We are a private pay treatment center and do not accept any type of insurance. Costs associated with care are the responsibility of the client.
Create a Life Worth Living
Brookhaven Retreat Blog - For inspiration, growth & a fresh perspective.
Unlocking Mental Health—Gardening
A Girl and Her Father
Soup au Pistou
Sore Throat Solutions
Can You Give Us A Twirl?
Broccolini Flounder Bake
The Reality of Sexual Assault
World Kindness Day
How to Stock Your Pantry: The Essentials
National Pomegranate Month
More Than Cute
Mental Health Wellness Week
Pineapple Chicken Stir-Fry with Black Bean Sauce
Addicted to Food
Taylor Swift and Anxiety
Essential Kitchen Equipment: Back to the Basics
Adele and the Reality of Growing Older
Maureen O’Hara—A Legacy
What Is Self Care?
Black Lentil Beet Salad
Helping One Another
Mental Illness Awareness
Women, You ARE Beautiful!
Domestic Violence Awareness Month
Empowering or Disheartening?
Pappardelle with Roasted Winter Squash, Arugula, and Pine Nuts
Coping with Anger
Art in the News
Sweet Potato Salad
Fashion Trends: The Knit Cap
Chicken with Artichoke-Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto
The Arms of Irony
Focus the Mind, Reap the Rewards
Chocolate Avocado Cookies
The Necessity of Silence
Service with Style
Vietnamese Grilled Steak with Portobellos and Mint-Cilantro Mojo
Family Illness And The Dog
The Social Media Phenomenon
Top 10 Vegetarian Proteins
Know Who You Are
The Body and Soul - 5 Ways to Relax
Dr. Wayne Dyer Lives On
Toasted Ciabatta with Shrimp, Tarragon, and Arugula
Music—It’s More Than Noise
When I was a child I was taught to persevere, there is no such thing as “can’t” but rather “I’ll try” and to never give up. I am thankful that I learned those lessons early….
When my daughter was a baby and I would drop her off at daycare, she screamed. They assured me she was fine, and when I picked her up she was happy. When my daughter was three or four, I got rid of her pacifier and she started to suck her finger. She continued to do that for many, many years. When my daughter was six and I would pick her up from school she would be the unhappiest child I knew. I talked with her teacher and she noted nothing out of the ordinary. She threatened to run away. I took her to a child psychologist. They noted nothing out of the ordinary. When my daughter was eight she threw a kicking and screaming tantrum in the floor of the store and I had to muster all of the strength I had to get her out of the store. When my daughter was 12, I had to beg, plead, scream, rationalize, anything to get this child to go to school. Her temper worsened, her behavior became more defiant, and I pleaded with the school for help. They recognized nothing out of the ordinary.
When she was 14, I noticed a change in her friends and an increased temper. She had darkened her beautiful blond hair, and pierced her own tongue. Some things you chalk up to being a teenager but I knew that something was different and unique about my daughter. She could be this wonderfully, smart sweet child, but at home she was the opposite; defiant, angry, threatening, violent outbursts towards her brother or me. No remorse, no regret, no fear. I began to be increasingly concerned for her safety, for my son’s safety. She began getting into more and more trouble at school. It was time for something to change. We went to the school counselor who recommended a psychiatrist. My daughter was in a session and found out that I had read her journal, where she expressed wanting to die. She went into a rage and started to yank handfuls of her hair out of her head. She seemed possessed and was hysterical. They held her overnight for psych evaluation. I held it together and then broke down once in my car.
This began many years of dealing with ups and downs, mood swings, finding answers, and finding solutions. She was diagnosed with Oppositional Defiance Disorder (ODD). I had repeatedly mentioned that she had a family history of Bipolar on her father’s side, but no one confirmed that this was her diagnosis. With the ODD diagnosis at least I had an answer but finding the solution was much more difficult.
My daughter did not do well alone. She did not do well when she felt she had to compete for my attention, which meant that she and her brother lived in separate residences for years, shuffled between our house and her dad’s. I finally found a therapy/school-based residence for her. The night before we were to travel there, she pierced her tongue. She was in so much pain inside that she had to get it out externally. She would do anything to shock or get my attention.
It was at her admission to the residential treatment center that both people on the admissions team challenged her on the drug use. After I got her settled and left, she became angry, called crying for me to get her, and begged to come home. However, I stood my ground, cried privately and stood by my plan to see her through this six-month program. When I returned home, I went and cleaned out her room. It was then I realized that she had been using marijuana and other drugs and the use was more often than not. I was angry with myself for not recognizing the signs sooner. After her first 30 days and my first opportunity to visit, I realized that I was seeing my daughter sober for the first time in a year. That realization shocked me and also changed how I would interact and relate with my daughter.
What we both uncovered through her years of coping with substance abuse and relapse was that her defiance and anger came from hurt, feeling betrayed and abandoned. She and I learned a new way to communicate. I stopped enabling, stopped permitting and really began to own my part in this relationship and what might have caused these emotions and feelings. It took many years for us to come to understand one another. She reminded me that she was not “me” and would never be me, and I accepted that my daughter was unique. Her personality was unique to her and I would begin to accept and love her for all her uniqueness. We started to be real with each other, and honest. It gradually began a change in her. It had completely changed me.
She still had a long road to go, and I still had to stand my ground, however she knew, and knows, that I will always love her unconditionally, support her emotionally and be there for her. She is healthy and alive today and will admit that those are years she would like to forget. Our relationship is stronger and when I see her now I see the person I knew she would be when she was born. We both realize how fortunate we are that she made it through, and lived. I am so thankful for the opportunity to see her thrive and grow up and become the woman she is. Surviving through those years taught us many life lessons. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Don’t allow other’s judgments of you to control you (they don’t know the circumstances) and have faith. Believe in her and believe in the power of change. Persevere.
The ocean has always been a calming place. There is something about the rhythm of the waves that suggests the heartbeat of the earth, soothing and constant. Visitors often gather shells and tokens to remember their walks across the sand and through the edge of the tide, one with their own thoughts. Pockets and hands full of shells, a visitor might sift through them absently and toss away the broken ones. If they were to take a closer look, one of those broken shells might represent their own life journey.
One of the causes of brokenness in the human spirit is grief, or bereavement. When we lose a loved one our world may fall apart around us like shattered window glass, with our hearts afraid to step out in any direction for fear of stepping on the pieces. Everyone’s journey through grief is different and requires different steps toward healing, but the journey will begin with self-awareness of the brokenness we experience due to our loss.
Left unaddressed, bereavement can tidal wave into depression, anxiety, and complicated grief, paralyzing us in our journey like a broken shell stuck in the sand. At Brookhaven Retreat, we offer dual diagnosis treatment in a caring environment to help women heal from their brokenness. Through a comprehensive range of available therapies, the healing journey through grief can begin.
The broken shell still has a beautiful side that can accommodate for the part that is missing. You can read more about the broken shell as Carol Hamblet Adams offers inspiration in her book, My Beautiful Broken Shell: Words of Hope to Refresh the Soul (Harvest House Publishers, 2002).
October is my favorite month. The transition into autumn, crisp air, and colorful scenery inspire new beginnings and my creativity heightens. It is also the time that I prepare for the coming winter and transition myself, and my surroundings for the colder, shorter days. If I am not careful, I can succumb to the winter blues. Staying active, organized, and making the simplest and mundane things fun keep me away from depression and staying positive.
Purging my closet is something I allow myself to do throughout the entire month of October. Since it is the season for dress-up and make-believe, I like to bring that spirit to organizing my wardrobe. What do I keep? What should go? Will I EVER wear this? It’s hard to determine what we may wear in the future or when to let go of something that’s a bit over worn. I suggest asking 5 questions in the wardrobe purge to determine if an outfit is taking up space or is still a good investment.
Have you worn it in the last 6 months?
This is the best indication of whether an article of clothing has personal value to you.
Does it fit right now?
It’s important to stay mindful of our bodies and current situations. When our weight fluctuates or an item of clothing shrinks a bit, hanging onto it can create more anxiety than needed.
Is it versatile?
Sometimes trends are short lived. Do those high-waist sailor pants that were so cute last year seem a bit clownish now? A black knee-length skirt is a good reliable keeper. Articles of clothing that can go with anything are usually beneficial on days when you can’t figure out what to wear.
If you saw it in the store today, would you buy it?
This is the ultimate question. If no, it may be time to let go.
Does it hold sentimental value?
Maybe you don’t wear your grandmother’s coat from the 1960’s but the nostalgia and sentiment is priceless. Keep it!
If I am still undecided, then I wear it! I often wear clothes that take up space in my closet throughout October. It brings the magic of dress-up into each day and allows me to judge whether an outfit feels good or is just plain outgrown (or silly). It’s also the month that I put aside what others may think, and truly use my creativity and thought into piecing together an outfit.
I used to clean my closet in one afternoon, carelessly tossing things away for the sake of decluttering, only to wish I had held onto them later. Giving myself a relaxed time frame and adding a creative twist to my decision making helps me look forward to something that I once dreaded doing. To boot, I am hosting a pumpkin-carving clothing swap with a few of my girlfriends this year! Whatever is left will then be donated and who knows what treasure I may add to my wardrobe.
Happy Autumn, embrace your creativity and magic in all that you do!
I am the Face of Depression
“Don't let life discourage you; everyone who got where he is had to begin where he was.” ~ Richard L. Evans
I am the face of Depression. For me, depression started before I was actually aware of what it even was, as I am sure is the case for a lot of people. My parents either were not aware of the disease, in denial, or did not feel comfortable addressing it.
As a teenager, I would sit in my room (alone) for hours with the door locked-doing nothing. I was not into doing “normal” teenage things. I preferred to stay home. I never went on dates or to school dances. I was completely invisible to the opposite sex and was never part of the IN crowd.
Today, I see it as being depression, but years ago I thought it was just being an awkward teen. After high school, I was completely lost in the world. I was not ready for college, but my anxiety could get so bad, holding a job was difficult.
I would have bouts of depression on and off, but I always seemed to come out of it okay until the spring of 1996. I had a six-year-old daughter. I had recently married and now I was 4 months pregnant. I would cry and have outbursts of rage for no particular reason. My mom and husband had spoken with my Obstetrician and he felt it best to hospitalize me and start me on anti-depressants. With the meds also came the psychiatrist and in time, some much needed answers and relief.
Has my life been all roses and sunshine since? Not by a long shot. I sometimes think, “you know, I have been doing great. I don’t need medicine.” Beep! Wrong answer. I do need medicine. I will always need medicine. My psychiatrist told me after years of counseling that she did not really see a need for me to keep coming in every month to see her. I do not see her for a while, but then something out of the ordinary happens, and I will check back in with her. It seems to be working.
I will always suffer from depression, but I manage it the best way I know how: medication, family, positive people, a job that I love, and prayer.
This apple soup is an elegant combination of the warm spices, hearty broth and sweet zest that epitomizes fall as the welcome transition from summer to winter. Serve as an appetizer by itself or pair with a leafy green salad and fresh walnut bread for a complete meal that nurtures physical, emotional and mental health.
- 1 ½ teaspoons olive oil
- 1 ½ teaspoon butter
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 1 cup chopped fennel bulb
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 Honeycrisp apples, peeled and thinly sliced
- Salt to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 ¾ cups chicken or vegetable broth
- 1 ¼ cups apple cider
- ½ cup Greek-style yogurt
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh tarragon
- 1-tablespoon milk
- Heavy cream to taste
- ½ cup water or vegetable broth
Heat the olive oil and butter in a large soup pot over medium-low heat. Sweat the onion, fennel and garlic by cooking them until the onion is translucent (3 to 5 minutes).
Stir in the apples, season with salt and pepper, then add the water or vegetable broth. Simmer to reduce the liquid by half. Meanwhile, if you do add cream, in a small saucepan over medium-low heat until it thickens, whisking periodically.
Once the apple mixture is reduced add the broth and cider and bring them to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the apples and fennel are tender, about 1 hour.
While the soup is simmering, whisk together the yogurt, tarragon, and milk until evenly blended and smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Refrigerate until needed.
Once the soup is ready, puree it with a tabletop or immersion blender until smooth, then pass it through a fine-mesh sieve to remove any chunky bits. If you don’t have a sieve and don’t mind slightly chunky soup you can skip this step.
Transfer the soup back to the soup pot, whisk in the cooked cream and season with salt and pepper. Divide the soup among bowls and top with a dollop of tarragon yogurt to serve.
Source: Girl in the Kitchen
Beauty For All Ages
“It is a mistake to regard age as a downhill grade toward dissolution. The reverse is true. As one grows older, one climbs with surprising strides.”
– George Sand
As women, the ageing process can be uniquely difficult. Unlike Brad Pitt and George Clooney, women are rarely acknowledged as getting better with age. We face insurmountable pressure to look our best at all times and for some women each new birthday ignites fear, anxiety and symptoms of depression. Brookhaven Retreat is a women-only residential treatment center that helps women of all ages get emotionally and mentally well. As part of residential treatment for mental health and substance abuse issues, women learn to accept the ageing process and find confidence in growing old through embracing acts of self-care.
October is National Cosmetology Month, making it the perfect reason to show your self and your age love by indulging in some beauty secrets for all ages.
In your 30s: When we enter our thirties we may find ourselves overwhelmed by growing responsibilities to our budding family, parents and work. Often these are new components in our life and we have yet to find a healthy routine, which makes time for our own needs while balancing outside obligations. But it is crucial to maintain time for ourselves to embrace this new era. Experts say this is the time to prevent early aging by using sunscreen, peptides and exfoliates. Our hair may need more frequent conditioning than in our 20s and a good yellow-peach concealer goes a long way to hide those sleepless nights and increased stress that accompany our 30s.
In your 40s: Our 40s can bring us an abundance of hormonal changes that completely transform the texture and thickness of our hair. As our hair thins and becomes coarser we may choose to ease up on the heat damage and daily washings and embrace our natural look. Women in their 40s also see changes in their skin, which calls for a nutritious diet, a good wrinkle cream and less makeup. Using vitamin A topically can help promote collagen production at a time where our skin elasticity is fading. Although it is often marked by greeting cards with the phrase “over the hill”, it is in reality a wonderful time to try out new beauty tricks and continue to glow with confidence.
In your 50s: Usually in her 50s, a woman experiences a major drop in estrogen. Estrogen is what helps keep skin moisturized and glowing, therefore without it there needs to be some key adjustments to our beauty routine. Incorporating an anti-inflammatory, either naturally or through a cream, can reduce redness and inflammation. To revitalize the volume of our hair, try using a round brush when blow-drying or Velcro rollers. Along with the hairs on our scalp, we also may notice thinning brows; this is an easy solution for many by simply using a good brow pencil to fill in lighter hairs.
In your 60s: For many women, turning 60 is empowering. This is the time when they are confident, secure and accomplished, while the beauty routine is often simplified. Try using a cream with jojoba and borage oil to hydrate dry skin. It is also an excellent time to try something new with your hair; don’t be afraid of growing it out or letting it go grey!
Counting calories? There’s an app for that. Checking your bank? There’s an app for that too! From e-mail to GPS, to brain games and 24/7 news, our iPhones and Androids are often loaded with applications that fit all of our needs, making them awesome pocket-sized life management tools. So while we emphasize our phone’s ability to do almost everything for us, we must not neglect its ability to enhance our emotional and mental health!
Although smart phone apps are not stand-alone treatments for depression, anxiety and mood disorders, they can be great additions to ongoing therapy and medication management. Here are some terrific and practical apps that can nurture our emotional and mental health in between “snapchatting” our friends and tracking our meals.
- eCBT Calm: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a major component of depression treatment and other mental health issues. Based off the effective skills of CBT, eCBT is an Apple app that helps women analyze their anxiety, challenge destructive thoughts and encourage positive actions.
- Optimism: Part of maintaining good mental health after inpatient treatment is learning to recognize when our mood is changing and the triggers. Optimism is especially helpful for women with bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder and depression, as they can chart their mood and note day-to-day events to see if there are any warning signs or notable patterns. It is also a useful addition to therapy, as women can relay valuable information to their therapist or healthcare provider.
- Relax Melodies: Quality sleep is vital to a woman’s emotional and mental health but is often compromised when we become overwhelmed by stress, mania, anxiety and depression. With nearly a perfect rating on iTunes, the Relax Melodies app is one of the best ways to stimulate deep sleep and relaxation, and is available on both Android and iPhone.
- BellyBio: BellyBio is an interactive app available for the iPhone that helps manage stress and anxiety through reinforcing breathing exercises. By placing the phone on your belly the app syncs calming rhythms to your breathing, allowing you to be mindful of your breathing and allowing you to relax.
- LifeCharge: LifeCharge is a journal-esque app that is only supported on Apple products but has a 5 ½ out of 6 star rating. Each day you enter the positives and negatives of your day, helping you be mindful of what brings you happiness and what things are causing you to feel depressed or anxious.
Last year, seemingly every media outlet followed actress Amanda Bynes as she exhibited strange behavior both in public and on social media, which prompted her to enter and discharge from an inpatient treatment center and was seemingly making great strides toward continued recovery. However, at the end of September this year she was arrested on a DUI charge with the peculiar behavior continuing into October, before she reportedly entered treatment again.
Although it is shocking to watch a childhood celebrity with outstanding talent publicly struggle with mental illness and substance abuse issues, Bynes is certainly not alone in her ongoing journey. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), roughly half of all individuals with severe mental health issues are also affected by substance abuse. In addition, women with co-occurring disorders are at higher risk for relapsing, making recovery a continuing process that does not cease once inpatient treatment ends.
Brookhaven Retreat is founded upon giving women a fresh start at building a healthy whole. This means addressing the root cause of the emotional breakage that has stunted the development of essential skills that help women cope with mood disorders and mental health issues. For women with substance abuse, addressing the physical addiction first is critical to recovery. A highly trained and caring nursing staff that is available 24/7 helps women detox from alcohol, drug and prescription addiction as comfortably as possible so that they are then able to explore the mental and emotional distress without distraction.
Maintaining a positive outlook and a motivated attitude is easier when you are surrounded by the support and comfort of a residential treatment facility, but can be completely different when faced with daily stressors and real world pressures. In order to successfully maintain lasting recovery women must address the aspects of life that may compromise their health upon returning home, and is the reason behind Brookhaven Retreat’s exclusive Poncho® program. After their first 30 days of treatment and stabilization, the women at Brookhaven Retreat participate in the Poncho® Life Skills class. Women analyze their various pieces of their life the role they play in recovery. This allows women to build a healthy whole that can thrive during the toughest times.
Part of what helps women recover from emotional breakage, codependency struggles, substance abuse and mental health issues is the unique bond formed at a women-only treatment center. The support from other women who are on this same journey promotes self-esteem and encourages healthy thoughts and behaviors. These friendships are often an integral part of their recovery well after they leave treatment. Brookhaven Retreat has set up a comprehensive alumnae program that allows for an open-door policy and continued support from fellow graduates and staff through weekly phone calls, a private social networking site and an annual alumnae reunion.
Healing and recovery from mental illness and substance abuse is not an easy nor smooth journey, and it certainly does not stop after inpatient treatment is complete. Although, many women will face bumps in the road and some days may be difficult, things don’t have to stay the same. Through self-discovery and understanding mental health issues and emotional pain women become equipped with the tools needed to safeguard their mental and emotional wellness as they redesign their life.
“Never give up, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn.”
- Harriet Beecher Stowe
Dress For (Emotional) Success
On Monday October 20, fashion legend, Oscar de la Renta passed away at the age of 82. From elaborate wedding gowns, red carpet staples and couture creations, de la Renta dressed both First Ladies and movie stars for nearly 50 years, himself becoming a Hollywood icon.
Oscar de la Renta once said, “My job as a designer is to make a woman feel her very best,” and he did just that. The way we dress is often a visual expression of who we are. Oscar de la Renta mastered the art of feminine flair that was as timeless and classic, and made women feel unstoppable. But, no matter your style, what we wear can influence our mood as much as reflect it.
At some point we have all felt uncomfortable in an outfit, maybe it was a shirt that was unflattering or a pair of pants that don’t quite fit. Feeling self-conscious in an outfit can cause us to withdraw and may even trigger depression and anxiety.
What we decide to wear for the day can be manipulated by our mood for that day. A 2012 study conducted by psychologists at the University of Hertfordshire reported women were ten times more likely to wear their favorite dress when happy versus when depressed, and five times more likely to wear their favorite shoes.
The same study concluded that the majority of women felt they could change their mood just by what they wore. Clothes that are fitted well, figure enhancing and made of bright colors and quality fabrics can boost our self-confidence, an element that is critical in fighting off depression and social anxiety.
However, women who struggle with depression may find that simply dressing for the day can seem pointless and exhausting. Along with medication management and ongoing therapy, depression treatment consists of learning to prioritize self-care and establishing healthy routines like getting dressed.
Depression and mood disorders disrupt various aspects of a woman’s life, from holding a job to getting out of bed. Brookhaven Retreat understands that success is found in developing healthy patterns and practical skills that can be relied upon during the toughest time. When all the pieces of a woman’s life are accounted for she is then emotionally and mentally whole.
One Less Ballerina
How does a woman who has had a stellar career as the principal dancer with the New York City Ballet overcome the sadness of retirement? Ballerina Wendy Whelan danced her farewell performance on October 18, 2014 after thirty years. She started dancing at the age of three and has a repertoire of over fifty ballets in her career.
At the age of 47, Wendy is still known for her angular body and her defined muscularity. She revealed, however, that every time a particularly important milestone occurs in her life, she experiences great sadness. Although exhilaration may be the immediate emotion after a particularly important performance, the sadness sets in with remorse that the moment has passed and the peak has been reached.
Most women can overcome these feelings of depression after a short period of time. Yes, it may take a few days or perhaps several weeks, but as time allows space, the feelings of depression lessens and levels out. But some women are so traumatized by a sudden change of lifestyle or a fearful event that their depression deepens with time. It may worsen into PTSD, anxiety, or just severe bereavement. Perhaps the only way to deal with the pain of depression is to turn to drug or alcohol abuse to as a numbing agent. Understanding the core of the depression is the key, and this is where Brookhaven Retreat excels in covering the cause and effect of the depression and anxiety.
Wendy Whelan may feel lost in life for a while, but she will rebound to a healthy attitude by using her own coping skills. As for us, the world will be a less beautiful place with one less ballerina.
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