So I apologize for deleting my last entry. I felt too vulnerable, felt that I opened up too much, felt too humiliated. But suffice it to say, things came to a head and I had to enter outpatient day-therapy at a local hospital.
And, listen. This blog entry might come off as judgmental or outright rude in some parts. But it wouldn't be me if I didn't speak my mind. This has been my experience with said outpatient therapy.
So first of all. After listening to my main psychiatrist nag me (in a kind way) for like two straight months about entering outpatient therapy, I give in. Or, I decide to do it for myself. Look at it how you will. So Wednesday morning, 8:30 am comes early and I show up for my appointed session. After registration where they gave me a fucking armband like I'm an inmate or a Burning Man raver, I head up to the 9th floor: "Mental Health." I expect to find lots of regular, college-educated people struggling with anxiety or depression, taking classes to learn and grow and improve themselves, talking to psychiatrists, managing meds, sharing and commiserating tales of stress and overwhelming situations together, you get the picture.
What I find instead is straight the fuck out of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. There are zombies walking around. There are ancient hunched toothless gnomes sitting deeply in couches, drooling. There are people walking around in hospital gowns with their underdraws showing to God and everybody. There are people who haven't brushed their hair in years. Their eyes are dead. Their teeth are rotten. Almost everyone is walking around in socks--do they confiscate your shoes at this joint? Will these characters insole people to death? Homicide by shoelace-throttle? I guess. So I am shocked and bewildered at the rather extreme circumstances I find myself in. I do not expect to be fully immersed in what could only be called a loony bin.
I can't help but wonder if I will be taking classes in self-soothing and stress management and coping techniques, as expected, or if instead I will be fucking lobotomized.
Because what is this shit.
The first day I spend at the day program, I am exceptionally underwhelmed. The V. FIRST THING WE DO was...get this...we make smoothies. Literally. We have an unnecessarily lengthy discussion about the health benefits of kale, fucking, KALE, and then we go to the common-area kitchen and puree some bananas, some strawberries, some frozen peaches, and some magical unicorn faerie rainbow motherfucking kale. Then we, well, we fucking drink it. Thank you, my OCD is cured now. Thanks to the mystical healing properties of kale, I will no longer slice the shit out of my forearms out of extreme distress. Thank you smoothie-master. It's a cure in a blender.
We literally come away from this session with handouts titled "The Truth About Kale" and "Green Smoothie Recipes." Thank you, advanced psychiatric medicine that my insurance is paying out the ass for, I am healed.
Oh and PS, while we are drinking our magic-in-a-Dixie-cup, this one woman in a tattered gown wanders over, rinses out her mouth, and spits a long, slow, sloppy spit into the sink. The KITCHEN sink. She does this three times. Now, I am germaphobic, but I am not the only one staring at her in horrified awe. Rinsing and spitting, right there in the kitchen sink. Splashing. Spittle. All over.
So after Kale-Smoothie-101, I am rather disillusioned, a mere hour into "intensive therapy." Then the next thing we do? Fucking, motherfucking, craft time. We go to the craft room and fucking take out our cardboard and colored pencils and glitter glue and fucking contact paper and make ourselves some fucking Affirmations. We have to come up with some "saying" that resonates with us, something, you know, inspirational. All "let go and let God"ish. All, "BREATHE." All, "I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and doggone it, people like me." One of the things I come up with to put on my business-card-sized ART & CRAFT is, "I can't change my past. Get the fuck over it." But I don't read that one out loud. Didn't figure it would sit too well.
So after motherfucking Crafty McCraftyScrapBookerson time, we head over to a class. A class on irritability management, you ask? Perhaps a class on how to deal with anxiety triggers, or exposure therapy related to OCD? Why no. Not remotely. It was a class on grief. A class on what to do if someone up and moves away. Or if you experience pet loss. Or you lose your job. Because this relates to my germ phobia how? Because this will stop me from cutting my wrists in the future how? So we sit there for an hour talking about how various people deal varyingly with various griefs.
Then, lunch. Now let me clarify something. First thing in the morning, I was matched up with a partner. The buddy-system, if you will. Her name is Denise. My first impression of Denise is, "Holy mothershit, this woman cannot stop talking." The type who will fill silence with rambling, who will end a rant with, "Yeah, you know, and, but, so, anyway, yeah, so, you know......" just to talk. Just to talk. So I thought, "Goddamn if I can deal with this for seven to ten days." Denise is a TALKER. Like, I know all about her neighbor Marlene and Marlene's son Ricky and her co-worker Sophie's nephew's friend Shane who once did the thing with the whatnot this one time. Denise never forgets a name, and she talks about these people as if I know them or should know them. So I was unprepared to deal with the HARDCORE likes of Denise. She's a sweet spirit, but honest to God, just, stop talking.
However. It's almost a blessing in disguise, because since she is my BUDDY and we literally spent seven hours a day together, it's almost nice to have someone who can fill the deadly silence, even if it is about how once her old friend Berty threw out her shoulder and had to have two surgeries. So although Denise doesn't give me a chance to breathe or say anything besides, "Uh huh, yeah, for sure, oh I see," it's better than awkward silence. Girl can TALK. Shit. I mean, SHIT, Negro!
After lunch we have some Reflective Time(TM) wherein I fill out approx. 39579079290375 surveys and forms and try to write into microscopic margins the way I feel when I am anxious, depressed, or "OK," forms and papers which no one ever asks to see or review. I've filled out tens of pages of shit that apparently no one wants to read. Why? What's the significance? I DON'T KNOW!
After another bullshit class on I don't even know what, it is time to reconvene with our main counselor, Julia. Except that because I am a new patient, I have to meet with the resident psychotherapist, who basically goes all Sigmund on me.
When you say one thing but mean your mother.
She asks questions, I cry, rinse, repeat. She is harsh with me. She says things I do not like. This takes like two hours. I end up missing our wrap-up session with Julia and am more than an hour late leaving and getting home.
So that was my first day. Total and absolute hippy-dippy bullshit. Fucking craft time. Glitter glue and feathers and felt pens, really? When I need to learn to process some PTSD issues and learn to be able to leave the house and not have panic attacks? And I mean, I get the concept in theory of "mind/body/spirit," so let's nourish the body with kale and soothe the soul with some glue sticks and raffia, but got-damn. I mean got-DAMN. Really? Smoothies? And classes on grief, when what I'm really dealing with is germ phobia and self-loathing? OK, if you say so.
Today's session was better, but only slightly. Perhaps I will recount that at another time.
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