Gratitude at Bradley Hospital

The Power of Gratitude

Gratitude is...part of the healing process.
... life changing.
... always appreciated.

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IvyIn early 2020, Ivy was 14 years old and struggling. Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) had taken over her life, making daily tasks unbearable.

She would turn the lights on and off hundreds of times before bed. Spend hours double-checking a single homework assignment for school. And she was consumed by superstitions, such as if she saw an overweight person in a store, it was a sign she was going to gain weight.

OCD was also negatively affecting Ivy’s relationships with her parents and sister, and her social interactions with peers were suffering, too. Things eventually got so bad that she considered ending her life.

“I didn’t want to live anymore because I felt really out of control,” Ivy recalls. “OCD was interfering with everything, and I was at a breaking point.”

During this crisis, the therapist Ivy was seeing in her local community referred her to the Intensive Program for OCD and Related Disorders within the Pediatric Anxiety Research Center (PARC) at Bradley Hospital.

“At first, I didn’t want to go to a hospital, but looking back, I’m so glad that I did,” Ivy says.

Once Ivy began treatment at Bradley, she realized that she was not alone in her struggle with OCD.

And she immediately benefited from her program’s use of daily exposure therapy, including innovative in-home visits from mobile exposure coaches. With warm support and coaching from a multi-disciplinary team of psychologists, psychiatrists, exposure coaches, social workers, and nurses, she slowly confronted her fears and built up her ability to “ride the wave” of distress until it came down on its own.

“The progress I made in a short amount of time was amazing,” Ivy says. “And they didn’t only help me, they also helped my family understand what was going on in my head.”

Today, Ivy is proud and grateful to share that OCD no longer runs her life. When obsessions or compulsions pop up, she uses the tools she learned at Bradley to manage them. She’s doing well in a new high school and is even a tri-varsity athlete.

While she enjoys excelling in all that she does, thanks to Bradley, she now feels that she’ll be okay if her performance isn’t perfect all of the time.

“I’ve learned that you can’t control everything, and you just have to accept that,” Ivy says.

Everyone who works at Bradley just cares so much,” Ivy says. “They’ll do everything in their power to help you, so you can move forward and live your life. I am so grateful for that.

We are incredibly grateful for Bradley Hospital and for all of the clinicians and staff who work there to help children and teens who are suffering. We are just overwhelmed with the professionalism and the quality of care that we received.

– Sonig Schiller, whose daughter, Sadie, was treated at Bradley.

In 2020, during the first few months of the pandemic, Sonig Schiller’s then 11-year-old daughter, Sadie, was struggling with anxiety, depression, suicidal ideation, and disordered eating. And the social isolation associated with attending school remotely only worsened her symptoms.

“We were brand new to this mental health world, and it was really frightening at first,” Sonig shares.

As Sadie’s struggles with mood and body image began to increasingly affect her quality of life, her family insisted that she undergo treatment. It took months of searching for the right care before they found Bradley Hospital and quickly realized it was the best place for Sadie to heal. Her treatment included an inpatient stay and various types of outpatient therapy.

Sadie responded especially well to Bradley’s Mindful Teen Program, a six-month outpatient program that helps adolescents manage emotions and eliminate self-destructive behaviors.

During her daughter’s treatment, Sonig received help, too. She attended Bradley’s 12-week Psychoeducational Psychotherapy (PEP) Parent Therapy Group, which provides tools and support – and made a world of difference for the family.

“Parents who are challenged with children who have mental health issues really need a space – a safe and comfortable space – to share stories, advice, sadness, and happiness with other parents,” Sonig says. “This group provided that for me.”

Now 14 years old, Sadie continues to receive outpatient therapy at Bradley and is “doing great” today, Sonig says. And the family is comforted by the fact that if she ever starts to struggle again, they now know exactly where to find help and support.

When Thomas finally got to Bradley, he spent three-and-a-half months there. And they saved him. They saved our family, quite honestly. We are totally indebted to Bradley for what they did for our family.

Karen and Russell Raposa

Karen and Russell Raposa’s youngest child, Tommy, was diagnosed with autism at age 2. Tommy, who is non-verbal, struggled with self-injury and aggressive behavior. And for years, the family found it difficult to find him the help he needed. At age 12, Tommy went through an especially rough period, which was when the family learned about the services at Bradley Hospital through a referral from a pediatrician. After Tommy was admitted into the Center for Autism and Developmental Disabilities (CADD) inpatient program, he finally received the care and treatment needed for his symptoms to improve. After more than three months at Bradley, his care team determined it was safe for him to return home. “At the time, I think they were the only hospital in the country with an autism unit,” Karen recalls. Tommy, now 22 and living in a supportive community residence for people with autism, still has difficult days, but his quality of life has significantly improved since he was treated at Bradley Hospital. For that, the family says they are “forever grateful.”

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