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Hello! I'm a writer from central New York who has bipolar disorder. Among other topics, I write about mental illness and writing. I have short stories published in Lynx Eye, Lost Coast Review, The Outrider Review, Sliver of Stone Magazine, The Mondegreen, The Linnet's Wings, Cobalt Review, Breath & Shadow, The Round Up, Postscripts to Darkness, Masque & Spectacle, and several other journals. I have essays about mental illness in The Ram Boutique and Amygdala Literary Magazine, and an essay in Parts Unbound: Narratives of Mental Illness & Health, a book that was published by Lime Hawk Literary Arts Collective. In December of 2016, The Mondegreen nominated my story "Santa Lucia" for a Pushcart Prize. I've written a novel entitled Purple Loosestrife and a novel entitled Hoping It Might Be So, both of which I am submitting to agents and publishers. I'm working on a novel called Dark and Bright as well as a book called Violets Are Blue: Essays About My Bipolar Life. I have a B.A. in English from SUNY Buffalo and an M.A. in English from SUNY College at Brockport. I hope you enjoy your visit to my blog!

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Partial Hospitalization Programs

When you're not well enough to be out of the hospital entirely, but you're well enough to be home at night and on the weekends, a person with mental illness may find themselves in a partial hospitalization program (PHP). I have been in a PHP twice. Both times were because of severe depressive episodes.

The PHP is something like day camp. You go early in the morning to the hospital, bring a lunch which you eat there, and go home in the late afternoon. You go on weekdays--you have weekends off--and it can last for varying amounts of time. As I recall, I was in both times for six weeks.

There's intensive and long group therapy with the full group of about two dozen people. There is also therapy in which the group is broken down into smaller groups. And there is one-on-one therapy with a psychiatrist. There are also discussions about how people are doing and talks from the therapists about mental illness and skills that people can use to deal with their illnesses.

I hated the PHP both times I was in it, but afterward, I found that I loved and missed it. I hated group therapy when I was there. I felt angry and annoyed by the other people and the therapists and didn't want to share my experiences, thoughts, and feelings. I did anyhow--I didn't have much of a choice since we were encouraged and even told by the therapists that we had to talk. But I got to know many of the other people and realized after the fact that I felt a kinship with them. I missed them and wondered how they were doing. The group therapy helped more than I realized while it was happening. I learned skills and used them. I felt less alone knowing there were people out there like me. And I appreciated the chance to work towards getting well without having to be fully hospitalized.

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