My Mental Health Journey Through an Intensive Outpatient Program – Part 32

I overslept this morning. Well, that’s not quite right. Technically I woke up when I was supposed to. I just kept hitting snooze and hitting snooze some more. I was only about five minutes early to the IOP. I was also third to arrive. It was one of those mornings.

The pacing was a little off today. Check-ins spilled into the second hour. Then our first skill spilled into the third hour. But we finished a little early.

My check-in was on the long side. Probably because I wasn’t there yesterday due to my new three day a week schedule. I talked about my morning and how I did virtually nothing yesterday. I was frustrated by both, but I was especially frustrated by them in conjunction. I also talked about my goal for the week, being kind to myself, and how that was hard the past twenty-four hours. I ended on a positive note, though. The baseball season has officially started and I’m happy about that. I’m tempted to tell you about the game I watched, but I’ll spare you. If you want to read my thoughts about baseball, head on over to

The first skill was recognizing anxiety. We filled out a worksheet. The first section was choosing words that describe how anxiety feels in our bodies. I chose nauseated, tight, headache, and sweaty. Second was a little drawing of a person and we had to mark where we feel anxiety in our bodies. Head, chest, and stomach for me. Third was answering the question, “What thoughts and/or actions escalate your anxiety?” My thoughts were it’s never going to end, “what if” thoughts, and general rumination. My actions were puking, shallow beathing, and isolating. Finally, fourth we had to answer the question, “What thoughts and/or actions calm your anxiety?” For thoughts, I put telling myself that this will pass and I’ve been through worse before. I also counterintuitively said that asking myself what the worst that can happen is helps. For actions, it was walks, deep breathing, and talking to someone.

The second skill was filling out a feelings and needs log. This was similar to the last exercise, but it didn’t just focus on anxiety. We also did irritated, depressed, overwhelmed, terrified, and insecure. So, when I feel overwhelmed, I have a racing heart and I need to take a step back and talk to someone.

The point of both of these was to help us recognize our feelings. Emotions have a way of sneaking up on us. We don’t always know what we’re feeling until we’re trapped in the feeling. The earlier you can catch an emotion, the easier it will be to get out of it.

We ended the day with another worksheet, but this one was just for fun. We filled out a list of our favorite things:

  1. Favorite sweet treat – mint chocolate chip ice cream
  2. Favorite sport – baseball
  3. Favorite place to be – home
  4. Favorite person – my kid
  5. Favorite hobby – writing and music
  6. Favorite time of day – evening
  7. Favorite salty snack – French fries
  8. Favorite book – War & Peace (Seriously, it’s spectacular. You should read it.)
  9. Favorite TV show – The Good Place

Now, I don’t know if those are my actual favorites. I might answer differently if I filled out the list now or tomorrow. But that’s what I came up with this morning.

And that was today’s IOP. I’m off tomorrow, but I’ll be back at it on Monday.

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