Two young ladies of Orchard Place reading - at Orchard Place Des Moines

Crystal's Story

From the time Crystal was very young she had often experienced intrusive thoughts and worries that made it an hour-to-hour struggle to follow directions at home and school, allow people to care for her, and enjoy childhood activities. Her daily struggles culminated in her leaving the school setting to be home schooled for two years.

She went to extraordinary lengths to control people around her as she felt more and more out of control of herself, and became labeled as “manipulative”.

Crystal would fight off the intrusive and sometimes psychotic and paranoid thoughts, by cutting on herself, setting fires, and becoming aggressive with those around her. She felt like a bad child, hopeless about ever being able to be “good” and attempted to end her life on a number of occasions.

She stopped taking care of her personal hygiene. Crystal’s parents were confused and frightened, but, determined to keep fighting for her, even when Crystal couldn’t acknowledge their care and affection. She was very unsafe and those around her feared for her life.

For Crystal, psychiatric residential treatment was a highly structured and safe place where she had a close team of staff who helped her understand her mental illness and the symptoms were not her fault. She learned ways to manage and control the intrusive hallucinations, depression, and anxieties. As a result, her view of herself began to change.

While attending the on campus school program, she was able to talk about and overcome her fear of school which in the past had been a daily struggle with peers and teachers. She started to see her strengths and a future for herself.

About six months after her discharge back to her family, we received the following from Crystal:

“I would like to thank you. Because of Orchard Place, I finally have a life. I have just been invited to take a summer pre-college course. It’s A LOT of money so I’m saving to go to it the summer between my junior and senior year. I have good grades, and am taking lots of honors courses. I’m looking at art or culinary school. I have made so many good friends. We are starting to take me off some of my meds. Orchard Place not only saved my life but helped me live. I miss you guys. Give special thanks to Laura and Jackie.”