My Mental Health Journey Through an Intensive Outpatient Program – Part 5

Day four of my IOP is in the books. Today was just OK. Not through any fault of the program. It was my own fault. Well, not really my fault, it would be wrong to assign blame. I slept terribly last night. If I could control that, I would take the blame, but I can’t so I won’t. That led to oversleeping, which led to skipping my shower and having to rush to get there. I did make it on time, though.

Check-in was pretty basic today. I talked about my lack of sleep and my meeting with my prescriber yesterday afternoon. The clinician asked a few questions about my sleep. Then, she asked me what I did for my birthday yesterday. It was a low-key birthday. My mom took me out for lunch, I ate a cupcake, and I got myself some ice cream. That’s really all I can ask for from a birthday.

After check-ins were done, we went to today’s skill. It was emotional coping vs. problem solving coping. They are basically what they sound like. Emotional coping can be anything from meditation to journaling to yoga. It doesn’t eliminate the stressor; it just allows you to tolerate the stress. Problem solving is things like strategizing and breaking the problem into more manageable chunks. If done successfully, it removes the stressor.

We all naturally lean one way or the other. I’m more of a problem solver myself. Why tolerate a stressor when you can make it go away? But it’s not realistic to problem solve every issue that arises. The examples we used in group were if your car breaks down and the end of a relationship. If your car breaks down, problem solving is the way to go. Yoga isn’t going to do any good. But a breakup is the opposite. There’s no fixing it, you just have to make yourself feel better. The goal is to get to what they call wise mind. That’s the spot in the middle where you use problem solving when it’s appropriate and emotional coping when that’s appropriate.

That was basically it for today. I wish I’d been more awake and attentive for it. There’s no changing it now, though. I guess I’ll use emotional coping to make myself feel better about it. Then, I’ll try to sleep better tonight and go in fresh tomorrow.

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