My Mental Health Journey Through an Intensive Outpatient Program – Part 22

I was back at it for week five of my IOP this morning. It was a pretty normal day. We started with check-ins and then moved on to skills. I was super tired and had a headache, so that wasn’t much fun. But the rest of the session was fine.

For my check-in, I recapped my weekend. I actually had quite a bit to talk about. On Saturday morning, while I was in the shower, I noticed a bullseye rash on my leg. It looked to me like a Lyme disease rash, and I don’t want to mess with Lyme. So, I went to urgent care. The doctor there said it looked like Lyme to her, too. She put me on two weeks of doxycycline. Not a fun way to start the weekend.

The rest of the weekend was good, though. I spent it with my partner. We went to dinner with some friends. Then on Sunday we went to a pancake house (which I kept wanting to call a maple syrup refinery). It was very rustic. Good pancakes, though.

After check-ins, we picked our goals for the week. My goal is to accept help from others. If I’m really good, I might even ask for help. I know it’s ambitious, but I might get it done.

Our first skill of the day was learning how to forgive yourself. There are seven steps:

  1. Understand your emotions
  2. Accept responsibility for what happened
  3. Treat yourself with kindness and compassion
  4. Express remorse for your mistakes
  5. Make amends and apologize
  6. Look for ways to learn from the experience
  7. Focus on making better choices in the future

2, 4, and 5 are easy. The rest aren’t. At least that’s my perspective on things. Another tricky thing with self-forgiveness is that you can only forgive yourself for things you are responsible for. A lot of people with mental health issues are apt to apologize for everything.

The second skill was on safe and unsafe nurturing. I don’t always nurture myself, but when I do I seem to be pretty safe about it. The only negative nurturing I do is with food. I have a tendency to go with quick and easy food which isn’t the healthiest. Things like this (writing) and music and movies were all on the good list. When I remember to do it, I guess I’m pretty good at nurturing myself.

That took us almost to the end of the third hour. In the last couple of minutes, we all got stickers. Mine said, “It’s okay to not be okay.” I don’t know what I’m going to do with a sticker, but it’s a message worth remembering.

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