This blog post comes to us from Mindstream Academy, a co-ed boarding program where teens can achieve healthy weight, get fit and build self-esteem.
Coming from one of the worst environments since my parents divorced, I was in desperate need of help. I had just been thrown out of my high school, a private school in Westchester, New York, for acting completely inappropriately and having terrible fits of anger. Coming back from spring break, where I had a training trip with my baseball team down in Orlando, I had made a real case for being expelled. I take medicine for depression, and hadn't brought them because as I was packing them for the trip, my mother and I had a huge fight that altered my high school life dramatically. I won't get into details, but it was bad.
Fast-forward to me being expelled from school. Like I said before, I won't get into details, and I don't want to because this is a story of success, not failure. The success came from my decision to visit MindStream Academy, a health and wellness boarding school in South Carolina for overweight teens, and everything took off from there. I visited the campus, met with the current students and staff, but most importantly, I fell in love with the program. I was going to learn not just about weight, which I was struggling with a bit, but mostly about my anger and depression, and how to control impulsive decisions.
In the beginning, it was very difficult. Adjusting to the food and exercise was easy for me, I already was athletic, and the portions kept me full. The most difficult part was the group activities that we had that focused on how we act and why we do the things we do. These sessions weren't people telling you about how bad you are and how they will save you, but the exact opposite. Each meeting, be it group or individual, was focused on how I could help myself, and giving me techniques to do so. Also, in individual sessions, we tried to get to the root of my problems, and how I can fix them when I go back to my regular school.
My time at MindStream, which will continue until January because I started five weeks before summer, could be summed up in this phrase: Empower oneself. I learned the tools to control my anger, depression and weight. One of the hardest lessons I've learned so far in life is this: Only I can help myself, push myself and empower myself. Through only five weeks, I was given the tools to help myself during the summer, and finish what I started with a step forward during the summer, not a step back. In the end, I will think to myself, "I did get expelled from my high school (which might take me back in January!) but everything that happened was meant to be." The reason I went to MindStream was not a good one, and will never be, but the person I am becoming and will be after a full semester is someone I have always dreamed about being, and now those dreams are a reality.