Post-Group #THRIVING reflections live reflections and resources linked to the FB live
What does this #THRIVING actually mean? My Post-Group Reflections Live is just a free flow of consciousness. The most important part for me as a researcher was to document the progression of what happened and how it happened.
How did the conversation start? Where did it go to and why? Evaluating the tangents and celebrating it rather than pathologizing like, “Oh my god they were so disorganized, they were off-topic, there was no agenda, I didn’t know socially what I was supposed to do, supposed to say.”
So it started off with people coming in one at a time with their camera and mic issues and just to make sure that everybody was engaged. We started saying, “Hey, where are you located? Where are you now? Where are you now?” Oh, and then it all started from:
“Where are you?”
Somebody else, “Oh, I know about that. I’m in Madison, Wisconsin.”
I said, “Oh I know about that. I have a friend there.” So then we all take a moment to look at the person who’s in Greece right now.
And the overall comments, “Oh my god, is it almost midnight for you?” I’m feeling deeply for people who are here for one reason to thrive together.
We started talking about that I’m here in San Diego on a beautiful Saturday morning, fresh out of the shower. And I’m telling people, as you know, a humorous thing, “Just enjoy watching my hair dry, let that be your entertainment if we can’t even get all our cameras all lined up.”
Things we’ve talked about are,
Why do we dress up & wake up? Why are we resilient people & do what we do?
We do because as I shared, “I dress for the woman who greets me in the mirror every morning.”
Internalized Oppression. What do you celebrate for yourself? And it turns out that a lot of the participants are also autistic adults when they joined our group so they were saying that pretty much this whole self-care thing, was knocked out of them because of being disadvantaged by family dynamics, neurodivergence, whatever makes you be the different person, the oddball, the one that stands out the, one who can’t be compliant the, one who can’t organize their behavior.
Asexuality. I asked a friend, who was on the call, “What is your reaction when i first told you I’m asexual?” The response was, “You know, I can’t understand it because I don’t have that life” and that made everything so much more relatable. We were able to talk about sexuality then we laughed about it, “So, uh, you gotta go because your cat is biting you right now. Are you saying you’re a cat person?” I said. My friend replied, “No, I like dogs, I like everything, I like all the animals.” I said, “Oh no no no no no, in a perfect world you must declare, ‘dog person’ or ‘cat person’.” So we decided that they were pet fluid, pet non-conforming.
And in that spirit, I brought the screen sharing of the 3-minute Isolation Video that I made with my friend Nicky in the UK and we did it in the first week of shelter and place because we wanted to show: autistics are thriving in a pandemic…and now what are you going to do about it?
Is celebrating one year in covid-19, that we have been thriving in isolation, autistic people and other people who have previously been called maladaptive are thriving but the problem is that they encounter a society. Some kind of shame like you can’t talk about it because the uncle is dying so “Why are you having a zoom party?” Anything that made the world more accessible like a shelter in place masks all of this became a bonus for functioning and when that bonus for functioning, you start being called out for it as the crazy one, the different one, the non-compliant one. My happiness is not a behavior problem. So after I shared the 3-minute video that we made about this joke on society
It’s a three-minute video and I’m gonna paste it in the description so you can watch and enjoy it. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o9RyDdHoUHk&t=2s
Medical Challenges that People have that Contribute to Isolation. If you have chronic pain, if you have a mental health disorder, if you have something going on in your life but you can’t talk about it right now because people are dying from a pandemic! For christ’s sake–that is the reaction that you get, then what is your support network.
We relieved somebody’s first trip in their psychotic break and we talked about all of the things that they experience like being obsessed with alliterations like the word, “fear” f-e-a-r means to be fearful or afraid while the word f-a-i-r means fairness, Is it fair to feel fair, and then they thought about f-a-r-e, the fare, the amount that you pay for a bus. Getting lost in this world, is that an autistic stim party?
Upbringing Difficulty with Empathy, society’s idea of what empathy is and isn’t, ‘Are you psychotic?’ ‘Are you autistic?’ ‘Are you a sociopath?’ That can’t feel but at the same time you know, if there was a truck that ran over my ex-husband and that was the end of my pain or my problems, I wouldn’t feel any pain or suffering for his body at the moment of impact, that’s not sociopathology, that’s quite literally me having a grip of my anger, exactly, being able to get homicidal about it in my mind and still stay regulated.
I love telling people that I do Anti-social Science Research Psychology. The research, scientifically, about society. I love it, society and the abnormality of the mind, society and altered states, society and othering. The indigenous knowledge systems we have are not being adequately and authentically portrayed and putting everything underneath.
“Oh I have chronic pain but my grandfather is in the ICU, so now we have to visit even though I’m having a miscarriage right now and I’m wearing four pads. I have to go to the ICU because the family expects it.”
All these expectations being able to find yourself in a pandemic where you find your autonomy, your self-sufficiency that in itself is thriving. We’re not making fun of people who are not functioning we’re just saying who are you calling maladaptive now.
Mania and Psychosis. One of the participants shared and relived an entire mania trip from beginning to end like looking at the arms, seeing different things, and imagining the people from the Bronx breaking into the house. How many weeks? How many people did you have to talk about it until you realized that you were in an altered state? Even in the hospital.
Suicidality. Autistic people have a completely different way than we see ideation, that we see mental illness, we see hallucinations. We’re just peace, we identified in the group, we’re just people who really see this touchy-sticky very differently. We’re just living in a state and if we could all live in that state together in a safe space, the group became a wonderful place for us to share and there was a lot of sharing about different things.
And what a beautiful thing, one of our members of the group said, “I identify myself as a usual person with unusual experiences.”
So with that said I’m going to post the isolation video that I made one year ago, the first week of sheltering place, with my dear friend Nikki in Cambridge UK. I’m in California, in lockdown. She’s in the UK in lockdown with an also autistic husband and their life is a party and they don’t apologize. They’re, as a couple, philanthropists often go and do charity gigs where the husband and wife throw pies in each other’s faces to raise money for kids who are sick and cancer.
Watch it again to increase your spirits #THRIVING in isolation pandemic video
Redefining what thriving means giving yourself permission to thrive and in the end, we talked about how this group is in alignment with our organizational mission so I asked people to go to the Doogri Institute website because if you just take your time and scroll through it get lost in a rabbit hole, enjoy the videos, look at the pages.
You’ll be able to follow me on every platform and of course, register for the next event, and as usual part of our karma clause with our organization is that we provide for the greater good because we want to help others-help others. In that spirit we will continue your bring a friend, your plus one is always free, all right? So let’s grow this family after this call you will see all of my links in the description.
- #THRIVING in Isolation video from 1 year ago, shelter in place.
- Facebook group – Differently-Stoned Sober Sitters Mental Health Cannabis Safety
- Facebook group – Autistic and Hallucinating – Autism Psychosis Support
- #THRIVING Youtube Playlist
- Archives of #THRIVING FB Live reflections (playlist)
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Resource shared by a member who is also a mental health clinician:
Excerpt from: Marie Lenormand (2018) Winnicott’s theory of playing: a reconsideration, The International Journal of Psychoanalysis, 99:1, 82-102, DOI: 10.1080/00207578.2017.1399068
“Playing is itself a therapy,” Winnicott (1971a) asserts, in what has now become a famous turn of phrase from Playing and reality (p. 50). This commendation of play marks a milestone in psychoanalysis. According to him, “to arrange for children to be able to play is itself a psychotherapy that has immediate and universal application, and it includes the establishment of a positive social attitude towards playing” (p. 50). Playing, which cannot be dissociated from creativity and a sense of “enjoyment”, is an “intensely real” experience that has intrinsic therapeutic virtue, that is to say it is capable of promoting “self-healing.”
This extremely powerful idea is the basis of a solid optimism that runs right through Winnicott’s work from the beginning of his practice as a paediatrician with babies and young children, up until one of his last books published in the year he died, Playing and reality (1971a). It could even be said that the extraordinary vitality that he managed to breathe into his work, and which probably constitutes one of his most original contributions to psychoanalysis, stemmed from this foundational view of play. The luminosity, freshness, and hope aroused by this Winnicottian axiom stand in sharp contrast with the tragic dimension in Freud’s work, the unveiling of chthonic powers in Kleinian theory, as well as the Lacanian division of the subject.
Winnicott, D. W. 1971a. Playing and Reality. London: Routledge.