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Emotions, Patient Support Voice, Paying It Forward, Trauma Voice

March For Our Lives

If you are in the D.C. or Madison areas, come join The MindReset as they walk to show support for safer communities!

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The Madison team will be meeting at the Library mall – 2 East Main St. – @ 9:45 AM in front of Memorial library.  Please email us at join.themindreset@gmail.com if you would like more information!

Emotions, Feel Good, Gratitude, Patient Support Voice, Paying It Forward

The Communities We Build

The narrative for young men growing up has been so clear- an unabashed sense of the need to be strong and unpenetrable. As far away from being perceived as weak as is possible. This is the narrative I also grew up with, and it is reinforced so often by not just parents but also peer relations and the social constructs that surround us in each and every moment. I point this out because this narrative has led to the community expectations that we battle with today: If you are a man, you should show no weakness, talking about your feelings is weak- don’t do it. 

This narrative does nothing but propagates the idea that if we do have feelings or emotions, we need to hide them for fear of being found out and excluded or othered. This is something that contributes to the stigmatization of mental illness. One of our main goals at The MindReset is to help de-stigmatize mental illness and help individuals know there is a place that is welcoming and will support them even if they are not strong or brave enough to find a voice to open up. 

Something really great has happened in the last couple of weeks in the sports world- typically a place that exemplifies the hyper-masculine narrative. Multiple high profile NBA players and all-stars, Demar DeRozan and Kevin Love, both came out about their own mental health struggles. This is so very important to help de-stigmatize mental health as they have very large platforms and also contradict the stereotypical narrative of an athlete. It was not easy for them, just like it is not easy for others who live with mental illness. 

A really important aspect of mental illness is that for some, they may be completely blind to it. Part of the reason for this could be that they may not have been taught or ever learned how to be reflective and more aware of themselves. Someone might know something is off, but not know what it is and if they are in an environment that discourages talking about feelings and emotions, they are likely not going to seek support or answers. 


“I realized how many issues come from places that you may not realize until you really look into them. I think it’s easy to assume we know ourselves, but once you peel back the layers it’s amazing how much there is to still discover.” – Kevin Love 


 

This gets to the point of being mindful and really trying to understand yourself. The big picture here though is that peeling back these layers is something that you may need help with. This is why it is so important to build communities that are welcoming and understanding- communities which are inclusive.

The MindReset is a place where we want to open those conversations and work towards rethinking the way we live by creating more supportive, inclusive, compassionate, and kind communities. 

I’ll leave you with a quote that speaks to me on so many levels and hopefully does the same for you:


“We need to give each other the space to grow, to be ourselves, to exercise our diversity. We need to give each other space so that we may both give and receive such beautiful things as ideas, openness, dignity, joy, healing, and inclusion.”

— Max de Pree

Emotions, Fatigue, Feel Good, Reflections

SELF-CARE INC.

In a series of lectures delivered in the 1970’s at the Collège de France, the renowned philosopher Michel Foucault remarked on the ancient roots of self-care and its ties to Greco-Roman philosophy. In his work The History of Sexuality, he explored the relationship the ancients had between self-care and its role in understanding the self, writing “taking care of yourself eventually became absorbed into knowing yourself”.

The art of self-care was seen as central to a healthy and fulfilling life.

Today, Gwyneth Paltrow and her company Goop, which labels itself “A modern lifestyle brand” sells, among other things, a $60 jade egg for helping you “connect your second chakra….for optimal self-love and wellbeing”, an $80 quartz water bottle meant to “generate productive energy”, and $90 supplements meant to “improve energy levels and diminish stress”. Never minding the co-opting of religious concepts (chakra) and the problems with nutritional supplements (Supplements are a $30 billion racket—here’s what experts actually recommend), one has to wonder at what happened to turn self-care from a conscious effort that made us “doctors of ourselves” into a capitalistic command shouting at us to “shop and heal”. It is a change that is not confined to questionable companies like Goop. Social media bloggers and content creators who are sponsored by health and wellness brands often delight in sharing their tips and secrets to a healthy and balanced lifestyle to millions of followers, at a discreetly expensive price.

It’s worth taking a step back and getting some historical context. The self-care movement is old. Older than Twitter, and Instagram, and #selfcare, and #noshame. Once upon a time, it was a radical movement, a departure away from an American culture that emphasized personal responsibility to others at one’s own expense, a culture that shamed the idea of putting oneself first. Audre Lorde, the black feminist activist who helped spearhead the intersectionality movement, railed against this idea in her book A Burst of Light when she wrote: “Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare”. It was a rallying cry for those who suffered the most by upholding their communities. It was meant to be a way by which those who were unjustly treated by society, including women, people of color, and low-income communities, could find ways to take care of themselves despite a culture and society that mandated they work and not complain. It called for their right to put themselves first when they needed. This type of self-care wasn’t a publicized event because it wasn’t an $80 indulgence.

It was, in short, about survival.

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Audre Lorde

 

Of course, there’s nothing wrong with buying $50 bath bombs, or $70 journals to channel your thoughts. It’s your money, and you can do whatever you want with it, and I’ll be honest and say they can be fun. But this commercialization of self-care, one that tells us we can’t heal or take care of ourselves without expensive props, worries me. It takes away from what self-care is really about. The activist Jack Harr, for example, created a great quiz titled “You Feel Like Shit: An Interactive Self-Care Guide”. It poses questions such as “Have you eaten” or “Have you taken your medication” or “Do you feel anxious” and “Do you feel dissociated, depersonalized, or derealized”. The quiz asks these questions because it knows that self-care, for the most part, is about the small things. Eating and hydrating enough, making sure you take your medications, and spending time with friends and family, are the building blocks by which we build healthy and balanced lifestyles.

But looking through social media sites or walking through health stores, it’s hard not to feel as if you’re failing at self-care if all you do are the basics. That if you’re not spending half an hour in a bath with scented candles, or if you’re not drinking parsley protein shakes as you leave yoga, that you’ve somehow missed the point of self-care. This is not even to mention that those who can’t afford these products are made to feel as if they are not really “looking out for number 1”. It can go without saying that the modern self-care movement seems to benefit a more affluent demographic, leaving the rest of us to play catch up in collecting the latest trinkets of wellness.  In reality, having these products and routines forced upon us is the complete opposite of what self-care is about. We need a return to what self-care used to be, what it was as recently as 2015 and 2016 when the phrase took off online. In my mind, becoming “doctors of oneself”, in all its complexity, is vastly more rewarding than having a jade egg meant to channel my chakra.

 


 

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Please do not hesitate to reach out to the MindReset community.

The MindReset is a community of individuals who seek to inspire a social movement geared toward creating a more Supportive, Inclusive, Compassionate, and Kind society where anyone and everyone has the opportunity to thrive.

Sexual Violance, Trauma Voice

My #MeToo Moment

As is the case with many things in life, not until an event happens to one personally, can the mind truly understand the circumstance more robustly. It is when the imagined idea of something is no longer an idea, but rather it becomes a reality.

And such was the case for me when I was “p*ssy tapped” on Sunday, March 4th on my way home from the office. On that very afternoon, I no longer simply empathized with someone who says “me too”; I became that person who says, “me too.”

That experience became part of who I am.

It was so strange.

Emotional Preview: I felt Stupified. Angry. Violated. Betrayed. Frustrated. Disappointed. Inquisitive. Sad…And I wondered about my safety with this individual.

I don’t even remember what we were talking about before he touched my private region…probably because I was so shocked. {Update: I do remember, he noticed a scar I have on my neck, he was trying to relate to me about being cut in the throat – that is a story for another time}.

But, this was in public. This was on a street I walked almost every day. This was with a person I’ve said hello to or talked with, how many times? More times than I can count!

I remember jumping back, probably glaring at him and saying, “That is NOT okay! Why did you do that?! Do realize that behavior is NOT OKAY?!

He said, “What? Did I hurt you? I barely even touched you? You jumped back so quickly, I thought I hurt you for a second.

Yes, you did hurt me! That is not okay!

You’re fine.” [Him displaying body language like it’s no big deal.]

NO, it is not fine. You touched me somewhere you should not have touched me!

He back-tracked and put his hands up. “I didn’t even touch you!” {In reflection, he probably said that because we were in a public place and I wasn’t exactly being chill. Probably not the most winning thing for me to be super confrontational in public…but really, I’ve learned that if you don’t teach the lesson at the time it occurs, it typically is not as effective. And, because I was experiencing this #MeToo business for the first time, unfortunately, I was being very reactionary – I was doing what I thought was the right thing to do at that moment. I was trying to process the icky feelings as quickly as I could in real time.}

Yes you did and that is not okay! I don’t even know what to say to you…

And in this short, frustrating exchange, I had to field the following correspondences:

  • How many boyfriends do you have?” {For real, what kind of question is this??}
    • I have one boyfriend, and I LOVE him.
  • How did I hurt you? You’re fine. Are you offended because I find you attractive?” {For real, what kind of question is this?? I’m thinking, why do you think that touching a women’s private parts is an appropriate way to show you think they are attractive?} So I say,
    • Why do you think touching me in that way is an appropriate way to let me know you think that? You can use your words! You can just say it! You do not, and should not, touch me the way you did. You hurt me. You hurt my mental health. Have you ever heard of mental health? You traumatized me. I’m a trauma patient and you know this! Why did you do this?
  • He paused for a moment and I saw that he sort of understood. “Look at me! I’m the same, I’ve been hurt.” He showed me his wrists, probably to indicate he did things to himself in response to diminished mental health. ” I’ve been through it all!” I could tell he was frustrated.
    • [His name], we don’t hurt people who are the same. If you are hurting, you don’t hurt other people who are hurting. I imagine you have been through a lot. I know you’ve been through a lot. There are things you go through I struggle to understand and I certainly do not want to experience. I won’t tell anyone about this exchange if you can show me you understand that what you did was not okay.”
    • So what do you want me to do?
    • Well, you could apologize.”
    • Well, I’m sorry.
    • For what?
    • I don’t know!
    • Seriously?! Because you touched me somewhere you shouldn’t have! You shouldn’t touch anyone there without their permission!
    • Fine, I’m sorry.
    • For what?
    • Why does it matter?
    • I want to know you understand.” {Upon reflection, I was probably trying to elicit whether I was safe…}. I was so frustrated. I looked at him directly in the eyes, because to me, at that moment, there were no other people on that sidewalk or even in the world. “I don’t know how I feel right now. I feel like I don’t want to talk to you anymore. Do you not want me to talk to you anymore? I treat you like a human! All these other people walk by you every day. I can’t imagine what that does to your soul, but I treat you like a human! I listen to you, I try to make sure you feel valued. I respect you. You didn’t respect me! You aren’t trying to understand me. I am hurt.” So upset.
    • He kind of shrugged at first to indicate he didn’t care about whether I talked to him anymore…probably because he is accustomed to not being cared about. However, I know deep down he relishes having other humans recognize him. Because he told me in the past he enjoyed when others talked to him, when he was treated like a human. Ugh. This is why I felt sad. I talked to him because I understand how even the smallest interpersonal connections can make a huge difference. “Look I didn’t do anything wrong…
    • And that’s when I walked away. I put my headphones in and I walked awayBecause I had things to do and a place to beI could hear him say something as I turned away, but I kept walking. It was too much, and I was fed up. But my soul had taken a blow in that short and unexpected moment. And I knew it. 

After that episode, I critiqued that moment in my mind. I had been a little patronizing and bossy. Ugh. But I was so frustrated. Not an excuse, but something to learn from. But I remember thinking about how weird it was that it happened and more importantly, what did it mean? What was this event going to do to my mind and my soul?? I remember Snapping:

Me Too Photo

I Snapped this instance out of curiosity. {I do not typically seek attention because I find it easier to grow when I’m not underneath the limelight. I will only seek attention to gain traction for causes I care about or to gain knowledge to become smarter.} And when I was corresponding with my friends, I wanted to gauge their thoughts on the topic (so please discuss this circumstance in the discussion section below!)

Some of my friends responded, “I’m so sorry this happened to you!” or “Let me at him!” or “Are you okay?” etc. etc. I really appreciated their support, care, thoughtfulness, and solidarity. It definitely made me feel better. However, I also realized,

I wanted my peers to think about how the situation was more complicated than just the flagrant act of one person touching another person without their permission.  

If you didn’t realize this already, the man who touched me was homeless.

Yeah yeah, I get it. Any normal, privileged person might think, “It’s your own fault, you shouldn’t be talking to someone like that. It’s not safe.” And trust me, I know this perspective to be true because I even recently received a training about not talking to homeless people for a job-related event where homeless people might be present. The advice is to donate to an organization that works with the homeless population…I agree with this, but sometimes I just don’t think that is enough. Support needs to be sustainable and allow people to achieve. 

Lots of mixed thoughts, mixed thoughts – a lot of people who belong to my patient population, individuals with traumatic brain injury (TBI), are homeless because they have a lot of risk factors for becoming homeless. This is no surprise. Traumatic brain injury rehabilitation is typically pretty complex and can cost a lot monetarily, mentally, physically, emotionally, and usually takes a lot of time. And who got $85,000-$3,000,000 sitting around for some slow-poke human to heal? (Look up where I got these numbers from – TBI is costly).

I remember trying to rationalize his behavior.


Aside: I come from a position of where I had to learn how to live.

Pro-tip: I got to where I am as quickly as I did because I was willing to understand different ways of living to see how I wanted to do it. And what better, faster way can you learn how to live than to step into the shoes of those around you?


Anyways, at the time, some of my thoughts were: Is he behaving this way because of his identity as a homeless individual? Is this the norm for showing attraction in that culture? Because he has been rejected by non-homeless society, does he reject the behaviors of non-homeless society? Does he feel like the rules of society don’t count for him because he doesn’t feel accepted in society?

Am I really that attractive? Is it that I was wearing athleisure clothes (like many other women who work out in DC) and when guys see girls sweat they think its like hot or something? {Totally a learned behavior thought FYI}.  Is he really desperate to touch someone intimately?

What is the right thing for me to do? Should I really stop talking to him? Will that crush him further? Will I just be contributing to another issue?

I thought, if I messed up, I would hope someone would give me another chance…that mistakes are not the end all be all…but I’m not sure if I feel safe around him anymore…

I remember thinking how much I didn’t understand about homeless culture despite having some education on it from a specialist in an interprofessional public health course…so my mind was obviously swirling.

And now this post is swirling! So let’s refocus and wrap up here.

Key Take-Aways:key-colorful-matching-number-68174

PART 1 (Two takeaways for #MeToo):

  1. Touching people in ways they do not expect or feel comfortable with is NOT okay.
    • I would suggest meaningfully apologizing, demonstrating understanding, and re-building trust as actions to take to remediate that specific situation.
  2. People who have been traumatized by sexual violence need to be comfortable with speaking their truth. 
    • It is easier for me to get over this situation because my violator has less privilege than I do. I can avoid him, I don’t have to talk to him, I am naturally more respected because of my social status. I feel deeply for the individuals who cannot get away from their oppressors, or rely on their oppressors or are tied to their oppressors in some way that if they spoke their truth, it would damage them more. Whether it be a family member, boss, loved one, etc. These individuals need to have someone to feel safe with.
    • I want other victims of sexual violence to be free from their trauma loops. In my situation, I can let go of this moment because I’ve practiced intensively dealing with trauma for quite a while. It is no longer in my mind, but I can revisit it when I want to if I want to. I know I’ve thought it through and I’ve been fortunate to be able to process it with the help of my peers. Let me offer this freedom to other traumatized individuals as well.
    • Because of who I am, I personally understand trauma better than I want to, but there are those who have been trapped in sexual violence to a much greater degree than myself. Please do not hesitate to reach out to me or to be matched with others in the MindReset community who have a more specifically similar experience. Your identity will be protected and we will protect you. We are just a resource to help you heal, please do not be afraid to ask.

PART 2 (Two takeaways about homelessness):

  1. Inappropriate touching is not exclusive to the homeless population. 
    • When he touched me and thought it was a fine thing to do because he found me attractive, I was disappointed because unfortunately, all kinds of men or women apparently think this is fine. I can think of a prominent male figure who engaged in this action and thought the same thing…just think about it.
  2. Homeless individuals need compassion and attention; they need to feel supported and included in society in order to transition into non-homelessness.
    • Homelessness is one of the trickiest concepts for me to think about. When it comes to humanity and how the human soul works, seeing and interacting with homeless individuals tests an individual’s and society’s social welfare status. I personally struggle with this population because I can relate. I have peers who are homeless, I realize I could be homeless if I didn’t wake up in a privileged life. I relate to homeless individuals’ identity crisis, transitioning issues,  the desire for freedom, etc. Let’s explore this in a future post.

 

With that being said, thank you for allowing me to be vulnerable and taking the time to use your mind, perhaps in a way you might not have before. I would love to hear your thoughts on this post. What might I not have thought of? Do you have any thoughts on any of my reflections?


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Please do not hesitate to reach out to the MindReset community.

The MindReset is a community of individuals who seek to inspire a social movement geared toward creating a more Supportive, Inclusive, Compassionate, and Kind society where anyone and everyone has the opportunity to thrive. 

  • Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/theMindReset/
  • Instagram: @The_MindReset
  • Twitter: themindreset
  • #TheMindReset #TMR #SICK
  • e-mail: themindreset@gmail.com
Emotions, Feel Good, Gratitude, Patient Support Voice

Layers of Support

It is interesting as I think about times in my life that I have struggled. Times that have been overwhelmed to the point that I felt as if I had no way out. It is also interesting to look at the different pieces that led me to feel that way, but also all of the contributions from others that allowed me to break free of my struggle and move on.

I have learned that most problems, mine included, are not simple ones. There is more to them than meets the eye. To each problem, there are layers to it. Each layer contributes something different and impacts you in a different way. The same can be said about the support you receive from others around you.

When I look at supports, first I think about the supports that are closest to you. According to ecological systems theory, this is your individual microsystem.  These are supports from your significant other, your peers, your family, along with other environments that have a lot of impact in your life like church, school, or work. Support from these individuals is in a way a comfort blanket, those the closest to you are typically your most supportive figures when you are going through something or life changes in unexpected ways. These are typically the people you can count on the most.

Your personal microsystem is incredibly important to help for some individual needs, but what in my mind is more important for all of us is for the larger systems that surround us to be just as supportive as our microsystem.

This is the true mission of TheMindReset- Rethinking the way we live to create more supportive, inclusive, compassionate, and kind communities. 

As we expand away from our microsystems, larger group dynamics come into play. Looking specifically at our Exosystem- which is characterized by links between social settings that you as an individual do not have an active role in, and our Macrosystem- which is the culture that we live in, this is where work needs to be done.

Like I mentioned earlier, this is part of the mission of TheMindReset- to change the narrative for those that struggle to one where everyone has the opportunity to thrive.

Noone should be forgotten or left behind. With that I will leave you with one of my favorite quotes:

“We cannot seek achievement for ourselves and forget about progress and prosperity for our community… Our ambitions must be broad enough to include the aspirations and needs of others, for their sakes and for our own.”  -Cesar Chavez

 


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Please do not hesitate to reach out to the MindReset community.

The MindReset is a community of individuals who seek to inspire a social movement geared toward creating a more Supportive, Inclusive, Compassionate, and Kind society where anyone and everyone has the opportunity to thrive.

  • Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/theMindReset/
  • Instagram: @The_MindReset
  • Twitter: themindreset
  • #TheMindReset #TMR #SICK
  • e-mail: themindreset@gmail.com