In one week I will be taking a medical leave of absence and checking into an intensive outpatient psychiatric program. While I don't know all of the details of the program yet, I know that it involves various types of therapy sessions several days a week, and will last at least a month. This is hard for me to admit; it's hard for me to share. I have just as many preconceived notions about what this program will look like as you're probably having right now. (Movies involving hokey portrayals of group therapy sessions come to mind.) But, despite my preconceived notions, and despite the anxiety I have about participating in something like this, I know it's what I need to do. I know it's what I need to do if I have any chance of getting better.
Over the past several months that I've been writing this blog, the effects of my illnesses have slowly been getting worse. Yes, there were small (but significant) times where I felt better; but then I would go back to feeling even more depressed and anxious than I was before. I've been having more depression and dark thoughts, more anxiety, more agoraphobia, more hair pulling. I've become less functional—having to force myself to do basic things each day. I've been getting help with all of this, and yet I still feel worse. That's why I've decided (with the guidance of my psychiatrist) to get more help.
My mental illnesses are real. Every day I fight against them. Right now, I'm fighting as hard as I know how to fight, and yet I still feel like I'm losing the battle. I need extra help so that I can fight harder. I need better tools, better strategies. In the fight for my own life and well-being, I need all the help I can get.
I know I'm not going to find a "cure" doing this program; I know that I'm not going to walk out of there being normal, but, maybe, it will help me feel more capable of living each day. I'm hoping that it will help me find peace; to find enjoyment and beauty in the world around me. Most of all, I hope it helps me find the beauty in myself, and to discover that I'm more brave and strong than I think I am.