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

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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

 

4 years old, Emotions, Feel Good, Gratitude, Trauma Voice

Gratitude and tears.

Sometimes I am disappointed in myself when I am unable to control tears from welling in my eyes. But this exact thing happened when I met the benefactors of my residency program on the eighth day after I started my position as the APhA Foundation Executive Resident in Association Management and Leadership. Near the end of our visit that day, the recent past-resident and I were asked to share our stories about what drew us to the position. When it was my turn, as I was stating my purpose, I suddenly became overwhelmed with emotion and began to tear up. I was baffled as it was happening. Why did I react that way?

I remember the evening after that trip, I reflected on why that profound experience happened. At first, I thought it was because I was a person with deeply-rooted trauma and perhaps I did not have as much control over my panic as I thought I did.

I think I was afraid because what motivated me to apply for the executive residency had a lot to do with my identity as a traumatic brain injury (TBI) survivor. I understand how important it is for patients to be included in conversations about how their health is provided and I wanted to use my unique position as an individual who understands the pharmacist and patient perspectives equally well to improve how pharmacists services are delivered.  Nonetheless, like many in the TBI community, we know how stigmatized our condition is. It is not uncommon for people’s faces to curl with discomfort when we say who we are, whether they mean to intentionally or not.

However, as much weight fear may have held in factoring into my tears, that conclusion didn’t seem to entirely make sense to me. As I thought a little deeper, I had an epiphany for another possible reason why I might cry other than when I feel afraid, upset, sad, or overjoyed with laughter…

I realized I cry when I feel overwhelmingly grateful

On June 28, 2017, I cried in front of some of the most well-known and respected figures in pharmacy because of how grateful I felt for the potential their endowment afforded me.

Being the APhA Foundation Executive Resident means a lot to not only myself, but to the people I represent. Being able to graduate with a pharmacy degree at the same time as my peers, and to be selected as one of the few individuals with an opportunity to be mentored by some of the greatest leaders in my profession is more than I, or anyone else, could have imagined possible. I find it an incredible honor to be in a position to provide hope to people who really need it, like my peers who also survived severe traumatic brain injuries.

By having interactions with dozens of individuals with varying levels of brain damage, I know those with TBI don’t often have the same privileges or abilities that those without TBI have, let alone those with retrograde amnesia like myself. I remember thinking at the time:

“How ironic it is the Knowlton’s not only own a business called Tabula Rasa Healthcare, which means ‘blank slate’ in Latin, but they fund an experience for a person who’s mind was tabula rasa less than four years prior to when they met her.”

Since that memorable experience in late June of last summer, I have continued to grow exponentially to get closer to reaching my main goal: to create safe and sustainable communities of mutual understanding where quality of life is attainable for all.

From the first half of my residency when I was acclimating to an entirely different landscape, interacting with personality types I never encountered, being forced to develop new skills quickly, and becoming the most independent I’d ever been since the day I woke up in the neuro-ICU, I noticed I have come a long way. In the beginning, I was really intimidated to be surrounded by all the leaders around me who sometimes made me feel like I had to be just like everyone else because that is what everyone else is comfortable with.

However, the moment I began to fully embrace all parts of my identity in a setting where I understand a large part of me is in a place where it usually does not belong, is when my soul began to suffer less. After I realized I am a disrupter simply by the nature of who I am and what I accomplished, and then accepted what that type of person might have to face, is when I started becoming stronger and more confident.

I have purpose. I have passion. And I have people who need someone like me to stand up for us.

Not in 100 years could I have imagined that my life would end and begin again as a TBI survivor, pharmacist, and public health specialist. I thank all those in my community of pharmacists, patients, and just people for helping me get to where I am today. Whether I cry about it or not, I am in a position where I feel grateful day in and day out. What has been done for me, I will return two-fold for the rest of my life.


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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
Feel Good, Paying It Forward

Mindful March Challenge

Welcome to the Mindful March Challenge!

The purpose of this challenge is to improve our awareness of how much we are engaging in kindness to ourselves and to others. It is all about turning the idea of being mindful into an actionable practice!

~ This event is in honor of those who are facing challenges with their mental health, chronic illness, or disability. ~

 

Undoubtedly, sometime in our lives we have been or will be challenged to a point where our mental health might become compromised. For some, events will occur that may make it really difficult at times to feel hope or see the silver-lining that always exists in our lives. The aim of this challenge is to encourage ourselves to be mindful of our own thoughts and feelings and then to extend this positivity to those around us.
Together we must cultivate a shared culture of support and understanding instead of isolated emotional harm. For those who are going through mental healing, realize that even though it puts you in a place of vulnerability, it is really important to ask for help. Please realize, that maybe as much as it seems, as much as you might be afraid of being judged, you are NOT ALONE. As a community, we must understand, support, and inspire ourselves and our affected peers to keep healing in a positive and healthy way.

So how can we do this?

Download, participate, and share the Mindful March 2018 Calendar!

– Click “Mindful March 2018” above to open calendar PDF –
The challenge consists of a short list of six or fewer simple activities that can be performed daily, slightly more difficult activities weekly, and just a little more difficult monthly.

Each of these activities is a small act of kindness that you can challenge yourself to do for yourself or for someone else.

Each week has a theme: Support, Inclusivity, Compassion, and Kindness. Activities in each themed-week will be more heavily focused on what you can do to demonstrate each theme.

There are daily challenges. The first time you do that act on the day it is assigned, you can give yourself 5 points. Every time you do that same task within that same week, you can give yourself 1 point.

There are weekly challenges. If you complete the weekly challenge by the end of the week, you can give yourself 50 points. If you do it again another week, give yourself 10 points for every other week you do it.

There are monthly challenges. worth 500 points, if you continue this challenge for more months, then continue on with 100 points per month!

We also encourage you to set personal daily, weekly, and monthly goals, worth 10, 100, and 500 points respectively. If you journal and reflect on your experiences doing this challenge, give yourself 200 points!

Finally, we want to grow this community of compassion. Help us do this through social media! If you post to this event, sharing your positive deeds or someone else’s positive deeds. Give yourself another 25 points for each post. Check out the point breakdown below:

MindReset Points
*TMR = “Total Mind Reset” or “Take a Mind Reset”
Instead of saying “mind-blown”, say “TMR, total mind reset” when something has totally altered your way of thinking, or when someone is so flustered in their own thoughts and need to take a moment to step back or remove themselves from those thoughts, say “TMR, take a mind reset”.
The point system is self-monitored. Be honest with yourself about how often you are doing these acts.
You can challenge yourself, your family, your colleagues, your classmates, your friends, your organization, whomever. Set your own prize, but in the end, we all win just by attempting to be mindful!
Please ask everyone in your life to join in on Mindful March. This month we can challenge ourselves to elevate our health and improve our community through positivity! 🙂
If you want to participate in this challenge by yourself or as a team, fill out this form HERE. We will follow up with you to see how things are going!
Thank you for at least considering a way to make this world a better, kinder place!
-The MindReset Team

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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