2-Minute Stories About the Program

"A place where people can come, and be, and their spirit revives."
The Mental Health Day Treatment Program is a place where adults living with a mental illness can enter into a place of safety.

Watch one story here.

Watch a second one here.

The First Visiting Day

My first day at the MHDTP okay. It was definitely one of those situations where at first you think “OMG…I’ll never figure out how this place operates!” There seems to be so much going on and everyone but you seems to be in on it. There are buzz words that I don’t understand and there seems to be a lot of rules about how group operates. Ack!

The MHDTP runs in six week cycles. Start and end dates are staggered and varied so there are participants coming and going all the time. It’s useful to hear the participants, that are nearing the end of their six weeks talk about the progress they’ve made.

We started with Feelings Group. My case coordinator (my go-to-person) and I will decide which pieces of work I will do. That work is shared at Feelings Group. The other participants and staff share their feelings around the piece of work being shared. Not everyone shares work every time.

In Feelings Group, the facilitators keep everyone focused on the feelings – not the event or circumstances being shared – the feelings. They slow you down, needle and pry until you can identify and express those feelings. I wonder if that will work for me or if I’ll freeze and/or intellectualize my feelings and talk about those feelings and not the real ones?

It’s not an exaggeration to say it could mean the difference between life and death for me.

If I talk about what I think I should be feeling instead of working to connect to the real feelings then nothing will change…I’ll leave there the same person as when I arrived. I’ll be hanging onto all the same issues and maybe…likely…be worse than before because I will then have the added guilt of not using this opportunity to get better – to move me along the road of recovery.

I know and understand how important the work I do these next six weeks is. It’s vital. It’s not an exaggeration to say it could mean the difference between life and death for me. Right now my feelings are just one big, dark tornado – whirling so fast that I can’t discern one feeling from another.

Visiting Day #2

Fridays at the MHDTP only go until noon. Good thing…it was a tough day: Assertiveness Training all morning. There’s a step by step plan for everyone. The first step - I’m crying now just thinking about I - is giving and receiving compliments. I didn’t have to participate because it was one of my visiting days but I agreed to. I have taught myself to say thank you when someone pays me a compliment but every compliment received makes me cringe, makes me feel guilty and reminds me I’m a horrible, bad person.

When I’m alone, and I receive a compliment via telephone or email, I cry. The longer I’ve known the person, the closer we are, the more I hate myself. I’ve fooled them into thinking I’m a good person. I’ve lied to them by letting them believe that.
 
I gave three people in the group a compliment but was shaking and crying well before anyone gave me a compliment. I cried, bit my lip, and tried my best to maintain eye contact with the person giving me the compliment and say thank you. I didn’t hear most of what anyone said – my ears were ringing and I was either unwilling or unable to hear them.

Lots of tears and guilt today even though I was told I didn’t have to own or believe the compliment but only to acknowledge the person by saying thank you. It’s so very, very difficult.

About Debi Noye

Debi is a writer, a mental health consumer, and a suicide attempt survivor. As part of her recovery, she has found freedom in embracing her creative side (painting and creating mail art as well as writing), which allows her to be open and honest about living with a mental illness. Debi is passionate about playing an active role in the mental health community, not only as a consumer but also as a friend, resource, and advocate for other consumers. She lives in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia.

Visit Mental Health Day Treatment online for more information.