I was diagnosed over 15 years ago with fibromyalgia. At that time I had 4 small children and a husband with a demanding career. I really believed life would always be painful and I just had to figure out how best to manage the pain (physical and emotional). I visited Dr. after Dr., had multiple surgeries, tried all kinds of medication however, eventually it resulted in a very unhappy, hopeless state of being. The Bridge taught me that was NOT how life needed to be. The staff and providers taught me that I was in charge. Not my emotional state and not my pain! For the first time in a long time I have hope that my children, my husband, but most importantly I can live a happy healthy, hopeful life. I wish I could have found The Bridge years ago but whenever you go is always a good time for a new beginning. I changed my life!
The Bridge is an experience of a lifetime. Before going to the Bridge I suffered from anxiety and depression and wouldn’t go a day without having a panic attack. Countless days were spent in bed, searching the internet for therapists, and constantly trying new medications. It came to a point where I gave up and was tired of looking for the answers I was trying to find. After finding the Bridge, I look back and I am so glad I made the decision to go. The staff was amazing and treated me like family. The Bridge was a turning point in my life and it gave me the confidence to face the world with a different outlook. Anxiety and Depression do not control my life anymore and I have not had one panic attack since coming home. It is such a relief to know that there is a solution. Before this experience I would constantly say that I was unhappy and now I can say I am the happiest I have ever been.
Having finished my work at the Bridge two days ago, I feel a strong desire to give back and spread the word. The skills and concepts that I learned are both groundbreaking and invaluable. I cant explain what it felt like to be cared for, truly cared for, for 20 days. The healing and growth that I experienced is a true blessing in my life and I cant imagine any other format or place on this earth that could get close to matching what I got from the Bridge. Daren is a true visionary and his team was clearly put together through inspiration. These people don’t just go to work everyday; they truly care. Thank you Thank you Thank you. You will see me again soon when I come to give back. These things and “the Bridge” are now truly a part of my soul.
Before the Bridge I had no hope: I lost my partner, job, school, leadership roles in my extra-curricular activities, and my family was walking on eggshells around me. The Bridge helped me to come off of medications I had been on for years that were no longer effective and gave me the tools to recover from depression and deal with PTSD. The program while short is very effective and if you are ready to let go of what is holding you back, whether it be past relationships, abuse, trauma, mood disorders, or negative self-talk, they will give the tools for you to take control of your life. It is not a comfortable process, and there will be moments when you want to quit, but if you push through and trust the amazing staff to help you heal then you will come home a totally different person. Good Luck on your Journey!
I’m only 22 years old, but for over 10 years, I struggled with gradually worsening health issues: chronic pelvic pain, severe digestive issues, and poor immune function, to name a few. I began looking for a chronic pain retreat I had tried dozens of medications, and surgery after surgery, but my doctors and specialists couldn’t pinpoint any specific reason why I was so sick. A few months before I discovered the Bridge, I began dealing with some childhood traumas that I had, to that point, ignored and kept secret. When I found the Bridge, I felt prompted to go, but was wary; I thought it was probably too good to be true. Going to the Bridge was one of the best decisions I have ever made. It changed the course of my life. The providers and staff set me firmly on the path of emotional, physical, and spiritual healing. I won’t lie, while cathartic, it was intensely difficult. I cried in my room many days. Things got worse before they got better, but after about a week and a half, my physical pain literally left my body as I finally addressed what was going on with me emotionally. The Bridge gave me the tools I needed to address pain and assume accountability for my own choices. Today, I am in school full-time. My health is no longer an obstacle to my happiness—and I am truly happy!! My motto, courtesy of Maya Angelou, is: “Do the best until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.” The Bridge helped me “know better”. Yes, I’m where I am today because of my own choices; but I wouldn’t have known the choices available to me without the Bridge.
We focus and spend so much time on our outwardly appearance and the rewards of the world. Which I feel comes from obtaining wealth, looks and being ok with ourselves, that we often forget to work on our heart, soul and mind. I am a believer of fulfilling ones best self. With the knowledge of recognizing we all need to spend more time working on ourselves, there are definitely programs out there who offer to do such things. Having the opportunity to attend several other similar mental health recovery programs, I believe that the process the Bridge program has to offer is 100% from a space of love and compassion. I’ve learned traits I can use in everyday life to find a clear head, peace and happiness. It’s a process that I 110% have chosen to embrace in the comfort of Massages, Acupuncture, Reiki Therapy, Personal Trainer and pampered with the best of food and Education about the Value of taking care of your body with food and healing your heart, mind and soul. With the freedom of choice I have experienced in the program, it creates a real choice for the participants and it allows us the freedom to create our own personal needs for ourselves.
The Bridge is an experience that words can’t justify. The staff, as well as the providers, come together in a powerful way to create a place of wellness, safety, and life changes. You will come to the Bridge as a person you have become, but when you leave, with their guidance you will know who you really are. That someone is worth getting to know.
I would more than highly recommend “The Bridge.” I think everyone should have this experience! If I could, I would send all of my family and friends there because The Bridge is a life-changing, empowering experience. There is nothing else like it out there! It really amazed me how they can cater to so many different needs, you do the work and they have the tools. They don’t cover it up with medicine and send you home. You will find you are a different person when you leave. The things that I think really made the difference are: they truly care (that is rare these days), the entire staff is Over the Top and amazing, and they teach you hands-on and through your own personal experiences. Then, they give you the tools and teach you how to make the changes you need in your own life. You will be a better person for yourself, your family, your friends, and the world when you leave The Bridge depression treatment center.
For me, it was all about the magic and power of community. Being in this enlightened community, where everyone’s primary concern was with the well being of one another helped lift my spirits, and returned back to me a sense of inclusiveness and belonging that had been missing in my life. I can’t praise more the competence and professionalism of both the staff and the practitioners. This is a place that really cares and delivers.
The Bridge Recovery Center has put together a fantastic program to make healing accessible to nearly anyone. The intelligent and caring staff members are really the heart and soul of the Bridge. They almost certainly have experience helping someone who is going through whatever issues you are working on. The series of lectures are well thought out and contain exactly what people need to learn about finding happiness and cultivating resilience. The Bridge has compiled an extensive library, where readers can find books pertaining to their specific situations. There is sound scientific evidence for many of the modalities utilized to improve well-being. You will experience positive social immersion, massages, chiropractic care, counseling, personal training, a nourishing diet, and sunshine in wide uninhabited spaces. You will leave feeling far more confident about your ability to take control of your life.
It is an amazing thing, I have never felt quite so motivated as I have since attending The Bridge. And it has persisted… It has been now 8 weeks since The Bridge. I continue to eat healthy, exercise regularly, not smoke or drink, approach life’s challenges mindfully. I am down to 225 pounds and have surpassed where I was strength-wise while in college.I have an interesting story in terms of the eagerness and zeal towards life Daren presented, I sort of took the same approach to the job I found a few weeks past. The job is filthy, hazardous, and disgusting in many ways, it is also quite tedious, repetitive, and simple. Nevertheless, I have approached it with the utmost enthusiasm; I have done so almost to a ridiculous degree. I am sure I have been the butt of jokes at the shop, I see people watching me speed mopping, I can only imagine I look ridiculous. Here is the thing, I am working there 4 weeks and am informed that I am to be promoted and paid 3 times as much. I must keep this up. I think this is the secret to life, just be that dude who enjoys everything.
Not a day goes by that i don’t think about my days at the Bridge. I think about the people that cared for us as if we were the first group and the last one too. Hard to imagined that a lot of people like me come and go out of their lives. God knows it took me so long to make the decision to go. Why is it that we think so much before spending money for us when we would not blink to do it for the health of a loved one?. I treasured every single day, every word and remember that everything they had in store for us, even the most simple fun activity had a very important message to learn. I can’t forget to mention the impact that those big mountains had on me..The air, the silence and their magnificence helped in the process of putting a stop to the madness in my head. I learned a lot of things that I took with me. I still have lupus but the difference is that now lupus doesn’t have me after visiting the lupus treatment center.
I had suffered with severe depression for about three years at the time I decided to go to the Bridge. I had pursued many avenues to address my depression and would have occasional respites from it, but nothing seemed to last. When my depression first hit, I pursued the medical route and ended up on a number of meds. I had been a very healthy individual up until the time I experienced depression and had never been on any meds. Anyhow, I started down a more natural route (diet, supplements) and improved some, but was still struggling mightily.
The Bridge depression retreat was a real turning point in my healing. The people and experiences at The Bridge enabled me to get back in touch with who I really am and with the power I possess to control my thoughts and destiny. And even more important was the understanding that although depression had been a huge influence in my life for three years, it did not have to rule my future. Before I went to the Bridge, I committed to myself that I would engage in every aspect and consider every concept and principle presented, and I did that with all my heart and soul. As a result, I experienced a great deal of healing and reconnected with a sense of self and the sense of humor that had always characterized my life to this point. The Bridge experience isn’t easy – it’s not a spa – it’s a lot of hard work, but it’s worth it.The people who experience it, leave the program with a set of tools that help them take back control over their life and their thoughts.
I can highly recommend the Bridge. All the practitioners at the Bridge had had their own struggles and can relate to what you’re going through. I really can’t say enough about what is offered there.
I have suffered with lupus for 20 years. Six years ago, dermatomyositis set in and my legs were so weak that it was hard to leave the house. I was using a wheelchair and a cane. My active lifestyle was severely affected and I worried about my quality of life. I had seen plenty of medical doctors and rheumatologists, who prescribed all kinds of drugs, including steroids, methotrexate, and enbrel injections with limited and temporary success. I became so desperate to get help that I did a search on the Internet and found The Bridge Recovery Center. It was a scary and big commitment for me, but I decided to register for the program. The Bridge helped me get my life back. When I arrived, I was on a cane and so weak that I needed assistance to get around. When I left, I was able to put down my cane and I felt a peace with my life that I haven’t felt before. I am now exercising, hiking, living the life that I missed for so long. The Bridge also helped me to stop most of my medications, and I will soon be off steroids completely! Thanks to The Bridge lupus recovery center and all of the people there that helped in large measure to give me the ability to enjoy life with confidence and without the concerns that I had because of my illness.
When I began looking for a chronic pain treatment center I didn’t know what I needed. I had exhausted every traditional form of treatment I knew. After 9 spinal surgeries, and countless other less invasive procedures, I still had significant pain and felt angry and frustrated most of the time. When I arrived at the Bridge I was welcomed with open arms and open hearts. The providers, staff, and the wide variety of modalities and services created an intuitive and integrative healing journey. “Nothing changes if nothing changes” is my mantra now. The truth is, happiness was in me all along, but it was the program and its facilitators at The Bridge that showed me how to access it again. Ultimately anyone who comes here needs to show up and be open. That’s it. If you are open to looking at things from a different angle than you are used to…well…it’s nothing short of life changing. Well done to Dr. Brooks and the incredible staff and providers at The Bridge. You provided me with lifelong tools I will continue to use, wonderful friendships, and memories I will never forget. I sincerely thank you all from the bottom of my heart.
I am a 35 year old mother of three beautiful children, I had been diagnosed several years ago as having depression and anxiety, and I lived for many years in pain. I did everything I could to feel happy including medicine, psychiatry, therapy, herbs, chiropractic, prayer, self-help books – you name it – I did it. In November of 2012, I reached the point where I felt stuck. I felt like I was at the bottom of a dark pit and didn’t know how to climb out. I felt like everything in my life was good, so why was I feeling this way? Once I had reached what I considered “rock bottom” my husband and I decided I needed more help, and we were led to “The Bridge.” From the website to the testimonials to talking to EmmaLeigh on the phone, we just knew this was the right place for me to be. I attended the Nov-Dec. 2012 session. Now, a couple of months later, it’s hard to even recall who I used to be, because I honestly feel like a brand new person. I consider the whole experience nothing short of a miracle.It is not one experience that I had at the Bridge that changed my life, but everything put together. The program is masterfully designed and once I put my trust in the process, it began to work for me. I learned so many truths that have become tools for me to use in my real life back at home. It takes a lot of courage to do this and a lot of faith, but I guarantee that if you are feeling like there is no hope, that you don’t know what else to do, or that you will never be able to feel better
Put simply, The Bridge changed my life. I had been ill and suffering for years with chronic lyme disease, and I was despondent and convinced that I would never by healthy again. Looking back on my intake form for The Bridge, I saw that I wrote: “I am in pain all the time, extreme pain when I sleep and extreme pain when I do day-to-day activities such as walking. I am extremely fatigued and have ‘brain fog’. I am also depressed and cry often.” The Bridge providers brought me out of my deep unhealthy “funk”, helped me surrender to my recovery and taught me incredibly useful and practical tools to help me regain my health and well-being.
The Bridge program is rigorous, comprehensive and effective. There are so many elements to the program – there is no one silver bullet – and it was the synergy of all the program elements that put me on the road to recovery. I learned a variety of tools that together helped me heal and regain my strength — from reiki healing, acupuncture, psychotherapy and life coaching, to Chinese medical protocols, the mind-body connection, and Native American spirituality. It was overwhelming at times – like drinking from a fire hose – but the Bridge’s caring providers truly helped me apply all the lessons while I was in the program and then helped me plan how to use them when I returned home.
There are two groups of people that make the Bridge special: the providers and the participants. The providers are incredibly caring and kind, and pushed me to get the most out of the program, always with empathy and compassion. The participants became my second family. I attended the program with 11 people, ages 21 to 70, each with their own personal struggles and challenges, each having something very special to offer the group in terms of experience, perspective and wisdom. What we all had in common was the desire to regain our health and happiness. We were all very supportive of each other, and we developed wonderful, lifelong friendships. We continue to support each other to this day through e-mails, text, Facebook and snail mail. My “Bridge family” will always be a part of my life and hold a special place in my heart.
I feel so fortunate to have participated in the Bridge program and will be forever grateful to the Bridge providers.
Before The Bridge, I was bedridden by depression, fibromyalgia, and chronic fatigue. I had lost 30 pounds and was so weak I could hardly walk. When I would look in the mirror, I could see the light had gone out of my eyes. I wished constantly and prayed I would die. I was desperate, to say the least.
My wonderful husband found The Bridge on the Internet and we immediately set up an appointment to meet with The Bridge personnel for a tour of the campus. To tell the truth, I don’t remember the drive down or back (four hours each way), nor meeting with some of The Bridge personnel. I barely remember the facilities. My brain had just shut down. Together, we decided The Bridge might be my answer.
The CFS recovery program at The Bridge is absolutely wonderful. We were busy every minute of every day: Exercising, meeting with the “providers” which included several mental health personnel, a physical therapist, lecturers three times a day, a kinesiologist, and hiking the beautiful landscape of St. George, Utah, as well as many other providers and services. Oh, and the best of all: massages every day.
During my first week at The Bridge, I began to wonder why I was there. There were so many people in our group dealing with maladies so much worse than mine. I watched them go through their withdrawals and achievements with courage and trust in the wonderful people around them.
During the second week, I finally woke up as to where I was and what I needed to do; and the work started for me.
I finished the program the third week on an adrenaline high. I was happy for the first time in many, many months. I had goals and looked forward to a brighter future. My body and mind were much more healthy.
My experience could not have been better. I came home so happy and ready to take on the world. I had made many new friends.
But best of all, I’m there for my children and grandchildren, which was my driving force. I’m back, because of The Bridge. I highly recommend taking your afflictions to them.
In July 2014 I felt defeated, anxious, frustrated, worried, and pretty scared. I was sent the website of The Bridge and had to stop reading it as I was crying too hard. After living with chronic pain and failing in chronic pain recovery for 31 years, I knew that finally help is out there and I couldn’t stop crying because I saw HOPE! I was more than ready and willing to embrace anything that could help me and I knew how important that was and signing up was a no brainer.
For the first time, I was focused on me and promised myself that I would participate fully even if it was uncomfortable. I felt instant acceptance, genuine kindness and caring, and most important, understanding. The lectures were invaluable as was every discussion with the therapists.
I knew what I wanted to work on and I did. As a result of my 3 week experience, I got my power back. I felt confident again for the first time in years. I learned how to embrace and be gentle with my physical pain. I soon realized that I can choose not to be a hostage to my health issues. I felt happy and in control again and got my life back out of choosing a new attitude and new outlook on life.
I knew The Bridge was not going to cure me, however, I learned new tools and those new tools enabled me to better cope with and handle just about any situation. Who can’t use some “coaching” for life especially in the stressful world we live. I must say that every health provider is top notch and amazingly talented. The staff is comprised of a group of individuals who are 100% committed to the quality of your life and will challenge you to step outside your comfortable zone which is where change lives.
I can’t say enough about The Bridge. It’s an amazing and brilliant program for anyone suffering. I have truly been transformed and will forever be grateful.
After suffering from debilitating anxiety and panic attacks for over 20 years, I eventually developed fibromyalgia. I was in constant pain and experienced muscle spasms, tingling, numbness, along with other symptoms. Eventually, the anxiety and chronic pain became more than I could bare, both physically and emotionally. I was in a really dark place and giving up all hope. I had been to numerous doctors and specialists. I often felt discounted and unheard. I was often passed on to another doctor, told they couldn’t help me, or prescribed yet another pill. Some of the medications only numbed some of the symptoms temporarily, while some of the other medications created even worse symptoms. I was done with doctors. It got so bad, that I eventually had to take a leave of absence from work. That’s when it got really dark. Just when I thought there was no hope or help for me, I discovered The Bridge. As soon as I read about it, I knew it was exactly what I needed and couldn’t get there fast enough. I hated to fly but was ready to jump on a plane to get help. I eventually did get on that plane and spent 19 days at The Bridge fibromyalgia recovery program participating in every treatment modality and group they had to offer. The types of treatments, the providers, the speakers, the staff, and the facility itself was top notch. I put in the work and faced my demons. I was even able to get off the vast majority of my medications. I’m now home, back at work, and living life to its fullest with my family. I am no longer just existing and going through the motions each day. My anxiety is a thing of the past and the physical pain is minimal. The tingling and numbness is gone. Everyone says I am a different person when they see me or they can just hear the difference in my voice on the phone. I know I am different. I am new and improved and I owe everything to The Bridge. I attribute my success to the program, its founder, all of the treatment modalities, speakers, groups, activities, the amazing staff, etc. Yes, I worked hard too. I laughed and I cried for 19 days. I wish everybody that needed help for a chronic debilitating issue, whether physical, emotional, or both, could have the same opportunity that I did to attend The Bridge and to make it to the other side, where a much brighter future awaits you.
My experience at The Bridge will no doubt top my personal list of life-changing events. Any attempt to express the magnitude of what happened there seems futile, but I have to try so that others will be encouraged to take this leap of faith. I was at the end of myself. I had flailed about for a year and a half trying multiple remedies, philosophies and approaches to put out the flames of consuming anxiety mixed with a long history of depression. At fifty, after successfully raising a family alone through multiple obstacles, the internal tools that had always carried me suddenly failed. I was baffled and horrified to find myself unable to engage genuinely with others or handle stress of any kind. My 30 year nursing career, in which I had just completed a new degree, became a source of fear and feelings of inadequacy. Progressively, my days had become nothing but a constant vigil. ‘How bad is the fear today? Will it wake me up tomorrow? How do I pretend I’m alright THIS time?’ I finally yielded to pressure from others to start taking antidepressants and to increase the amount of what I was taking for anxiety, both powerful and scary drugs in my opinion.
The very decision to acquiesce had driven me even deeper into a sense of despair and defeat. I felt I had tried so many things. Maybe they were right, I just needed to put on my big girl panties and take the pills. So I did. And then I descended into the darkest hole of my life. It was from that dark place that something arose in me and said ‘NO!’ I believe it was the last shred of fight I had left in me so I chose to listen and trust it. It was the best decision I have made. Making the commitment and actually going were scary and fraught with doubts and questions. ‘What if it doesn’t work? What if they’re weird and scary? This is a lot of money…how can I spend that on myself?’ My daughter told me she had a dream they had put me in a concentration camp upon arrival. I told her it had crossed my mind, too… But I had to do something. I knew in a very real way that my life depended upon it. I needed focused time and a supportive place in which to gain some new tools. I didn’t have any idea what those tools would look like. I only know that something in me had insisted for years that the answers were there, within me. I just didn’t know how to access them. So I went. And I found my tools. Not just the old ones I had lost, but a whole new selection of beautiful, simple perspectives that changed me from the core. As each day unfolded, the truths that lay hidden in me were coaxed and nurtured and clarified by the AMAZING staff and providers.
It was not easy. There were tears and fears and lots of stepping out on faith, but always with a caring hand to hold onto. The scope of services I received was broad and the providers exceptional at every juncture. They did not attempt to fix my problems, but rather helped me to recognize the foundations of who I truly am and to trust myself, my mind and my body to answer the questions. And I can see now how that is the only answer that will serve me through a lifetime of change and challenge. I remember clearly the morning I worked through a problem in my heart and reached resolution on it. In so doing I had proof of my innate ability to do just that…from within. I was astonished and incredulous and giddy with the knowing of it. To think that I have the tools within myself…what an amazing and empowering revelation!
I’m home now, just beginning the task of reexamining my world through a new, clear, honest lens. Life will come at me fast and using my newfound tools will require practice, focus and commitment. I will be patient with myself. I will call for help if I need it. I will struggle some, no doubt. But what I experienced while at The Bridge mental health retreat proved to me beyond a shadow of a doubt that I am able and I am equal to the tasks…not just of surviving, but of actually thriving! What a gift. What a precious gift.
Having attended The Bridge Recovery Center this year in the Feb-March session, I can truly say that it was an experience like no other… I came here suffering from the many, many aspects of Fibromyalgia…Those of you who have Fibro can understand the vicious circle it causes in your life; Pain, depression, anxiety, loneliness, being anti-social, always crying, thinking you no longer want to be part of this world. So I’m speaking mainly to those people now, but down the line, I think I speak to all who have other things going on in their lives…
It was scary to come here from so far. I knew I wanted to come since a year before when I was going through tremendous pain. I researched several facilities and The Bridge stood out for many reasons… Thanks to the love and understanding of my family, this was the first choice when I was at that point again this year…I had never done anything like this…I had seen many, many doctors and specialists over the years as I know many of you have. I was tired of it all. You do come to a point in your life when you are just tired! I was tired of taking so much medication, drained of any energy. Tired of what doesn’t work and tired of running around from doctor to doctor telling your story over and over and hoping you get a compassionate doctor, which many of you know is not an easy thing to do….Here was the answer for me…It was all in one place! It was worth a try.
Even after I made the decision with the help of my family, I got scared at the last minute and didn’t want to come…The staff was so compassionate that they allowed my husband to come with me to make sure I got there safely and to see where I would be staying….He was treated very kindly for the day that he was there with me.
In the beginning, it was a little hard…I questioned myself and I questioned how this young staff could make a difference in my life…Don’t let that first day scare you….It’s all part of the process…I worried that I would not get along with the group because they were very diverse…There were people younger than me, a few close to my age and a few older and of different backgrounds…Don’t let that scare you either….At some point, we all started talking to each other…We were all there basically for the same reason…We had all reached bottom with whatever ailment we had and this was like a last resort for us….Some of us had supportive families, some did not…They made it there on their own. What courage! Whatever the reason, we all bonded. The bond remains to this day & I believe forever… We still communicate and we still support each other.
The staff was amazing! Very kind, patient and attentive to our needs….Their cooks are amazing…You learn what is nutritionally good for you by seeing what they bring to the table and you can even sit in on some classes…
As for the healing, it was healing of the mind, body & soul….You are there to do the work and they are there to guide you…You have to be willing to help yourself like you have never done before…I can’t say that it was easy…It was not, but it got easier as the days went by…That is why it takes the time that it does….The classes are part of that healing process. You learn so much from the teachers. You get to see the doctors, the therapists, the different instructors every day for the 19 days or so that you are there… They are experts in their field. There is so much more, but you have to go to find out…I highly recommend this program with all my heart and soul….It has made a difference in my life like no other and 8 months later, I still use everything I learned while I was there…I still keep in touch with some of the staff and instructors and most important is that many of us who went to the program have become my very dear friends that I will always treasure, love and miss. We went through this together, strangers in pain in the beginning. Now we are friends for life that keep up with each other’s lives and support each other through whatever we may be going through…
I am not going to say that I am pain free…I am not. But the agony of my illness does not have control of me anymore. It no longer takes me to that place of depression that it used to before, because of what I learned there. I am happier now than I have ever been in the last 26 years of fighting this disease. My soul is content and I can handle many of life’s problems and stresses much better…And for that I am deeply grateful to The Bridge & its Staff….. I sincerely wish I could go back one day and help out in any way I can & thank the staff for giving me back my life…. By giving this testimony, I hope that I can help someone who is where I was and that they decide to give this program a chance….
Because of my experiences at The Bridge, I have gotten my life back! When I finally bit the bullet (at first, the price seemed very high to me) and decided to go, my life started changing immediately. I felt like, “OK, I am doing something very soon to claim back my SELF.” That alone gave me some relief. Let me tell you, the price that you pay is not even close to the service that you get with the number of professionals, lectures, excursions, etc. that are provided. I could not believe how nice the amenities were, and how good the food was. If a person goes to The Bridge with an open mind and an open heart and a willingness to fight to get back to the happy person that he/she can be, the financial and time commitment will fall by the wayside. If you don’t even try, you get a luxury vacation out of it. If you try though, you WILL conquer whatever is holding you back from being yourself.
When I got to Utah, I was in so much pain I could hardly turn my head to the right and left. By the time I left, I disposed of my pain pills. This was my idea. They will help you to get off of medication, IF YOU WANT. It made me feel very strong to make these decisions on my own rather than being coerced or forced to. Guests on sleeping meds, stay awake meds, anxiety meds, pain meds, and antidepressants are now totally med free….and their pain and depression is LESS!!! Even if medications are not an issue to you, you can apply the process to any area of your life. If you are sad or living in terror, as I was, you will learn to deal with all of these things while you are there. And, you will put these things behind you. You are not your disease, or your depression. You are you, and you need to learn to love yourself again.
While I was there I learned how, with my thoughts, to change my level of pain. I also learned how, with my thoughts, to change the chemistry in my body that causes the pain and inflammation and anxiety and fear. I had already read all of the self-help books. I was afraid that this program would just be a regurgitation of everything I’ve already tried, heard, and read. It was not. The concepts, lectures, little tips and tricks were many that I had never heard before, and the best part is that many of them worked for me. They go at you with so many different modalities, that not everything will be something that you connect with, but since there are so many options, something definitely will. It’s like a one-stop shop for the mind and body.
You may have a serious illness, a chronic illness, or pain, or depression, or have a hard time managing pills, anxiety, or a combination of all of those things, as many of us had in the Spring session. I went to The Bridge in the midst of a chronic pain / anxiety / depression cycle that was scaring the daylights out of me. I had many things happen in my life that just sort of manifested itself so that I internalized all of these things. I learned how to stop being so afraid of my thoughts. I learned to break the cycle of negative thinking. There were 9 of us in the program, and all 9 of us are grateful beyond words that we went. Not one of us walked away unhappy.
When I got to The Bridge, my face was covered in lines and stress and fatigue. My face was swollen and I just wanted to go home. I gave it a couple of days, and by the time I got home I was smiling and unafraid. My pain is less than a 2 on a scale of 1-10 (when I got there it was an 8). My family and friends cannot believe how much more focused I seem, and that I am smiling again gives them great joy. The big lines in my forehead are gone. You can see that I smile with my eyes today!
My name is Krista S. and I’m at stay home mom of three wonderful children, ages between 8-13. I have suffered from anxiety for 12 years and severe depression for 2 years. The last two years of my life all I did was go from doctor to doctor trying to figure out what was wrong with me and didn’t get any relief. I was spending a lot of money that did me no good. I just got passed around from one doctor to another with different treatment plans that had no continuity. Nothing was helping…the counseling, all the different doctors, all the meds. It got to the point that I decided and believed deep down in my soul that my family was better off without me. My kids and husband deserved much better than what I was giving them. That’s when I hit rock bottom. I couldn’t live like this anymore and I needed help. I got on the internet and I found the most amazing place that changed my life and that is The Bridge.
The Bridge mental health retreat helped by giving me my life back. They taught and showed me how to be happy again. I didn’t know who I was anymore and they found me. I lived for my family and not for myself. The idea of being away from my kids for 3 weeks scared me but I knew that I needed to leave my environment to get better. The money also scared me because of all our doctor bills. My husband looked at me in the face and said when did you decide to put a price tag on your life. If you had cancer would you say I can’t afford to get better. He was correct. I was sick and we weren’t going to put a price tag on me getting better so we found a way to make it work. It was hard but we did it.
I can’t say enough amazing things about The Bridge but I do know this -every person at the Bridge found their calling in life. They are using the gift that GOD gave them and they are wonderful. I still stay in contact with them today. They have touched my in so many ways. I USED to suffer from anxiety and depression and now I don’t. WOW …I love them all so much and can’t thank them enough for saving my life and giving my kids back their mom and my husband his wife. My kids did fine while I was gone. They say to me how happy they are that they have mommy back. I thought I did a pretty good job of faking it around them so they wouldn’t know but kids are smart. The Bridge showed me how to live again and I did the work. I used to be scared of “the dance” and now I embrace it. It feels good to “JUST BE”. Finally I’m free and it feels wonderful. Every person at the Bridge touched my soul and I will never forget them. I love you all!
In early 2009, I was in a bad car accident while at work. I was rear ended at a stop light by a young driver who was texting and never saw my car. The accident left me with a severe spinal sprain, bruising to my brain and ear drums, a bulging disk, broken ribs on my right side and extremely sore muscles all over. A year later, during the course of treatment, I was diagnosed with a 4 letter disease that would change my life: CRPS. A routine needle puncture that was meant to deliver steroids to my neck to make me feel better had done quite the opposite. My injuries immediately went from bad to nearly impossible to live with once the CRPS set in. I had all the same pains as well as a numb lower left arm and hand. I was ordered to see 20+ doctors over the course of 4 years and was only getting sicker over time. My CRPS spread from my neck, left arm and hand, to both legs and finally, to my right arm. Believing in multidisciplinary treatment based on the CRPS research I had read, I fought for it in court over a year before the judge agreed and the insurance company complied. I knew the prescriptions, injections and physical therapy my doctors at home were prescribing weren’t cutting it, I needed treatment 24/7 to stop the progression and find a balance. Everything the workman’s compensation insurance was ordered to do for me was one slow, painful step at a time. At that rate I wasn’t making forward progress. Much of the therapy was hurting me even more. While searching for a program for my CRPS, I looked into nearly everything. I knew a specialized treatment program would be my only hope.
I turned to the obvious place for information, my computer. I spent a lot of time online, day and night, looking into various multidisciplinary programs. I searched for programs all across the United States; treatment programs hospital in patient programs, CRPS ketamine therapy clinics and specialized treatment centers for women, but, none of them made me feel like they were viewing me as, well, me. Most of them refused to talk to me about their success rate. And none of them were speaking to my specific needs as “Aubrey with CRPS”. I didn’t want to be a patient. I wanted to learn how to do things differently. I wanted to see how much I could accomplish, not dwell on my injury and my disabilities. I was sick and tired of being sick and tired. I was desperately determined to become a success story.
I came across The Bridge CRPS Recovery Center while searching online. It immediately sounded different. I have always loved being out in nature. I needed that element as part of my physical therapy and renewal of spirit. In addition to having a disease that is considered incurable, I had spent the last several years in the trenches fighting with my workman’s compensation insurance. There was no denying I was sick, exhausted and thoroughly disgusted with the legal AND insurance processes. I had seen so many doctors prior to going to The Bridge, it is easy to understand how jaded and hesitant I had become. CRPS is hard to diagnose and difficult to treat. I was tired of waiting rooms, being poked and prodded and being gawked at like I were a case study in a medical textbook. I jumped at the chance to learn more about The Bridge. I spent hours on the phone with The Bridge coordinator, asking millions of questions. I revisited their website hundreds of time, carefully analyzing each word. Several things stood out to me. I was promised I would be able to go for a hike each morning in the Southern Utah desert. I had never been to Utah but after looking at several maps, I decided St. George must be nice being that close to so many state and national parks. Never mind I was using a walker to get around before arriving at The Bridge, I wanted to know I would be able to take in the natural surroundings and somehow hike. I wanted to see the sights and explore the trails. I was also careful to ask lots of questions regarding the handling of my information. I was purposefully “testing” the coordinator at The Bridge over the phone, to be sure the staff would be loyal to me and wouldn’t be in-cahoots with the insurance company. What I found most reassuring of all was that I was being called a potential “guest” instead of a “patient”. That meant more to me than anything else. It made me feel human. So, I took a huge leap of faith and decided to push forward with my choice to go to Utah.
It took a lot of legal and insurance maneuverings to get my spot secured at The Bridge. Their next session started in the middle of October and I was already at the end of September trying to get in. I was under a serious time crunch. Because I was fighting the workman’s comp company in court, I wasn’t allowed to contact them directly to guarantee my treatment was being properly set up. Not only did the coordinator at The Bridge talk to the insurance company several times for me, she made sure they paid for the best accommodations available which provided me a lovely, handicapped equipped space with lots of privacy. The coordinator also explained to the insurance company that it would be important for my husband to come the last few days to understand the program, so he could help me stay on the right path once I went home. She was able to arrange for the insurance company to pay for my husband to fly out and spend the last 3 days with me, taking part in the program so he had first hand knowledge of the process. I spent the entire 3 weeks in a king size suite with a large en suite bathroom that included a giant closet, large walk in shower (with shower chair) and an oversized whirlpool tub (my favorite after long hikes and hard work in the gym). The room also had wifi available affording me the chance to Skype with my family daily.
Even though I had long discussions about The Bridge with the guest coordinator prior to arriving, I still wasn’t completely sure what I was getting into when I arrived. My Mother and twin sister drove me to Utah to drop me off for the program. I was so incredibly nervous when I got there, all I remember is a blur of smiling faces, calm voices and lots of reassurances I would be well taken care of. Looking back at the pictures I took with my sister before she left me, I can now see how sick I really was. I was doped up on an overabundance of medication and was hardly moving. Shortly after arriving and checking in, I met a few women who would be sharing my “apartment” space. That basically meant we would be sharing a kitchen, living and laundry space. That first evening, we all ate together and were able to meet several of our treatment providers. They were all warm and welcoming, all reassuring each of us we had picked the right place. The Bridge assured me they had treated CRPS in the past and if I applied myself, I would get so much out of the program. I already loved that they were leaving it all up to me.
The next morning, we were told to be up and ready to leave by 7:15 a.m. I took hiking poles with me and we set out to watch the Southern Utah sunrise while walking. That first day we didn’t go far. A staff member stayed by my side the whole way there and back, ensuring I didn’t fall down. It wasn’t very far, but it was enough…The desert was sinking her teeth into me and was more inspiring to me than any human’s words could ever be. I immediately decided I wanted to soak it all in. For the first time in years, I was bounding out of bed, ready to meet the sun and absorb all Mother Nature had in store for me. I have always been a believer in God but had become skeptical the last several years. Seeing the beautiful surroundings and breathing the clean air restored everything in me; my beliefs, my hope in the future and my dedication to myself that I refused to be “sick” for the rest of my life. CRPS became just one thing about me, I no longer allowed it to be the overwhelming defining factor in my life. I arrived at The Bridge, “Aubrey who has CRPS” and left ,”Aubrey, the wife and mother of 4. She loves long hikes in nature, enjoys writing, painting and music. Aubrey lives well in spite of a CRPS diagnosis”.
The staff did encourage everyone to participate in all of the activities during the first week, but after that, they told us we were all adults and could make our own decisions. That said, they continued to reassure us that we should “try”. Such a simple word that took on such a huge meaning. I had arrived listing all of the things I couldn’t do. But, through the simple effort of “trying” I quickly began “doing”. It was such a welcomed feeling! Over the course of my stay, I was able to “try” all kinds of new things and rediscover several old things. Things I previously would have immediately shot down, either because I thought I couldn’t do them or thought they were silly or a waste of time. But, something happened a few days into my stay. I began to open my heart and mind. All of my preconceived notions faded. I found myself back in a horse pen (something I grew up with and quit after I was injured), whispering to Mustangs. I rediscovered water coloring and writing. I learned it was vital for me to recharge my spirit by sitting on a large rock for 20 minutes daily, absorbing sun, fresh air and good energy. I volunteered at the local nursing home. I even participated in a drum circle, to name a few things. I can’t mention everything because some things are a surprise to future guests…just know it was so healing and so much fun at the same time. I was able to join in group discussions and remembered how to listen to others rather than focus on myself. I remembered how much I enjoy helping others.
The Bridge can accommodate a variety of guests, whether physically disabled or mentally and emotionally in a difficult place. They helped me with all of the above. We worked on my medication titration so I could find the least amount needed to get by. In one circumstance, the doctor at The Bridge helped me find a more appropriate medication to manage some of my CRPS symptoms. For the first time, I felt like my old self…only better. The 2.0 version. I was happy! I was also able to participate in talk therapy I didn’t know I so desperately needed. I learned all about a healthy, anti-inflammatory diet and how to physically keep myself in the best shape using the gym, pool, massage, energy work and yoga. The Bridge is a true multidisciplinary treatment center with providers who love what they do and help each guest on an individual basis. All while encouraging each guest to embrace whatever type of religious or spiritual support they need. It is also important to note I never felt physically locked in at The Bridge; each guest was encouraged to let a staff member know if there was something they wanted or needed. We were free to attend a local church service, had several opportunities or either run by the grocery store or request items on the shopping list. I was even offered a ride to the local nail salon for a polish change. I felt comfortable asking for anything!
By the time I left The Bridge, I knew I had made new, life long friends. I was able to leave walking with hiking poles or a cane and am using them less and less. I have been able to manage my pain much more effectively since returning. While I occasionally have a bad day (or week, usually weather related), I have a huge list of techniques in my “toolbox” that I learned at The Bridge. I never feel stuck and hopeless like I used to. I am writing this a year after returning from The Bridge. Just last week, I was finally able to settle my case nearly 6 years after my initial car accident. My stress is melting away. I now have a personal trainer and am dedicated to my diet and exercise. I am writing a book and make time to paint on a regular basis. Most importantly, I have been able to jump back into my life as a wife, mother, sister and daughter. Because of The Bridge, my family and I have gained a much better understanding and control of my once hopeless, incurable disease. I have big goals and am making plans. I know that my future can be anything I want it to be. I am eternally grateful to Daren and the staff at The Bridge. They gave me the tools and permission to “try”. I am so much more than those 4 letters I was burdened with a few years ago. I have found the will to live and love life again.
Next Session: October 18th - November 7th
Space Is Limited - September Session Is Full
We limit our class sizes to ensure the best experience for each guest. If you have questions or are interested in attending the retreat this year, we recommend you get in touch with us early to apply and reserve your spot.