Thursday, July 21, 2005

I am Sick, Not Irresponsible

I have been attending an outpatient "Assertiveness" class at the hospital the past 5 weeks. On the first class the nurses leading the class treated us like little kids and fearing we would be unable to play together without talking about "school", they laid down the law. They told us we could not see anyone in the class outside of class for the 10 weeks the class was on, and also that if we did not have our homework done, or if they saw us with someone from the class we would be "talked to".

Immediately I felt very angry...For a couple reasons:

  • First, I am a fucking adult! If I wasn't a mental health patient I do not think you would be talking to me like this. I suspect instead I would be told, "The information said in this class is confidential, please do not discuss anything that occurs in this class, outside the class with anyone, even participants"
  • Second, I am a fucking adult! If I weren't mental would you tell who I could/could not be friends with? I do sometimes hangout with a couple gals in the group. I met them in another outpatient program we were all in. That program was a 12-week depression group where one of the things we learned was that those with depression have a propensity to isolate...And socialization can help depression. So I meet people I feel comfortable with, we are encouraged to take other outpatient programs, we take them and are told not to socialize with others in class...fucking stupid and counterproductive if you ask me.
  • I did not think it was appropriate for any healthcare professional to "threaten punishment" if I did not do as I was told.

Regarding seeing participants outside the class I would understand if it was a group therapy type group. In group therapy the people in the group and how they behave or react to you can often replicate important relationships in your life. If some people start forming alliances others might feel ganged up on. Also, the group misses out on seeing how you react positively to another group member, or negatively to another if you have already worked on the relationship outside the group.

This class was not group therapy though. It was a class. I think it was way out of line for them to tell us who to see. The point here really is that I have stressed about this for 5 weeks now. I was so stressed the past few nights I was having anger and anxiety attacks. So today I was supposed to go to the class. I worried about it all morning while visiting a friend. Finally I got the nerve to call and leave a message saying I would no longer be attending.

I am so glad I did that, but I got home and one of the nurses left me a message asking why. I am all stressed out again because, on one hand I want her to know why, but on the other I fear retribution if I need help at the hospital again, or when my name comes up for a group therapy group I am on a waiting list for...Sigh.


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