Gratitude, Patient Support Voice, Trauma Voice

TBI Awareness Day: A story of exposure and learning from a first time supporter.

To be honest, I never thought I would be in this position. Never thought I would be a part of the TBI community but I am incredibly grateful that I am. A couple of years ago, I honestly didn’t know much about TBI. Nothing more than surface knowledge that you may hear on the news or read in the paper about some prominent figure getting into an accident and having a traumatic brain injury.

When I met Jing, it was my first real experience and personal connection to TBI. She told me up front, but I still did not truly understand what it meant to have suffered a brain injury. I didn’t know what came along with it, and what it did to the person who experienced it.

I remember it was a slow process, Jing was very protective of the TBI community and I understand why now. It is a very misunderstood community, one that is the epitome of unseen illness. Learning to be a supporter was not always easy, or graceful (I was not the best at it initially). I still have room to grow in this role, I still have plenty to learn. I look at this as an opportunity to maintain a growth mindset though, as there is always room for improvement.

I can remember the first support group meeting which I attended. I remember the warnings I got from the protective momma-bear that is is Jing about how I had better watch what I say and understand that this was a huge trust exercise for her and the other members of the group. I was a bit worried because I did not know what to expect. I am so thankful that I had had the opportunity to meet the members of this support group. I learned how many of the member’s accidents changed their paths and remain a source of pain and sorrow, but also how individuals work through what life has given them.

These group members suffer from things like depression, anxiety, PTSD, sleeping problems, aches and pains, memory problems. They have lost full use of many of their senses and have a hard time forming and maintaining relationships in their personal lives. Every person of this group has their own story, but they also share a lot of the same truths.

I was nervous a bit in that first meeting. I was worried I would make someone feel uncomfortable or I would not be welcomed. I was very wrong on this point. Being in the meeting I felt like I was part of a family. A family that was open and unfiltered, needless to say, I felt more than welcome.

What I noticed most was the way that each member was supportive of everyone else in the group. They were there to give support but also realistic advice, they were there to give as much as they were there to gain. They were able to use their own truths and circumstances to try to help other members. All the while throwing jokes around the room. It was nice to see that a sense of humor was able to persevere!

What I was able to take away from that meeting was the strong sense of community that I experienced in that room. Every individual with their own circumstances, collectively working to build a place that others and themselves could feel comfortable and supported. This is what we at The MindReset hope to recreate on a larger scale and involving more than just the TBI community.


“Unity is strength… when there is teamwork and collaboration, wonderful things can be achieved.” 

-Mattie J.T. Stepanek


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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

 

 

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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.

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