Day program for mentally ill

Has anyone or does anyone on this site attend a day program with other mentally ill? There is one in my town at the clinic where I get treatment. I used to be a regular, and I’ll probably find my way back. If you did go to one, did you like it? Why don’t you go? Do you wish you had one in your area? My place was great till they restructured so to speak and all the clients left. What are your thoughts on day programs? I know they all are probably different.

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I went to the local Psychiatric Day Treatment Center.

They said, “You’re high functioning; you can clean the bathrooms.”

The bathrooms really were awful.

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That doesn’t sound to pleasant. We could volunteer for chores and some worked in the kitchen. It was a really cool place for a while. A lot of people went and had a good time. Some drama sometimes but overall a good time. But yeah I was a young guy and functioning enough so usually volunteered. Never had to do toilets though.

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I attend a day centre here in the U.K. Its for the intellectual disabled. I’m more able then everybody else but I get along with the staff. We go out on day trips in small groups, mainly walking in the countryside and going out for coffees in the community. I go all day Monday, half days Tuesdays and Wednesdays and I have a one-to-one with staff on a Friday afternoon. We go out fro rides in the bus and to McDonalds for coffee.

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Sounds cool. The place in my area started out as a clubhouse for mentally ill. They had different businesses and a kitchen where clients worked. Overtime it became more groups, therapy, and classes. We used to schedule big trips like to the fair. Also small outings and cook outs. We even have an indoor basketball court/gym as well as a kinda park. The stuff wasn’t used daily, but we’d go at least once a week. Also the staff and the clients ate together, hung out, and played games and stuff.

I’ve been to many. I liked one of them a lot.

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When I was Bipolar, back before the sz symptoms started, I attended a group called adult partial hospitalization, or “APH.” Basically you got picked up by the shuttle and taken to a place where you’d make friends with and attend several group therapy sessions with like nine other patients. At the end of the day they shuttled you back.

It was super helpful the first time I did it but later visits were less helpful because the group topics began to repeat. I’ve been to so many group sessions I’m probably qualified to lead them by now. I mainly kept going just to make friends with other MI folks.

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Yeah we’ve gone over the same topics a million times. Boundaries are a major offender. We did cool stuff too like fun personality tests and hangman. I don’t have many opportunities to talk and be around people or I just don’t. The day program is good for that. And it lets me be able to relax at the end of the day content. I don’t feel pressure not to isolate.

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I’ve attended a couple different ones. The level of functioning for the clients in each program was different and thus the activities were different.
In my first day program, I lied to get in. Actually the lady who was head of it lied too. I had to be off drugs for at least three months to get in but I had only been clean a month but the lady in charge said that was good enough and nobody would know.

I was in bad shape when I joined, addicted to crack and in the middle of a bad mental relapse. The day program was held near my house at the county hospital and right next door we had EPS (Emergency Psychiatric Services) It was a small facility where you checked in emergencies to be evaluated to see if you needed to be hospitalized. It consisted of a small room with a couple couches and a TV and a bathroom. There would be anywhere from 6-9 patients inside at any given time; all of us in a crisis, and it could take up to two days sitting in that small room to be evaluated. We slept sitting up or on a couch. They fed us cheeseburgers from the McDonalds across the street. It was a miserable place to be, it was just sitting around for a day or two with nothing to do except watch a TV that got three channels. In that period I was in there 4 or 5 times. A couple times I went to the day program and when it ended at 3:00 pm I walked directly to EPS and checked myself in.

But back to the day program. We did a lot of fun, simple things that I couldn’t enjoy because I was so messed up. The level of functioning was pretty low for all of us. There was about 6 of us; no one worked or went to school. It was all adults between the ages of 20 and 40 years old and it was coed. We did simple stuff like play volleyball out back or shoot baskets. We played charades or board games. We did simple crafts. We would have group therapy. They had a ping pong table that we played at on breaks. We baked cookies and sold them in the lobby of the main hospital or we cooked ourselves lunch. We played kids games out back like Green light, Red Light or Red Rover. We went on walks. Once I convinced everybody, including the counselors to walk to a school and play touch football. We went on a couple outings.

This is the kind of stuff we did. It was pretty informal and was held in a couple small rooms. I was pretty messed up but there were people worse off than me. One good thing about it is I made a friend there, we hung out for about a year or two. I feel it was useful, if I hadn’t attended the day program I would have just been sitting home alone doing nothing all day. It got me out of the house. It didn’t make me a heck of a lot better but it probably stopped me from getting worse.

That was in about 1987 when I was 26 years old.

I got better and pulled out of my relapse and kicked drugs and moved into a nice board & care home. I had some adventures in between. When I got clean, I got a job and enrolled in college and started going to 5 or 6 AA, CA or NA meetings a week. I moved into that board & care in 1990 when I was 29. I had a part time job for the first three years I was there. Then in 1994 I got hired at Sears to unload trucks. Still going to school.

Then in 1995 I moved out of the board & care and rented a room in my sisters duplex. It was a nice place; I lived there three years while I still worked at Sears. She wanted to live alone with just my two nephews so she gave me notice to find a new place. I settled on a room in this RV salesman house. I was still working at Sears when I moved in but it got too much for me so I quit. And that’s when I started going to the second day program.

This place was kind of far away, I had to take the freeway to get there. It wasn’t really nice but it was OK. The level of functioning of the clients was higher than the first place. We had a lot of groups, we did arts and crafts, we took turns cooking lunch, we were all assigned regular chores that had to be done every day. We had social groups and group therapy, we had a few breaks and lunch every day. It was similar in some ways to the first place but we had more people attending and the facility was bigger. We went on walks sometimes.

One thing about it that I liked that was unique to this place was that there were no cliques. There were about 11 or 12 of us and we all hung out and there was no popular groups, we were all equal. It’s the only place I’ve been that didn’t have cliques. I liked this one woman there, she looked like a red headed Marilyn Monroe. Very cute and sexy. I drove her to her house a couple times and talked to her. She was out of my league though. Very cute. The people were pretty cool there. I met up with an old friend from before and during when I was addicted to drugs. We had been good friends and I hadn’t seen him in ten years but we caught up and it was like there had been no gap over the years, we picked up right where we left off.

Anyways, I went there about a year and then one day a woman counselor walked up to me with an ad she had clipped out of a newspaper about this company was looking for a park ranger. I had no experience and told the counselor I couldn’t do it but the company was willing to train. I applied and got hired and so I stopped going to the day program. I ended up working as a Park ranger for two years. I liked this program more than the other one because I was better off and able to enjoy it.

My thoughts on day programs is that they’re good places to go if you have nothing to do and want to be around people and be social.

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I’ve had a few jobs since being diagnosed, but haven’t been able to stick with them. I worry about the future because of this. That’s a gnarly story.

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I’ve attended a few times but honestly I found the other “consumers” to be too low functioning.
At least most of them were.

Well, I find that I’m doing better at certain times in my life then other times. Sometimes I can hold a job, sometimes I can’t. I learned that waiting for the perfect time to do something often means you can wait forever. Sometimes doing things when you don’t really feel like it is the ticket to success. You may find yourself able to work in the future.

Another thing I learned that has come in handy, is that how I do at one job does not always predict how I’ll do at the next job. In other words, just because I get fired from a few jobs doesn’t mean I will never be successful at other jobs. I’ve gone from working at a place three weeks and getting fired to lasting 8 months at my next job. I’ve been at my current job ten years. I got fired from the prior job after being there three years.

So don’t give up. You may feel better and get a job. And you may really like your new job and like the people and stay there a couple of years.

Yeah that’s hopeful. I do need to start considering doing something different. My lifestyle has been pretty bad since covid. Day treatment helped keep me on a schedule and up to date on all my treatment. I had pretty much for the time being just done what I’ve pleased. Some good news is I have finally seemed to be able to kick my cogentin. I had no idea how bad that drug was for me. Thanks

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