First, let me say that my stay is far from over.
And second, I’ll clarify that this isn’t an inpatient stay.
Eight weeks ago, I started PHP (partial hospitalization program) at a hospital not fifteen minutes from my house.
Since then, I’ve graduated from PHP and moved on to IOP (Intensive outpatient program) in a room down the hall from the first program.
I was in PHP for what seemed like forever.
I was there so long that by the time my last day rolled around, I was the last person in the room from my original group. I was staring at unfamiliar faces, hearing unfamiliar stories, and was ready to get the heck out of there.
Leaving PHP that day was nerve-wracking but exciting. I could finally say I’ve made progress.
I started IOP the Wednesday after my last day in PHP, and I was nervous as all get out. The people in IOP were the same people from my original PHP group, but it was a whole new ball game. It was a new room, a new set up, a new counselor, and more days of me having to explain to people how I felt and why I felt that way.
I still have a couple weeks left in IOP, but I can tell I’m going to be ready to face the real world again when my stay is over.
So what did I get out of this experience?
It Helps to Hear Other People’s Stories
These programs are based almost solely on group therapy. You’re stuck in a room for 3–6 hours a day with the same fifteen people, and everyone gets a chance to talk about their life.
I know this doesn’t appeal to everyone. Most people don’t want to sit in a room and hear people talk for sometimes 20–30 minutes about their issues.
I, however, found this to be enlightening.
You always hear the phrase “you’re not alone” when struggling with any sort of mental illness, but that phrase never really hit me until I came to PHP.
I was definitely not alone. In the beginning, I found myself thinking, “There’s no one here who can relate to me! My story is different and bigger than everyone else’s! This should be all about me!”