Saturday, August 20, 2016

Dear Mama Moon

Dear Mama Moon,

We want you to know that we received your email describing what last week's experiential family therapy session was like for you. It saddens us to hear word for word the meaning of the distress that we also saw in you ourselves during that exercise. We did not anticipate the intervention having that kind of effect on you, and we are truly sorry for putting you in that position. We were shocked by how distraught you were. In wanting to understand it, we continued to ask questions to "get to the bottom of it" instead of stopping and doing what was needed to help you relax and feel safe. Even though it was never our intention to make things worse, obviously that was your experience, and we apologize.

What can we do now to help you, and what do you think would help Little Turtle most right now?

We would like to give you some time to think about those questions. When you are ready, whether that's today, a week from today, or longer, let us know, and we would like to set up a time to talk with you. Together, we would like to move forward.

In the meantime, please know that your safety matters, including your real physical safety but also your felt sense of safety. This matters to us not only because you are Little Turtle's mom but because you and your entire family are here to receive the best care we can give. Our goal is always to help, never to hurt. We recognize that repair is needed to reach a place of felt safety in our relationships with you again, and we are ready to begin that process whenever you are.

Take good care,
Treatment Team

P. S. That is not the email I received in response to my two kind, yet honest emails. Both were written from a place of vulnerability, not anger. I asked for them to try to understand what the rock climbing intervention had been like for me at the time and how it was still affecting me as well as Little Turtle afterwards.

Instead, I received no response for four days. Eventually, I received multiple cold emails that further increased my distress. Comments were marked by statements like "I didn't respond because I didn't see what to respond to," followed by multiple attempts later to at first ignore and then, discount as well as distract from what happened. Eventually, they landed on blame and shame.

I replied with nastiness. I most certainly did (and am not proud of it). In fact, I may have looked at Brene' Brown's Rising Strong chapter about not responding rashly to emotionally charged emails and said out loud, "For the love of rocking climbing" and immediately, pushed send. #BreneAndIBrokeUp

In the end, after I demanded an apology or else, the therapist finally said, "We apologize that your perception was negative in this exercise."

MY PERCEPTION?!?! The stranger in the airport who approached my crying self as he said, "Is there anything I can do to help you?" seemed to perceive it "negatively," not to mention every person I've talked to since about the event. Let's get real, it wasn't just my "crazy mom" perception that I was traumatized. I.Was.Traumatized.

I'm baffled that a stranger in an airport offered more help than a "top" treatment center filled with mental health professionals supposedly trained in trauma-informed care. There has not been a single genuine line of written or spoken word in a week's time that expressed any care or concern, not even a teeny, tiny bit.

I was shocked by this. Then I was angry. Then my friends threatened to change my WiFi password and hold it hostage if I didn't stop emailing. So I did. In fact, they got the last word with their poor excuse of an apology. #MyFriendsMeanBusiness

At that point, I broke all over again and have been left in a pile of tears and fears that I can't seem to get beyond. Where do we even go from here?