The Therapeutic Boarding School didn’t work out
Probably should have predicted this, but the therapeutic boarding school was a miserable failure and SD found a way she could get herself out of complying with the strict regulations. She refused to eat and drink, so school officials were left with no choice but to have her hospitalized.
To recap, about 3 weeks ago DH decided to send SD (she’ll turn 16 this summer) to an out of state school for troubled teens he found online. We have SD full time and with DH and my work schedules, we simply don’t have time to deal with her needs. She has a long list of diagnosis: ODD, ADHD, anxiety, depression, Sensory Processing Disorder and developmental delays. She’s been in therapy for over 3 years, has taken many different meds and nothing has helped. She’s also developed an abnormal heart rhythm called Drug Induced Long QT Syndrome probably from one of her meds which limits what other meds she can be prescribed. This therapeutic boarding school was a very expensive last resort.
We knew she wasn't doing very well at the school and DH had been getting biweekly updates about problems, but never expected things would get this bad. We got a message on Wednesday that they had called an ambulance and she was being taken to a hospital (which is out of network UGH!). It’s being considered a suicide attempt so it’s at least 2 weeks hospitalization, maybe longer. Plus the school isn’t going to return the money DH has already paid for next month (which SD won’t use) so this misadventure keeps getting more and more expensive.
SD has used refusing to eat as a manipulative tactic for a while now but never taken things this far. Her ODD (Oppositional Defiant Disorder) is severe so when faced with someone telling her what to do, she digs her heels in and refuses. She didn’t want to be there, didn’t want this to work and she wasn’t going to cooperate at all. Things escalated to the point that SD was doing whatever she could to be defiant and avoid the school staff forcing her to comply. And that ended up refusing take meds, eat and then drink.
At the lower levels, the facility is essentially a lock-down residential treatment center and I’m sure it wasn’t pleasant. There was a very strict schedule and students had to follow the rules and accomplish certain action items to move to the next level. All she needed to do was comply, follow the rules and it would get better.
After students reach a certain level, it’s more like a heavily supervised boarding school with a therapy aspect with more freedom, lots of outdoor activities like horseback riding, kayaking, hiking. It sounded like a lot of fun. It was in a nice location in Montana. We’re not the type of people who can afford expensive summer camps but SD was essentially getting to go to one if she just complied with the residential treatment phase of the program.
SD is acting like DH sent her to jail but if she would have just gone along with it and cooperated she would be having a fun summer instead of being in a psych ward.
This is her typical reaction. She’s pissed off her dad sent her to this place, but rather actually trying, doing as she’s told and trying to get better, she essentially throws a major tantrum and draws as much attention to herself as possible. She gets exactly what she wants by putting her health in danger and getting more attention to how horrible her dad is for sending her to the boarding school/RTC from the hospital staff.
She hates her dad and me and cannot let us ever be right. She has to cause as much grief as possible for her dad and knows this is financially destroying him.
I’m pissed that this place – therapeutic boarding school/RTC whatever they want to call themselves – they advertise all over online as the solution for troubled teens and they truly only have a one size fits all program and weren’t able to truly deal with a mentally ill teen. They sold DH on the idea that this could fix her, and it’s only ended up with things getting even worse. I keep getting ads for them wherever I go online and it’s infuriating.
I’m not sure where we go from here. This is SD’s 3rd time in a psychiatric hospital (and there was 4th time but she wasn’t admitted). None of the previous times have helped. I don’t think she wants help or to get better. She just wants to be angry at her dad.
It’s another psychiatrist with new theories but no answers. What frustrates DH the most is the lack of any definitive answers. It’s all guesses. They’ll try this med and after 8 weeks if it doesn’t work, they’ll try something else. There’s never any solutions and her behavior has gotten so progressively worse. 3 years ago she was a B-/C student and just very immature and socially awkward. I know it seems like DH didn’t do anything to treat these conditions years ago, but she wasn’t always like this.
I have no idea what we'll do when SD has to come home. There's no way she can stay home by herself and there's no daycare programs for teens like her and we couldn't find any sort of home aid person willing to deal with an insubordinate, suicidal teen.