I’m worried about my little brother-in-law. He’s attending something called “Honor Academy” in Texas. This is his first time living away from home (just turned 18). I don’t think it’s a healthy environment for him. The place isn’t actually a college or a school. Technically it’s supposed to be about internships. He’s going there because (I guess) they have a film program.
Let me describe what I know of their routine. They get up @ 5am for corporate exercises. Very demanding physically (LBIL been working out for a while, but he feels very challenged and worried by the amount of effort this takes).
Then he spends all day working in their library, getting AV materials for people working on film projects. He doesn’t get paid (in fact, he pays to go there), but they give him a food stipend. More on that later. Hopefully, if he builds the right connections through his job and such, he’ll be able to work on the film projects (his goal).
The place provides a cafeteria, but everybody basically says that it’s just for losers. He doesn’t have a car, but he’s supposed to procure his own food, prepare it, everything. I hope he starts going to the cafeteria, but he wants friends and he wants to be on a project, so he’s worried about being stigmatized.
I don’t know what on God’s green earth possessed my mother-in-law (who is normally such an amazing person!) to think this would be a good environment for a young man with major depressive disorder. Mr. Micah’s told him that if it gets too bad, we’ll send out a rescue team.
This worries me for many reasons. One that I find particularly troubling is that while the group probably isn’t a cult, LBIL’s experience is like that of people in cults. He’s often up late because of a loud roommate (he has 5!), then gets up very early and does hard physical exercise, he works hard for no money, he’s promised uncertain rewards in exchange for hard work, he’s sometimes unable to easily get food. In the midst of this he has Bible studies and such which, if I know him, probably often make him feel like he’s not a good enough Christian. He was also very upset yesterday when his boss gave him an AV assignment he couldn’t do while doing his normal job as well.
I’d “rescue” him right now if I could. Best case scenarios are either that he gets what would essentially be an internship there (with a filmmaker). Second-best would be that he comes home and we all support him and tell him that it wasn’t a healthy place to be so it’s ok that he wanted to leave.
Mr. Micah and I both find this very troubling. Sometimes Mr. Micah cries after talking to him. He always needs lots of hugs and snuggles. But he’s a good big brother and does his best to help and encourage LBIL.