Life in inpatient is centered around food and groups. I’ve talked at length about the food before, but only mentioned groups in passing. The first group each day takes place at 9:15 and is called Goals Group. You are supposed to think about the circumstances that led you to be in inpatient, and set a goal for something you can do that day to help yourself. My goals usually centered on reading or doing exercises in therapy workbooks.
The second group, at 10:30, and the third group, at 1:00, are both activities. Sometimes we fill out paperwork, such as the lengthy set of questions to reflect on 2015 and make plans for 2016. Sometimes we answer questions from Life Stories (a board game about sharing random experiences) or Homeward Bound (cards about reflecting on your experience in inpatient and what you need to do to move forward). Sometimes we do art activities, like the coping skills tree or the collage below.
The theme of this collage was things to do to improve our lives in 2016. We had plenty of magazines to hunt through, and the activity therapist, Nikki, also had pictures and phrases she had cut out during some downtime. She kept handing them to me and saying, “Here, this one’s for you.” She apologized to another client, Bryan, for not knowing him well enough to give him any and I said, “It’s really depressing that you know me well enough.”
So, somewhat top-left to bottom-right, we have “Center Stage” for continuing my involvement in theatre projects, “Let yourself believe.” for believing in myself (like a coworker encouraged me to do with the Believe coffee mug she gave me), “Literature” for all the books I plan to read this year. A birthday cake for doing something special to celebrate my birthday, maybe by traveling like the travel guides suggest. Office supplies for trying to get more organized, abstract art for getting back into my creative hobbies, a cat for spending time with my four cats. Sunshine for time spent outdoors, Prilosec for taking care of my physical health, a snack bee for cooking and doing cute projects from Pinterest, a little kid for spending more time with my cousins’ children.
We also had a 3:00 group with the social worker that was designed to be a therapy group, in which she liked to load us down with paperwork. After I was the only one to complete it, she opted for an activity in which we were each given two emotions and asked to describe a time when we felt that emotion and how we coped with it. The first one I was given was “depression”, and I commented that there were too many times to choose from. “Scared” was easier, with me telling about my latest car accident and everyone chiming in about their own car accident stories.
The final group, at 8:45, was my least favorite. It was usually some sort of worksheet led by a program assistant, and at that point we’d just gotten through 2 hours of visitors and I was ready to go pass out. They wouldn’t hand out nighttime meds until after that group, however, so there was no point skipping it in favor of bed only to be awakened an hour later.
When I got out of inpatient, I missed the groups. At least the three in the middle. I lamented to Sadie that I wished I could go in during the day just for groups and not have to spend the night. The options for groups in this area are not so helpful. There’s the DBT group that I just graduated from, and despite Jan’s suggestion that I go back I will not be doing that. There’s AA and NA and eating disorder and grief support groups, none of which are relevant to me.
Sadie suggested that there are groups for the residents of the dual-diagnosis facility, and they may allow me to come in for those. She also said that CMHC used to offer groups and had trouble getting people to attend regularly, but they might start new groups in the future. She said she’d look into some possibilities for me. I would be relieved to have a bit more structure and a bit more social time, since right now all I get is my one day per week at work.