My Mental Health Journey Through an Intensive Outpatient Program – Part 2

I started my intensive outpatient program (IOP) today. I walked in and checked in at the desk. They told me what room to go to and I headed up the stairs to the room. I was about ten minutes early, but there were already four or five people there when I arrived. They were all looking at their phones, so I sat down and did the same.

I was even more nervous than I thought I would be. My right leg just kept bouncing and bouncing. I felt like it was annoying the rest of the group. I’m sure it wasn’t annoying them, if they even noticed it at all, but it felt like it was annoying. I tried but I couldn’t get it to stop.

When the clinician arrived, she introduced herself to me. It seems I was the only new one today. We then filled out a paper which had questions about our moods, energy levels, sleep, and things like that. The clinician collected the papers and started doing check-ins. They took a lot longer than I thought they would. Most of the first hour was spent checking in.

When it came to my turn, I gave a brief explanation of why I was there: depression, intrusive thoughts, and suicidal ideation mostly. The clinician asked me how I slept last night (not well) and if I had eaten before I came (nope). Then, we moved on to the next person. I think I spoke less than anyone else. Hopefully I’ll talk more as I get used to it.

I don’t know what happened in the second hour of group. I got pulled out to talk to the clinic’s doctor about my prescriptions. It was a long conversation, and I answered a lot of the same questions I’d answered at my intake. Ultimately, we decided we’re keeping my meds the same.

When I got back, the group was on a break. I sat down and waited for everyone to get back. When they did, we started the third hour. Our topic of discussion was forgiveness. The clinician talked about what forgiveness is and what it isn’t, and people spoke up when they had something to add, either agreeing with what was said or disagreeing. The discussion was good, but I didn’t participate. It was my first day and I was feeling shy.

After the third hour, we were done. I was starving and exhausted. I stopped and got a sandwich on the way home. Now I’m on the couch counting the hours until day two.

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