The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

Experiencing reparation therapy, part two

Editor’s Note: This is a follow-up to the article “Experiencing reparation therapy” published Feb. 3. The woman interviewed would like to remain anonymous. Her name will be Beth.
Beth sat across from me, fidgeting. With wide eyes, her nerves were tangible. This time, she seemed more anxious than her previous interview in which she told me her story of her time during boot camp and reparation therapy.
We were going to delve into her mental problems and talk about her visit to Willowbrook, a behavioral health care unit of Baptist Memorial Health Care.
Her self-esteem issues that stemmed from questioning her sexuality and bad body image led her to seek help.
“If you have people telling you to change such an integral part of yourself, it makes you question your self-worth,” Beth said.
To deal with her self-esteem issues, Beth said she received counseling at Mississippi State University.
“I surround myself with supportive people. Also, I’m prescribed to Zoloft, which is an anti-depressant,” she said.
Beth was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and deals with anxiety and depression. Also, Beth has always had an eating disorder. Eventually, Beth had a mental breakdown in the middle of the 2011 fall semester.
“I tried to commit suicide, so it was highly recommended I go to inpatient treatment. My counselor recommended I go (to Willowbrook),” Beth said. She said she thought something was wrong with her.
“I didn’t think I was supposed to be having those kinds of thoughts,” she said.
Without telling anyone, including her family, Beth drove to Columbus, Miss., where Willowbrook is located. She did not know what to expect at the mental health facility.
“I didn’t know what it was going to be like at all,” she said. “I thought I could go and leave on the same day, but they kept me for a week. I wanted to go for a day because I just wanted to get a consultation. I thought they could adjust my medicine.”
Upon arrival, Beth was told she could not meet with a doctor until the next day.
“I thought I could leave after I met with him, but I couldn’t,” she said. “I told him I wanted to leave, so he put me on 72-hour hold, which means you can’t leave for 72 hours. You mostly had group counseling. I didn’t get much from the counseling. They didn’t really listen to me.”
There were two main units in Willowbrook. Beth was held in the lock-down unit at first.
“There were cockroaches crawling around,” she said. “Some of the other people there had actual mental disorders.”
In the middle of the night, patients with mental disorders would come into Beth’s room because patients were not allowed to lock their doors. However, after a couple of days, Beth said they moved her to the open unit, which allowed patients more freedom.
Willowbrook upheld a strict visitation and calling policy. Patients could only use the phone for five minutes at a time during certain hours. Visitors could come twice a week. Beth said her family was surprised to find out she was in Willowbrook.
“I did not tell anyone that I was going, but my dad found out,” she said. “He came and visited. He was supportive once he found out where I was.”
After a week of containment at Willowbrook, Beth was finally released. She said her time there made her realize her problems were serious.
“It made me realize I needed help,” she said. “It also made me realize that I needed to withdraw from last semester. It made me thankful for the counseling they offer at State. Good counseling is really important. It helps so much.”
Beth also said her time at Willowbrook did not necessarily help her with any of her problems, although it made her understand she needed to deal with her problems through the help of counseling.
For those experiencing problems, MSU offers a variety of counseling services, including intake assessments and individual therapy. Many types of group therapy are available, including grief and loss therapy and LGBTQ therapy.

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Experiencing reparation therapy, part two