1/ On mental health and #Resistance (a personal story) THREAD: I was, for a while, trying to do an essay or “tweet... fb.me/GgvZHzUR
2/ For context, I own my own business and that takes easily 60 hours a week of my time. And since that business is a mental health therapy practice, I can’t just emotionally “check out” and go to work anyhow. I have to be fully “present”, to the best of my ability, when I work.
3/ On top of that, my husband has severe chronic pain issues and I have the majority of all the home tasks, in addition to helping him with his ADLs (activities of daily living) to allow him to keep working because we can’t afford for him to quit.
4/ The week of Thanksgiving, I took a week off (nearly). I shut down for that entire time, except for two solid days of baking and cooking, and one day of deep housekeeping.
5/ I stayed offline other than a morning post to let folks know I was okay. This is something I attempt to do every November. I call it my “shut down/reboot”.
6/ My mother died on November 14, 1999, and the anniversary hits me hard, every year, sometimes on a bit of a delay.
7/ I am open about having major depression and PTSD. I score 7 of 10 points on the ACE score evaluation of adverse childhood events — a survey that effectively predicts many severe mental health issues in adults (4 points is considered a very significant impact).
8/ My first marriage involved physical, verbal, sexual, and financial abuse and the abuse of my pets to keep me in line. My first husband was a true sadist, who got a thrill from breaking people. I was his first. He was my first love. I married at 19, too young to know better.
9/ I have experienced both having a gun to my head and having my ex shoot the floor to (successfully) fool me into thinking he had shot himself and get me to come back into the house for more abuse after I had attempted escape).
10/ It wasn’t until he died several years ago of natural but preventable causes that I started feeling safe, even though I hadn’t seen and had barely heard of him in 20 years.
11/ I have a lot of strengths. I am intelligent. I have a successful 22 year relationship. I was raised with a measure of privilege and a good education. I have dozens of supportive friends. I have two wonderful adults sons. I can write.
12/ Those things helped me to (largely) heal from devastating trauma over most of my first two and a half decades of my life. By the age of 50, I was mostly where I wanted to be.
13/ And then Trump was elected. I spent election night crying and rocking, rocking and crying, more devastated and less mentally healthy than I’d been in decades. You see, I *know* Trump
14/ I know him as a victim of abuse by a man who was his spiritual brother. I know him as a mental health professional who has helped people heal from abuse. I know him as a student of history who recognizes an authoritarian sadist when she sees one.
15/ I know those who support and succor and enable him for their own gain, for their own power, for their own short term goals, and know that he will be protected for awhile yet, because they find him useful.
16/ And I know that our democratic Republic is in existential danger. After I recovered from the devastating grief that limited me to “just” the 60 hours a week I work my business, I knew it was time to act.
17/ So in August, with the optimism born of long sunny days, I started writing a “tweet storm” like this one every day, or close to. I even made it a goal on my bullet journal. Write every day. A laudable goal. One I nearly succeeded at. And nearly broke myself on.
18/ And then, inevitably, the crash came. I hadn’t had any real rest in weeks. My PTSD brain, like it often does, protected me, and simply *shut down*.
19/ I spent every spare moment for two weeks playing a video game (Skyrim, Eve Online, or Sim City), totally zoned out, no longer engaging other than a few moments here and there.
20/ Shut down. And then I rebooted. I spent a couple of full days with my bullet journal, planning my 2018 spreads. I wrote the first three of my mental health podcasts and recorded them. But oh, honey, it was a false reboot, and I crashed again.
21/ This time I took my time, evaluated the balance, and started planning for sustainability. I have put a notice to my therapy participants that I’m changing my work schedule to better accommodate my writing and my clients who are working or are students.
22/ I’ve changed my writing goals. One “tweet storm” or essay a week, and the podcast. Might do another podcast after the schedule change goes into effect.
23/ I’ve changed my personal goals. One room at a time, for the next quarter or so, I will be deep cleaning and decluttering my home, and then repairing it and preparing it for sale for the next year following.
24/ I’ve changed my financial goals. I want to have all my bills *caught up* by the end of 2017, and *no credit used* in 2018, and my debt halved by the end of that year.
25/ I’ve changed my business goals, scaling back and focusing on the populations I most like working with — those with complex and severe and persistent mental illness, and members of the LGBTQ community, especially transgender folk.
26/ And I have changed my #Resistance goals. Share important information every day, call or use ResistBot at least twice a week, and have one on one conversations every chance I get.
27/ The overall goal? Balance. Keep healthy, and keep fighting. I’m sharing this so that *you* can do the same thing. #Resistance is a constant negotiation with your personal limits.
28/ It’s a constant balancing act that requires that you develop mental and physical muscles and keep them exercised.
29/ First, self care. Sleep. Eat. Drink fluids. Move your body. Connect with friends and friendly acquaintances. Educate yourself. Be creative.
30/ Then, fight. Call out evil. Write rants. March. Call. Write. Tweet. Join campaigns. Run for office.
31/ Repeat both parts as necessary. Take breaks, and dive back in. Remind people that Puerto Rico still doesn’t have power. Remind them that #CHIP still has not been reauthorized.
32/ Educate people about the importance of Net Neutrality. Call out the lies in the #TaxScam bill and point out how it will directly and inevitably lead to an economic crash bigger than the Great Depression.
33/ And you can volunteer your labor, or you can get paid. There is no shame in asking for money for honest work, and #Resistance is honest work. Y’all can find my Patreon link in my profile, or donate to Paypal.me/JenniLiles if you like my stuff.
34/ And keep encouraging others to help, to donate, to write, to call, to march. Each one reach one, or two, or a hundred, or ten thousand. And keep reminding each other to rest. Assure each other that we have each others’ backs, and that we will pick up the slack for each other.
35/ This is a marathon, not a sprint, and no one member of the team gets to the finish line on their own. There are those handing out the water, those doing the timing, managing the crowds, handling first aid, cheering the athletes on. Pick your role and act. It matters.

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