My Mental Health Journey Through an Intensive Outpatient Program – Part 12

I overslept this morning. I was on time to the IOP, in fact I was the first one there, but I had to rush. I hate being rushed. It got my day off to a bad start.

Check-ins were pretty standard today. I talked about how most of yesterday afternoon was good, but then I got triggered in the evening. It put a damper on the whole day. One of the things I’m hoping to get out of this IOP is getting better at dealing with unavoidable triggers. I’m definitely not there yet.

The second hour was spent going over the weekly goals that we set on Monday to see how we’re doing. My goal was to build on the progress that I’d made last week. I talked a lot about the same things I talked about during check-ins. I felt like I was making good progress until last night. I feel like I took a huge step backwards. The clinician reassured me that getting better is not a straight line. There will be dips and the goal is to have the overall trajectory be up. I know that, but it doesn’t feel good to dip.

For the last hour, we talked about trauma and PTSD. I’ve written a little about PTSD before. The statistics around it are depressing. It interferes with jobs, relationships, physical health, and a whole host of other things. People with PTSD are six times more likely to attempt suicide. Self-harm is also common. PTSD also leads to severe anxiety and depression. Sometimes it is behind those conditions and does not get diagnosed as PTSD. Like I said, it’s depressing.

After the introduction, we talked about coping strategies. There are social coping strategies like educating yourself and others and finding supportive connections. There are emotional and physical coping strategies like mindfulness and exercise. It is also recommended that victims get counseling and keep a journal (This is kind of like a journal, right?). We wrapped up with recognizing and avoiding triggers and lifestyle risks. I haven’t mastered the triggers yet, but I do pretty well avoiding the lifestyle risks.

So, I started the day rushed and annoyed with myself and ended the day talking about a horribly depressing topic that’s a little too familiar. It was lots of fun.

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