My Mental Health Journey Through an Intensive Outpatient Program – Part 33

This is the start to my last week of IOP. I’m all kinds of conflicted about it. Over the past two-ish months, group has become kind of homey. At the same time, I think it’s time. I have to get back out in the real world sometime. I just wish the real world weren’t so scary.

My check-in was good. I mostly talked about my weekend, which was up and down. I went to see Lisa Fischer on Friday night with my kid and my partner. It was a good show. Then, Saturday was almost completely wiped out by a migraine. Sunday I was healthy again and my kid and I hung out at a Purim carnival. If not for the migraine, it would have been a great weekend.

Our first skill of the day was goal setting. We’ve done this before. Maybe it is time for me to go. But we had a different worksheet last time. And I’m not really good at goal setting, so I can use the practice. The worksheet had seven prompts, “This week I will. . .” and we filled in the rest. The first was “This week I will keep doing” and I said seeing other people. The second was “This week I will start doing” and I said accepting help. I’m no good at accepting help. I’m even worse at asking for it. But that’s officially my goal for the week. The third was “This week I will avoid” and I said triggers. The fourth was “Something I will do this week for physical activity is” and I said walking. Fifth was “Something I will do this week that will give me a sense of accomplishment is” and I said writing. Sixth was “The fun things I will do this week are” and I said band practice. Finally, for seventh, “This week I will relax by” and I said watching TV. Exciting stuff.

Our second skill was radical acceptance. We’ve also done this before, but it was at the request of one of the newer group members, so it’s not the same kind of repeat. Radical acceptance has its roots in Buddhism and was popularized therapeutically by Dialectical Behavioral Therapy. “Radical acceptance can be defined as the ability to accept situations that are outside of your control without judging them, which in turn reduces the suffering that is caused by them.” Simple in concept, really hard in practice. We talked about situations where radical acceptance has helped us. I said that I used it for coming to the intensive outpatient program to begin with. I wasn’t going for the fun of it. I had to accept my situation so I could be in a mindset to get something out of the IOP.

We also talked about situations where radical acceptance is not appropriate. Things like abuse shouldn’t be accepted, radically or otherwise. Situations like that need to be changed.

Finally, we wrote a quote on an index card. It was something to help with radical acceptance. We’re supposed to keep it handy to remind ourselves. I wrote, “I can’t change the things that have happened in the past.” Obvious, I know.

So, that was the start to my last week. I wonder what the rest of the week will bring.

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