My Mental Health Journey Through an Intensive Outpatient Program – Part 4

Day three of my IOP was today. I woke up early but really didn’t want to go. I knew I couldn’t miss a day, though. Not for such a flimsy excuse as not feeling like it. So, I went and I’m glad I went.

I’m no longer the newest person in the group. I still feel new. I wonder how long it will take me to feel not new anymore.

As usual, I think this is going to be every day, we started with check-ins. I actually had a lot to check in today. I started with the fact that it’s my 49th birthday. That’s not really related to any of my mental health concerns, but if I’m doing an IOP on my birthday, people should know, right? Then, I talked about my weekend. It was a good weekend, mostly. Friday night there was an issue with my kid that I’m not going to get into here. Then, on Saturday, my partner took me out for Korean food and then to Black Eyed Sally’s. The band was just OK, but it’s always nice to see live music. We went to see American Fiction (It was excellent) on Sunday and cooked banana bread and chili. Overall, a solid weekend. I finished by talking about my symptoms, they haven’t abated yet. I wasn’t expecting them to this quickly, but it would have been nice.

We actually had two topics we talked about today. The first was goal setting. We got a worksheet with six categories (family, friends, work/school, spirituality, body, and mental health). For each one, we had to write out what we’re doing well, what needs improvement, and what our goal is. I’m not naturally a goal setter. But I filled it all out and it is nice to have something concrete to work towards.

The other topic was grounding. This one was picked because of one of my comments on Friday. When I said I like grounding techniques, people started asking about it. Today we spent the third hour discussing it. I guess I’ve already contributed positively. That’s nice. We talked about the three types of grounding: mental, physical, and soothing. Mental is things like playing a category game (name a band for each letter of the alphabet) or describe an activity in great detail. Physical is things like touching specific objects and noticing their feel and tightening and relaxing various muscles throughout your body. Soothing is things like positive self-talk and thinking about favorite things. I prefer physical grounding, but I use the mental techniques sometime. I’m not one for soothing, though.

That pretty much took us to the end of the session. We’ll see what tomorrow brings.

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