My Mental Health Journey Through an Intensive Outpatient Program – Part 30

Today was a weird day at IOP. To start with, I was the fourth one there. Fourth! I never use exclamation points, but fourth? Come on. What’s wrong with me? Fourth!

Check-in was fairly normal. I talked about my weekend. It was a nice weekend. Spent it with my partner. We went to a sugar shack/pancake house for the second time this month. The pancakes were delicious. Apparently, the season for maple syrup is ending. Thanks a lot climate change. We also watched Iron Man. Otherwise it was a low-key weekend.

I set my goal for the week. It’s to be kinder to myself. You’d never know it from the first paragraph, but there you go.

Check-ins took the whole first hour. It was then that things got really weird. My group was the biggest it’s ever been, at least since I’ve been going. They decided it was too big, which I understand. So, I got bumped to the overflow group. I’m taking it as a compliment. I’m far enough along that they thought I could handle the change. It was a different clinician and different group members. They all seemed nice enough, but they weren’t my people.

We spent the second hour doing check-ins again. Luckily, no one in the room had heard my first check-in, so I was able to repeat myself. It took some of the pressure off. It was interesting hearing different stories and perspectives, but I missed my normal group.

We did today’s skill in the third hour. It was “Coping with Anxiety and Grounding Techniques”. We’ve already talked about these in my group. But, again, it’s always nice to get a different perspective. There were 10 coping strategies:

  1. Get out of the situation if possible.
  2. Breathe.
  3. Do not try to control your reactions. Just accept them and ride them out.
  4. Call someone.
  5. Engage in physical activity.
  6. Focus on objects around you.
  7. Touch the floor. Literally ground yourself.
  8. Cry.
  9. Positive self-talk.
  10. Ask yourself, “What is the most supportive thing I could do for myself right now?”

We talked about each one. And we tried the breathing and grounding exercises. I’m always blown away by how well breathing works.

That was about it for today. It was different. Different isn’t necessarily bad. Just different. I like my regular group better, though. Hopefully I won’t be bumped out tomorrow.

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