Fulshear didn't save me- they taught me how to save myself.
When I was preparing to come to Fulshear Treatment to Transition, I think I read every single post on the website and yet somehow I still believed that there was no hope for me and that every single woman who had written something was stronger and more capable than I could ever hope to be. I was right about one thing- those women are strong and capable... but I was oh so wrong about my own capabilities.
Before coming to Fulshear, I was widely known as a "bad" person, a statement that I had secretly accepted about myself for as long as I could remember. After making mistake after mistake in my life and never understanding a reason, it was easier to hold onto the belief that I was a bad person because it saved me from the pain of trying to better myself- if being a bad person was a fact about me, Kelly, then I would always have an excuse for my actions.
“I was right about one thing—those women are strong and capable… but I was oh so wrong about my own capabilities.”
It wasn't until people began to call me "sick' that I realized what a huge difference there was between those two statements. "Sick" meant I could get better while "bad" enabled me to stay in my comfort zone; a place I never would have left without Fulshear. I now consider both terms completely inaccurate and irrelevant to my life and my being and rather accept them as terms that people who lack understanding would use to describe me.
I came to Fulshear after living in personal agony for more years than I can count. I have struggled with mental illness since I was a young girl but because I had never known anything different, I didn't realize the pain I was feeling wasn't normal.
“‘Sick’ meant I could get better while “bad” enabled me to stay in my comfort zone; a place I never would have left without Fulshear.”
I entered into another treatment facility in March of 2017 and was quickly offered the opportunity to come down here to Texas for a long term, residential program- an opportunity that was terrifying and relieving all at the same time. I had never been to treatment (excluding a couple psych ward visits) but had been in therapy on and off for a little over 4 years. I thought I had an idea of what I was coming to Fulshear to accomplish but, in hindsight, I had no idea how much this place would impact me.
I vividly remember my arrival at the Ranch. Helaine was waiting with hugs at the front door for my mom and me. Nikki A. was decked out in Fulshear attire and welcomed me inside like I was an old friend. And Nicole and Michon, the two women who have been imperative in my journey here at Fulshear, met me with hope and love written all over their faces. It felt like I was wanted, like I belonged and like I was about to change my life forever.
And let me just say now, I was right. I have absolutely and undeniably changed my life forever.
The environment here at Fulshear is indescribable. There is love, support, challenge, growth, and accountability everywhere you look. One of the coolest things about this place is that not only do you get to grow and prosper but you get to watch everyone around you do the same- staff included. Fulshear pushes connection, a part of life that I have never been able to fully grasp or succeed at, and it is probably the most magnificent aspect of this program as a whole.
“My erratic emotions, personality disorder, and self harm tendencies left my life in a constant state of inconsistency. I needed a change.”
I have a support system that genuinely has my back at every turn and I finally understand what it means to have a real friend. My friends, staff and clients, push me, support me, and love me day in and day out. Someone is always there to lend a helping hand when I fall but they also let me fall- giving me the opportunity to grow and learn how to pick myself up off the ground. I feel safe to fail, and fail again, because without failure I would have never learned the things I now know about myself.
If I had to name one, I'd say the most important thing I have learned from Fulshear is that I am in charge of my own life, my own success and my own happiness- regardless of any circumstances that come my way. I came to Fulshear with the belief that the program itself, the atmosphere and the people would be the force of change in my life but I was wrong. The program, the atmosphere and the people were all crucial influences of change in my life- but the actual force, the actual change, only came when I decided it was time. And time it took (8 months if I'm being honest here). I made monumental strides in my treatment by relying on those around me but the most raw and definite change was only possible once I had decided that change was what I wanted.
And so, finally, change is what I did.
I am preparing to graduate from Fulshear in a month and I'm scared, excited and sad all at the same time. This place has become such a large part of my life that it is hard to think of leaving it behind but I also know that with the tools I have been given, I am more than equipped and ready to go off on my own adventure. An adventure full of hope, health, and happiness- knowing full well that the connections I made at Fulshear will be there forever more to lend a helping hand if I ever need one.
“Fulshear will always have a place in my heart because without it, I would have never lived to see my future.”
To say I'm thankful is an understatement. Fulshear will always have a place in my heart because without it, I would have never lived to see my future. After 19 years of living and for the first time in a very long time, I can say with complete certainty that I love my life- all because the people at Fulshear Treatment to Transition loved me first.