My Mental Health Journey Through an Intensive Outpatient Program – Part 16

Week three of the IOP is done. In theory, I’m halfway there. Today got off to a rocky start. I overslept again, and I was feeling anxious again. Maybe some rest over the weekend can fix both problems.

I don’t really remember today’s check-in. I think it was fairly thorough. And I think I talked about my anxiety again. I’m sure there was more, but it will remain a mystery.

We had an activity for second hour. We were given a blank piece of paper and told to fold it however we felt like folding it. I went with corner to corner and then the other corner to the other corner. Next, we were told to tear the paper however we felt like tearing it. I wound up with seven pieces. Finally, we were given tape and told to put the paper back together, as close to its original form as possible. I think I did a fair job. It’s recognizable as an eight and a half by eleven piece of paper.

It turns out this was a metaphor. The paper was us. The folds and tears were our trauma. And the putting it back together was therapy. We talked about what lessons we got from the exercise. I said that therapy is hard, once you’re broken the cracks will always show, and it’s never too late to put yourself back together. (Strangely, when I was jotting it down to share, I wrote “your” instead of “you’re”. I don’t think I’ve ever done that before.)

After the paper project, we talked about signs of recovery. Signs of recovery are things like being able to talk about your trauma without over activating or shutting down, being able to take pleasure in life, and believing that you deserve to take good care of yourself.

Finally, we wrote postcards to our past selves with advice that we would give them if we could. Not really my style, but it was good to end on something easy. It was a pretty intense session overall.

Unfortunately, I developed a headache during the third hour and that turned into a full-blown migraine after group. It derailed the rest of my day. At least I made it to group, though. And I’ll be back at it on Monday.

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