I've been referred to a partial hospitalization program, a less friendly name than 'day program' as it was initially presented to me.
"Oh," I replied when my doctor suggested it. It's what I say when I'm dismayed over something but don't have an immediate argument.
"Katie," she explained gently, "we've tried four medicines. None have helped. Two have made you worse. You're still missing work somewhat regularly. I don't want you to keep suffering when there is a potential solution. I just called and I can get you in this week."
"Oh," I said again, trying to gather my thoughts frantically as I pictured pieces of them scattered around me in shards. I was prepared to complain - I'm trying so hard! Going to the gym of all places! I've been tracking food and water intake! Attempting mightily to engage at work and keep promises.
"I don't want to be this sick," I finally said, blinking at tears. "I want to say that I can figure this out - I'll try harder or do more or be better - but I don't know how to do it. I'm out of ideas. And I don't want to be like this forever."
She nodded, blinking a bit faster against tears herself. "I failed you," she admitted softly and I immediately shook my head. "Not because I wanted to," she clarified, "but because I don't know what else to prescribe. I can't get you into therapy any sooner and your appointments are a month away. You can do this now and other patients have responded very well. If I were you, I'd do it without question."
"OK," I replied, nodding continuously in an attempt to convince myself. "Yes. I'll go." So with a referral submitted and a request to call in hand, I left the office I'd visited twice-thrice monthly since May or June.
I wept when I told Mom, feeling desperately ashamed. She held my hand as I waited on hold with the mental health intake line and made encouraging expressions when I offered to come on Wednesday, two days later (as this happened Monday last week).
In the meantime, I went to work. I cleaned up projects and made plans to be out for the two week duration of this program. I told select colleagues and received unanimous and enthusiastic support.
The intake meeting was straightforward - she asked questions, I answered and - because I do like to talk - elaborated. And after 40 minutes, she reviewed my worksheets and her notes and smiled.
"This program will be great for you," she said. "I'm completely confident. When can you start?"
"Monday?" I offered hesitantly. "I have meetings scheduled, want to wrap up a few things... I don't know."
"Monday," she confirmed. "It's going to be fine. You're going to get better."