We are pleased to introduce Ariela, a 16 year old from New York. She contacted SavingTeens as a young woman who wanted to help other families like hers. More importantly, she wanted to share her story as a sibling of a struggling teen. “When I heard about SavingTeens I knew I wanted to be involved. There are so many families who need the support that we’ve received. Institutions such as a therapeutic boarding school or a wilderness program can redirect someone’s whole life onto a more positive path, and that should be an option available for any struggling teenager and their family. Also, since I first visited my brother’s school, I have wanted to work in a therapeutic boarding school as a therapist and feel like I am making a difference in someone’s life. This is a good start to become part of the cause, as it is very relevant to me on a personal as well as a professional level.”
Before Rob got in trouble, I always saw my brother as a reasonable, totally together, no nonsense boy, mature beyond his years. He was an A+ student and I thought he knew and was good at everything. I wanted to be close to him very badly. I was eleven or twelve when he stopped talking to me though, so I never truly got the chance. Even so, in my eyes,Rob was perfect. As I grew up, he was my role model in so many ways. I looked at him and saw someone I wanted to be: smart, respected, sure in his sexuality and at peace with it, even though it wasn’t the norm.
I was in eighth grade when Rob’s grades dropped to Ds and Cs. I didn’t think much of that, except that I was a little concerned for him. He was my superman. He could get out of anything. I was sure he’d be fine. Then he started staying up so late that in the morning it was impossible to wake him. I remember getting up for school and shaking him awake most days three or four times before I could get him out of bed. My mom had given up after a month or so in this capacity out of anger, so I took it as my responsibility. My mom was doing a lot anyway: she would sit next to him at night while he was doing his homework to make sure he wasn’t playing the game that he was addicted to, or watching television. I think it was around that time that I became a little angrier with Rob and more worried. I also had a lot on my plate as a student athlete, and had to keep up my schoolwork and spend enough time and focus on my ice skating.
Then during the next summer while I was at my sleep away camp, I got the news that my brother was in a residential eating disorder center. I was extremely angry at my parents for not telling me earlier and had a very rough end to my camp experience. I was in a foul mood for most of that last week and had to apologize to some of the girls at the end for saying mean things to them. I was very stressed because I found out that when camp got out that I would go straight from Connecticut, where my camp was, to the hospital in Maryland.
The weeks I spent there by the hospital were the most stressful weeks of my life. I constantly had to monitor what I said and how I said it. I had to help my parents decide on what to do a how to do it. There were countless moments of sadness, paranoia, and fear for all of us. Then, the day before I started high school, my mom and I took the train back to New York….
We look forward to reading the next installment of Ariela’s story. Stay tuned for next week!!