A Little bit about me
I am young, ambitious, and compassionate. I ground myself in love and turn to it when I become overwhelmed, hurt, or unsure of what to do. I love pushing myself past my limits and continuing to see just how far I can go. That is why I love wrestling, rock climbing, and triathlons. These sports allow me to push myself mentally and physically, like no other sport can. I will be competing in my first Ironman at the youngest possible age of 18, to push myself mentally and physically for myself, and for a cause I believe in wholeheartedly.
A couple years ago
At a very young age I knew that I was different than the other boys and girls my age. My social interactions seemed to be behind and awkward. In my younger years the awkwardness didn’t bother me as much as the negative interactions I had with people did.
I would internalize these fleeting moments, thoughts, and negative interactions. This continued on into the sixth grade, when I entered Junior High. With this change I felt a pressure to fit in, like everything had somehow become extremely complex. My peers naturally sensed this falseness and rejected me for trying to be someone I was not. This rejection was hard to cope with as a child and I went into a state of self-pity and “woe is me”. I began to listen to depressing music and think very negative thoughts about who I was and how I acted. Continuing in this negative atmosphere I began spiraling down in a depressive state. I am responsible for my own actions and emotions, but at such a young age, I invited many negative people into my life and pushed away the ones who could have helped me.
My freshman year of High school I battled with feelings of low self worth, I felt as though my troubles were somehow less than those around me. During the middle of wrestling season I attempted to take my own life. Due to my depression I was unable to return to wrestling which only added to the downward spiral. I attempted suicide two more times while my parents tried desperately to enroll me in treatment that might help. My parents did all they could to try and help me, and soon enrolled me in a wilderness therapy program
Here I start my long and painful year of treatment
I went to the wilderness therapy program with a face of joy and content just like all my other treatment facilities, hoping it would convince others that I was ok to go home. Of course, all the staff had seen it before and I was not going anywhere, anytime soon. I continued to put this mask on for five weeks, as if it was going to get me home sooner. I couldn’t be more wrong. My therapist finally told me that I was going to another program. My heart dropped and to me at the time, it felt like the end of the world. Three weeks before I was onto my next program I started to accept my situation and change it. I read a book by Brene Brown, The Gift of Imperfections. This book changed my life and taught me so many new things about myself. I went to my next program, Telos. Having grown, I entered this program with hope, joy and acceptance to being there. Staff and students saw it to be a “Honeymoon Phase” that would wear off with time. It didn’t. Did it therapy and treatment become hard? Yes! Did I want to go home ever? Yes! Did that make me want to stop working and improving on myself? No! I found so much empowerment, peace, and joy from becoming a better, healthier person. I discovered new things about myself daily! Things I would never want to think about, let alone talk about. But…I did. I found such a peace in working on the large and small issues everyday. I miss the treatment program, I am not going to lie to you, I cried on my discharge date. For me, it was leaving friends, relationships, and an environment that brought my heart to such a state of peace. Why did this work, couldn’t you just do this at home?
Why treatment is necessary
Treatment separates the victim of a mental illness from society, the Internet, family, and natural daily events and stresses a slow and inhibit growth. I was extremely codependent before I went into treatment. This separation from girls my age and triggers allowed me to take a long and hard look at my thinking errors and allow myself to set up a healthy belief and support system. It allowed me to take a step back from my family issues and allow space between the disagreements, removing the constant tension in the house. Allowing all of us to take a calm look at what we were doing and how we could do it much better and more productive than we did. Daily events often can make things seem more complex than they really are and I used to rely on codependency to cope. The treatment program helped me isolate both of those, to see my thinking errors and how to go about treating them.
Treatment is long term, there is no progress made and then maintained after just a couple of months. Sure you may be doing a lot better than you were before you got there but when you are given the option to face your issues with no one there to hold you accountable, will you stay grounded or will you fall back into the cycle? That is what the end of treatment is, holding your ground and continuing to use your tools even when faced with a challenging task.
Why I am doing this
Long-term treatment can be very expensive. Treatment can be anywhere from $200-$600 a day, depending where you go. Sometimes it can be even more. Insurance may cover some, but often treatment is required for at least a year. You tell me… if your son or daughter has a mental illness and you poured in thousands of dollars into their treatment already, but you need that last three months to solidify their tools and knowledge so they can become successful when they come home, would you want that support? I would, my parents received that support from YCC to finish off my treatment. And because of that support, I am here now able to go after something that is very high stress and I am managing it amazing because of a charity such as Youth Champions Charity was able to step in and allow me to finish my treatment program.
Let’s look at the statistics for a second. Suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the U.S. For every single suicide, there are 25 more attempts. 42,773 people die of suicide in the U.S. each year. That is, on average, 1,069,325 attempts in a year. Suicides are on the rise and will continue to rise if we don’t stop and do something.
Let’s look at less extreme situations that we don’t really think about. Anxiety, we all know to some extent what that feels like, right? Now imagine your day being a living hell because you always imagine the worst outcomes, that have the smallest possibility of coming true, but in your head they are a reality. Now live the rest of your life with that misery. Without treatment, or therapy options many youth must live this reality day in and day out.
I believe that not everyone needs therapy, but everyone can benefit from therapy. No one is perfect, nor needs to be. Everyone has something they are struggling with and things they could be much better at. Imagine a world where emotions and insecurities become just another thing we talk about openly. Allowing ourselves to become the best person we could be while living a joyous life. That is my dream for the world and it may not happen in my lifetime, but should that stop me? I want my grandchildren to grow up in a world where they no longer hide the things they struggle with, like it’s a mark of shame. They instead allow others to help them build their character to be one of humility, integrity, and love.
We start here by donating to the cause, something relatively small. It will grow and become more and more continually helping others in need. We share this information, this idea, talk about it, let others know so they can help and join the team. Because if only one person is donating an infinite supply of resources, then are we really getting anywhere? No! Because this changes goes through all of us, not just a few, but all of us. Please support Youth Champions Charity and spread the word. It means a lot to me and many other families and youth struggling to afford the treatment they so desperately need. Thank you so much!
With love and appreciation,