I’ve been learning to love PHP every day for a little over a month now. Not that one—gotcha! No, I mean I’ve been attending a Partial Hospitalization Program. So 5 days a week for 5 hours a day I’ve been at a facility with a team of mental health providers (therapists/social workers, psychiatrists, nurses, etc.) doing everything from finding me a new medication regiment for my depression and anxiety to regular individual therapy sessions as well as group therapy up to 3 times per day.
If that sounds intense, that’s because it is. Once again, I find myself on a mental health-related medical leave from work. This time I’ve taken 12-weeks of protected time under the 1993 Family and Medical Leave Act to try to finally get some treatment for various conditions mental and physical that I really wasn’t able to deal with last year in 2020 the way that I wanted to. As literally everyone on the planet knows, the entire healthcare infrastructure of… Earth was overloaded throughout 2020 and the mental health component was no exception. At times I had one or two month waits just for a single visit with a therapist and now I’m almost living with a whole crew of them.
I’ve actually recently transitioned out of PHP and have just started what’s known as IOP or the Intensive Outpatient Program. It’s just a truncated form of the same program as PHP, I just leave 2 hours earlier and will eventually transition down to 3 or fewer days of program per week as I try to transition back into “normal” life.
For a minute I wasn’t sure why I decided to write this other than simply as an update for the small number of folks on the planet who might take an interest but, earlier this year I was reminded by a very good friend that my talking about mental health has made it a little easier for other people dealing with struggles in their own lives or their families beyond anything particular to me. And that’s a second great reason to share.
I’m not blaming this all on last year, though last year was stressful for many ambient reasons. There were also family issues not directly related to the global situation (and some were) on top of the same challenges I struggled with in 2019… and 2018…. and 2017… and 2016… and you get the picture. I’m a little more positive now because I have the experience of taking a leave from Microsoft for 2 months in the spring of 2017. I know what to expect and what to avoid or embrace more fully.
One thing I thought I was prepared for but clearly am not, is fighting with insurance companies. I thought I was ready for them this time but nope. Actually, this whole last two years has been very educational about the horrors and intricacies of the health provider-insurance complex. It might be fun for me to engage as a software development if I weren’t an often barely functional patient just seeking help. It turns out that someone with a dangerously pessimistic world view and a constant sense of impending doom, failure, rejection, opposition, judgement, and punishment isn’t the person to take phone calls from an angry bureaucrat and they should probably appoint someone to advocate for disabled persons like myself in these situations. But I digress.
I guess my midyear update is this: I’ve taken some body-blows but I’m in treatment, baby-stepping back to the things in life I love. Whoever and wherever you, if you or someone you know is or has been on the ropes lately (and I think that describes a lot of us) I hope you/they have/can find the resources needed to get back to what you love. We all need to get back to more love.
On that note, my next post will be on enthusiasm.