I am especially influenced by Borchard's Aunt Gigi and her ability to walk away from a trigger.
Though I am undiagnosed, I wonder at times if I am manic-depressive. The reason I have stuck with good old talk therapy and avoided psychiatry (and its Diagnosis Fetish) is because I have lived a functional and even at times bountiful life without medication and I intend to keep it that way. I do not appreciate the pathologizing frame of having a "disease" or the permanence of a "neurological disorder" (so unBuddhist!). However, the ups and downs of journeying through an abusive childhood and recent adult trauma are exhausting and I can see the relief in being able to say, "I'm having a depressive episode" and have people understand and cut you some slack. (Although diagnosed depressives face a whole other slew of societal stigma.)
In the end, it does not matter what you call it or through which framework you view the Black Hole that I and other "depressives" are constantly scared of falling into. What matters is our dedication to our mental health and healing, and I thank Borchard's blog for the reminder of what will keep me alive.
- Avoid critical people and people who trigger my critical voice
- Walk away from conversations and people who trigger.
- Refuse interaction that is toxic
- Avoid toxic environments
- Put my needs first
- Put my mental health first
- Make space and time for myself and my spiritual connection
- Surround myself with positivity and healing, nurturing people
- Recognize that I am healing and respect my process
- Refuse to feel guilty or ashamed for ANY of my needs
- I cannot have my experience validated
- I am not understood or appreciated for who I am
- I cannot express myself openly and be heard
- I am criticized
- I do not have support
- any other factors that risk my mental health
A healthy environment is one where I can:
- be authentic
- relax and be myself
- be autonomous and independent
- be supported in my endeavors
- have my feelings and experiences validated
- let down my guard and be vulnerable, knowing I will not be attacked for it
- be free from criticism, censure or inhibition
- have my space and alone time
- have my boundaries respected
And in a final act of synchronicity, an excerpt from Borchard's Lent post that resonates with the 52 Faces message:
9. Recognize God in All Things
If Lent is about becoming quiet in order to hear God, Easter is about singing "Alleluia" with Him. And if the 40 days beginning with Ash Wednesday are about detaching ourselves from certain people, places, and things, in order to know ourselves more truly and love ourselves more fully, then Easter is about celebrating all the people, places, and things in our lives that promote goodness, beauty, and love.
"We can find God in everything," wrote Pope John Paul II, "we can commune with Him in and through all things." He is alive, and he is everywhere.
May mental health be first on everyone's list. May everyone find the therapist and therapy they need.