My Mental Health Journey Through an Intensive Outpatient Program – Part 13

I’m through the second full week of my intensive outpatient program (IOP). This week was kind of a mixed bag. Last week, I felt like I made some progress. This week I had a bit of a dip. That’s to be expected in this sort of thing, but it’s still frustrating.

For my check-in today, I mostly just kept talking about our last subject from yesterday, PTSD. It hit a little too close to home, and I couldn’t stop thinking about it all afternoon and evening. The clinician explained to me and the group about how diagnoses work. Essentially, to get diagnosed, you need to check all the boxes. I may be one box short of PTSD. Alternatively, they don’t like piling diagnoses on top of each other. It adds to the stigma. So, if the treatment plan would be the same, they may leave it at one diagnosis. It’s interesting reasoning, but I still can’t help but wonder if I should have an additional diagnosis.

After check-ins, we went around the room and shared something that is unique about ourselves. I had trouble naming something that wasn’t trivial. I finally settled on the fact that I’m a writer. I write stuff here, for a baseball website (, and a philosophy website ( There are a lot of writers out there, but I suppose I’m the only one that writes for those three websites.

That was a lead up to today’s topic which was self-esteem. I’m no good at self-esteem. We were given a sheet with a bunch of self-esteem journal prompts. Things like “Something I did well today…” or “I felt proud when…”. I struggled trying to fill it out. I put a few things, but not because I really felt them. I just felt like I should write something.

We ended the day by writing something on a notecard that we thought someone who was struggling might need to hear. I wrote, “You are not alone.” Then, we mixed up the cards and passed them to someone else. I got one that said, “You are here for a reason, and I have you. I see who you are. I always have. I hope you see how beautiful and special you are!!” There were also two hearts and two stars on the card. It was a good exercise in affirmations.

I actually have four days off now. It’s President’s Day weekend and I had plans before I started the IOP. I hope everyone lucky enough to get a long weekend enjoys it. And if you’re not so lucky, I hope you enjoy whatever time you have.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.