Residential Treatment

Residential Treatment:

Rogers is a comprehensive psychiatric hospital, nationally recognized for specialty residential treatment programs for eating disorders, addiction, obsessive-compulsive disorder and anxiety disorders for children, teens and adults.

Life. Worth. Living.

March 26, 2012 - 3:34pm

At 15 years old, Erika* thought she had found a great way to lose weight over the summer and stay healthy. At first, she received compliments on how she looked and how active she had become. But eventually, her friends knew something wasn’t right.

“They noticed that I was throwing away my lunch. They noticed that I was distracted, isolated, that I walked around during lunch,” said Erika. Her friends tried to drop hints that the way she had been eating and been taking care of herself was, in fact, an eating disorder.

Excuses and avoidance no longer worked

When hinting didn’t work, they contacted Erika’s parents who were also noticing a change in their daughter’s behavior. As Erika recalls, her attempts to avoid her family and friends, were due to her not wanting to explain another missed meal. “I would leave the house early and stay at the gym late so I could skip meal time with my family. They didn’t understand eating disorders. When they were young it wasn’t talked about. They truly didn’t know what to do,” said Erika. “But, the excuses weren’t holding any water.” After learning more, Erika’s parents took her to a local hospital for evaluation, where she was diagnosed with anorexia and referred to Rogers for treatment.

Today, Erika is a college student who is grateful her friends were able to reach out to her parents and share their concerns. Erika started her treatment in Rogers’ partial hospitalization program which allowed her to attend her high school classes in the morning, and treatment in the afternoon. “It really worked out well. My school counselor had worked with eating disorder programs before so they were able to shift my classes around so I could go to treatment,” said Erika. “Every week we had a family session. I would be home for breakfast and eat with my family.” Erika said that having her family included with the treatment went a long way in helping everybody in the family understand eating disorders and the best ways to address disordered behaviors.

“You can get through it”

She says she remembers how hard it was for her to be in treatment at first, but then got to know the other teens in the program. “I was shocked at the similarities we had. It was helpful to have someone who’s sixteen and in high school who could tell me that they got past it and ‘look at me now.’ At first I didn’t believe them. The healthier I got, the more insight I gained. As you progress through treatment it’s easier to talk to people coming into the program. It makes a difference to hear from someone who’s been there ‘I know it sucks now, but you can get through it.’”

Erika came to understand that she had been missing out on the typical experiences of a teenager because of her eating disorder. “I’m realizing the silly times I could be having. Treatment boosted my self-esteem, and kept me thinking of things I would have to give up if I returned to my eating disorder.”

Two years later, as a senior, Erika was applying for colleges and the stress of thinking about being away from everyone took a toll on her recovery. Realizing that she needed additional support, she returned to Rogers’ partial hospitalization program. “It was a little embarrassing to go through the same process with the school again,” Erika admitted, “That was my main motivation – I don’t want to go through this again.”

“I’m loving life”

Now, at 21, Erika is excited to talk about life in college and her plans for the future. “I’m loving life. It’s exciting to say I beat this,” she said. “I’m very happy right now. I spent a semester abroad, which was my first time away from home – ever. If I had been in my eating disorder, it would never have happened. I would have never met the friends I have now. A lot of the time we got to meet people was around meals. If I had been restricting it would have been hard to meet those friends.”

Erika is currently a psychology major, an interest she says she developed after her first admission. “After going to Rogers and seeing the therapists and social workers, I thought ‘Their job is pretty cool. They help people with their problems.’” Erika has already shared her experience with others on campus, through eating disorder awareness programs.

“College isn’t a very balanced time – you work hard during the week, party on the weekend. You have to find a balance that works for you. The most important thing is finding good friends. Find people you can talk to and be yourself with. These are the things that have made my college experience so wonderful,” Erika said. She also attends outpatient therapy to ensure she doesn’t return to her eating disorder.

She says if anybody were to ask her about treatment, she would let them know that it will be hard work – but worth it in the end. “It gets much better, you’ll be much happier,” she said. Erika also would like parents who are worried to know that it’s important to intervene early. “Your child is going to say they’re fine. Do something – even if it’s something little,” she said.

* name has been changed

March 26, 2012 - 2:56pm

Representatives from Rogers Memorial Hospital, its boards of directors, medical leadership and local officials gathered on March 14 officially open the doors to Rogers’ new inpatient facility and experiential therapy center with a ribbon-cutting ceremony in the new gymnasium. The facilities were built as a result of input from patients and Roger’s dedication to delivering the highest quality of patient-centered care.

The ceremony marked the completion of the first two phases of a patient-centered construction project that started in February 2010 and will be completed later in 2012 with the grand opening of the residential facility for children and adolescents.

David Moulthrop, PhD, Rogers’ president and CEO, shared his gratitude toward the collective efforts that led to the construction of the hospital’s new facilities. “These new facilities are examples of how Rogers Memorial Hospital has grown to become a premier behavioral health care provider that is recognized throughout Wisconsin and across the nation.”

Peter Lake, MD, who is the medical director for Rogers Memorial Hospital – Oconomowoc noted that this was a day for all of Rogers staff to celebrate. “This is a dream come true to say the least – and we have even better things ahead. With these new facilities we can do our best and do what we’re here for.”

The excitement was evident. The new facilities provide an environment where they can offer patients unmatched comfort, privacy and amenities. With rooms and community spaces specially designed to foster a therapeutic environment, there was a lot to be excited about. While the exterior echoes Rogers’ historic red brick hospital, the interior contains contemporary, state-of-the-art furnishings.

On each floor, the patient care areas incorporate natural light and pleasant furnishings to create a warm, welcoming environment. While each program has open spaces which promote positive socialization and engagement, they are balanced with private treatment rooms for individual therapy, family therapy, and visiting. This balance enhances patients’ connection to their surroundings, which is critical to engaging them in the treatment and the recovery process.

March 20, 2012 - 3:27pm

Surgeons are showing slightly higher instances of alcohol-use disorders (15%) compared to the general population (8-12%), according to a recent study published in the Archives of Surgery. Those who responded reported drinking behaviors that could be categorized as full-fledged abuse or dependence. The study’s lead author, Dr. Michael Oreskovich, said that he hopes that by showing the high percentage of surgeons who have a problem will help destigmatize the illness and result in more physicians coming forward in future polls.

Michael M. Miller, MD, FASAM, FAPA, medical director of the Herrington Recovery Center, gave his impressions of the study and shared some thoughts about how to best address the problem of substance-use disorders with physicians.

This is a very useful study.

It’s been known for years that physicians have rates of addiction that, in general, mirror the rates in the population at large. For some substances, use rates may be lower than the general public, but for prescription drugs available in a physician’s workplace—especially drugs used in the operating room—rates of addiction in physicians significantly outpace the rates in the general population.

We’ve known for years that anesthesiologists, emergency medicine physicians, and psychiatrists have higher likelihood of having addiction than physicians in other specialties. There have been interesting ‘self-report’ survey studies done of surgical residents, including at the University of Wisconsin. This nationwide survey of practicing surgeons, conducted by the University of Washington, is one of the first of its kind.

How do we reduce the rates of addiction among physicians? One way is the way other employment sectors do it: try to ‘screen out’ persons at greater risk or who already seem to have the condition, at the point of job entry (pre-employment screening). But that approach is an odd twist on the human-nature approach to problems of “not in my back yard”-it doesn’t try to address the problem and improve treatment of human beings, it just says “let’s find those with the problem and make sure they go somewhere else and don’t work here!”

I think we should stipulate that addiction (and depression, and other conditions) happens among physicians. We’re in denial if we contend otherwise. Physicians are people first, after all—vulnerable to all aspects of “the Human Condition.”

What do we do about it? Physicians who have worked in the area of Physician Health—like Dr. Oreskovich, the author of this study—know that creating a hostile, scorning, “kick em out” environment, actually sustains the problem or lets it get worse, because physicians don’t come forward and acknowledge their difficulties, they ‘go underground’ to avoid detection and sanctions. The way to reduce the number of practicing physicians who have active addiction, is to identify cases and compassionately refer those persons to treatment at treatment centers like the Herrington Recovery Center at Rogers Memorial Hospital.

When there is a mechanism other than a punitive mechanism that can evaluate issues of physician health and outline a path to recovery for the person, refer the person to treatment, and then , the status of recovery over time (several years) after successful completion of the initial treatment encounter, then physicians will enter treatment, even by self-referral. When physicians know that s in addiction is identified, they can still practice and not lose their license just because of a diagnosis they have, then it is safe for them to step forward.

The topic of drug testing for surgeons and other physicians is an interesting one. American culture on the whole views drug testing as a way to engage in ‘gotcha’ endeavors: let’s find the person who is using drugs, and who has not been honest about that, and when we have ‘proof’ of drug use, let’s kick ‘em out—of extracurricular activities at school, of public housing, of eligibility for food stamps or student loans, of the opportunity to be offered an open employment slot, or of a hospital medical staff. This punitive approach makes people, including doctors, leery about pre-employment or random drug testing regiments.

If drug testing were used under a true public health rubric—true screening for unrecognized disease so that early intervention and referral to necessary treatment could reduce the incidence of new disease, the duration of existing disease, and the disability and death from established disease—then it could truly generate benefits for society, from the secondary school to the professional school level, and in the area of physician health and patient safety. Helping docs who are ill is the way to go; punishing them for being detected as having a disease, is the best way to keep them “hidden,” untreated, and still treating patients even while they are sick.”
March 20, 2012 - 9:24am

Dietitian’s specialty is helping kids

Dieticians and Eating Disorder TreatmentStuffed vegetable models, Legos, and Pictionary are all tools of the trade for Tricia Helwig, RD, CD, one of the 16 dietitians at Rogers. Tricia works with children and teens who are in residential treatment to help them develop a healthy relationship with food.

She is passionate about helping kids and is constantly coming up with new and fun ways to talk about food and make it a part of a healthy lifestyle. Often, she will start slowly, just getting to know each child and learning more about them. Then she will find out about the child’s views and preferences when it comes to food choices and meal times.

At the Child and Adolescent Centers, Tricia works extensively with kids who have a variety of mental health disorders. “The work I do isn’t just with children affected by eating disorders,” Tricia said. “ADHD, OCD and depression all have unique challenges for the child’s nutritional needs and outlook.” As a member of the treatment team, Tricia works to help each child find a workable meal plan that is suited just for them.

Introducing healthy choices

In any given day, Tricia may work with children or teens that are afraid of certain foods, because they fear choking or contamination or find their appetite waning. She introduces them to a variety of foods through games and educational activities. She even offers cooking classes for teens. “If there are kids who need to develop self-confidence or decision-making skills, we’ll put them in charge of the menu,” she said.

During these activities, Tricia is able to help kids understand that they’re not the only ones to feel the way they do. She will work with other members of the treatment team to reincorporate additional foods into the child’s diet. “The treatment here corrects the cognitive distortions they might have about any given food or situation,” she said. Tricia loves the challenge of making connections kids can understand through the many ideas and tools she provides. “I like to see them making healthy and appropriate choices for themselves,” she said.

Lowering anxiety levels at mealtime

Tricia understands how difficult it is for a child with social anxiety to be able to participate in a shared meal. “I’ll try to eat with them occasionally so they know I’m someone who is there to support them.” During meal times Tricia is also able to identify where children and teens are making progress and where they may need extra support.

She also works with family members if they looking for a better understanding of the approaches that work best with their child. “Sometimes it’s just knowing that it’s o.k. to allow kids to have treats, but also knowing when and how to say ‘no’ if their child is having trouble with impulsivity,” Tricia said. “They know their family best. We want them to be able to work together to find the best solution for their meal times. And kids can be really insightful. Sometimes they just need to be heard.”

Seeing kids succeed

Tricia enjoys her work with kids because she is able to see them learn while they are in treatment, and can see an incredible difference in the child from when they were first admitted to the day they go home. “I think about the successes I’ve seen,” said Tricia. “That is an incredible motivator for coming into work every day to help these kids through their challenges.”

February 17, 2012 - 9:06am

Eating Disorder TreatmentThis week Friday, as part of the Eating Disorder Coalition of Tennessee annual conference, a CE session is taking place at the Carolyn P. Brown Auditorium in Knoxville, Tenn. Rogers’ very own Theodore E. Weltzin, MD, FAED, will be presenting “Optimizing Outcomes in Eating Disorders” which covers how to engage patients on a level where even the deepest causes for eating disorders can be treated.

Dr. Weltzin is a nationally recognized and board-certified specialist in eating disorder treatment at Rogers Memorial Hospital. This is an opportunity to be part of a fantastic conference and special CE event which will provide insight into how to engage patients during treatment and what can help to treat the hardest cases.

Rogers Memorial Hospital Outreach Representative Jean Corrao will be exhibiting at the conference as well, providing information about how you can refer your clients/patients to Rogers for some of the best treatment in the country for the hard-to-treat and often treatment-resistant eating disorder patients.

Eating disorder treatment can sometimes be a tug-of-war, due to the nature of anorexia and bulimia, and other eating disorders. Patients are often in denial as they consider this disorder an integral part of their lives. This can create a challenge for even the most seasoned treatment professionals.

Request a screening for you, a family member, or a patient via our online screening form, or visit the Eating Disorders Coalition of Tennessee website to find out more about this conference.

February 14, 2012 - 12:36pm

Inpatient Treatment Saves LivesAs a referring professional who has worked with Rogers for decades, Tom Shiltz, MS, CSAC, understands when a more intensive level of care can help his clients achieve their long-term recovery goals. Tom, a licensed professional counselor, treats adolescents and adults affected by eating disorders, addictions and trauma. Over the years, he has referred dozens of clients to Rogers. Tom knows how important it is for his clients to be included in the discussions about their treatment and what type of treatment is best for their current needs.

Getting symptoms stabilized

“If they can’t go to school, or work, and they’re not thinking clearly I say, ‘Let’s take some time to get those symptoms stabilized so we can get back to therapy,’” Tom said. “I try to get them to see the value of that time and let them know that I’m not quitting on them. It’s a very clear, limited time.”

Tom was pleased to hear about the new inpatient units that will soon replace the current inpatient facilities at Rogers’ Oconomowoc campus. “It just goes to show that Rogers is dedicated to not only investing in their staff, but in their facilities as well. It really makes a difference to clients when they see the amount of effort being made for their comfort and safety.”

Part of the plan

Tom makes sure that his clients know what to expect and when he might make a recommendation for additional treatment options. For his many clients who have eating disorders, Tom helps each individual determine what they would view as problematic. Is it falling below a certain weight? Purging behaviors? Are they too weak for common activities like climbing a flight of stairs?

He works with them to celebrate the progress they’re making and increase their awareness of when additional help might be needed. If his client struggles with addiction, have they had a crisis where their drinking clearly presents a danger to themselves or others? Are they unable to manage a situation that led them to relapse? Are they suicidal?

“I help them think ahead into the future”

Whatever the situation may be, Tom tries to help his clients understand their treatment options and what to expect so there are no surprises, even if additional problems arise. “There are opportunities to intervene after a crisis. If they have the support of their family, and they’ve been educated on their illness, they will be more receptive to change. I help them weigh the pros and cons, depending on where they are,” Tom said. “I help them think ahead into the future.”

With a strong support system and the resources of Rogers, patients are able to focus on their recovery and reclaiming their lives.

To begin a referral or screening at Rogers, call 800-767-4411, or request a screening online.

January 19, 2012 - 8:45am

DepressionDepression—it’s a looming word that may conjure up images like those in the television ads; perhaps we see a sad and lonely figure sitting alone in a dark, ignoring her dog’s desperate pleas to pay him some attention, to please just throw the ball... While this may be the very image of the disorder for some, the reality is that depression doesn’t have one single face.

Depression can be an elusive condition, it might seem to sneak in without warning; it may even disappear and reappear over the course of a person’s life. Many people are struggling in secret, not letting on to the people around them that life, for them, no longer holds any joy or meaning. Others may be suffering from depression and not even realize it, although friends and family have noticed a change in behavior.

Jerry Halverson, MD, FAPA, medical director of adult services at Rogers Memorial Hospital-Oconomowoc has seen this happen in the lives of the patients he treats for depression. “Oftentimes, the person living with depression is the last to realize it, as depression colors the way that they see the world,” Dr. Halverson said. “Family and friends can play a powerful role in helping these people get the help that they need.”

For a person dealing with depression, life might feel like a constant, meaningless struggle. She might feel that there isn’t any hope for her life to improve and wonder why she should even try, especially when everything feels so impossibly difficult. Perhaps most painful of all, she might feel that she doesn’t matter, that she isn’t important to the world, or that she is merely taking up space. “Depression at its most severe can lead to thoughts about suicide, which is why it is crucial that people with depression get the life-saving help that they need,” Dr. Halverson said.

Imagine how impossible it would feel to make any changes, to get help, to even tell someone about her struggle while feeling this way. Unfortunately, these feelings are all too common.

According to the NIMH, depression “is the leading cause of disability among Americans age 15 to 44… about 11 percent of adolescents have a depressive disorder by age 18…[and] girls [and women] are more likely than boys to experience depression*.” This being the case, it is hard to understand why depression still carries a stigma, and yet it does.

Many Americans feel the need to hide their struggle as a “shameful secret,” but what if we began to understand that a person struggling with depression is not alone, that her feelings are not uncommon, and that she certainly does not need to feel this way forever? The truth is that although, like the disorder itself, treatment does not come in one form, it does work!

“Oftentimes people assume that treatment for depression means medications, but there are many effective options for depression. These options include, but are not limited to, medications,” Dr. Halverson said. “The true tragedy is that we have treatments that are very effective and can be life-saving. People suffering with depression can, in most cases, expect to feel better with the available treatments.”

Our doctors at Rogers have been working with our patients to help them overcome their depression for more than 20 years now. The doctors at Rogers are the “experts” in psychiatric disorders. They have the full range of proven treatments available to help people with depression get back to their lives.

“Rogers is a unique treatment center. We have access to all of the treatments and all of the levels of care needed to get our patients back to their normal selves,” Dr. Halverson said. “We have the experts to care for you or your loved one whether you need general or specialty psychiatric care with our patient-focused, evidence-based treatment focus. Our team of experts has the same goal in mind – your health.”

Depression is a complex disorder that can seem to cut right to the core of a person’s being, affecting her physically, emotionally, and spiritually. We understand how debilitating this can be and are highly experienced in supporting individuals on the path to recovering the meaning, happiness and overall well-being in their lives.


January 11, 2012 - 1:00pm

Signs of school problems

Dr. Eken says it’s important for parents and school professionals investigate when children are showing the common signs of problems at school:

  • Physical complaints (headaches, stomachaches)
  • Lack of interest in normal activities
  • Isolation, or less interaction with peers
  • Grades that are not typical for the student
  • Lack of personal hygiene
  • Talking about sadness or anger at themselves

Holiday break is supposed to be just that – a chance for kids to get break from homework and tests. Children are expected to return to school, rejuvenated, ready to learn more. But for some kids, this simply isn’t the case.

For children affected by mental illness, these transitions can be even more difficult. For children with ADHD, it becomes an issue of having to concentrate even harder in order to keep up with new material. For the child with social anxiety, the idea of returning to school can create resistance. For many other children, holiday breaks translate into relief from bullying or social situations where friendships are difficult or nonexistent. Returning to this environment is not something these children look forward to.

Stephanie Eken, MD, FAAP, is the medical director of the Child Center at Rogers Memorial Hospital. She is a board-certified child and adolescent psychiatrist, who is also a pediatrician. Dr. Eken says that children who are having trouble with school frequently complain of stomachaches, headaches or fatigue and are often evaluated emotional causes to those problems. With an increased awareness of these symptoms, it’s more commonplace for pediatricians to refer children for mental health treatment.

Common causes of school refusal

“The most common cause of school refusal is separation anxiety. For children who are bullied or don’t feel good about themselves, the school break can be a reprieve,” Dr. Eken said. “But, they may have anticipatory anxiety about returning to school.” Children who have trouble starting a new school year or adjusting to a new school may also struggle with the transition following a long holiday break.

With academic and emotional concerns, parents are often at a loss, not knowing how to make this transition better for their child, and unsure of the best way to help them. Dr. Eken offered suggestions for parents whose children struggle at this time of the year. “It helps if they have some structure over the break so they don’t have to change routines when school begins. It can also help to get additional therapy over the break to support them. But it’s really important that parents highlight the child’s strengths and let them know that you’ll be there to advocate for them.”

Raising awareness with school professionals

Dr. Eken explained that there were many school professionals who simply need to understand more about each child’s challenges. “When they think about childhood OCD, they think about contamination issues,” she said. “But children who are dealing with perfectionism aren’t as easily understood. In fact, teachers may be providing the positive feedback that that child’s work is ‘perfect.’ What they don’t see is the time the child spends at home, maybe hours, to complete another ‘perfect’ assignment.”

Dr. Eken said children with ADHD may have trouble adjusting because certain personality traits are being used to describe their behavior. “When they don’t understand the causes of the behavior, some teachers are unknowingly signaling to the child that there is something ‘wrong’ with them.”

Children with separation anxiety may fear for the safety of their families or themselves and may seek reassurance from adults. “By nature, teachers can be very reassuring, but this can make it harder for kids with anxiety to face their fears,” Dr. Eken said. “We help educate the teachers. We teach them how to work with the kids and create a stronger support network for them at school.”

Supportive treatment for children and families

Dr. Eken and the treatment team at the Child Center work with kids and their families to develop healthy coping techniques and routines that help children feel more in control of their world and better able to handle the everyday challenges they encounter at school. “We work with the child, parents and the schools to help them advocate if they need other accommodations,” Dr. Eken said.

During treatment children and families come to recognize the thoughts and behaviors that may lead to avoidance of certain situations. They learn about co-morbidity, or co-occurring diagnoses. “They may be referred for depression, but we need to treat the underlying anxiety, OCD or ADHD to really help them with the depression,” Dr. Eken said.

“We incorporate many different therapies to help kids build confidence in themselves and realize their strengths,” Dr. Eken said. “With the skills they learn in treatment, they can be better prepared for these annual challenges.”

January 10, 2012 - 1:42pm

substance-use disorderWhen you’re recovering from a substance-use disorder, the traditions of New Year’s can make this annual event more challenging than typical social gatherings. To help residents celebrate the arrival of 2012 and to give them ideas on creating new and alcohol-free traditions, the members of the Herrington McBride Alumni Association hosted a special New Year’s party at the Herrington Recovery Center.

“New Year’s Eve is the hardest holiday of the year for people in recovery from substance-use disorders,” said Herrington Manager Cindy Suszek. “The alumni wanted to create a night of ‘sober fun’ for the current residents. They understand how difficult it can be to make that transition to a lifestyle that’s free from alcohol and addiction.”

Residents enjoyed activities like live music, karaoke and pool tournaments. The alumni also provided a full New Year’s menu, including tenderloin, twice-baked potatoes, salad bar and cheesecake. According to the leadership of the Herrington McBride Alumni Association, they hope to make this an annual event due to the level of involvement from the residents from start to finish.

“When things wrapped up, the residents and alumni worked together to clean up and put things back,” said Suszek. “I know the alumni really want to provide examples of how they’re living a life of recovery and help the current residents get a good start to their New Year. From all accounts, it was a huge success.”

January 6, 2012 - 2:29pm

The mother of a former patient who came to the Child Center recently shared that she had experienced a vivid dream about herself and her daughter seeking a safe path home in the middle of a terrible storm. She believes the dream symbolized the struggle their family went through to find help for her daughter. Today, the mother says, her daughter is stronger, their path is safer and she is confident that brighter days lie ahead.

“We are incredibly eternally grateful that you responded to our cries for help. Thank you for “rescuing” our daughter from her dangerous, frightening situation. You have not only pulled her up to safer ground, but you have made the path safer for all of us as a family to return home. I am certain that we are looking forward to brighter and happier days ahead. Many thanks to each and every one of you for your patience, kindness, knowledge, caring, and support. Our daughter is our precious gift and we are so thankful to have her coming home with us.”

We are honored to be able to share this mother’s story with you. Her full account of the dream is here:

  • "I recently had a dream and was able to recall most of it in the morning. In the dream, my sister was driving me and my daughter home after spending the afternoon together. I didn’t want my sister to go out of her way and to just drive straight home. I talked her into letting us out of her car and walking the rest of the way home.

  • As my daughter and I continued on foot, the sky grew dark and a terrible storm was fast approaching. We were soon struggling to walk against the fierce, cold, biting wind. Suddenly, there was a violent, torrential downpour. We were becoming increasingly blinded and scared in the darkness, howling winds, and the pounding rain.

  • What should have been a relatively short trek home, seemed to take forever. We felt so vulnerable and afraid, but we pushed each other to continue on until we reached our warm, safe home.

  • Up ahead in the distance, we could see a blur of red and white flashing lights. Several police cars, fire trucks, and ambulances were on the side of the road and also blocking both lanes near the bridge. EMTs and firemen were working furiously to aid the victims involved in a horrible car accident.

  • Everyone warned us to stop and someone would take us home. The bridge was flooded and impassable. I decided that we should forge ahead, but we had to find solid ground. If we could hike alongside of the road through the rocks, stones and the woods, we could safely make it home.

  • I encouraged my daughter to climb over the guard rail and step onto the large rocks and I followed her. Her left foot slipped on the wet rock, and she quickly plummeted down the embankment towards the dangerous, rocky river below. She was so brave and strong and she managed to grab hold of an angled, rusty, metal beam on the bridge. Shaking and crying, I frantically worked my way down to help her back up. I was absolutely terrified that we were both going to fall. I began to yell for help. The noise of the raging river, the rain, wind, sirens and people above us drowned my cries for help. The next thing that I remembered was my husband kissing me on the forehead and reassuring me that “everything will be alright.

  • I have been feeling so guilty, lost, lonely, frightened, and helpless with our daughter for the past year. I believe that my dream/nightmare was very symbolic and representative of our struggles to help our daughter through the “storm.” I can also say that I am concerned that we will be able to stay strong and continue on the right path. "



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