The Life of a Typically Troubled Teen


Tanager place. A place where you can go if you need help, not just any kind of help, help with severe mental, emotional and behavioral help. I went there Aug. 10 for all three types of help. All three of these behaviors were an underlying cause of severe mood swings, really bad depression and hearing voices in my head, and to top it all off I felt as though I couldn’t talk to my family about anything that had to do with my personal life. This means going out with girls to a variety of negative experiences in my early childhood. The only thing I felt I could share with my family was the suicidal thoughts I had, and of course I couldn’t hide the scars from my self-harming behavior. Because of this they sent me to 3 east (the psych ward in St. Luke’s.). I went there 6 or 7 times over the course of 4 or 5 months before my parents sent me to Tanager Place. Of course my first response when they told me I was going I was filled with shock and disbelief. They said I was going to be there for 6-9 months. I thought it was a mean joke. Sadly it wasn’t.


In Tanager place here are six cottages and each cottage can house around 12 kids. So that sums up to around 72 kids total on campus. I was put in cottage 5 A.K.A Tomlinson cottage the only all boys cottage. There was one all girls cottage which was cottage 6 the rest were co-ed cottages.


In cottage 5 we had daily levels (those fluctuated everyday and were based on our daily behaviors.), which were construction based there, was Demolished, (lowest level) to Caution (second lowest level) to Detour (second highest level) to Open Road (Highest level) and finally Freeway (Bonus level). We also had treatment levels, which were level 1, level 2, level 3, and level 4. Your treatment level determined your bedtime and was changed when you wrote a request to move up and it had to be accepted by the staff members of cottage 5. You start out on level 1 and move your way up, and once you reach level 4 you get your discharge date.


Now I was the oldest kid in my cottage, which meant I had to set an example,    be kind of like a role model or like an older brother. I was a good role model and because of my positive behaviors I was on open road or freeway most of the time. Except for the month of December and the beginning of January I was in a really dark place I wouldn’t take care of myself I had to be constantly reminded on what to do. Like brush my teeth, do my homework and clean up after myself, at that time I honestly didn’t care what happen so I was constantly on demolished or caution, then after Christmas break and being with my family I was reminded that I do matter and I have a chance at life I just need to pick myself up off the floor, and within two weeks I got level 3.


School was another thing I struggled with, the first trimester I couldn’t handle being in a treatment facility and go to public school at the same time it was to overwhelming for me. So my solution was to drop out of public school and go to school at Tanager’s school on campus, which is like elementary school but with the high school workload. You were in only one class from 8:30 to 3:00 and I was there fulltime for the rest of the first trimester. Then in the second trimester I went to wash for one class which was Perspectives in lit and comp, and then when that class was done, the staff would pick me up and drop me off at the Transition room (a classroom at tanager’s school). Then in the third trimester I went back to Wash and every Monday and Wednesday I would be picked up by my parents and go home until 6:00 pm and then they would drop me off at Tanager place. Any other day tanager staff would pick me up and they would drop me off at Tanager place and I would continue my average day at Tanager.


In the long run I’m really glad my parents sent me to Tanager place. It really helped me with my mood swings, suicidal thoughts, self-harming and my depression. Looking back I really miss Tanager place it was full of nice people, and I made a lot of friends there, not only that it was my home for 8 months.