Sending Our Children To WinGate
Four years ago, we had to make one of the most difficult decisions we've ever had to make. For years we watched helplessly as both of our children struggled with depression, anxiety, and drug addiction. Our daughter had just turned 17, was ending her junior year in highschool and no matter how we tried to help her (weekly therapy, neurofeedback, or drug counseling), nothing seemed to work. Our son (19) had just come home from mid-semester at his college, struggling to even hold a job, was gone for days at a time and refusing any kind of help. Every day he seemed to be angrier and angrier, his body slowly withering away as he let the drugs overpower him. We felt there was nothing left for us to do, nowhere to turn. We also didn't know anyone struggling like we were.
The Day We Decided To Send Our Daughter and Son To WinGate
The day we sent our daughter will forever be embedded in our minds. I remember feeling like a mama bear, empowered to save our daughter from the ravages of depression and drugs. We had found an old email about Wingate and gave them a call. They were so helpful, understood exactly what we were going through. Within a week, she was gone. We were incredibly sad, but we also felt such a sense of relief. We knew she was safe. Three weeks later, we had an intervention with our son and he gratefully chose to go to Wingate as well.
While our children were away doing the hard work of healing, we took the time to focus on ourselves. We voraciously read all the recommended books, studied the Arbinger method in Anatomy of Peace, practiced self-care with long hikes and trying to commune with nature as much as we could. We also cried - so many tears, crying for our past and tears of hope for the future. We lived for the weeklky calls from their therapists, the photos of the kids sent through the parent portal, the weekly parent support calls. Progress was being made, and for the first time in a long time, our kids were happy.
We Saw The Transformation
We saw the transformation wilderness made in all of us. To see our children with genuine smiles of pure joy, faces full of dirt with smiles of bright teeth and eyes twinkling, is to see the magic of wilderness. Somthing about being one with the earth, the sky, trees, native plants is healing the body, mind and soul. The day we got to see our children walk out of the wilderness together, healthy and happy, was better than the day they were born. We see it as their re-birth - a new begining created by wilderness therapy to continue healing.
While there have bumps along the road post Wingate, we know without a doubt that Wingate helped provide a sturdy foundation for continued growth and opportunities. We will be forever grateful to Wingate for healing our family.