Hi, I’m Colleen. I’m a 20-year-old, young woman and I have been at Fulshear Treatment to Transition for 4 months. I wanted to tell you about my experience in coming to Fulshear. If you’re looking for a residential treatment center for young adults, I hope my story helps make your decision easier. Here’s my story.
Life before Fulshear
I decided to come to Fulshear on my own, it wasn’t a decision my parents made. I was in a depressed state and was very, very anxious. Because I knew I needed more help than I could get at home I asked my parents and my therapist for help.
I ended up going off to college right after high school and ended up having to take medical leave. I was so anxious, so depressed. I just couldn’t do it and so I came back home. Try as I might, I couldn’t get myself started again for about two years.
I was in individual therapy, but I was too afraid to make the first move to put my life back together. I was petrified. I was too afraid to go back to school because I was afraid of failing. I was afraid to get a job or even do volunteer work because I have very bad social anxiety. I was stuck. I was living in my parent’s house and I couldn’t live my life. I was not functional. I was avoiding everything that made me scared.
Deciding to Get More Advanced Help
In therapy, I kept hitting a wall. I would make plans with my therapist to apply for school or apply for a job. But then I would get so frustrated with myself because I couldn’t move past my fear. I’d come in every week and set a goal and then I wouldn’t do it. I couldn’t bring myself to do it because I was terrified.
This cycle happened for months and I was getting increasingly frustrated with myself. It was hard to watch myself not be able to live life and I asked my therapist, “Is there more that I can do? …cause I’m not getting anywhere.” I knew there had to be something more we could do. I could see the pattern going on for so long of me trying to do things and stopping or quitting when it got too hard or scary. So I decided to go somewhere that I knew I couldn’t stop or quit. My therapist referred me to an educational consultant.
Deciding to Come to Fulshear
When I met with my educational consultant, she explored the idea of going to a wilderness program first. She thought it would be a good confidence boost but she made it clear that it was a choice and wanted me to be included in the decision. But, I chickened out on that. So, she told me they could send me right away to residential treatment.
The educational consultant brought up Fulshear, and honestly, I’m not big on Texas. It’s hot and I don’t like heat. But the fact that it was an all-women’s program and had a transitional living part to it made it a good fit for me. I knew that most of my work would be in the transitional living part of the program since a lot of my work would be focused on getting out and living on my own.
So, my educational consultant and I sat down together and looked at the website. Then she said, “Hey, we can call the admissions lady, Helaine.” I was horrified because, you know, social anxiety makes me bad on phones. So, the educational consultant sat down and called Helaine with me.
Helaine was so easy to talk to and answered all the questions that I had about the program. I didn’t really know what I was getting myself into because I had never been in treatment before. I had only been in an individual outpatient therapy setting. I never even went to an IOP, PHP or anything like that. This world was completely new to me. Honestly, the way that first conversation with Helaine made me feel was what was important to me. I felt like I could see myself going to Fulshear. I didn’t have a lot of hope at that point, but I was willing to try anything.
I reached a point in the discussion where I thought, “If it works, it works. I’m willing to try anything to get my life back.” I didn’t let myself sit too long in the decision process because I know I would have talked myself out of going. So I just kind of went for it. It has fit perfectly. The ranch and the apartments are kind of the perfect setup for me.
My parents were fully on board with my decision. They had seen me crash and burn over the previous two years so they were very supportive of me going to treatment. They were very supportive and said, “Anything that you think is genuinely going to help, that we trust in, we are ready to do it.” Having that support was so great in making the decision because I don’t know what I would do if I wasn’t able to come here.
Life in a Young Adult Treatment Center- Fulshear’s Ranch
When I first got here I didn’t think I would ever make it to the apartments. I thought I would quit and give up on it all. I didn’t see myself doing the work. I saw myself running away and avoiding things like I have for so long. When I first got to the ranch I was very, very numb. I had no idea what I was doing and I was scared.
What really got me to want to change was the connections I made here. My fist roommate told me, “You know when I first got here, I didn’t want to talk to anybody, I didn’t want to make any friends, I just wanted do my work and go home. I soon realized that was impossible. To really start healing, you must have support here. You have to let other people see the real you and support you.” That took quite some time because I have such a hard time opening up and truly showing my emotions to other people. I don’t let people in and I bottle up a lot of things. I tend to go through the motions and then tell people, “I’m fine, I’m fine.” It took me a few tries of white-knuckling it and thinking, “Okay, I’m going to talk about what is going on with me, because I can’t hold this anymore.”
After a month or so, I started making real progress. I started talking about my emotions (something I was never able to do before) and I started making actual connections (something I had not had before). I had never had a social support system in any way before and these connections made all the difference in my healing.
The day in and day out therapy was hard to adjust to at first. If you’re not going to groups or activities, you can’t hide. Staff and other students will come and find you and they’ll ask you what’s wrong. And you won’t be able to play it off and say you’re fine because they know you’re not and they’ll push you therapeutically. I decided at the beginning that I’m going to let people push me and I didn’t fight back. I mean, I avoided at first, but I knew this was my chance to get my life back and I had to take it. I knew I had to put my all into it and try as hard as I can regardless of how scared it makes me.
The Role of Therapists and Staff
I absolutely love my therapist. I’ve never had a therapist who has pushed so hard in the right kind of way. We get down to actually talking about things and I’ve never had that before. I’ve never had so much progress happen in therapy as I’ve had here. It’s incredible.
I love the staff in my community. They won’t let you get away with stuff. Not in the way of I did something wrong, but more in the sense of they won’t let you get away with hiding yourself. They really care, they care a lot. They’ll constantly check up on you. Many times, I wanted to be mad at someone, or be bitter about a rule. But I knew it is all in our best interest and the staff genuinely care about us. I’ve seen so many staff members get so emotional over the progress that people have made. There were staff members that cried when I left the ranch. You know that they really care, that they’re watching and that they’re here for you.
Life in a Young Adult Transition Program- Fulshear’s Apartments
The apartments were kind of hard to adjust to for me, but I’m getting there. I’m still a little bit in denial that I’m getting anywhere close to leaving.
There are still a lot of things for me to work on as far as planning my future. That’s where a lot of my work is, sort of finding out what I want to do with myself and what I want out of my life. I’m trying to identify what are my values that I really want to stick to. For so long I didn’t think I’d make it past a few years. I never really planned for a future or I didn’t plan for a very good future. And that’s sad to think about.
Since I’ve moved to the apartments, I’ve been thinking more and more that I can have a real life. I mean, I can have a successful life! I’m working on planning that right now. I’m trying to figure out what I want. That’s always been a very hard question for me about who I want to be, what I want and what I want to do with my life.
But, I’m confident that I’ll get there now that I’ve seen myself go places that I never thought I’d go. I never thought I’d make it two months at the ranch, but I thrived there. I am confident that things will fall into place if I work hard for it. I’m not very clear about the specifics of my future, but I know it will be alright.
Coming to Fulshear was the best decision I could possibly make for myself. It’s worth it. It’s hard but so worth it. I love this place.