Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Thoughts about an Intensive Outpatient Program

Well, tomorrow could decide the direction of the rest of my life. After my worst OCD episode yet, I'm at a crossroads: Should I attend an intensive outpatient program for OCD?

I'm blessed to live in a city that hosts one of the 10 programs of its kind. Called an IOP, it would likely be 10 weeks of 3-hour individual therapy, group therapy, and exposure and response prevention, and I would be encouraged to leave my job to focus on the task. Attending the IOP would be a radical step in my learning to deal with OCD, and not even 2 weeks ago I was dead set on going after months of desperation. Now, the night before my intake appointment, I'm trying to gather the thoughts and questions that have run through my head since I scheduled the meeting a month ago.

What will I get out of it?
Will it be helpful at this stage, since I seem to be doing better at this moment?
How will the IOP help me to be prepared when unforeseen episodes strike?
Is there a better medication for me in light of my goals for my life?
What kind of ERP exposures will I do given that most of my OCD is pure obsession?
Should I go?

The decision I make tomorrow could mean I'm putting my life on pause for 10 weeks. My husband, of course, is supportive, as he encouraged me to at least go to the intake appointment. I will, with my notepad of questions in-hand.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Life on an Atypical Antipsychotic

The word sounds scary. Antipsychotic. A holistic doctor suggested I seek another opinion because of side effects, but when my psychiatrist proposed adding one to my antidepressant, I thought I'd give it a go. After all, he had known my case for years, and he saw that last month when I began this treatment I was still very, very depressed. Since my last two posts, I'm sure you can infer that things have been bad. The drug is one that's given to people with schizophrenia. Another scary word. But I trusted my doctor, and my husband, who also was up for trying something different. It was hard to tell what would happen. I was up some days, and down others. But the down days were really bad. I could cry for hours. OCD thoughts had taken me down so far, further than I had ever gone; it was terrible. It's been over a month now that I've been on the drug. I'm not planning on taking it for much longer; my goal was to take it long enough to get myself out of the ditch I was in. I'm on the smallest dose prescribed; it's used in much higher doses to treat patients with schizophrenia. I have improved. It was gradual with a few bumps in the road, and I'm still climbing. Counterproductive as it sometimes may be, I know I'm feeling better when I'm plotting ways and reasons to stop taking the medicine! But on my husband's advice, I'm taking it slow and waiting until I see the doctor... I am a little nervous about what happens when I stop, but I can't leave it in anyone's hands but God's.