To the therapists, the program counselors, the nurses, the doctors, the groundskeepsers, the pink ladies, the front office and business staff, the chefs, the dietitians, the directors and the executives. Every single one of you have done everything in your power to make sure we are taken care of and have our needs met. You teach us new skills to manage life outside and inside Brookhaven, from DBT skills to mindful shopping and budgeting, helping us find our way through fun evenings out sans alcohol or other substances, helping us manage medications and even being advocates for us at outside doctor's appointments. Your support is all-encompassing and I can't thank you enough. Even the deluge of art projects has become a joy - each one has had a profound therapeutic value for me.
I've always been a guy's girl and was intimidated by the thought of coming to an all women's facility, but the community around me has been incredibly healing. Not only do we all support each other, we also teach each other every woman here has a different story and is at a different point in their journey. When I first arrived it was the women about to leave that gave me hope. As I progressed it was the women in the midst of their journey that gave me new perspectives on the things in my life and the qualities in myself that I can be grateful for. And as I near my time to leave, it's the close relationships I've formed that give me strength and courage and it's the new women coming in that allow me to show compassion for and guide through those disorienting first few days.
With the structure of the program and the various community roles I've held, in my wellness I've found that I am a strong leader, and it's something I truly love doing. It's scary to admit - it's something I've always wanted to do but shied away from when I couldn't handle criticism in the depths of my depression, or even just for fear of being labeled "bossy" as so many girls and women are. But here I've gathered the tools, experience, and confidence necessary to hold my head high back in the outside world. And it's all thanks to the support and encouragement (and sometimes challenges) from my community, my therapist, our counselors, and the amazing Leslie. They have all helped me recognize my strength and work through the things where I needed some help.
Going home won't be easy, but I know I will always have the support of those wonderful women. I love ya', Brookhaven, but I don't think I'll ever need to come back here again.
Thanks for everything.