Group Work

I always hated group work in school.  It sucked.  Then you grow up and go a little off the deep end and bam, they make you do group work all over again.

Currently, I’m in an outpatient program that involves a lot of group “therapy”.  First we have to fill out a form called a, not kidding, “happy sheet” with numbers rating how we are feeling on certain days.  Like Angry, Sad, Anxious, Hopeless, Bored as Shit, etc.  I added the last one, but it should be on there.  You also have to say how well you slept.  Well, fuck, I don’t know, I was sleeping.  I know I need help because I can’t even fill out the happy sheet correctly because I forget whether 10 is the best or the worst, so sometimes I just randomly circle 5.

Wait, so ten means I'm great or awful or . . . screw this.

Wait, so ten means I’m great or awful or . . . screw this.

The therapist looks at your sheet and then asks you how you’ve been.  Turns out most of us have not been well. Which is why we’re there.  While each person gets a turn at whining, the rest of us either try to look concerned or just say fuck it and nap.  We’re all either sleep deprived from insomnia or just stoned on various pharmaceuticals so it’s generally accepted.  Better than work meetings where this is usually frowned upon.

I have not been declared ready for work yet (sarcastic sadface) because I still have meltdowns.  Wednesday was because this lady tried to talk about time management and lists and all I could see was this endless stream of shit I hadn’t done yet and I had to leave so I could freak out and the nurse seemed concerned with this.  Thursday was music therapy and the lady brought fucking drums and we all had to play in a circle and make up our own rhythms which I ain’t got and it just kept going and going and we were supposed to remember our turns and think while there was banging and I wanted to hit the therapist with the drum repeatedly.  I would have tried to play a creative rhythm while I did.

I fucking hate drums.

I fucking hate drums.

Friday we talked about what made us Angry, Sad, Scared, etc.  I said drums for every one, among other things.  But then someone started talking about traffic and the conversation steered off into an actual car wreck as people talked about all the accidents they had been in and how dangerous it was to drive when I was going to have to drive in the next fifteen minutes or so and I was like “subject change” and they said sure and then went back to traffic and I left and the nurse called my husband and said I really shouldn’t drive home cause for some reason I am having problems.  She thinks I want to kill myself.  That’s not true.  I want to kill everyone else.

Part of the problem is that I happen to like stuff like routine and we’ve had absolutely none of that.  The regular therapist was gone last week, so we got therapist of the day.  It’s always reassuring when your therapist asks “Am I supposed to be here?” when she first shows up.  Then you get to tell your problems over and over again which is super fun, especially for the ones who have irritating and possibly made-up problems.  Like this one chick who couldn’t seem to gain weight and constantly talked about how people were so hot for her and her stepfather was stalking her and every time someone made a suggestion for help she said no because he was in the police’s pocket you see, and I don’t care.

Group is FUN.

Group is FUN.

We also have different psychiatrists prescribing the drugs.  So far I’ve seen three – one in inpatient and two more in outpatient.  I’ve been in outpatient 7 days by the way.  The first shrink put me on lithium and the third one took me off.  It hasn’t seemed to make much of a difference on my anxiety. I’m normal for a while, then I want to climb a tree until I take my pills and then I just want to be unconscious.  I thought if I told my parents about my therapy – who were sure to disapprove because I was missing WORK and should suck it up – I would feel better.  I brought my husband.  So my parents screwed with me and were like, nice, and offered me money, which was my other worry.  So parents and part of the finance worries down, and supposedly job covered by FMLA.  No problems!

Except yeah there are because I’m still fucking anxious for some reason.  Also there is this anger that kind of takes off into near shouted expletives I normally save for my family blog here.  One group member, a guy in the military, said “Holy crap, and she’s the librarian!”  Yes, buddy, librarians have RAGE too.  And I’m not sure if there is a pill for that.  I’m not sure about anything.  Except I’ll be a group again, same time, same place this week.  I only hope the girl is there who wants to stab people in the eye with a pen.  I like her.

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26 responses

  1. Group doesn’t sound like much fun. Get well Alice, we’re all rooting for you.

    1. Thanks, Paul. It wasn’t much fun, but they did give free chocolate milk, so I will give them that.

  2. I hear ya sister. I had to leave work because I was afraid I would stab my boss in the eye with a pen. Meds help. I think group therapy is difficult for us sarcastic-creative types. Everything just makes for a great, darkly hilarious story. But I feel your pain and wish you all the best in your recovery. Anxiety sucks. take care.

    1. Ah, yes, dark hilarious stories are the best, and it sucked not even being able to deliver those . . . much. One counselor caught on to my “humor defense mechanism”. Biotch.

  3. I’m with group work in school was awful. And I still hate it. Andwhen I had to work in a group I also would like to kill everyone else… But I hope at the end it will help you to feel better and it will do something for you.

    1. I think that it did, if only to tell me that I was not alone and also that I was not the most insane out there by a long shot.

      1. I agree and the idea to get a sworn community via groupwork is wrong. At the end it’s just a dog eats dog thingy.

  4. I hear you about the group stuff, when I started my out patient group work I’m like you a “little” sarcastic too,(see that sarcastic remark “little”).
    Seriously, just hang in there and I promise you that you will in a few weeks have some “well shit aww ha” moments!.
    You will learn some tips and methods for the raging and anxiety and when you actually start using them you will be like “shit why didn’t people tell me this stuff in the first place”.
    Love you Alice,,hang in there xo.

    1. I do wish I had enough time – and funds – to continue the group work because the real counselor is supposed to be back this next week and I hear he’s actually good at his job. But breathing in the smoky air (they had to go outside but it stays on the clothes) gave me sinus issues, and it is not only expensive but they demand the money up front for outpatient. If I had no job or income, ironically I could afford it with medicaid. But not much else.

      I did get some tips for the raging and anxiety and they are in my little notebook. If you happen to have any good ones, feel free to send me an email. I’d love to hear them. So would the people I’m about to throttle. 🙂

  5. Interesting. As someone who has taken lithium for years now, my initial reaction to the doc who took you off is to make a loud QUACK noise. It takes more than just a few days to build up a therapeutic level and therefore determine if it’s effective. But anyway…

    Yes, outpatient group therapy is the suck. They have good intentions I’m sure, but it was a total waste of time for me every time I did it, and I did it several times. Hang in there. Oh, and maybe consider drooling on yourself, you know, just for funsies. 😀

    1. I am seriously wondering about that too. Like, why did he take me off of it so fast? I was only on it like a week. I hadn’t really noticed it doing anything either way, but at least it was cheap and the side effects were still better than the Seroquel. I go see my shrink’s nurse next week and will ask her then.

      Ha, that would be pretty funny, the drooling, or possibly I could talk to the magic elves. There was always someone who slept all the way through Group. When someone had issues we’d all be supportive and shit and then go outside and smack talk each other. Because we’re sweet that way.

      And that’s part of the problem. Having mental health patients help each other – which since there was no counselor control is what happened – doesn’t work well. It only teaches more bad habits. Like how I learned you can kill yourself with a spoon in the hospital. I’m just realizing I could have a whole post here . . .

  6. Group therapy can be challenging for those who are more introverted. It’s a shame you’ve had inconsistency in the psychiatrists and therapists. I would think a stable routine is a must for recovery, especially those battling anxiety. My thoughts are with you, and I wish you a strong recovery.

    1. Thanks, Carrie. It really is necessary, and insane that no one seemed to get that. I let them have it, though, which felt good and was entertaining to watch. Oooh the meek library lady used the “f” word!

      One step forward, two back. I am hanging in there.

  7. I hope the routine is more routine and helps more this week.

    1. It might, if I had the money to go, but I guess I’ll never know. He did have a way of telling it like it is to this one annoying chick, and it would have been entertaining to watch him rake her over the coals again.

  8. I would just try not to sit directly next to the eye stabber…or wear goggles

    1. Good idea. I liked her though. She had serious spunk, and at least wasn’t as dreary as the others. Psychosis helps with that.

  9. Oy, I don’t know how you’re supposed to make progress when you’re seeing someone different all the time.

    1. Me neither. That’s why I finally ‘sploded on them.

  10. Perhaps the military guy was just shocked they still had librarians, I hear they are becoming a rarer breed these days…

    1. Yes, if most of the big wigs had their way, we would not exist. Just computers. That had all the library stuffs on it. Even though less than .00000000005 percent of the world’s books are actually online at this point.

  11. Ugh. This sounds like a nightmare…The next time someone says something about traffic, ask, “did y’all just say we can play in traffic? Let’s go.” Hope it gets better.

    1. I definitely wanted some of them to play in traffic. I guess that’s why we weren’t ever allowed to go outside. God forbid we get Vitamin D.

  12. Sounds like hell to me. Groups only work if everyone’s committed to making it work, and it sounds like the rest of the group couldn’t care less about anyone but themselves, which makes me wonder why the hell they’re in group therapy rather than individual therapy. Can you request a transfer to another group?

    I’m still praying, btw. Xx

    1. Thanks for the prayers, faith. I actually started going to church sometimes – mostly out of loneliness. I think it helps some, as long as I disregard the more moronic man-made parts.

      What’s bad is that they do not offer individual therapy there, only group because it is cheaper. Not more effective – cheaper, though of course they pretend it’s because group is so much better. Yeah, right. Met some interesting people though, and some of them were actually nice. Others were just fun to talk about.

      1. I agree, humanity does rather try to put God in a box. Which I find slightly ironic, as in the Western world, we’re the ones who end our lives in a box. There’s a book called Pastrix by a Lutheran pastor called Nadia Bolz-Weber, which I recommend you read.

        I saw and read your FB status. I’m praying harder for you, if that’s possible.

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