A client at Castlewood Treatment Center inspired by our dedicated direct care staff recently shared this with our team:
Meghan A- Meghan is always looking for ways to notice and connect with each client. She is always willing to make time to check-in no matter what else is going on. It’s so completely obvious that she loves her job and her passion makes us feel valued and special. Meghan genuinely demonstrates servant leadership and I often see her doing things for other DC staff outside her normal responsibilities. Meghan is flexible and always has a good attitude no matter what circumstance arises. Even when I’m a jerk, Meghan shows me love and acceptance and makes me want to be a better person/ makes me believe recovery is not only possible but something I am taking steps toward everyday and that I will be free.
Amanda- what can I say? She carries peace wherever she goes. Amanda sets a standard and presents goals and challenges that encourage me and push me to break through barriers that I thought were impenetrable. Amanda is a great example of dedication, integrity, and grace. Amanda is not afraid to confront me on my issues/attitude/behavior even when she knows she may receive backlash. I respect her for that and am so appreciative for her boldness.
Sarah- Sarah is so tender-hearted. She always displays a genuine concern for others above herself and often goes out of her way to give a voice to my needs and struggles. Sarah has taken so much time to comfort me when I was struggling the most and really needed someone to console me when I didn’t know how to ask for it.
Salicia- Salicia is a complete and utter asset to this team. Her work ethic and leadership abilities stand out and inspire me to come up to a different level-she raises the standard. Salicia is consistent; trustworthy, and provides stability even in he midst of chaos. I look up to her so much and respect her in every way. I want to be like Salicia. She has eyes in the back of her head and never misses a thing, which actually makes me and other clients feel safe because we know that we are noticed and protected. She always points out my strengths even when there are times when she needs to correct me.
Elizabeth- always has a positive attitude. She sees me and always approaches me and engages me through encouragement. She supports me in ways that make me feel empowered and has helped me pull through some difficult situations and stood right beside me, willing to catch me if I fall. She really wants to see us succeed and goes to great lengths to show compassion even in my failures.
Courtney- She is one of the first people to volunteer to help her co-workers. She is relatable and reliable, an example of stability. Courtney can cheer me up by making me laugh even when I feel down or hopeless. If she doesn’t have an answer, she will go to great lengths to find it for you.
Lacey- what a gem. She accepted me from day 1 and makes me feel special and laughs at all my jokes she is clearly passionate about her job and I’m so sad she will be at C1. Lacey has so much wisdom and when I get to talk with her one on one; I listen because she has wisdom far beyond her years. She is the real deal.
Beth- Beth is the best of both worlds. Beth is always understanding and willing to explain things to me that I don’t necessarily agree with, but will always encourage me to make the best decision possible. Beth is so organized and efficient which is so refreshing when everyone is always rushing around needing a million things from staff.
Shannon- she is always so attentive when I talk to her, you can tell she’s really listening. She is patient and always willing to help or talk. She’s gentle and it’s obvious she genuinely cares for each one of us.
Dayna- always has a smile on her face. She always has a positive attitude and seems to find the best in everyone. I like that Dayna is friendly but firm, she knows the right balance between being supportive and encouraging while also holding us accountable.
Katie- She is so much fun and makes me laugh. She can diffuse any situation and when there is tension at the table, she seems to find a way to lighten the mood. Katie makes me feel like a rockstar, she is always pointing out any positive choice or change I make. I feel accepted around her- like she doesn’t just see the ED when she looks at me.
Ashley- She is the REAL DEAL. Ashley is not afraid to call me out on my crap, but she will never do it publicly- she always makes sure to take the time to listen and understand the why behind the what in my actions and attitude. Ashley always asks me how I’m doing, and I can tell she really wants to know- its not just a passing platitude. I love her honesty and the way she can tailor her responses to each client, she’s very adaptable and I appreciate that because what works for one client won’t always work for me.
Deme- she goes out of her way to get to know the clients. She’s trustworthy and easy to talk to. She’s flexible and goes with the flow which is really important in this atmosphere! She’s gonna be great.
The nursing staff is all-star.
Brooke is a genius and she always knows what to do. Even when I’m pissed beyond pissed she can say two words and I’m calm. She listens and immediately works on getting me an answer or the help I need. She’s just so cool too, a person you want to be around. It’s nice to walk in every morning and see Holly. She can be doing 8 million things at once and still smile and put you first. She’s just a nice person and when I’m feeling rushed in the morning, it’s nice to know she’s got my back.
Myhesia- I’ll never forget my first family style dinner when I freaked out because of the seafood and would not leave the living room. She got me my supplement and sat with me and talked me through it. There is no way I would have been able to finish that meal without her support. She’s relatable and can make anyone laugh!
Joyce is the mama bear- she is always looking out for us. And I have to say, when I was residential and she did night checks, she did them like every 30 minutes to an hour, like clockwork. And she didn’t just peak in, she had her flashlight and went around to each bed. That is integrity and diligence. The night shift can really suck but she doesn’t let anything slip through the cracks. She’s always positive and warm.
Stacy is awesome. I am literally late like all the time for bloods and she is always so gracious with me. She remembers everything! I can tell her something one week and she’ll follow up with me the next time I see her. She makes me feel pretty special.
I’m sure you know how I feel about Rebecca and Kelly. Words can’t describe how ridiculously incredible they are so I’m not going to even try. I pretty much owe them my life.
My daughter was a client at Castlewood for two months at the beginning of 2012. Castlewood Treatment Center has given her the tools to begin a new life full of the hopes and dreams that she never before thought possible. She is doing well in her recovery. For the most part, our family is doing well in her recovery. As I read through your recent newsletter, I was moved to walk back in time and experience again my thoughts, fears, hopes and dreams that I experienced during my family week-end visit to Castlewood. As a fifteen year recovering alcoholic, I couldn’t help but to re-live so much of my recovery. It is so encouraging to see that the focus now being used in treating eating disorders treats the whole person and not just a single symptom. I feel strongly that we are the sum of our parts. When the parts get broken we have to replace them or fix them. Sometimes the parts don’t fit quite right so we have to throw them out and start over. I believe that an dealing successfully with eating disorders, as the same for alcoholism, that my daughter feels empowered to manage, control and achieve the baby steps and the giant steps her recovery demands. The difference for her in her present recovery is that she is a strong partner in a multi-professional team that supports her, and most importantly, that provides her the tools to believe in herself enough so that she can fully believe in her support team. It has been said so often that it is not the destination but the journey that is most important. So true.
Thank you Castlewood
Kimi- a former Castlewood client shares about her journey in recovery several years after treatment.
I sit here tonight, a junior in nursing school, at a top 3% nursing school in the nation, finally feeling like I am truly doing what I am supposed to be doing and living my life to the fullest. Tomorrow, I start my first day of clinicals in a psychiatric unit. I had to do a reflection on what I was expecting. I found myself drifting back to the months I spent at Castlewood. The most life changing months of my life. I can’t believe it was 4 years ago that I was in the depths of my eating disorder. Everything I did, everything I thought was consumed by my eating disorder. The feelings of hopelessness and worthlessness resonated day in and day out. The happy, outgoing, involved, fun-loving girl that my family knew and everyone else thought I was slowly disappeared. I look back now and am speechless. I was so incredibly sick. If anyone had told me then that I would be healthy today, I would have laughed. I was certain I would eventually die from this horrible demon that had taken over my life. I had honestly lost all will to fight. My parents thankfully stepped in and brought me to my saving grace, Castlewood. I can still remember driving up to Castlewood in my pink sweatshirt and jeans feeling nothing but numbness. Little did I know, my life would never be the same. I know that sounds dramatic, but it is the truth.
From the moment I walked in, I was greeted with warmth and love. I was suddenly terrified. My parents were dropping me off with a bunch of people I didn’t know and leaving me. How the hell was I going to get through this? The first week, I just went through the motions, certain that I could beat the system and get out of this place as soon as possible. I did everything I was supposed to do, just like the perfect student I had always been. I needed to impress the staff, to make them feel like I was going to be their prodigy. Then, after listening to another patient share her story, that struck close to home, about “working the system” and in essence just going through the motions and doing that for years and continuing to relapse, I had a break down. This was MY LIFE, my FUTURE that was at stake. Did I really want to live with this demon for the rest of my life? Did I want to let it control my happiness and my health? I realized that was the opposite of what I wanted. But, it wasn’t that realization that made me crumble. It was the fact that I had to give up my comfort blanket, the protection that was keeping me from FEELING and dealing with the traumas I had experienced throughout my life. What was I going to do? I remember laying in the hallway sobbing, feeling more powerless than I had ever felt. I went to bed that night and realized my journey was just beginning. That treatment wasn’t the end of my journey with an eating disorder, but the beginning of a new chapter- recovery.
I’ll spare you the details of the long weeks of treatment. But, what I will say is that I learned more in those weeks than any education could ever give me. I don’t mean to sound conceited, but I am much wiser than most twenty year olds. I’ve seen things and experienced things that I would NEVER wish on anyone else. People have asked me, if you could go back knowing what you know now, would you change it all? No. I would never trade my experience for the world. I am who I am today because of my experience with Castlewood. My interactions with the staff, my amazing therapist, Theresa, helped me get my life back. They helped me gain insight that I never knew would be so valuable to me. As I am in nursing school now, I have wisdom and experience and understand what it means to have a meaningful relationship with a patient. I have that because of Castlewood. No words can explain my gratitude for the staff.
Recovery isn’t easy. It’s not a linear thing, its ups and downs, and all arounds. It’s messy; it’s hard; it’s a fight. I am a fighter. I will continue to fight for my health for the rest of my life. I don’t wake up everyday and think how much I love myself. There are still times where I struggle with depression and body image. But, I have the tools I need to stay in recovery. As luck would have it, I was diagnosed a few month’s ago with Celiac Disease. For those of you who don’t know what that is, long story short, my body has an immunologic reaction to gluten. Gluten is found in almost everything! Wheat, flour, barley, and rye. I can’t have any of those, which is extremely ironic for someone who for so long restricted what they ate because of anorexia. I know my family was worried about this. Would this hinder my recovery? It might have, if I hadn’t had 3 years under my belt and a whole lot of support from not only my family and friends but the staff at Castlewood. I knew that if I needed anything, or was having a hard time, I could call on any of you. Now, it’s time for me to go on my own journey, as a nurse, and hopefully make as big of an impact on the lives of patients as you have made on mine.
I know not all stories of people with eating disorders going through recovery are happy. Trust me. I’ve had my fair share of ups and downs. But, I do want to say thank you. Thank you for helping shape me into the beautiful woman I am today, inside and out.
Ian, a Castlewood Alumni shared with us about how he is putting the skills he learned at Castlewood to use!
SKILLS I LEARNED AT CASTLEWOOD WHICH I AM APPLYING AT HOME
One of the most important skills I learned at Castlewood was to not numb my emotions and let them be as they are and be curious towards them. I learned restriction and exercise numbs the emotions for a brief period of time only to return even stronger and it is normal to have these emotions. Since being at Castlewood, I have been able to manage my anxiety better with mindfulness; basically just trying to stay in the moment and journaling. Learning how to build a support network has really helped me since I have been at home. I have learned how to reach out for help despite how difficult it is to do. Having a balanced life was difficult before being at Castlewood. These are just some of the coping skills which I learned at Castlewood and have been able to apply at home. There are so many more!
I would highly recommend Castlewood Treatment Center to anyone who is seeking treatment for an eating disorder. I came to Castlewood in December 2011 feeling really hopeless and lost. Life felt miserable. My eating disorder was consuming all my time and energy. I had no time for anything else. I was hesitant going to Castlewood as I had really bad experiences in previous hospital based programs. I had so much anxiety and fear but I wanted to give life one more chance. At Castlewood I found staff who truly cared about the clients. They treated everyone as individuals. The staff was simply amazing. I have never met such a dedicated and incredible group of professionals. They are all caring, compassionate, honest, and kind. They went above and beyond. Frontline staff were always available to talk to. You felt like a human being.
Programs were individualized to the clients’ needs. I had my doubts about groups at first as I didn’t find them helpful in past treatment centres. Castlewood changed my mind about group therapy. Groups were excellent in that you were able to give and receive feedback from your peers.
I had wonderful therapists who helped and believed in me immensely. They were able to work with my anxiety, depression, and eating disorder concurrently. My dietician made me realize it is not about the food and was able to help with body image issues. A psychiatrist and Registered Nurse were also part of my team. I truly felt cared for.
It is hard work but there was so much support at Castlewood. I can’t thank the staff enough for helping me. I still stay in contact with my dietician and therapists since being discharged in May 2012. I don’t know of any other programs where you can do this. Thanks to all the staff at Castlewood.
I was at Castlewood for a little over two months.Castlewood was one of the best things that ever happened to me. I was scared to leave home, but as soon as I walked through the doors I was welcomed and had all my questions answered by all and any staff. I was deeply struggling with an eating disorder and addiction problems. I was put with a therapist In Castlewood 2 and had never had a harder but more accomplishing therapy experience. I felt more cared about and safe then I had in a very long time while I was at Castlewood. The staff not only watched over our meals and ran our groups, but they were there to talk to no matter what time it was or what it was about. Big or small, they would take time out of their day and talk me through anything that was troubling me at that moment. Sometimes they would even be able to just read my expressions and know that something was wrong. Every person in Castlewood made me feel that they were completely dedicated to my recovery and finding my happiness again. They were always open to suggestions and made sure the house was running smoothly for all the girls in it. My experience with IFS was very emotional but finally let me open up myself to traumas that I had endured previous to coming to Castlewood. Traumas that I knew had certainly happened before we even started IFS. IFS let me find all the emotions like hurt, betrayal, resentment and anger that I didn’t even know I had building up inside me. I had completely blocked out my traumas before Castlewood to help me survive day to day. But with this denial, I became deeper and deeper into my eating disorder and addictions. IFS and the amazing therapy I received let me dig in deep to the hard things that happened in my life to try to get me to accept, understand and help move past these events. During my IFS experiences my therapist worked hard to find what was truly going on inside of me. Nothing ever felt coached or pressured. There were times I simply would tell my therapist I just couldn’t handle it that day and that was never a problem. My boundaries were always completely respected. Castlewood not only cared about weight and calories, they cared about me as a person and all my individual troubles. There was not one set plan to recovery in Castlewood. Castlewood understood that every person was different, and every person needed their own type of recovery methods. I was never just another client following the routine pattern towards not having an eating disorder. I was set up with a plan of action specially created for me. They helped me work on self esteem, self respect, my addictions, family issues, and the simple fact that I was so unhappy with the way my life had began to turn out. Every aspect of Castlewood was useful. This treatment center is one that I would recommend to anyone struggling with any kind of eating disorders and other issues. My only true regret about Castlewood was that I left way too early out of homesickness and not being ready to fully deal with my past. These things were my fault and nothing to do with how Castlewood was run. If I could change my choice about leaving when I did, I would change it in a heartbeat. But I also know that if I ever needed Castlewood again, they would happily take me back with open arms, even though I had made that mistake of leaving.
Another Alumni of Castlewood shared this statement with us after she completed a post discharge check-in at Castlewood:
Castlewood TC is like a championship sports team. The fifth string is just as talented as the first string. I didn’t understand that there were so many genuinely caring and compassionate people in the world. I am sure that I had encountered many throughout my life but I wasn’t able to recognize them until Castlewood taught me to see. I experienced more tender loving care at Castlewood than in all the days of my life added together. The directors and staff have created a sanctuary in the truest sense of the word. It is a safe place where safe people helped me to find myself, to see who I really am, a place where I began to unfold. Castlewood not only saved my life they restored me to my life, a life I no longer believed possible, a life I no longer believed I deserved. A life not determined by circumstances or the expectation of others but the life I was born to live.
The eating disorder has proven to be gift, a doorway to life. Because of the ED I had the privilege of living in this sacred space for 90 days over the winter of 2011-2012. I left with a sense of renewed hope and possibility; I had begun to dream again, it was like being reborn. Unfolding is a process that takes time, patience and the continual presence of appropriate nourishment. Appropriate nourishment was modeled for me at Castlewood and it is up to me to supply that for myself I as move forward. I don’t yet know who I am but I learning to know who I am not.
I don’t have the words to fully express the gratitude that I hold for this place and these people. The truest expression of this gratitude is to continue the process of growth and discovery, to continue to unfold and to live into my life, the life Castlewood helped me to remember and reclaim.
Received this statement from a former client today and thought we should share:
My therapist from college told me to look into Castlewood as an option when I was in desperate need of more intensive help with recovering from 6 years of a diagnosed eating disorder. It was the fall of 2010 and I was desperate to find a place where I could finally beat this thing that had taken my life away. I was extremely lucky that Castlewood had a bed available for me mere days after I contacted them.
Arriving in a new place is always bizarre. Arriving at an in patient treatment center where you are trying to deal with life’s most challenging daemons is even more so. I was extremely nervous that first day but it didn’t take any time at all for me to make connections with the staff and other clients. I made some of the best friends of my life while in treatment. A deep bond can form when you struggle with others.
Through out my 5 months in treatment (no thanks to insurance!) I not only broke open deeply damaged and hurting places in my self but I was also guided to finding who I really am, what is important to me and most importantly how to be okay, which is probably the biggest thing for someone struggling with ED. I did not learn these things solely from doing internal work, my interactions with other clients, hearing their stories, participating in their processes, sharing experiences, all these things helped me to find myself and my own health.
I said this then and I feel it now, going to Castlewood is the best thing I have done in my life so far. My experience there saved my life on so many levels. It’s only been a year and a half since I left but it feels like a lifetime. I’m fully in recovery and have begun helping others who are struggling as well as talking with friends and family groups about my experience and how it might relate to what their loved ones are going through (all of this through the dietitian I have been going to for support since leaving CWTC).
Life is still full of challenges and bumps in the road but now I know I can handle them, I can unapologetically be myself because who I am is okay.
Castlewood is a revolutionary treatment center. You wont find anywhere else like it. I would happily return just to learn more about psychology and myself in the future, perhaps to help others with an experience I know only too well.
I can’t thank the staff and clients I met enough for what they gave me and helped me find. I will never forget this experience.
As Castlewood continues to expand, we pause to reflect on the development of Castlewood Treatment Centers. Over the past 12 years, Castlewood has developed from a handful of staff with one residential house to where it is today with two thriving residential homes, a brand new Day Treatment house, Step Down apartments, and 75 staff members. As Theresa Chesnut, LCSW one of Castlewood’s dedicated therapists shared in a recent blog post as she reflected on how all of this transpired, “I know how it happened – it wasn’t effortless at all. It has been under the leadership of Mark Schwartz, Lori Galperin and Nancy Albus and the countless hours of dedication from every other staff member. From those who have been with us a REALLY long time to those who have recently joined us the past couple of years as we have continued to thrive and continue to create a truly healing, life transforming place to recover.”
Continue reading “Expanding with Personal Attention” »
R, a Castlewood alumnus in treatment four years ago shares how she is living a full and balanced life today.
Even though going into treatment was the most difficult decision I’ve made in my life so far, I know it was the best choice I’ve ever made in my life. This August, I will have four years in recovery under my belt. My last relapse was in 2009. Although I was disappointed I turned back to my eating disorder for two months, I was extremely proud that I quickly sought help and haven’t relapsed in the past three years.
My life has dramatically changed since I committed to recovery and decided to look forward rather than focus on the past. I graduated college with a high GPA, and now I’m pursuing a masters in Communication and Information. Today, I just got offered a news producer position for an NBC affiliate, and I know I could have never achieved this without my experiences at Castlewood.
Probably the best development in my life is my relationship with my boyfriend. These past three years with him have been the best of my life. He is so supportive of me and makes me feel beautiful and smart everyday. He truly is the love of my life.
My relationships have never been better. I have a great group of girlfriends. For the first time in my life, I feel as though I have healthy and supportive relationships with not only my family but with my friends as well. I have never been more productive, fulfilled and self-aware as I am today. I feel like a different person.
Thank you so much for everything and for changing my life. I hope each and everyone of you are doing well. I miss all of you. I want to thank you so much for letting me know you’re thinking of me. I think of you and the lessons you taught me often.
Written by Castlewood Alumni “Kelley” & Erin McGinty, LPC- Primary Therapist and Program Director
When I entered Castlewood, I thought life would get steadily easier. What I soon realized was I was beginning to embark on a journey towards authentic feeling; not an easy task when I was numbed out from the world for so many years.
Emotionally frozen for some time when I came to Castlewood, I began to slowly, very slowly defrost. I moved further away from engaging in my eating disorder behaviors, and closer to recovery. The layers and walls I built up during the period of time I had my eating disorder were gradually beginning to be broken down. As I thawed out from all the emotional pain and chaos I experienced for years, I soon realized that there was light at the end of the tunnel, and that this light was not a train barreling towards me to run me over. Rather, this light was the hope I had desperately, and eagerly been searching for. Continue reading “The Process of Therapy” »