Working on Us, Week 6

Hands Over Face
Photo from Pixabay

On her blog, Beckie of Beckie’s Mental Mess has introduced a set of prompts that touches on mental illness. Each week she offers up 2 prompts for bloggers to use in a nonfiction, fiction, or poetry piece. You can respond to either prompt, or both. For more information, click here. The rules are below. This week, I am responding to Prompt 1.



  • Write your own post and create a pingback to the original post here.
  • There are no right or wrong answers.  Write in any format you see fit.  (Answer’s, fiction, non-fiction, poetry, poem, short prose…anything).
  • You can do one or all prompts.
  • You have from July 10th. through to July 17th to submit your entries.
  • Please reblog the original post in order to spread more awareness.
  • If you the blogger have a suggestion/question you want to ask in the future weeks, please submit them in the comment section of this post.
  • Let’s see if we can get some men involved in this weeks prompts, your feelings a validated here too!
  • Plus, as an added bonus, whoever responds to the following prompts will automatically be reblogged to promote your blog site!

~ 💚 ~

Week #6 Prompts: 

Prompt #1 Questions:

1. There are so many varieties of depression out there, such as Bipolar Depression, and (SAD) Seasonal Affective Disorder.  What type of depression do you suffer from, or have? I’ve suffered from bipolar depression for half of my adult life, as well as from seasonal changes (SAD).

2. What do you do to fight your depression? (Meaning, therapy, medications, meditation, ECT). Medication and therapy, inpatient hospitalizations, partial hospitalizations, and finally ECT, which I no longer undergo. And to be honest, I don’t know if I would choose that treatment option in the future.

3. Does anything help you, and if so… What? ECT has helped in the past, but it isn’t a permanent solution. More recently, my psychiatrist switched my mood stabilizer from Tegretol to lithium, which has lessened my depressive symptoms. It’s working.

Done with PHP/IOP

Photo credit: Nick Kenrick.. on Visualhunt / CC BY-NC-SA

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.

A Day Off From PHP

Photo on Visualhunt

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.

PHP Week 5: Done

Photo on VisualHunt

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.

I’m exhausted.

My Tantrum In Public, With My Husband

NOTE: This happened about 10 years ago.

Photo provided by author

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 just sent 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.

Patient: Tantrum