Mahayan

Dream Acadamy – Life in a Northern Town

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Our campus was all girls. There were two boy campuses, one in Georgia and one in Florida.

I was in the Group Mahayan.  The groups were all named after  Tribes. We had cabins, and I always felt lucky about that. Each cabin had a bunk bed on each side, a wood burning stove in the middle for heat, and two desks. we had kerosene  lanterns for light and we each had our own refillable lighters, to this day that smell make me nauseous. I had to ask my husband to get rid of his lighter because of it. I remember 4 cabins and a building where we had couches and we had our dressers with our clothing in that room and called it a dressing room. We had a fire pit that we had group therapy at for hours and hours every night, unless it rained and we would use the room with the couches. The out house was outside of camp kind of. At night we had privy buddies, a person who would go to the outhouse with you to keep you from dieing in the middle of the woods, in the middle of the night, alone. Someone also had to get up in the middle of the night and add wood to the fire or we would get very cold! We would wake up at 5 am and hike for what seemed like 30 minutes to take a shower in the shower house, then we walked forever to the dining hall and ate with all the other groups. I think they just wanted to shove it in our faces that we could not talk to each other.
When we were not eating or in group, we were working.  Any kind of work would do. We dug outhouse holes, cut grass with sling blades for 8 hours a day in the summer in Georgia, cleared land for new buildings, built new building, laid sod for new buildings, and whatever they could come up with for us to do.  Some of the girls earned school. We had to do a book report and write a 10 page (?) book report with no errors at all of any kind. Most girls never got to go to school. School meant less hard labor and it was my number one goal.

Here is a map of the place to show you how far we walked all the time =) I never ran away because they said there were wild boars in the woods that would kill us.
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Vinson Mountain Road, Rockmart, GA
I would tell you about the levels and things, but I do not remember that, I know you had to earn a crest, and that is when you could go for a home visit with your parents and apply for school. We had to earn everything. We could ask for any privilege that we could come up with.  There was a piano in the dinning hall and I asked for my piano privilege. Some had a camera privilege, or radio, or all…..those could be used only during free time and we had little of that.

Mahayan was a small group. I do not remember how many of us there were, we started with two and slowly grew. They put us in groups of girl’s who had similar personalities, and we laughed and played all the time even though we were busy all the time. We talked while we walked.

We must have had Saturday’s off. I remember spending summer Saturday’s at the lake. I think it took an hour to walk to it and it was worth it!

Here is a recent picture of one of our outhouses….

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Every Sunday we got dressed up in uniforms and went to a local Baptist Church in Rockmart, I absolutely hated Sundays! It reminded me that life was going on without us and it always made me sad. It made me think that the general public was aware of our plite and did not care…..

Once a week I remember going to see the psychiatrist. He was the doctor that recommended that we stay there to our insurance companies. That seems normal enough. Only, he did not speak English at all, and he spent 5 minutes with us each week. Our parents were sent a bill for 2 one hour sessions with this man every week. I once took  a copy of our Dr schedule that showed how we were all scheduled 5 minutes apart, to a family counseling session, and my parents were very angry. I think family counseling was once a month. It was the only time most got to see their parents. It was also the ONLY real counseling I ever got there. The counselor was busy lieing to my parents about everything so that was very helpful.

I do not remember any of our group staff’s names. I never got close to any of them. I think most of them saw how we were mistreated and quit pretty fast. My group, being new, had no long lasting staff, and we saw them come and go often. The staff was all 20-ish and had to live  alone  in the woods with 10 mentally distraught teenage girls, for like 4 days in a row, with no running water or electricity. We made them cry some times….. They had to work with us and write everything down in a chart every day. Seems like a wonderful job!  I can not tell you any horrible stories about the staff, I never lived any. Now that I am adult, I question anyone who ever worked there, and why they never really helped us.

The E&O was boring

I am not sure how long I spent in the E&O unit. I know I got there some time close to Halloween and spent all the Holidays there without any visits from my parents. Our days were all the same. We woke up and did 15 minutes or so of morning exercises at 5 am, in our pajamas, witch were those gowns with no ass…. Then we would have 5 minutes or so to make our beds in perfect army corners, or whatever you call it. I do not remember getting dressed, but it happened. We had a bathroom with cameras in it. We were allowed in the bathroom for 5 minutes at a time. Even for showers. If you went over, you got into trouble. We were always watched.
We would go into a dinning room with another group of girls and eat our meals. We could not talk to girls in other groups. It was called group mixing and you got in trouble if you did that. No one wanted to get into trouble, they take what little privileges you have away, like your right to leave your room, or your right to wear clothing…..
After we ate each morning we would follow a daily schedule. Each day included, but was not limited to, an hour of letter writing, an hour of group games, an hour of one on ones (just alone time with other group members) an hour of aerobics, an hour of counselling from a doctor, an hour outside in the 10 foot by 10 foot court yard we had, lunch and dinner, shower time, and many hours of group therapy, and many hours of day dreaming. School did not exists. We took turns each week writing the schedule and that was our school. There were 2 E&O groups for girls at that time. We were all aloud to write to our parents and that was about it. All our mail was illegally read by someone. We kept the place hospital clean at all times, no one ever cleaned up after us. I am not sure what our parents thought was going on, but I am sure they thought it was something totally different. They were told not to believe anything negative I said and to believe anything positive. Our parents attended group therapy with other parents…..They were very well brain washed.

The staff was ok. I listened to them like they knew something. I know now they knew nothing. They were young and dumb, just not as young and dumb as I was. I never witnessed any abuse in the E&O. There was no work yet. I picked out one of the staff members to kiss up to. She was into sports and acted like a boy, and was the easiest one to talk to. She had a few other girls who she seemed close to. I would write her letters instead of writing to my parents. This helped me get out of the E&O faster. The staff would all vote on everything, like if you got to move on, or not. I think I became closer to her than I wanted, I missed her later. I wanted to take her to the outside campus with me.

Sometime in the spring I was approved to move to the outside campus. This is when they would tell us what group we would go into. Each group on the outside had different living conditions. Some lived in Tee-pees. some in cabins, some in tool sheds, some in tents. Every group had a campsite with one outhouse that they dug and built themselves. Girls were always excited to find out what group they would be in, and who they would be with from their E&O stay. Once we moved to that new group, we could no longer look at or talk to the other girls we had been in group with before. It was painful. For months and months, you eat sleep and breath these girls into your life, only to lose them in the end. Lucky me! I was going to a campsite with cabins, and no group members yet..I had to go and start a new group. This place sucked, it had to be better than this place!!!

They take you out gradually. I Would go and visit the out side for a day and then come back and talk about it in group. During those days, I was with a group leader on my new campsite, cleaning it up! The cabins had been unused for a long time and everything was covered in cob webs. I think most girls would be getting to know their new group members during this time, but I had none. One day I did get to meet another girl for a moment. She was going to be moved from her group to mine on the day I moved out permanent. After a week or two of that, I moved out there for real. No electricity, no running water. OMG!

I know I never felt worse that the time I spent in the E&O. I am sure I was depressed from the whole experience, confused about my parents love for me, teenagers have enough problems…..This place was making me crazy. If I compare my time spent at Anneewakee to the time I spent in jail, I enjoyed jail more. I missed my parents, music, boys, the sunshine, good food, good anything.

I remember ALL the staff from E&O, their names, faces, and the sounds of their voices.

Here is a picture of the E&O today, We were in the middle of the administrative offices, some stayed here for up to a year. Because it was in the Admin Building, they played elevator music/Peach, 10 hours a day…The Christmas Music starting in November was torture!
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The personality test and E&O

We drove far away, I did not really mind. The treatment center I had been at was better than home. I figured it would be ok. When we got there I had to take a personality test. I had not ever taken one before. It was the lamest thing EVER! It was full of oddly worded trick questions and things like ” I hear voices that are not there” true or false? Well, if I hear them then I think they are there….So that is a stupid question. I would love to know how I did.

My parents said goodbye to me and I was taken to a room and stripped of my clothing. They put me in one of those hospital gowns that lets your ass show to the world and I was not given any underwear. I think I did have socks on. This was step 1 I guess. I had to earn my fucking clothing…. What kind of place is this?

More rules than I had ever even considered. I had to stay in my room witch had 2 beds and 2 mattresses on the floor, nothing else. I was not to ever look out the window. I was only allowed to talk to my roommates when they said I could. I had to ask to come out and go to the bathroom. there were invisible lines everywhere I had to stop at and ask to cross. We sat around and talked about our problems all day and night and got fat and our skin grew light from lack of sun. The people in charge were all young, in their 20’s. My first day there one of those 20 year olds came to me and said I had a rat tail, and I was not allowed to have that and she cut all my remaining hair off, leaving me bald basically. It was a lovely place. I actually missed home.

This was E&O. (evaluation and out take) It was only the first part of Anneewakee. I had to earn my way out of that and into some out door group where I would eventually get to have a visit from my parents, and some day maybe in 5 years or so get to go home for a few days. The out door group would have no electricity or running water. We would get to work outside all day instead of sit around all day. Maybe even get to go to school again one day! Most of us were in a hurry to get the hell out of there and into the outside hell awaiting us. I remember one girl though, she refused to try and go out there. She was smart. She said I am not EARNING THAT!!!

It is hard to explain how that felt. I felt like I did not deserve it. I listened to girls talk about drugs and parties, and all kinds of fun that I never had. I never felt so empty and alone before. There was sadness in the air. I felt broken and dissected. I became close to other girls my age in a way I also can not explain. When my friends would cry I would cry with them, and they with me.

I wrote to my parents every single day, and begged them to come get me. I eventually realized I had to become complete bull shit in order to go anywhere. I had to stop asking them to come get me and tell them how well I was doing. My mail was being read and every move I made was being judged. I started kissing the staff’s asses, I talked in group. I admitted I had a problem…..out loud at least. I am 42 now and I still think I never should have been there. Some survivors say it saved their lives. It is what it is.

In The beginning

Cindy Lauper – True Colors

I have no idea where the beginning is, or where to start. I was 14 and I lived in Atlanta Georgia. I had only lived there for a short time. My dad was a Southern Baptist Preacher and had just moved us to Atlanta so he could work at the Southern Baptist Home mission board in Atlanta. He was very strict. He very much cared about what other people though of us. I was adopted, I do not know if it matters or not, but I was nothing like my parents at all. I had a shaved head, like Cyndi Lauper! My dad grounded me till it grew back. I was not allowed to do anything when I was grounded. I went to school and church and had no social life at all. My psychiatrist told my parents to let me look how I wanted, but they never listened. We had family therapy every week. My parents could not figure out why I was so unhappy, being grounded for life and all….. I do not know what “grounded” is in other houses, in my house it meant no TV, no music, no phone, no friends. My parents though Cybdi Lauper was devil music and banned her, along with any other music that was not purchased in a Baptist Book Store.

There was a boy who lived around the corner a block away. I was 14 and I loved him, he was 16, had a car and loved me back!!!! It makes me giggle to say that now.

It was the end of the school year, we were practicing for graduation from elementary school when my parents came and pulled me out of school early one day. They were acting all crazy and would not say where we were going. We were going to our family shrink. My mom had found my diary and God had told her to read it. They knew I was not a virgin. They were totally not going to be able to handle this in a normal way at all. My dad had to go out of town for some religious thing somewhere, he took me with him. I think it was a few weeks.
When I got home my room was empty of everything but my bed. I was locked in there and had to yell out if I need to change clothing or go to the bathroom. I was a bit humiliated. I did not get to graduate with my class or finish school that year. When I got home I was not to EVER speak to my love again, they were talking of having him arrested, and blah blah blah.

So Summer ended and I was back in school with my love, we rode the same bus…. We ended up running away together in his car for 3 days. One of his friends took a note to my parents asking them to be normal people and stop locking me in my room and I really wanted to just be normal!!!! They almost arrested that poor boy. A private detective was at the house when he delivered the note. Poor kid, he still never told them where we were! After three days all I wanted was home. We parked his car in his driveway and went to sleep. We were home….

A police man pulled me out of the car, I was still half asleep. HE threw me in his car and drove me to Juvenile Detention. I was not admitted. It was 4 am maybe only 3 am. I was sat down by a tv with Rocky and Bullwinkle cartoons playing and no one would tell me anything. Just sit there and be quiet. I have never been able to watch that cartoon since…. Eventually my parents and some of their friends showed up for me. They were taking me to Psychiatric Center of Atlanta. I was going to stay there for a few days until some place Anneewakee was ready for me.

Here is how much I knew then. They came in and asked for urine sample and I thought it was for a pregnancy test. I asked my heroine addicted roommate for her pee. LOL. Any idiot should have known I was not on drugs, but whatever. I also gave her my love’s phone number so she could tell him what happened to me some day. The day I got home from Anneewakee, Her and my love, came to my front door for me. My mom sent them away as I watched form my bedroom window upstairs. She came up and yelled at me for looking, she said it makes you look like a prisoner or something…. Hmmm. I never saw either of them again.

I had night mares last night about Anneewakee. I have them all the time. I woke up very sad this time. So I started this blog.