T-MAPs Section 5: Support

This is a continuation of the series on Transformative Mutual Aid Practices (T-MAP’s)
(See: https://quakersandreligioussocialism.com/t-maps/ )

Section 5 is about where you find support. There are sections where you list the names of people and organizations that you find supportive. I won’t list my support people here, but you get the idea. This section ends with the following:


Conclusion – T-MAPs as a Tool for Mutual Aid 

We hope the process of completing your T-MAP has given you new insights into your own story and inspiration to engage in this process with others. It’s a living document – you can keep revising it and adding to it as you gain more ideas and visions. While T-MAPs can help you map your individual transformation and growth, we think it’s more powerful as a collective practice. T-MAPs is a tool that is designed to be developed in groups, shared with groups, and practiced in groups. Our vision is that T-MAPs and tools like it will play an important role in evolving the ability of creative activist movements and mental health support networks to communicate with each other and build the kinds of stronger, more effective communities and forms of resistance that our current historical moment requires.

By reflecting deeply on our own experiences and developing a stronger connection with ourselves and what’s important to us, we can become more comfortable sharing that knowledge; we can learn from each other and more easily collaborate with one another. By having a better awareness of each other’s personal struggles, it’s easier to understand our similarities and differences and navigate them with respect, love, and understanding. T-MAPs is really our attempt to help operationalize mutual aid.

Crisis = Opportunity

Taking the time to articulate basic needs and desires about wellness and support when someone is in a clear head space can make an enormous difference when any kind of crisis emerges. Having others who already know what your needs and desires are can turn crisis into an opportunity for growth and transformation, for building solidarity and grounded friendship. Understood and articulated, our weaknesses can actually become our strengths.

At the same time, by opening up space to talk about life lessons and personal stories it can become easier to talk about collective dynamics, and things that are often challenging to talk about in groups, like power and larger structures that affect all of us in different ways depending on our social location, like race and class and gender and ability. While there are many ways that our differences can end up separating us, if we can learn to talk about the difference our stories can actually bring us together and raise levels of awareness. T-MAPs is an invitation to a collective practice of transformation and growth. Skillfully facilitated, a group using these questions can evolve to trust and support each other in the hard times on the horizon. 

https://tmapscommunity.net/t-maps-section-5/


Completing the T-MAP workbook online has been beneficial to me. Now I’d like to see if there is a group who wants to explore this together.

I’m also working on a T-MAP workbook related to Spiritual Mutual Aid.


Linda Lewis, AFSC Country Representative for China/North Korea, and Dan Jasper, AFSC Public Education and Advocacy Coordinator for Asia, visited Iowa at the invitation of Jeff Kisling, clerk of the Peace and Social Concerns Committee of Iowa Yearly Meeting (Conservative) and Patti McKee, director of Catholic Peace Ministry. Linda spoke at Bear Creek Friends Meeting in Earlham, Iowa. Linda and Dan both spoke at Des Moines Valley Friends Meeting House. They were interviewed by WHO-TV, local videographer Rodger Routh, and talk show host Ed Fallon. They met Iowa Immigrant Rights Program staff Jody Mashek, Erica Johnson and Berenice Nava and travelled to Scattergood Friends School to meet Thomas Weber, Head of School, and Mark Quee, Farm Manager. Mark gave them a tour of the school’s farm. In 2001, AFSC hosted a North Korean agricultural tour of Iowa.

Photo credit: Jon Krieg, American Friends Service Committee


Transformative Mutual Aid Practices (T-MAPs) are a set of tools that provide space for building a personal “map” of wellness strategies, resilience practices, unique stories, and community resources. Creating a T-MAP will inspire you to connect your struggle to collective struggles. When we make and share our T-MAPs with others they become potent tools for healing and liberation.

One of the main benefits of making an T-MAPs document is being able to get clarity on the things that are important to us and being able to share it with other people. In this section, we identify the people, services, and resources that are the most important sources of support for us. This helps us remember where we can turn when things get hard, and who to stay in touch with along the way.

https://tmapscommunity.net/t-maps-section-5/

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

T-MAPs 4: Slipping off the Tracks

This is a continuation of the series on Transformative Mutual Aid Practices (T-MAP’s)
(See: https://quakersandreligioussocialism.com/t-maps/ )

This section is a bit odd for me. The questions relate to significant stresses, deeper than I’ve had to deal with. There were significant stresses related to my career as a neonatal respiratory therapist, software and medical hardware engineer, database developer, and researcher. But I’m retired now.

The point of this section is to map out what is hard for us, what we struggle with, and help us develop self-knowledge to be able to figure out what to do about it. This section is often the hardest one to fill out because it asks us to think about hard times, but the information we gather is really useful in our journey. Often unresolved things from our past can make us feel unsafe or upset in the present – this is called getting triggered. Sometimes our triggers contain useful information about what needs to heal in us, and what we need to express. If you find yourself getting triggered or overwhelmed as you complete your map, take a break and do one of the practices in your wellness toolkit. It can also help to do the T-MAPs process with other people and realize you are not alone.

My Stressors

Do my job, school, or finances contribute to my stress?

Check off any of these examples that apply to you, and write in your own answers at the bottom:

Add your own:

My stressors relate to conflicts that arise from my spiritual guidance and trying to get Quakers and/or others to understand that guidance and follow it with me. Or for certain guidance, finding out how to implement it, and then do it myself. I realize this isn’t much compared to the awful things many people have gone, are going through.

Do my relationships negatively impact my wellness?

I get stressed when Quakers, friends and/or others feel I’m on the wrong track with my spiritual journey.

What health factors negatively impact my wellness?

Sleep Deprivation

Getting Sick

Add your own:

Sleep deprivation commonly triggers migraine headaches. Or becoming irritable more easily. Fortunately, I don’t get sick very often, but I don’t like to feel unwell.

Do stressors related to my cultural background or identity negatively impact my wellness?

Describe your experiences:

I suppose being a Quaker and my spirituality are my cultural background. It can be hard to hear what I am led to do spiritually. And sometimes to be led to do difficult things like write blog posts expressing some things I know will upset others. And sometimes it is difficult to join public events related to justice.

Do any traumatic events from my past cause me to get triggered in the present?

People criticizing or judging me in a way that brings back past experiences of emotional/​verbal abuse

Add your own:

My first public expressions of spiritual leading were when a teenager I really upset my parents when I turned in my draft cards during the Vietnam War. I know they had my best interests in mind, but I felt betrayed that they didn’t support draft resistance despite their Quaker beliefs in peace. That often comes to mind as I do many things related to justice work.

Now we’re going to ask some questions about what we’re like when we’re not well.

We get to decide what “not well’ means for each of us. There’s nothing wrong with having a hard time, but sometimes things feel like more than we can handle.  Try to identify what is a “warning sign” for you that danger is ahead, and what is just part of the natural ebb and flow of how you experience life. It can be very useful to have this information so we can share our insights with others.

What it looks like when I’m not doing well:

How I feel when I’m not well:

Check off any of these examples that apply to you, and write in your own answers at the bottom:

Anxious

Everything seems like too much effort

Describe your own experiences

I sometimes take on too much related to justice work. Also, responsibilities related to my Quaker community. That can add to the stresses related to spirituality. On the other hand, I don’t usually get too anxious because I do have a strong spiritual basis in my life (most of the time).

The following sections explore warning signs that we are having a rough time and could even be headed for crisis.

We’ve offered suggestions of different warning signs people might have, but feel free to move these around and make them your own – for example, for one person not sleeping enough might be an early warning sign, and for someone else it’s an advanced warning sign. Trust your own intuition and arrange your answers in a way that works for you – at the end of each question, you can always write in your own responses.

Warning Signs that I’m having trouble

Check off any of these examples that apply to you, and write in your own answers at the bottom:

I’m not sleeping enough.

I can’t get excited about things I usually love

Everyone and everything irritates me

Add your own

I usually notice this right away when I find I’m having trouble writing, since I write a blog post almost every day. And I have trouble finding things I want to take photos of, since I walk with my camera almost every day.

Advanced Warning Signs that I’m Approaching Crisis

Check any that apply to you, and write in your answers at the bottom:

Add your own:

I don’t even attempt writing or photography. I consider leaving my faith community altogether. Think about just giving up on my blog.


You are free to share — copy and redistribute the material in any medium or format under the following terms:

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

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.

https://tmapscommunity.net/t-maps-section-3/

This is the PDF of my work on Section 3.


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

T-MAPs Section 2: Wellness Practices

There are times when I question what I am focusing on. Each morning I sit in prayer and silence, trying to hear what I should write.

Sometimes, as with this series on transformative mutual aid practices (T-MAPs) a series of articles flow from an initial leading. And sometimes, in the middle of such a series, I’ll question how I got here. Who already knows about T-MAPs? Is this useful to anyone else? This is one of those times I take it on faith that this is what I’m led to do at this time. And this is one of the many times I’m learning as I write. It’s an educational endeavor. It’s a bit disconcerting that when I do an Internet search on “transformative mutual aid practices” looking for more information, my blog posts are listed as some of the results of that search.

Today the subject is Wellness Practices. The PDF below is the result of my use of the T-MAPs Online Creator Tool. It is becoming clearer how sharing these things can help us support each other.

Section 2: Wellness Practices

This section is designed to guide us in building our wellness toolkit – to identify what practices and supports help us manage stress, avoid crisis, and stay grounded and healthy. Once we’ve developed these lists, it is good to return to them on a daily basis and potentially share them with others in our lives. If we notice we’re slipping off track, we can return to this toolbox to help us remember how to get back on course.

https://tmapscommunity.net/t-maps-section-2/


This is an example of supporting each other as we walked and camped together for ninety-four miles along the route of the Dakota Access Pipeline during the First Nation-Farmer Climate Unity March in 2018. https://firstnationfarmer.com/


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

Connection and Vision

The past couple of weeks I’ve been reading and writing about Transformative Mutual Aid Practices (T-MAPs)
(See: https://quakersandreligioussocialism.com/t-maps/)

So, after all this studying and writing, below is the PDF file of my responses for Section 1: Connection and Vision. As stated below, this is more of an introduction to the T-MAPs ideas and process. Still, you probably get the idea about how sharing our T-MAPs can help us know each other better, our needs and our strengths.

I used the T-MAPs Online Creator Tool to create this map.
(See: https://quakersandreligioussocialism.com/2023/01/11/t-maps-online-creator-tool/ )

Section 1: Connection and Vision

The purpose of this first section is to help ground us in our strength and resilience before we undertake the T-MAPs process. To reframe the conversation so that it’s not starting from the premise that we are sick and need fixing; instead, we are reminded of what we are like when we’re well — how it feels and how we relate to the world around us. Taking the time to think about these things is generative: this is less like a form to fill out where we already know the answers and more a starting point to prompt our imaginations.

https://tmapscommunity.net/t-maps-section-1/

You can see my completed responses for Section 1 by scrolling through the following PDF file.


Creative Commons License

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

T-MAPs Online Creator Tool

To create your own T-MAPs you can either

  • Download PDF Workbooks and write your answers in them.
  • Or you can use the T-MAPs Online Creator Tool, which is described below. The Tool will save your responses to the questions. You can save what you have done and return to it later. If you enter your email address, you will be mailed a PDF copy of each section you complete.

T-MAPs Online Creator Tool

You can use these questionnaires to create your own T-MAP and have your answers emailed to you in a printable pdf. There are 5 sections. Click one of the images below to try filling out that section, see what you think, and let us know!

Privacy note: Unfortunately, these forms collect your answers. We never look at them or do anything with that data, and no one else can access it, but if you are concerned about privacy please download the pdf version of this tool, print it out, and complete it!


Map Making Instructions

Before you start working on creating your T-MAP, take a few minutes to ground yourself – the more centered you are, the better time you’ll have with this process. The T-MAPs workbook is designed to begin with questions that explore who you are and what you care about, and as they go on become more challenging, digging into what it’s like when you’re struggling. Eventually, you’ll want to answer the following questions thoroughly, but you may start out with notes and evolve your answers over time. This is a living document. You don’t need to do it all at once, and it can be really helpful to talk over these questions with other people. If they get too challenging, take a break and come back to it. Remember that you are creating a map for you and other people to be able to follow – it’s worth taking the time to find the right language that will make sense to you, and that you will be able to share with others


Section 1: Connection and Vision

The purpose of this first section is to help ground us in our strength and resilience before we undertake the T-MAPs process. To reframe the conversation so that it’s not starting from the premise that we are sick and need fixing; instead, we are reminded of what we are like when we’re well — how it feels and how we relate to the world around us. Taking the time to think about these things is generative: this is less like a form to fill out where we already know the answers and more a starting point to prompt our imaginations.

Section 2: Wellness Practices

This section is designed to guide us in building our wellness toolkit – to identify what practices and supports help us manage stress, avoid crisis, and stay grounded and healthy. Once we’ve developed these lists, it is good to return to them on a daily basis and potentially share them with others in our lives. If we notice we’re slipping off track, we can return to this toolbox to help us remember how to get back on course.

Section 3: Life Lessons and Personal Stories

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/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.

Section 4: Slipping off the Tracks

The point of this section is to map out what is hard for us, what we struggle with, and help us develop self-knowledge to be able to figure out what to do about it. This section is often the hardest one to fill out because it asks us to think about hard times, but the information we gather is really useful in our journey. Often unresolved things from our past can make us feel unsafe or upset in the present – this is called getting triggered. Sometimes our triggers contain useful information about what needs to heal in us, and what we need to express. If you find yourself getting triggered or overwhelmed as you complete your map, take a break and do one of the practices in your wellness toolkit. It can also help to do the T-MAPs process with other people and realize you are not alone.

Section 5: Support

One of the main benefits of making an T-MAPs document is being able to get clarity on the things that are important to us and being able to share it with other people. In this section, we identify the people, services, and resources that are the most important sources of support for us. This helps us remember where we can turn when things get hard, and who to stay in touch with along the way.


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


Why make a T-MAP?

As I mentioned yesterday, I’ve found it difficult to begin to talk about mental health. At the same time, I’ve become much more aware of how the lives of people I care about, work with, and am trying to support are experiencing significant stresses. From the T-MAPs workbook, “we hope that it helps you give voice to parts of yourself that can be hard to talk and share with others. Understanding ourselves is what gives us the power to help ourselves and be there for others in community”. This image is from that T-MAPs workbook. Soon, I intend to talk about the ways for you to create your own T-MAP using that workbook, or the online tool.

T-MAPs are drawn from our collective wisdom. These tools take into account our social, economic, and political context, and create space for thinking through how our histories and backgrounds shape who we are now. As our political climate becomes more heartless and unstable, we feel the need to weave our own safety nets. T-MAPs can be nourishing to everyone from grassroots social justice activists to woke health care practitioners and Peer Specialists working on the front lines of the mental health system.

Writing down stories about our lives helps us understand who we are, how we got here, and how we relate to the world around us. Wellness strategies are things like eating enough food every day and talking to our support people, which help us stay on our path. Resilience practices are things that bring us a feeling of being whole and alive – spending time in nature, singing, hanging out with people we care about – which help us stay grounded. Resources can be things in our local community – like friendly gathering spaces and places where we can watch the stars at night – or our favorite media, like helpful books and podcasts, or international resources like Madness Radio and The Hearing Voices Network. Articulating these things gives us a resource we can share with the people in our lives to guide our conversations and help us support each other through rough times.

https://commedesfous.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/07/T-MAPs-Transformative-Mutual-Aid-Practices.pdf

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



New and creative ways of living

I first learned about Transformative Mutual Aid Practices (T-MAPs) a couple of weeks ago. https://quakersandreligioussocialism.com/2022/12/30/transformative-mutual-aid-practices/

Which means I’m in the early stages of trying to understand what T-MAPs are all about.
[See: https://quakersandreligioussocialism.com/t-maps/ ]

Trying to write about mental health is uncomfortable because I know so little about it. But I am discovering how important it is to learn more about mental health. In part because of increasing awareness of multigenerational traumas of my Black, Indigenous and other people of color (BIPOC) friends. And coming to understand that the stresses of anyone working for justice, often very hard work, result in some level of trauma.

In these trying times everyone’s mental health is at risk. Perhaps most difficult is admitting to myself that my mental health needs work.

How I understand my journey with mental health is one of the sections of the T-MAPs workbook.

We have had many other influences in developing T-MAPs, including organizations like Intentional Peer Support and the Western Mass Recovery Learning Community, as well as specific tools like Mary Ellen Copeland’s Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP). Some of the ideas around practice and transformation are inspired by the organization generative somatics. While T-MAPs was initially inspired by advanced directives and related recovery tools for planning mental health treatment options in times of crisis, we have turned it into a group practice of mutual aid, imagination, and prefigurative cultural change. We want it to be useful to as many people as possible to opening up space for new and creative ways of living.

The two main architects of T-MAPs have been Jacks McNamara and Sascha DuBrul, the founders of The Icarus Project. Jacks and Sascha wanted to create a practical tool that embodied the peer wisdom found in our greater community. We offer it as a labor of love to people who might find it useful. There are so many different people’s voices captured in the questions and the responses.

https://tmapscommunity.net/the-origins-of-this-tool/

“[W]ithout changing the most molecular relationships in society — notably, those between men and women, adults and children, whites and other ethnic groups, heterosexuals and gays (the list, in fact, is considerable) — society will be riddled by domination even in a socialistic ‘classless’ and ‘non-exploitative’ form. It would be infused by hierarchy even as it celebrated the dubious virtues of ‘people’s
democracies,’ ’socialism’ and the ‘public ownership’ of ‘natural resources,’ And as long as hierarchy persists, as long as domination organizes humanity around a system of elites, the project of dominating nature will continue to exist and inevitably lead our planet to ecological extinction”

Murray Bookchin

The zine A Call for Prefigurative Mental Health Support and Communal Care within Radical Groups and Organizations includes a very long list of ways we are subjected to trauma. The list is too long to include in this blog post. You can see that list in the embedded zine below.


Des Moines Mutual Aid

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

Origins of T-MAPs

Recent news about T-MAPs

This past weekend at our Des Moines Mutual Aid food project, one of my friends asked how I was doing. Which turned into an opportunity to share about T-MAPs. She agreed that no one asks how those of us who are doing justice work, are doing. No one outside our Mutual Aid community, at least, because checking in with each other is an important part of our Mutual Aid work together. She was very interested in the T-MAPs concept. I hope to find ways to share this more widely in our Mutual Aid, and other justice communities

T-MAPs was originally dreamed up in the early years of The Icarus Project (TIP), a community of people working at the intersection of mental health and social justice. Over the years, TIP has created peer-based mental health support groups, alternative publications and educational resources, and new language outside the conventional “mental illness” paradigm. One tool developed by TIP, which has partly inspired T-MAPs, is called Mad Maps. Mad Maps began as creative and supportive conversations on the Icarus website about strategies for friends and strangers to communicate about how to take better care of each other. Mad Maps has evolved into a set of guides on navigating different topics like intergenerational trauma and madness and oppression.

https://tmapscommunity.net/the-origins-of-this-tool/

I didn’t know the Icarus Project is now the Fireweed Collective.

Fireweed Collective offers mental health education and mutual aid through a Healing Justice and Disability Justice lens. We support the emotional wellness of all people and center QTBIPOC folks in our internal leadership, programs, and resources.

Our work seeks to disrupt the harm of systems of abuse and oppression, often reproduced by the mental health system. Our model for understanding ‘severe mental illness’ is community and relationship-based and divests from the prison industrial complex and psych wards.

Fireweed Collective

Following is just the beginning of the Fireweed Collective Framework

Healing Justice (HJ) is a framework rooted in racial justice, disability justice, and economic justice. Healing Justice provides us with tools we can use to interrupt the systems of oppression that impact our mental health. Fireweed Collective uses HJ as a guide to help redefine what medicine is, and increase who has access to it.

We are honored to be a part of a larger community of organizations guided by the  principles of Healing Justice:

  • responding to and intervening in generational trauma and violence (Kindred)  
  • collective practices that can impact and transform the consequences of oppression (Kindred)
  • imagining a generative and co-created future (Healing By Choice!)
  • being in right relationship with ourselves, each other, and the land (Healing By Choice)
  • centering disability justice, people of color, and economic justice (Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha’s history of healing justice)
Fireweed Collective Framework

Transformative Mutual Aid Practices (T-MAPs) are a set of tools that provide space for building a personal “map” of wellness strategies, resilience practices, unique stories, and community resources. Creating a T-MAP will inspire you to connect your struggle to collective struggles. When we make and share our T-MAPs with others they become potent tools for healing and liberation.

Your T-MAP is a guide for navigating challenging times, figuring out what you care about, and communicating with the important people in your life

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

This is a link to what I’ve written about T-MAPs so far: https://quakersandreligioussocialism.com/t-maps/

Who created this zine and why?

I recently learned about Transformational Mutual Aid Practices (when I did an Internet search for prefigurative and mutual aid). Prefigurative being another new concept I’m learning about.

One of the first things I encountered was the zine A Call for Prefigurative Mental Health Support and Communal Care Within Radical Groups and Organizations. One section of that zine is “Who created this zine and why?” which gives interesting background about how the author came to embrace T-MAPs.

The anonymous author of the zine has given their work Creative Commons licensing, which allows remixing, prohibits commercial use or for-profit use.

We cannot remain complacent and allow white supremacist capitalist homogeneous social norms to strip away our ability to care for each other.

A Call for Prefigurative Mental Health Support and Communal Care Within Radical Groups and Organizations.

Who created this zine and why?

The creator of this zine is white. They experienced infant/early childhood abuse that altered their brain development, which resulted in psychosis when under stress; psychotic episodes can be brief or last months. They experienced childhood and adolescent abuse that altered their development, which resulted in neuroses; depression, general anxiety, social anxiety, eating disorders, CPTSD, and panic attacks are ongoing. Their family of origin rejected them when they came out as pansexual; they have been working towards accepting and embracing their gender.

After untreated mental health issues led to transience and drug addiction led to jail, they have been healing and recreating themselves for the past 20 years. In that time, they have engaged in youth/queer/union/socialist/feminist/antiracist/antifascist/ecological/anarchist/communalist work, groups, and orgs. After years of various minimum wage jobs, they became a public high school teacher for 15 years. As a reading specialist, they worked with incoming freshmen who spent their elementary and middle school years being passed from intervention program to intervention program, arriving at high school with beginning reading skills. Several years ago, they left the toxic public education system and have plans to continue engaging with community education in the future.

In 2017, they participated in a T-MAPs workshop led by Sascha Altman DuBrul and became intrigued by the concept of comrades supporting each other’s mental health as a form of mutual aid. Two attempts to engage their last org with T-MAPs were met with silence, and no comrades reached out to them during a months-long depression with suicidal and psychotic episodes. Unfortunately, this type of alienation happens in organizing circles, as folx are often too overwhelmed by surviving capitalism to counteract the patterns of prevailing society and recognize communal care as essential and others as valued. We have lost more of our humanity than we realize. We cannot remain complacent and allow white supremacist capitalist homogeneous social norms to strip away our ability to care for each other.

The creator of this zine proposes that groups and orgs that do not prefigure mental health support and communal care are not revolutionary: they will not bring about the liberatory society we seek. The need to consciously reject and deliberately rescript the toxic architecture of dominant society’s patterns is dire, and the time to prefigure radical interpersonal relations in our communities is now.

A Call for Prefigurative Mental Health Support and Communal Care Within Radical Groups and Organizations.

“Our being is becoming, not stasis” – Murray Bookchin


A Call for Prefigurative Mental Health Support and Communal Care Within Radical Groups and Organizations.