This holiday season, we wanted to feature words of gratitude and hope from SLR alumni. We hope you enjoy reading.
“Sometimes we are just miraculously, blessedly, ok.”
Here is the gift I received today: At a stoplight in town hundreds of miles from my child – after nearly 2 years of treatment….. I forgot for a few minutes. I forgot about the suicide attempt with the sleeping pills, the frantic efforts of deciphering everything in an instant about mental health treatment, the depths of grief as I discovered what my child had chosen to cope with alone. The troubled glances of extended family at his erratic behavior. Although it has only been a few months since he was accepted into the independent program for outpatient support; sometimes we are just miraculously, blessedly ok. I did not imagine I would ever have that again and I am so immensely grateful to the Spring Lake Ranch program for helping us reach this point.
“The Ranch provided me with skills, information, guidance, and tools to manage my condition.”
In the winter of 2019, I was very lost in my own emotional world. I was not sure who to go to, not sure who to trust or confide in, and not sure where I was going in life or what to do next. Coming from a chaotic living environment with family in Connecticut, I arrived at the Ranch in the Winter of 2020.
I had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder for about seven years at this time. The Ranch provided me with skills, information, guidance, and tools to manage my condition which I took with me into my future endeavors and stages of life.
Spring Lake Ranch had a piano, a place to paint (an art studio), and a place to exercise (a gym). I found that these safe havens allowed me to find my serenity. In addition to this, I could watch my favorite shows or listen to some music with a bowl of cereal by the fireside after a long day of good work on Woods Crew, Gardens Crew, or Shop Crew.
While working on Shop Crew, I had the opportunity to paint a 10 x 10 foot abstract mural that now hangs on the side of a road-side barn on Spring Lake Road. As a community, we collected sap from maple trees during snowfall and I signed up to help stoke the wood-burning fire for the making of syrup. In my free time I played piano for others and also wrote, recorded, and performed an original song with guitar and vocals.
I spent much time getting to know the minds of the several staff whom I clicked with the most while at the Ranch. I learned about the woods, paths that one can take in life, sociology, poetry, construction, history, and music, just to name a few. It really is a place where people of different backgrounds and skill sets can come to gather and share their knowledge and insight with one another, trade their “life-recipes,” if you will, and come out with a wider perspective than they had going into it. If I can say nothing else, it is a place where you can go to make your mark, make some changes for the better, and make a lasting impact as a part of a greater, ever-changing community.
“I could have cried with relief.”
My child called me today. This will be his third autumn with SpringLake. I was surprised and a little worried. We have built a comfortable routine and had our weekly chat the night before. In the past, a call only meant a crisis, an emergency, or at minimum, a heartbreaking conversation of some type that would haunt me for days on end. It was none of that. I could have cried with relief. I was certainly shaken. He was simply calling to share the details of an amusing event that he thought I would enjoy. A simple and beautiful explanation that would never have occurred to me until Spring Lake. In only a few seasons we have become a family with those kinds of phone calls and visits. The happy ones. The ones for no reason at all to share life’s tiny ups and downs. This was the kind of call that SpringLake has helped our family to achieve. The ones that others might take for granted but we know are miraculous.