Friday, October 20, 2017

Outpatient program, part seven

You might start with Outpatient program for depression and anxiety, Part One.

Eleventh Session (Oct. 17, 2017)
I'm bored with this program and bored with blogging about it. Usually 10-15 people show up, but today there were only eight. The first exercise was to write letters to ourselves about how we've changed and then a letter to someone in our support system. I used my letters to complain.

I'm glad my last day in IOP is Thursday. I'm tired of a program that was never a good fit for me to begin with. Today the facilitator led us through a handout on gratitude and he actually started to suggest that when we're in depression it's good to remember things we're grateful for. What? Thinking of what you're grateful for is the last thing you can do when you're in depression. Several of us spoke up and educated him on how bad gratitude is as a depression coping skill. Maybe it's good when you're in between depressions, to keep them from coming on, but not when you're in it.

Twelfth Session (Oct. 19, 2017)
For my last day in IOP, I made cupcakes (yellow with chocolate frosting). I stowed them in the staff office til the end. We split up into two groups for the first two hours. After check-in, we discussed a handout on ways to keep your mood stable (exercise, hobbies, sleep, diet, etc.). 

For the second hour we did an interesting exercise the aim of which was group cohesion. Dr. B led that one and I was very glad to see him. I'm glad he made an appearance as a facilitator on my last day, but I wish he'd been more involved all along.

Then it was the end and two of us were completing our time in the program. I passed out my cupcakes, which everyone liked. They handed us certificates, applauded us and let us say a few words. Usually people thank the facilitors and talk about how much the program helped them. I wasn't that gracious. I just thanked everyone for tolerating my presence and made one last pitch for my depression support group. Yeah...that's me.

I left feeling SO GLAD to be done! I felt so relieved and happy to be done with sitting in a room, trying to discern what facilitators are trying to get out of us and trying to build personal connections with people in an environment with no privacy. I have my mornings back, I'm back on my regular schedule and I can focus on my job! I really didn't get much at all out of IOP except that I can now say that I've done it, I'm educated on what IOPs are like and I made a few connections that I hope last.

But I must state clearly that I simply didn't belong in this program. Many people have said IOP has helped them a huge amount and they're grateful for the coping skills they've learned, the emotional support they've received and the relationships they've built with the facilitators and psychologist. There are people who adore those facilitators and are extremely glad they got to learn from them. IOP teaches critical life skills how to manage your illness through things like exercise and activities, how to best use your support system and to be honest with yourself about what really motivates and affects you. In the eyes of many, it's an excellent program. It just wasn't for me. Maybe they should add to their assessment process, "Have you spent years solidifying your coping skills such as how to assert yourself, how to set boundaries, how to build support networks..." etc. For those of us who have, this might not be the best use of our time.
My last name is "Rodriguez-Martin."

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