Monday, March 30, 2009

PHP Day 1

I got there at 8 am on the dot, just like I was supposed to, buzzing from the extra shot mocha I'd gotten from Starbucks on the way there. I also had taken 20 mgs of Valium because I was beyond anxious about even walking in the door. Most times I've entered that hospital, I've ended up on the inpatient floor, so it's very unnerving just to step across the threshold of the front door. I'm always worried that I'll be able to enter, but they won't allow me to leave.

They were again insisting that I have an alcohol problem, asking me if I've gone to AA yet. I get their concern because I was binge drinking A LOT, and particularly after what happened last week, but alcohol has not consumed my life. It's (pardon the pun) nothing but a drop in the bucket that is my life. I don't have the urge to drink. I'm not jonesing to be drunk so I don't have to face my problems. I don't have to drink, I just choose to drink and I can stop if and/or when I decide I want to. I'm an adult that isn't addicted, I'm old enough to make that choice for myself.

They actually made me take a breathalyzer test, which was a first for me, which of course came up as 0.00 cuz I hadn't had anything to drink. They also made me take a urine drug test, which I'm hoping doesn't show that I took the Valium. I'm honestly not sure if it will. Not a lot of time had passed between the time I took the pills and the time I pissed in the cup for it to have made it's way through my system, but you never know. I'm sure they'll let me know if it did.

I missed the first group of the day, which is goals group, because I was busy filling out paperwork. I finally broke down and filled out one of their chemical dependency forms as best I could and wrote in big letters across the front I DO NOT HAVE A CHEMICAL DEPENDENCY PROBLEM!!! Most of it didn't apply to me anyway so I had a lot of N/A's on there as well.

The second group was Basics group. which is where we discuss the "necessities for a healthy life and the foundation for my recovery". Basics is a good name for it because all we talked about were triggers and how they impacted our thoughts, feelings and behaviours. I was called out of this group to talk to the psychiatrist on staff, one of my pdoc's cronies. I've seen her around the hospital but had never talked to her before. She at least listened to me and changed my diagnosis from Bipolar to Recurrent Depression, Severe.

When I got done meeting with her, it was time for lunch. They give you a little ticket, like you'd get at the circus to go on one of the rides, for a free lunch. Nowhere does it specify what you can and can't get with this little ticket, so I grabbed a mini-pizza and walked up to the cashier.

"You can't get pizza with that ticket".

"Um okay, and where exactly does it say what I can and cannot get with my little red ticket?"

"It doesn't say it anywhere, but you can't get pizza with it."

I put the pizza back, looked at what other food there was and decided I'd rather starve. So I went back down to the room I knew our next group would be held in and just drank my water and listened to my iPod.

The third group was Spirituality. I was called out of the group for more paperwork, so I missed most of it, but the topic of conversation was guilt. I told the intake person that I probably wouldn't want to sit through that group, so when she pulled me out of it for awhile, I was actually happy. They always make the claim that Spirituality isn't necessarily about God, but they always reference a "higher power". I'm sorry, but I don't believe any "higher power" exists outside the basic human race and it really irks me when they try to get me to believe there's some all powerful being that lurks around.

The fourth group was Expressive Therapy. Our task was to write an affirmation, a positive coping skill or something else, that Ive already forgotten. I always feel like a kindergartner in Expressive Therapy, breaking out the crayons or the markers to draw a picture. I just drew some colorful squiggly lines and in the middle of them I wrote "I'm a major influence in her life. I must be there for her... ALWAYS!" Luckily the therapist running the group didn't ask me to share cuz I wouldn't have.

They have Expressive Therapy every day and they want you to alternate between doing art and going into the gym. I plan to just keep going to the art class. As childish as it often seems, I feel much more willing to participate there. If I go into the gym, I'm just going to be standing around.

I'm honestly not looking forward to one of tomorrow's groups, the one titled Victim/Survivor. It's after lunch, so I think I'll just do what I did today and drink a bunch of water and try to relax before that group gets started. I have a feeling it's going to be a tough one to stomach.

Overall the program seems different than what I remember it was like. They have a new wing in the hospital, so the rooms aren't as crowded as they used to be. I didn't feel like I was suffocating the whole time. I saw several people I'd been inpatient with, but only talked with them briefly.

Tomorrow I don't need to be there until 9 am, so I can arrive early, do some breathing exercises so I don't have to down any Valium. I'm not sure how much I'll get out of these groups or how many weeks I plan on doing them or how many weeks they want me to do. It's a four week program and then they just repeat the same groups again. We'll see if I can last long enough to do the four weeks. If I do, that would be a first.


Blogger Anonymous Drifter said...

Your post reminded me of my first hospitalization. On the way there I sarcastically said to my husband, "They're going to give me my own box of crayons," never believing in a million years that anything near that happens on a psych ward. Yeah right, when I landed there they gave me the tour. In one of the rooms for creative therapy there were boxes upon boxes of crayons. I felt like I was being condescended to.

6:49 PM, March 30, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Being accused of a substance addiction. fun. It's one of those things that the only way you can prove that you aren't is if you go off it altogether. Although to be fair, most people that have behaved like you do would have said the same things, acted in the same way, so there's no way to tell you apart.

I've heard about the 'you have to have a higher being' thing, but I really don't buy it. Talk about your daugher or your own well being as being the higher self, IMO. Or talk about FSM and being touched by his noodley appendage if they start to get to you.

1:53 AM, March 31, 2009  
Blogger tracy said...

Oh, yeah....these groups sound v e r y familiar. Some are good, some suck and some are just okay. At the program i went to, i feel i got some good stuff.

Most importantly, please stay want to be able to color those ponies, right...??? :0

i am really looking forward to hearing more and "re-living" my own experience...something tells me these programs are quite similar in many ways...

9:29 AM, March 31, 2009  
Blogger tracy said...

....and what the hell was up with the pizza, i wonder? i did what you did...just didn't eat lunch...not a day eater anyhow...if i can avoid it...

9:31 AM, March 31, 2009  
Blogger sansanity said...

Funny I hated PHP when i got there too. Now I miss it so much.

It's also funny how they are all the same.

8:43 AM, April 05, 2009  
Blogger sansanity said...

except we could have pizza.

8:09 AM, April 06, 2009  

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