As our son struggled last year and began to lose hope. I struggled with the fact that I could not help him. His downward spiral started with stomach aches, then he couldn’t attend school, then he couldn’t leave the house and lastly he stopped eating. His only friends existed “virtually” online.
His sister listened to us fight to try to get him to school or off the computer or out of the house. She was very scared. We visited various medical specialists and a psychologist and a psychiatrist. We tried every special diet, many medicines, massage therapists, and even a hypnotist. He had endoscopies both upper and lower, MRI, CT scan and Xrays. I spent more time with my son going to and from doctor’s appointments than doing anything else with or without him. My world revolved around him and trying to “solve” his problem. Our entire family structured our plans around him and hoped it would be a good day if there was any socializing involved. I felt I really couldn’t open up to anyone. I became distant with friends and family; I didn’t want them to judge him or me. I neglected my own health physically, mentally and emotionally. I felt there had to be a way I could fix this. I felt overwhelmed, alone and fearful. How would he ever survive outside of our home?
When wilderness therapy was suggested, I freaked out. I insisted that my son was not as bad as ‘those’ kids. When his weight dropped below 85 pounds (5’3”), I began to panic and felt like I had tried everything. I could do no more. I had to let someone help him and our family. I chose Pacific Quest, because after living in Hawaii for years, I believe the climate and culture are healing. Hawaii is a magical place to me and my family. I spoke to a representative from PQ and had all my questions answered. What is a normal day like? How do you handle home-sickness? Would he keep up in school? How would he get his medication?
While at PQ we exchanged letters with our son. We received pictures of him, and we saw him grow like the gardens he was responsible for working on. I recently asked my son what the top most helpful things were that he obtained at PQ. He said self reliance, optimism, confidence. Our family is now more emotionally intelligent; We share more openly our feelings and needs. During the parent weekend, the group sessions were very impactful and helpful. The attention to detail the PQ staff puts into all the steps of the program are well thought out. Their expertise made every conversation, task and accomplishment a teaching moment. Many of the parents at the weekend had similar stories. They complimented us for getting our son help early (our son was an 8th grader). Many of them had waited until their children were a few years older prolonging the struggle between themselves and their child.
He has been home for only four months and our son has started a new school (Freshman), has straight A’s (normal progress for him) and active in school activities. He had a date for a homecoming dance, continues to excel in karate and has finished a 5k with the family. He came home wanting to learn to play the ukulele and has spent time teaching himself many songs. He and his sister laugh and tease each other again. He is aware of the connection of body, mind and spirit and remembers to exercise, make good food choices and drink water. He works on a garden at our home and has shared many traditions from PQ like going around the table at each meal and remembering what we are grateful for.
I have learned that before PQ, I was trying to solve a problem that only my son could solve. PQ has given him the insight to overcome his obstacles. I thank everyone at PQ for their commitment to my son, not just the counselors and administration, but also the field staff that formed friendships and mentored my son during his day to day tasks. We not only have our son back, we have an even better, more confident and self-reliant son. He will do great things and overcome challenges with the tools he has received from you.
Many, many thanks!
Even with the drought in California, we have quite a vegetable garden, a plumeria and stephanotis plant and an elephant ear plant and a banana tree!