As of yesterday, I am officially done with the partial hospitalization program/intensive outpatient program (PHP/IOP) I went to for approximately 7 weeks. Though I completed all of the paperwork, I wasn’t actually discharged — I discharged myself.
I made the decision to discontinue going to Group about a week ago, though I’d been wanting to leave since May. I couldn’t stand the format, and I felt that I was being badgered by the therapists. If I missed a day, for example, they would call me — sometimes several times — to persuade me to come in. It was intrusive. I just wanted them to leave me alone. Even after I told them (via phone) that I was leaving the program, they urged me to go to Group several times.
I won’t deny that I got better while in PHP (and my one week of IOP). It kept me busy. I had someplace to go every day, even if I didn’t like it. And I did learn skills that will help me during times of distress. It was just a bad fit.
Now that I’ve got all this free time, I have to find other things to do so I don’t sit around at home all day. To start, I’m thinking a yoga class on Mondays and martial arts on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I’m terrified of going to these classes, but I have to for my well-being.
Today I took the day off from going to PHP #4. I’m absolutely tired of and overwhelmed by it. The program is skills-based, which means the therapists teach us skills aimed at like, improving our outlook and tamping down anxiety. I’ve already used a few of the skills, myself. But the knowledge doesn’t come easy.
During Group, which I call Class because it’s very much like one, the therapists teach us various skills. The format is, to my vantage point, anyway, very academic, and thus, overwhelming and anxiety-producing. (Yes, I used the word “thus”. Go, me. Lol!) I’d never had trouble in school before, until now — and that’s totally what PHP #4 seems like — school. They ask a question and when one of us answers, they write it onto a whiteboard, where they end up with a list of answers that we’ve called out. I have trouble with this, because the room’s ventilation system is so. Incredibly. LOUD. So much so that I usually can’t hear anything being said by either the therapists or patients/clients (whatever we’re called).
I’ve also felt pressured to provide an answer, which I’ve never felt before. I always had my hand raised in class. But on a few occasions I’ve been called on and left at a loss for words. How utterly embarrassing.
And yet, they joke to us that there isn’t going to be a test. That may be, but then why do I constantly feel like there is? And multiply that feeling by 3 because we have 3 groups to attend each day.
I’m sure this approach works for some people, but it doesn’t work for me. However, my husband says he’s seen a lot of improvement in my mood and activity level. I’m doing more — things that in the past, I only always thought about doing — now, I’m actually doing them, such as using the treadmill. I don’t doubt that the program works, but I don’t know if it’s right for me. I wonder if it’s worth the stress and anxiety of waking up Monday through Friday, only to realize that I have to go back to that place.
I’m sorry I haven’t been around, blogging erratically, reading others’ blogs whenever I have a minute — which are few. I don’t know how prolific I’ll be after today; again, I’ll probably be posting here and there.
What’s taking up my time so much? PHP 4. There are only 3 groups and lunch each day, so it doesn’t sound tough, but it is, oh, it is! Maybe it’s the homework that’s killing me: I’ve been assigned various activities to do outside of PHP, like contact a couple of girlfriends and set up a brunch (which is tomorrow), feed the kitties, start a knitting class (which isn’t going so well), and so on. So I’m now doing all this stuff that I either used to do or have never done before. And it takes up more and more of my time, which is why I’ve only been on WP every now and then.
The cutest little quilted, racing-jacket-looking, pink, purple, and white handbag appeared on my laptop screen. . . . I can’t even remember. Maybe on one of those “Sponsored” posts that are basically just ads on Facebook. Maybe on Coach’s Facebook page. But that’s not the point — the point is that I had to have it. Immediately. Right then and there.
We jumped into the car, and drove to the nearest Coach store, just a few miles north of us. I was elated to be able to have that bag that I had to have: I could feel my fingers running across the cool, quilted fabric; its small size, perfect enough to carry my essentials: lip balm, a small wallet, my keys, my phone.
When we walked to the counter to speak to a saleswoman . . . she told us that they justsent the last one back. Suddenly, my head was hot: a there-was-no-way-this-was-happening hot.
I stomped my feet; was spewing out invective both to my husband and the saleswoman about how it wasn’t fair; and crying. The saleslady was able to place an order for it, so that I could have the last bag. My husband was embarrassed. The only thing I didn’t do, is throw myself belly-down and hit the carpeting with fists and feet!
I don’t even know if this is mental illness, but my grandfather and I were very close, and he and my grandmother pretty much gave me whatever I wanted. My therapist said that this developed a sense of entitlement in me, in which I feel that I should have anything and everything I want.
It’s been a while since I’ve had a full-blown tantrum. And who knows? Maybe I’ll have another one some day. But I’m learning a lot of skills in the PHP program, that I can use if it comes up.
I hadn’t realized how much PHP would deplete my energy. First of all, I’m not used to being anywhere by 9:30 AM. Usually, I’m still debating whether or not to take a shower. And PHP, to me, is a long day: 9:30 AM – 2:00 PM. Sure, when I’m home, I use that time to check my social media, read blogs, and write a blog post. That usually takes me to approximately noon, when I eat lunch. After that, I lie on the sofa where I alternately read and nap. Granted, my PHP days are broken into segments. We have about three 10-minute breaks, and an hour for lunch.
On Thursday and Friday, I had to get myself there because my husband had to go into the office early. I was terrified. I’ve mentioned before that I hate taking Uber and stuff like that because I don’t like getting into cars with strangers — especially something like Uber, where anybody can become a driver, even if they don’t know their way around the city! And could attack you, as well!
Fortunately, my sister told me about this app called Curb, which uses actual taxi drivers in actual taxis — not in a plain old car with an Uber or Lyft sign in the window. The fact that Curb uses real cab drivers was a relief to me. But it was still terrifying to have to use it.
Well, I scheduled a ride for Thursday morning, and waited outside for the driver. Of course I was busy on my phone, so I was startled when he honked. We drove to PHP, and he was paid, including tip, through my app. That was such a relief because I always fumble with the cash when paying and can never figure out how much to tip. Easy peasy!
I’m proud of myself for having taken that huge step and using exposure therapy to complete the task. Now I feel confident using Curb, and especially because I had to use it again right away to go home!
I thought my IBS-D flared up, so I went upstairs and told the receptionist that, and that I needed to go home. She said that was fine, so I requested another Curb, which again, went smoothly.
Turns out, it wasn’t IBS-D — I had food poisoning! At least my case manager and PHP psychiatrist both called to see how I was doing. I told the doctor that I had food poisoning, and he gave me some advice on how to treat it.
So I didn’t make it to PHP on Thursday and Friday. Oh, well. There’s always next week. I’m just glad I was able to get there on my own!
What do you think of ride apps, like Uber and Lyft? Have you ever used them?