Notes from a Resident – February 2022

winter storm

As residents reach the end of their programs and prepare to go home, we tend to feel doubt about the future. My dream is to live my life with purpose, and doing whatever I can to express my true self. My dream is for the world, and even little Ironwood to practice accountability. These past couple of days have been a little crazy. With Covid outbreaks and the blizzard last Saturday, we residents have been kept on our toes.

On Saturday, January 30 we experienced a snowstorm with high power winds and cold that seemed to cut through our jackets to our bones. We got eighteen inches of snow that day, which we spent most of the next day shoveling. On Monday we received news that two Frye residents got Covid and were going to be staying at the Farmhouse. We had all been tested during school, and thankfully no one else was positive. Then we spent Tuesday afternoon building snow forts out of the huge dunes in front of the house.

During our house meeting Wednesday night, Wes Horton had a pep talk with us about how the Farmhouse was becoming mediocre. He talked about how when going through the motions of the program, it ultimately keeps us from getting better. He is absolutely right. It was a huge wake up call for all of us, for sure. He said when a couple people slack off, it brings all of us down, and it’s very true. We are only as good as the weakest person. Now we are a team and a family. We need to help each other stay accountable and motivated. If we are only doing the program to get out, what is the point of all this? Now I did not choose to be here initially, but as I have moved through the program I have realized that I was in so much pain before. I am the happiest I have been in what feels like forever. My dream is to stay this way, and to keep fighting.

I can’t speak for all the residents here, but I feel like DBT has made a huge impact on us, especially these last two weeks. We have been using DBT phrases in sarcastic ways, but deep down I think this allows us to actually benefit from them. It’s like reverse psychology, if you think about it. At least for me, using these phrases or tricks in a humorous way allows me to stay out of the trouble I would be in if I wasn’t thinking about them at all. It’s all a shift in mindset that really leads to progress. And hey, if it works, it works, right?

What has really been helping me this week is exercising. My parents are probably going, “I told you so,” right now. But it’s true, I take all my negative emotions and just run it out, and I feel so light afterwards. I know my fellow residents feel the same way. I don’t know what it is, but Ironwood has made me grow an appreciation for myself. It’s weird, but when you have everything that you thought made you happy taken away from you, all you have is yourself, and you begin to grow self-respect. I made it this far, and I can do anything in the world if I put my mind to it. That’s what it means to dream. It means wanting the best for yourself.