‘I had major anxiety going in’
November 4, 2018
Editor’s Note: Kayla’s Korner will be a reoccurring column that deals with mental health and teenage issues. This is the sixth of an eight part story.
That Monday, I walked into High Focus, terrified. I had major anxiety going in as I knew no one and I did not know what I was headed into.
In High Focus, I started off in partial. Partial is the all day program that they provide. It goes from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. each week day. The first day was all about learning about the activities at High Focus and being introduced to everyone.
I learned that there were two tracks in High Focus. The first track, which was what I was in, were teenagers that did not participate in abusing drugs or alcohol. The second track was the opposite. It was teenagers that abused drugs or alcohol.
Each day, we started off with numbers. This is basically where you write down using a number scale if you had suicidal or thoughts about self-harming. You would also use numbers to describe your emotions. It was based on zero to 10 scale with zero being weak thoughts and emotions and 10 being strong thoughts and emotions.
Following this, we would do open which is group therapy. You sit in a group with your track and talk about what had been going on. I hated this because I do not do well in group situations. It gives me a lot of anxiety and I always feel like the people in the group are judging me.
Despite this, open was actually very beneficial for me. It allowed me to really talk about what I was truly feeling. The people in open are also able to give feedback and help you through situations, which I really utilized.
Following open, we had school sessions. However, since it was the summer, the school portion was not implemented. Instead, we discussed current events and played cards so it was rather boring.
During the school year, though, the school portion would be dedicated to getting your school work done that you would be missing during the day.
Then, it would be time to eat lunch. There was a break room where patients usually ate in. There was a huge vending machine that had ramen noodles, mac and cheese, chips, and candy. I got ramen noodles almost every day and kind of became dependent on them. The days I did not eat ramen, I brought in my lunch.
After lunch, we had two groups left and then we could go home. These groups depended on the day. Some days it would be art therapy, and others, it would be learning about medication or a lesson involving mental health.
The afternoon usually went quickly, though, so I really did not mind going to the groups.
The day would finally end around 2:30 p.m. At the time, you would be able to get your phones back, as you were not allowed to have them in partial.
I went to the partial part of High Focus for around a month. Since I was improving and doing so well, I eventually moved down to the Intensive Outpatient Program, also known as IOP. IOP was the same thing as partial but it was only for three hours and took place after the teenagers in partial left.
So instead of having to wake up at 7 a.m. every day, I would just have to be there around 3 p.m. There was also more people in IOP as not everyone went to partial; some people just go straight to IOP.
In IOP, there was open and other group activities. I did this for a few weeks.
My discharge day came at the beginning of August.
Coming next: Kayla explains her discharge day.