T-MAPs Section 3: Life Lessons and Personal Stories

This section goes more deeply into our personal experiences. I appreciate how the list of statements can evoke our responses and stories. Following the list of statements on each page, there is an open-ended text box to tell your stories related to those statements you chose.

I’m beginning to see how this can be very useful to share with someone else, or a group of people. These lists and responses provide a focused way to share our life lessons and personal stories with each other. That can begin by comparing which statements we checked on a given page with each other.

An example of the list of statements:

What Language do you use?

For years I’ve wondered if I would have been diagnosed as being on the autism spectrum if that had been more commonly looked at when I was younger. I think of myself being a very spiritual person. My spirituality is a very important part of my mental health. And language is important because in my culture we don’t have good ways to express spirituality.
I have been learning a lot about settler colonialism from my Indigenous friends. While I continue to learn of all the ways I benefit from white superiority, life as a Quaker has meant many struggles against white dominance. At 18 years of age, I became a draft resister. I was led to live my life without a car for environmental reasons. I’ve spent the past decade working to protect the water, working against pipelines. I’ve found a home in my Mutual Aid community that works against systems of dominance and hierarchy.

Where we come from and how we tell stories about ourselves is so important. In this section we have a series of questions to help you think about your own personal story and find good language for it. Society has so many expectations and frameworks for understanding your life that might not fit at all, or might fit in some ways but not others. There is an incredible power in creating a personal narrative of your life that fits well for you.

This section has two parts – the first is on understanding your journey with mental health and emotional distress, and the second on social and cultural context as it informs mental health. If you don’t identify as someone who’s been through intense mental health struggles and and/or the diagnosis process, some of the questions in the first half might not feel like they apply – it’s fine to skip them. In the second half of this section, some of these questions might be new to you – you might not have thought a lot about your cultural or class background, for example – and that’s ok. Consider these questions a starting point for your explorations.


This is the PDF of my work on Section 3.

Creative Commons License

 T-MAPs is licensed by Jacks McNamara and Sascha DuBrul under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

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