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Light At the End of the Tunnel

By May 3, 2018May 15th, 20204 Comments

I’m almost scared to put this out there – you know how you don’t want to jinx something good that’s about to happen?! Okay, here it goes:


I know, exciting, right?! Yes, we’re definitely thrilled with the mixed emotions of anxiety, hope and cautious optimism. While we have a positive outlook and know Chloe is ready to transition home, the first year back together as a family will be instrumental to the success and health of our entire family.

Chloe is on the final leg of her treatment program. She has finished all of her SUCCESS competencies and projects and has earned DREAMS at her program. DREAMS allows her to have access to her phone and computer and use it as she deems appropriate. She’ll also have more freedom and opportunities on campus, as well as explore internship and work possibilities off campus. This part of the program allows the girls to safely transition to using social media and interact more frequently with neuro-typical relationships. She’ll be able to experiment while maintaining the structure of her current program and regularly checking in with her therapist, support staff and us.

Not all of the girls at her school earn DREAMS before they leave so we’re very proud of Chloe’s hard work and tenacity to reach her goal!

Last weekend, we went to our seventh Parents’ Weekend in Utah. Our final one will be in July. Chloe has three close friends that will be leaving the program within the next two months. Consequently, the girls’ parents whom we’ve come to know and love as dear friends will also be gone the next time we visit Utah in July. It’s such a bittersweet time for the girls and their families. Like Chloe, they have all come such a long way in their journey of recovery, self discovery and loving themselves, flaws and all.

Chloe will finish her senior year at home earning her graduation credits through an online school program. We will set up teaching supports to help her learn and succeed and she’ll be able to participate in some “typical” senior experiences, if she chooses – homecoming, football games, equestrian club, etc. She’s also excited to work more with her horses she boards at home, as well as get involved with an internship or job.

We are so grateful for our family who helped support us through this journey financially and emotionally. We feel lucky and know many families don’t have the luxury to send their child or loved one to private residential treatment when they need help with a mental illness. After Chloe returns, I vow to turn more of my energy towards advocacy of youth mental health resources and insurance coverage. What is available now is nothing short of an insult to families navigating an overwhelming and confusing system and time of personal and family crisis.

One step at a time… #IChooseLove.

Andrea Berryman Childreth

Author Andrea Berryman Childreth

Andrea Berryman Childreth is an award-winning author of the book, ON THE EDGE: Help and hope for parenting children with mental illness, founder of The Lemonade Project, advocate and parent coach. She has first-hand experience with parenting a mentally ill daughter and has struggled with mental illness, herself. Her goal is to help empower people to openly share their stories and improve access to equitable mental health services.

More posts by Andrea Berryman Childreth

Join the discussion 4 Comments

  • Avatar Patty Ray says:

    Hi Andrea! So happy for Chloe and your family! I know what a long journey this is and how proud and excited (a little nervous, too!) you are knowing that Chloe will soon be home for good. Congratulations!

    Jillian will also be leaving, probably sometime in July.

    I so agree with you about the need for insurance companies to be more willing to cover residential treatment (we are in the process of suing Cigna, who declined coverage without even reading the appeal). More children need the help our girls have had, and it’s sad that only families who can afford treatment are able to get it. Let’s shed some light on this very critical issue. (School districts need to do more, too. Ours certainly is being very difficult. They think they can provide the education and therapy services Jillian needs by sticking her in a separate room of our local high school. So not gonna happen.)

    Take care!

    • Andrea Berryman Childreth Andrea Berryman Childreth says:

      Hi Patty,

      Thanks for all your support! I have cherished getting to know you and Tom. You are so dear to our hearts! We are ready to spread our wings and fly the MLA coop, as well. 🙂

      Let’s keep in touch and continue to share our stories of progress and struggles.

      Love you much dear friend!

  • Avatar Marilyn says:

    You’ve come a long way and I admire and respect your commitment to making change and shedding light on mental illness and the challenges that come with it.
    Many blessings to you and your family, and it’s wonderful that Chloe is coming home.

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