IOP, part 0: Prologue
The closest I've come to a suicide attempt, I guess?
(Content warning: mental health, suicidal thoughts/behavior.)
Life update! I'm taking a leave of absence from UChicago for a while to pursue mental health treatment at an Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) for depression.
I have no idea what this is going to be like, and I haven't been able to find very many "here's what you should expect!" sort of websites, so I'm intending to create a series of posts describing the program and what sorts of things happen for other people making this sort of decision or just scared of what it'll be like.
Anyways, so far the process has consisted of a zillion phone calls and hours waiting for people to call me back so I can actually start the program, so until then here's a prologue of "the sort of thing that can make your psychiatrist recommend an IOP."
it doesn't happen like it does in movies.
it's not big and it's not meaningful and it doesn't build up to anything, it just ... is.
there's no orchestra or screaming guitars - just spotify playing i'm your moon on repeat because hey, why not?
and when a stranger smiles at you on the way, it doesn't make you rethink everything. there's no climactic moment of self-discovery, no sudden realizations. it's just a smile, and you smile back at her, and that's all it is.
you don't see any friends, and they aren't planning the same thing, and you don't get to tell each other how much they're worth and before you know it you aren't both crying and holding each other and wondering how you ever thought of such a thing.
you stop by your office to see when your psych appointment is. even though it doesn't matter, you're kind of curious. you thought it was monday, but it's actually wednesday. huh.
you don't hit "rock bottom"
whatever that means.
because this wasn't the result of some catastrophe or sudden extravaganza of feeling. you just kinda feel like it at the best of times and, well, this isn't the best of times and you just kind of do it. you don't even remember making a decision, it just kind of happened.
because life is a series of ordinary events and feeling bad doesn't change that.
you leave home. you walk through the snow. you smile at the stranger. you stop by your office. you arrive.
and it takes a long time to climb all the stairs
and there's an ordinary, everyday decision to make.
you jump or you don't.
and when it comes down to it, all the love, all the support, all the friendship you could ask for has run its course and can't break your tired heart.
the one thing in the whole world that saves your life is a security lady standing on the corner eight stories down who you think you might have made eye contact with.
and you feel too awkward to jump with somebody watching
so you walk home feeling like a coward.
and you kind of feel like you should tell your therapist
eventually, you do.
it doesn't change everything but maybe this IOP can help.