My Mental Health Journey Through an Intensive Outpatient Program – Part 19

I started my IOP today less OK that I started yesterday. There will be dips on the road to recovery, right? The thing is, I was exhausted. I slept terribly last night. I went to bed a little later than usual, but not too late. I still could have gotten eight hours if I hadn’t woken up at 3:30. My mind was just full of racing thoughts, mostly about work.

My check-in was fine. I talked about my lack of sleep and my thoughts about work. Then, I talked about how my Tuesday was actually pleasant. I had dinner with my parents (meatloaf and potatoes) and went to band practice. I hadn’t been to band practice in ages. It was nice to play again.

Our first topic of the day was motivation. Lack of motivation is one of the nastiest things about depression and other mental illnesses. There were ten things that can help to get motivation back:

  1. Act as if you feel motivated
  2. Argue the opposite
  3. Practice self-compassion
  4. Use the 10-minute rule
  5. Go for a walk in nature
  6. Pair a dreaded task with something you enjoy
  7. Manage your to-do list
  8. Practice self-care
  9. Reward yourself for working
  10. Seek professional help

I think most of those are self-explanatory. Argue the opposite means to take all your excuses for not doing something and flip them. The 10-minute rule is to give yourself permission to stop a task after 10 minutes. Inertia will likely keep you going past the 10-minute mark.

We wrapped up this topic with a brief talk about what causes a lack of motivation. They are avoidance of discomfort, self-doubt, being over-extended, lack of commitment to a goal, and mental health issues. We didn’t spend too much time on this because everyone in the room is suffering from mental health issues. It seemed really obvious which one applied to us.

For the third hour, we took a self-care assessment and discussed the results. The assessment was divided into sections: Physical, Psychological/emotional, Social, Spiritual, and Professional self-care. We were supposed to rank each thing on a 3-point scale, I do this poorly, I do this OK, and I do this well. There were 50 things like eat healthy foods, do something comforting, have stimulating conversations, meditate, and take breaks during work. I’m not going to go over all fifty, but I got ones and twos on most of them. Maybe I’m not showing myself enough compassion, though.

For the discussion, we went around the room and each person chose something they would like to get better at. Then, we all gave suggestions on how the person could improve. I chose eating healthy foods and eating regularly. People suggested prepping meals ahead of time, making the healthy foods delicious, and things like that. I think my best bet is enlisting my partner’s help. She likes to cook healthy foods.

It was tough, but I did stay awake for the whole session and ride home. I’m going to bed early tonight and hopefully sleeping through the night. Wish me luck.

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