My first reaction was that because I went to wilderness I wasn’t going to be here that long and that I will move through this program quickly…well, I was quite wrong about the quickly part. I spent 7 months on the ranch before I transitioned over to the apartments fully. But in the long run, looking back, I grew so much within those 7 months that it actually worked out good for me being over here at the apartments.
I tell you this because I think it’s very important to remember that it doesn’t matter how long you have been here or what others treatment process looks like, the only thing that matters is you and where you are at with YOU. Easier said than done when I used to see the ranch as a prison. And yes at times it can feel like that just because you are out of touch from the ‘real world’ and not at home or living the life you were so used to living. This is a lot harder than what you were doing out there I promise you that. I encourage you to trust in the process and have faith in yourself that you deserve to get better. And that getting better isn’t going to happen overnight. But through hard work and commitment to wanting something better for yourself you can achieve just about anything.
What really helped me get through my time on the ranch was spending time with the horses. I would just sit on the railing of Dakota’s stall and pet him, feed him grass, and talk with him. Sometimes just sitting out there with music or just listening to the sounds I heard was very calming to me. Whenever I felt angry or alone he was my first go to option. The second option was going for walks around the back parts of campus near the cows and near the back property. I have always known that about myself that I like to explore so that was something that really helped me when I needed a break from constantly thinking about stuff and to distract myself with what’s around me in that present moment. Sports were another thing that passed the time as well, especially in the summer it gave me the excuse to get tan and also get in shape, but more importantly have fun. I remember playing softball and rugby and soccer with a few girls who were interested in sports as well.
What has helped me since being here at the apartments is holding down a 30hr/week job and going to groups but also working out and hanging out with the girls here at the apartments. When I have structure in regards to my schedule I tend to work my social life and the things I want for myself like health around that structure. When I have too much flexibility or time on my hands I don’t have the motivation and confidence to do much, not even socialize. So my best advice would be to find a way to get your needs met but also learn and trust the staff and your therapist and the girls here that they will be there for you when you reach out for help.
With the amount of times I was able to trust the group and trust treatment to be vulnerable I was amazed at the support I received. It also inspired others to be vulnerable as well and that brought me to a good place knowing that if I can do that for me and help others at the same time then this trusting the process really works.
My hope for you is that you remember you are not alone and that even though others have different experiences they can all relate to you on an emotional level and it is worth showing these people the real you. You deserve so much in this world and I hope you see the strength you have in you to work on the things you need to work on while here at Fulshear and work towards getting to where I am at now, just about to graduate and knowing that even though I spent a year away from family, I came out a stronger, healthier, more confident, and influential woman.
If you ever need a motivational ‘pick-me-up’ I’m strongly recommending you check this audio mash-up of speeches on sound cloud.
Hope this helps.