Saturday, February 04, 2017

Activism as Self-Care

This is going to be submitted for the February 2017 Carnival of Aces, hosted at Asexual Agenda. The topic is Resistance, Activism and Self-Care, motivated by the US Election. However, they explicitly made it open for non-US participants as well.

For me, I've been needing more self-care than usual, too. And it has nothing to do with the US election (though the results were a disappointment for me), or with any political events in Canada (Justin Trudeau wasn't my choice, but he's turning out pretty good). No, I'm needing self-care for a much more personal reason. And it doesn't even have anything to do with my orientation.

I just got kicked out of counseling.

In the intake assessment, many months ago, I mentioned that one of the things I wanted to work on was yelling. I've been discussing times that I yelled all along. And yet it never seemed to occur to anyone to warn me what would happen if I yelled at my counselor. Which is exactly what I did, a couple weeks ago. I got upset, I yelled, and then I calmed down and we scheduled our next session.

And then, a couple days later, I got a call telling me that I'm kicked out of counseling. No warning, no second chances, no consideration that 'hey, this is actually one of the reasons this person was in counseling to begin with'. The director has even claimed that she 'doesn't work with psychiatric conditions', even though that's exactly what the definition of her job is!

So, yes, I'm upset. I've been having suicidal thoughts, and everything has kind of fallen to pieces for me. And I'm angry. The idea of kicking someone out of counseling for showing symptoms of the very thing they need counseling for is just ridiculous and terrible and wrong on so many levels.

But I'm reading a lot about asexuality and aromanticism, and LGBT+ issues in general. And I'm planning to go to Positive Space Network training, and maybe be a camp counselor for trans kids later this year.

And this is a deliberate strategy. I need connection with my people. I need to think about an issue that doesn't trigger me, and an aspect of my identity that I'm actually proud of.

I'm doing other self-care things, too. I'm setting aside things that are too much for me, and avoiding places and activities that trigger me until the pain eases a bit. I'm getting plenty of cuddles and spending time doing things I find comforting and calming, and completing daily tasks on my list so I feel like I'm accomplishing stuff.

But the activism is a major piece of my self-care, too. I can dive into the topic that's an obsessive interest for me right now, I can try to find connection with others through it, and I can feel that maybe, possibly, I'm doing something good for someone else. I can find things to say about myself that are good, and make me feel good.

And I really need that right now.


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