Cherry Gulch – Oh god, where do I start? I’ll just do every season since there are so many atrocities to talk about.
In Spring, I had just arrived and I had some fun for 5 weeks. I met my roommate who was an absolute bully, my therapist – the one person I liked there, and had Super Bowl Sunday. It wasn’t too bad as I was on my “honeymoon stage” so there is not much to share during that time.
Summer was where it started to head south. A staff named Morgan decides to turn her back against me. She lied and stated that she was frustrated with me, didn’t want to talk to me, and claimed that I hurt her. She proceeded to put me on “Leg Up” (punish me) for stuff that I never did or for things that were so minor it should not have mattered.
For example, I kicked someone once, I threw a dirty Band-Aid on the floor, I said the F-word, etc. At other times, she would just make up reasons to put me on “Leg Up” to the point that I was just mentally done. In the summer, I also caught Covid-19. That was sadly the most fun part of summer as i got to use my iPod for the first time since January. Some of the staff I actually liked were working most of the time too. At one time, they let us watch The Office which was great. It was a really boring summer besides that. The food sucked again as the one good cook had left.
It was a bad summer but wasn’t absolutely horrifying. Except for Morgan.
School is in session. This time around with teachers like Brian who was nice but had no experience in teaching whatsoever since they couldn’t get someone to do the position in a Therapeutic Boarding School. We also had a teacher named Scott who was nice but lost it sometimes giving out level 4’s for things like “tampering with the computer” which was a frequent one for me. It was an immediate level 4 for playing “Positions” by Ariana Grande on the computer in his mind. We couldn’t question it.
A student named “C” also managed his way into the school. That kid destroyed my stuff and bullied me every day because I was small, gullible, and fragile. This started the week he arrived and most of the staff did nothing. At this point, I found out these staff just didn’t last. Most of them can’t manage more than a year.
I can’t take this anymore. The same problems happening for 3 months now and staff won’t do anything about it. Instead, they fire staff like Diane who showed kindness to people who cleaned their room. . This is also when Danielle – another nice staff – couldn’t take it anymore after 12 years. She quit being the “Character Ed Teacher” (a codeword for In-Class Therapist) and we got a residential manager to replace her. He was nice but was a manager becoming a teacher which was not ideal.
My progress through what they called “The Hero’s Journey” was halted for 4 months (and would be for another 6 months) on Guardians Of The Threshold (The 4th phase out of 9). Morgan, who was the Residential Manager, hated me even more and other staff started to follow suit. Not because I was mean but because I had more anger than I could handle. Morgan and I had gotten into it multiple times, and we agreed to take space. However, she didn’t because she had to “follow her job” when she put me on “Leg Up” for stupid reason after stupid reason.
I needed help because I started to feel suicidal. Which you were not supposed to be put on “Leg Up” for but it still happened since Morgan was the boss and had the power to make those choices.
Luckily, I heard a rumor I was going to leave by summer. I didn’t believe it but in the end, it ended up being true.
I finally left at the end of spring. Running away had become my new form of expressing my anger. It was all I could do because I felt so sad every day. I was on “Leg Up” the most in March and April.
April Showers(bad times) were supposed to bring May Flowers (good times) but they didn’t. I had one guiding light this whole time: My therapist, Latisha. Where ever you are, thank you so much. She understood me and I was so lucky to have her. She’s the one that even said at the end if I would be better off at another program or just going home. She helped me come up with a plan to finish. She wanted me to be able to leave by summer because she knew me. She knew it wouldn’t work out much longer. Sure enough, Summer came around and I was able to leave.
Let me explain: I had just phased up after 10 months stuck and everyone had called it a “pity phase.” It was May and after feeling bad and not being able to go off campus on any outings, I was suddenly allowed to. Then “C” came up and pushed me over and wasn’t put on “Leg Up” for his actions. I ended up yelling, screaming, and swearing as the manager just didn’t seem to care or believe me. They even went as far as to say that I pushed him over instead. They also said that had a witness that saw the whole thing. I was so mad that I just couldn’t take it. This is when Latisha came to discuss options with me. I offered that maybe I just needed to make it to my home visit in June and maybe it’ll be better afterward since I hadn’t seen home in three months.
We had a “conference” in which they wanted to make a currency for me. I felt so embarrassed and didn’t want to speak. I talked to staff about it and said it’s not to embarrass since it was to help me “grow”. Sure enough, the kids found out and I was embarrassed.
A week before my home visit, Morgan and a new RM named Derek tried to put me on “Leg Up” so I couldn’t visit home. I was scared to be stuck but in the end, it didn’t work. This time, the “Leg Up” excuse would have been “Being High Energy” and I would have been on had they been not talked to by their own employees.
June came and I went on a break. I found out over the break they had a care conference about me. Morgan and Derek wanted me to be put on “Individual Focus,” as my therapist described it, “Let’s have you guys pay $4,000 a month for your son’s 1:1 tutor.” it was worse than that. You had little fun whatsoever. It was an extended “Leg Up” essentially. You couldn’t go on any outings and the “perks” that weren’t really perks. Little did Morgan and Derek know ahead of time, I went on my June Home Visit and was never to be seen again
Thank you all for reading this, this took two hours of crying to talk about, so thank you.