My Mental Health Journey Through an Intensive Outpatient Program – Part 6

Today definitely started better than yesterday did. I slept OK last night. I woke up once around three, but that was it and I was able to get back to sleep. That meant that I woke up on time, showered, ate something, and was ready to go without any rushing. I even arrived at the IOP about ten minutes early.

I was the only one there when I got to the room. I took out my phone and messed around until the clinician arrived. Then, I took one of the check-in sheets and started filling it out. The rest of the group arrived while I was writing. It was a small group today, only five of us.

When it came to my turn to talk, I wasn’t feeling talkative. My mood was pretty low. But the clinician asked a bunch of questions, so I wound up talking for quite a while. I don’t remember most of what I said. I mumbled most of it, though. I’m a world class mumbler, especially when I don’t want to talk.

When check-ins were finished, we started talking about interrupting and stopping worry loops. Worry loops are what they sound like. They are when worry feeds back on itself and starts a spiral. Interrupting a worry loop is pretty easy. It can be as easy as staying the word “stop”. Stopping a worry loop is harder. The only way to stop it is to replace it with something. That comes down to doing some activity intentionally. That’s not in the on-purpose sense. It’s in the with awareness sense. The activity can be almost anything you want, as long as it takes up all of the cognitive space that had been filled with worry.

After worry loops, we talked about using emotions well. That just means really attending to our emotions to help us determine what we really need in the moment. Being attentive to our emotions means noticing how they feel in our minds and our bodies. It also means not looking at emotions as positive or negative. They are just one of the ways we communicate with ourselves. We should treat them as a compass that we can follow.

We ended the day by doing some grounding exercises as a group. That helped me more than anything else we did today. Hopefully I’ll be in a better spot tomorrow.

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