I wasn’t sure whether I was a victim of the troubled teen industry or not. My experience was not as terrible as others but I then realized that comparing traumas is detrimental to anyone’s mental health. It takes away the ability to allow yourself to face what you went through, because you consider it to be nothing. This leads to blaming yourself for the situation, and prevents healing. So I decided to take a risk. I am about to tell my story of my experience at Franklin Academy in Connecticut, a school for kids with autism and Nonverbal Learning Disability. My parents told me that sending me to this boarding school was “the last thing we can do for you.” They knew that if they said this to me it would give me the push to decide to go, because underlining that statement was the threat of losing my parents’ help and support in everything in life, and the threat of them blaming me for not going and everything that could happen because I didn’t go. As they so manipulatively planned, I decided to go.
I toured the school with my mom and I remember the lady saying “no one is forcing you to come here.” That in fact is a very manipulative statement and I should have caught on to it the moment she said it instead of three years later. She told me no one was forcing me, yet she knew that my parents wanted me to go and knew that a lot of people with learning disabilities couldn’t think for themselves.
The nightmare started when I stood up for my friend whose boyfriend cheated on her. I texted him with swears, calling him names, and exclaiming what he did was wrong. He told staff and they told me that they were giving me a “light punishment” because I was a new student. They said that a lot worse things could happen. That punishment was to turn my computer in early. Another time in one of the texts I was venting to someone who I thought was my friend and was telling them that I could “kill” the person that was my crush who I overheard gossiping about me. I even confronted the girl he was gossiping with. Yet I got in trouble for gossiping about the situation instead of them getting in trouble for gossiping about me. Another time I was part of a group chat and we were talking about someone who was sexually harassing me. I got in trouble for that too. Just for talking about him. I cannot remember the exact order of occurrenc