Just the Facts, Ma’am

I started IOP (Intensive Outpatient Program) yesterday.  It was overwhelming, but I had a sense of satisfaction that I was doing something productive to help myself.

I was able to see a doctor, because someone had cancelled their appointment at 10:00 a.m.  So much different than the programs at the agency where I work.  The support staff actually came into the room and asked if someone needed to see the doctor.  I raised my hand and said that I hadn’t been seen yet, and I was able to see him thirty minutes later.  He actually spent an entire hour talking to me.  This made me miss an hour of groupwork, but I was thankful they could fit me in so soon.

He told me what I already knew, that I was taking too much medication.  He is titrating me off of Trileptal and eventually wants to cut down my Geodon dose.  He took me off of Lunesta, Deplin, and cyproheptadine.  When he is done, I will be on Lamictal, Geodon, Rozerem, Klonopin (PRN — as needed), and Celexa

This is a big relief to me.  Not only will it cut down on costs, but maybe I won’t feel like such a toxic waste dump. 

The IOP model is based off of DBT (dialectical behavior therapy) which basically teaches coping skills for dealing with emotional dysregulation.  It was originally developed for people with borderline personality disorder (a diagnosis that I do not have), but has shown to be effective for people dealing with trauma issues and PTSD (a diagnosis I do have). 

In the particular IOP I am participating in, the groups are three hours of groups in the morning (9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.).  the first hour is about mindfulness.  The second hour we review DBT diary cards, and the third hour we learn a new DBT skill and do a mindfulness exercise. 

We are also seen weekly by a therapist to review our DBT skills and how we are practicing them in “real life” situations.  Additionally, we are encouraged to contact our therapist with questions and situations throughout the week.  I am also going to see my regular therapist weekly during this time.

I am now more hopeful, after experiencing my first day in the program, that I will be able to take charge of my life more and not let my issues handicap my life to such an extent.  Will I always be bipolar?  Yes.  Will I always struggle with depression, anxiety, and PTSD?  Yes.  But I’m starting to think it doesn’t have to rule my life. 

The first day at IOP was fairly overwhelming, but I am hoping that I will settle into it and really learn some things.  I have also received an email from my employer and they would like for me to get started on completing FMLA (Family Medical Leave Act) paperwork.  The great thing about my agency, that I didn’t realize, is that they pay 2/3 of my salary when I am on FMLA.  Not everyone does that. 

I apologize for making this a post that is more infomative than interesting, but I am hoping that reading about these resources and clicking on the links will help at least a few people.  I will blog later tonight about other things going on. 

If you have any questions about any of the above information and how it relates to “real life” or my experiences with any of the above meds, feel free to leave a comment, or you can email me at RosieSmrtiePants@cox.net

A song to leave you with…Everclear Normal Like You


4 thoughts on “Just the Facts, Ma’am

  1. It sounds like you made a good decision by going to the IOP. I hope that it works out for you. You did make a very good comment, that the illness does not have to control your life. It will buffet us around from time to time, but we need to realize that we do have some control over our life. The key thing is that we have to work at trying to be healthy. Just keep working at it.



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