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reclamation of language outside of a clinical lens

a helpful thing for us around our own healing agency was reclaiming new definitions for our clinically pathologized experiences so the language had more space & curiosity for adaptation/survival & thriving. felt like I wanted to share some of these - (tw pathology)

paranoia: our definition is that paranoia is anxiety + intuition. sometimes it is more than one over the other, & we believe both are there always. so it is helpful for us to manage our anxiety when paranoid so we can find the intuition in the moment.

paranoia (con't): this definition doesn't always mean that our intuition is perfectly accurate bc neither is our anxiety. however this definition provides some space that maybe our paranoia is alerting us to something that we are intuitively feeling.

paranoia (con't): managing anxiety is a skill set, as is accurately understanding your own intuition. so looking at paranoia as a two-part system to learn from, instead of a singular experience to avoid having, has been so incredibly helpful for us.

dissociation: our definition of dissociation is the somatic experience of disconnecting the energetic body from the physical body. this one has been so helpful bc we always felt so bad about dissociating. it literally happened all the time.

dissociation (con't): many healthcare professionals programmed us to believe that dissociating was a very bad thing that we had to stop doing. even some mindful-based practices enforced the idea that dissociating was not being present in the moment.

dissociation (con't): when we looked at it as just a simple mechanism of disconnecting the energetic body from the physical body, it became a body/mind action that actually was helpful in certain situations. like lucid dreaming, astral projection, & psychedelic space navigation.

dissociation: this new definition allowed us to find the space & curiosity of this experience, instead of just trying to make it go away or stop. we strengthened it as a chosen skill to be used carefully, not as something awful to always avoid.

trauma: we talked about our definition of trauma in this thread. we talked about how this personal definition of trauma actually helped us to understand our healing from trauma in broader ways.

link to trauma twitter essay thread

agoraphobia: this one is tricky. it was less about redefining the experience but expanding the definition to have complementary meanings. sometimes leaving the house is really, truly scary. to the point that we have missed school & work. so our definition looked at the inverse.

agoraphobia (con't): if the world outside is too intense, what if we made the world inside our house really special & nice. not with big fanfare but with the idea that the size of our world has no moral standing, outside of what we assign to it.

agoraphobia (con't): so we worked to redefine what the outside was & what was scary about it. and on the days where we couldn't go out our front door, we went out into our backyard. we reimagined our backyard as an extension of the safety of our home.

agoraphobia (con't): bc that was what agoraphobia told us, that the outside world was unsafe. so we tried to find what did feel safe, environment-wise, and worked to expand our definition of environmental safety in those moments.

agoraphobia (con't): sometimes it means we can only get to our back steps, other times our back patio, and on good agoraphobia days, we can make it to our garden in the very back. this definition is flexible 7 requires extra self-compassion

OCD: we have diagnosed OCD that has a hyper-focus on contamination obsession, which results in many compulsion rituals & tics. our agoraphobia is connected to another compulsion but felt okay to differentiate for this thread.

OCD (con't) : we really tried to define the effects of OCD in our life (bc it is so complicated) as how we are particular in this world as us. this is our weirdness. our strange propensity. the curious nature of us. we have worked really hard for our OCD to not be harmful to us.

CD (con't): so if it's distressing to us, we can acknowledge that bc it has probably tipped into paranoia, dissociation, or agoraphobia, & if it isn't in one of those, we have just agreed that this is our weird selves showing up in a world that doesn't make much sense to us.

this practice, of reclaiming pathologized experiences, has allowed us to find more justice & equity for our own healing journeys of being alive in this world. we've also found joy & curiosity in the experiences that make us different to the rest of the world.

side note: these reclamations don't take away the fact that sometimes these experiences are very distressing. it does however give us more space to not feel bad about feeling bad bc that is really the thing that is so hard to overcome. no more feeling bad for feeling bad.

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