Sunday, October 13, 2013
DRruinedmylife at Discovery Ranch
I attended Discovery Ranch 5 years ago when I was 15 years old.
My parents sent me there because I was depressed, doing poorly in school instead of getting straight A's, got caught shoplifting a pack of gum from 7-11, spent too much time on the computer, and was "too angry and defiant". I had never done drugs, drank, or even smoked a cigarette at this point in my life. I had been raped when i was 12 and was unable to tell my male therapist or parents about this happening because my family is very Catholic.
In comparison, most of the other residents had serious drug problems, were in gangs, were extremely violent, etc. Regardless of what they were there for, NO ONE SHOULD EVER BE TREATED AS INHUMANELY AS CHILDREN SUCH AS MYSELF WERE. I had repressed memories of the physical, sexual, and psychological torture i endured for five years until I watched a documentary on the stanford prison experiment in my psychology class. It brought everything back because I lived that experience, except for ten months and it was real.
I don't believe that the people who tortured me were innately evil; i think it was a situation similar to Abu Ghraib. I was forced to do the most humiliating and degrading things possibly conceivable; I was forced to eat a girls used tampon, lick cow shit off a girls boots, unclog a toilet with my bare hands... adult male staff would masturbate to me showering, changing, and using the toilet while masturbating (keep in mind I was 15.), I witnessed a 15 year old boy be sodomized by a broom handle and have the living shit beat out of him because he tried to run away and watched a girl punch a window and slit her wrists in front of me because she couldn't take it anymore.
They would arbitrarily lock me in a tiny pitch black closet devoid of food, water, a bathroom, or human contact for days, usually because I made an "inappropriate facial expression" like crying or raising my eyebrows when they screamed at me that I was worthless and no one could ever love me. The night staff was apparently fucked up on heroin, meth, pcp, etc the whole time and had virtually no training or qualifications, which I learned when a male staff member sexually propositioned me over Facebook when I was 18, so three years later, and told me what happened behind closed doors.
I had no contact with the outside world except letters to my parents which were censored, and observed phone calls once a month. I had to raise a baby cow for the slaughter to "learn to deal with loss", exercise until I threw up blood, pick up cow shit every day, I could go on and on. And the scariest part was that it was fantastic during the day; we would do ropes courses and go skiing and horseback riding and talk to a truly kind therapist every day who genuinely though I was insane or a pathological liar and convinced me I was hallucinating or having nightmares.... But I fucking wasn't. I literally couldn't make this shit up.
I thought I was actually crazy, but it was all real. I don't know why but when i was there I never wanted to leave. I felt like i somehow deserved to be treated like this and I think a part of me knew I could never stand living in the real world after all this happened. I stopped feeling emotions and didn't for two years. When I came back to real life I had forgotten how to smile and had to train myself to make facial expressions that corresponded to the emotions I should have felt in various circumstances.
Even when I started feeling feelings again I realized on Wednesday that I had been experiencing emotions with maybe 50-75% of the intensity that I normally should, which was put into perspective when I finally accepted that these things truly happened to me and felt for the first time in my life the appropriate pain and humiliation that corresponds to being treated in such a way for such an extended period of time. Until now I had remembered my experience there as a happy one- I literally only remembered what went on during the day.
The reason I am writing this now is because I ended up becoming an alcoholic and drug addict once I went to college and had finally had complete freedom. With the help of a REAL rehab and AA, I had achieved 14 months sober.
After essentially being re-traumatized after remembering all this, I recently went on a five day bender started Wednesday where I got high and or drunk every waking moment, which culminated with me waking up on my bathroom floor on Monday morning covered in blood and vomit next to two empty bottles of wine and Xanax spilled across the floor with a five page suicide note on my computer that I'd written in a blackout.
I am at a loss for what to do at this point. I'm in therapy, on medication, have been to three AA meetings in the past three days, and just feel like I am out of options and suicide or getting constantly fucked up is my only option at this point. I literally can't live with these memories. It makes me fucking sick that this place, along with HUNDREDS of others, still exists, quietly protected under the umbrella of the state government of Utah, and that parents are paying hundreds of thousands of dollars for their children to be tortured and driven insane or into obedient, soulless sociopaths.