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Indigenous Peoples’ Day 2023

October 9th is Indigenous Peoples’ Day. It’s a day that recognizes the Indigenous communities who have lived here for thousands of years. And yes, this day was old CoLuMbUs day. I honestly forgot that Columbus had a day because he’s not a hero. Columbus was actually very insane, extreme, and really lost at sea.

One thing I advise is to do some digging. There are videos towards the end!

Honoring Indigenous Peoples’ Day through Education

One thing about me is that you can always catch me dissing colonizers, white supremacists, and the government for what they did and are still doing. I honestly spend too much time trying to educate people who are actively doing colonizer things.

The biggest colonizer characteristic is marginalizing people by their differences for personal/economical gain. And trust me, there are far more than what I established!

The best way to make people or society aware of their colonized (harmful) ways is through education. But a lot of people have a hard time adjusting to the truth.

The Importance of Accurate Indigenous History

Personally, I think the most important part of education is accurately presenting history. The truth would honestly do more justice than anything! Until then, we must be aware of how and why history is being presented to us the way it is. It’s important to be aware of how we are actively doing the actions/things of a colonizer. It’s also important to be aware of the norms and cultural practices that were heavily influenced or resulted by colonization.

Side note: The colonizers really turned Turtle Island (currently the United States) into the Fire Nation from Avatar: The Last Airbender… The U.S. is ran by the fire lord.

Humorous Videos

Today, I wanted to share some videos that I found really humorous from TikTok. They are not only educational in some way but also showcase Indigenous humanity morals.

[depicter alias=”document-1″]

You can find these videos on TikTok. The first video here and the second video here!

Closing Out

Before ending, I was trying to find another video that was very educational about the common misconceptions. Especially how certain Indigenous tribes were named and why certain actions were done when the colonizers arrived. The creator on TikTok worded everything perfectly and gave the context/meanings of the word(s) that turned into certain tribe names we know today. If I ever find the video, I will make sure to share it!

– Dez 🙂

Healing From Past Trauma: Leaving Toxicity Behind

Healing from past trauma isn’t easy. And it sure ain’t easy breaking your own trauma instilled cycles either. Leaving my past domestic violent/toxic relationship has shown me a lot. Not only that, my relationship with my current partner has helped me see the dynamics of all of my relationships. Specifically with my current/past friends and family members.

Feeling Scared Facing My Dream Relationship

I never thought that I was actually going to be in a relationship where things are mutual and reciprical. Let alone, experience such deep emotion towards someone during a first kiss. I haven’t, EVER, experienced such magnetic/powerful connection with someone like this before.

And to be completely honest, I didn’t know what to do with this new dynamic and healthy relationship at first. I wanted to run. All because I was afraid of my traumatized self. My partner’s vulnerability and loving heart allowed me to see that they were actually different from my past partners; who only verbally told me they were different rather than show me.

Experiencing such a wonderful and beautifully hearted person, I knew I would’ve DEEPLY regretted running away. So I stayed; I already loved the person that was right in front of me. And not out of obligation.

I took it slow. And now, I’m slowly getting out of survival mode.

Being Rooted in Reality

I’ve never been so grounded or so rooted in reality. I’m no longer making excuses for people in my life on how shitty they treat(ed) me. (In other words, I’m not being delusional.) And I’m no longer coping with people’s maltreatment through my imagination. Nor dismissing maltreatment by someone’s artificial kindness.

My current evolving relationship has helped me accept how shitty my family, working environment is, and what I don’t like about my current and past friendship/family dynamics.

Accepting reality doesn’t mean that I allow.

I now hold people accountable more than ever. And, now I see how unreciprical my relationships with other people are. (Which I often reflect.)

Healing from Dynamics With Others

For so long, people wanted/went to me when they needed me or wanted something from me. But never considered how they only actively played the ‘taker’ in my life. And I allowed it.

Recently, I realized whenever I went to people, they weren’t as genuine as I was with them. Often, such interaction resulted in them needing something from me.

Reflecting on this, I’ve realized how my family members weren’t genuinely invested in my life. They either wanted low vibrational validation or material/internal gain. It really bothered me at first. But I accepted the reality of it to minimize the allowance of such dynamic.

Hence why I kept my distance from family ever since I was introduced to them. And even cut off some members (well a lot).

Healing From the Lack of Balance: Experiences & Boundaries

Experiencing a healthy balanced dynamic with my partner has allowed me to stop the continuation of unbalanced dynamics around me. It has helped me dive deeper in my healing journey.

I had to allow myself face my traumatized self in order to get here.

Having different experiences helped me understand what was best for me by paying attention to how and why it made me feel a certain way. My experiences has helped validate how I felt about each person in my life.

Ending this off, hard decisions should be based on fact and self-respect, NOT upon cognitive dissonance, ignorance and dysregulation. It’s important to consider your own contribution to a situation and to be willing to improve yourself. Seeing yourself will help set healthy boundaries with family, friends, partners, etc. It’s important!

healing from

Gabe H.

Share Your Treatment Story

share your

Have you received psychiatric treatment in a hospital or residential facility in Connecticut, New York or New Jersey? Would you like to share your experience?

Journalist, Viola Flowers, is working on a story about residential facilities and psychiatric care in these three states, and would love to hear from you. This story is about the state policies that guide psychiatric care, how facilities provide for their residents and shortcomings of the mental health care system itself.

Let this be a space for you to share your experience and firsthand perspective of the care you received — this story is about you. 

Interested in sharing your experience? Please fill out this form to get in touch with Viola.

October Themes ’23

Hello everyone! This is what October will be filled with! Feel free to share our October themes or even share your experiences/opinions! To submit an article, be a guest on a podcast or provide a video for October or in the future, email the team at TurningPointCT@positivedirections.org.

You can always submit other content directly to Our Stories, Creations, Videos and Map pages!

Autumn Equinox 2023: Finding Balance

This year’s Autumn Equinox is exactly on September 23rd at 2:50AM. Due to such specific time, people say that fall starts on the 22nd and the equinox is on the 23rd. So happy fall season!! And for my spiritual people, happy Autumn Equinox!

What is Autumn Equinox?

Autumn Equinox is a time of transition. It’s all about balance and taking the time to pause. It’s a time where we experience stillness before the shift. To me, Autumn Equinox is all about letting ourselves experience the present moment. It’s a time to look inward as well as outward.

Inviting Balance

Balance isn’t the easiest thing on this planet but it’s definitely not that hard if you’re willing to make sacrifices. For example, if you’re struggling with something, it’s a great time to let go of the things that are contributing to that struggle. I’ve let go of relationships (family, friends, environments, habits, etc.) that was feeding into my depression and anxiety.

Sometimes it takes time to understand what is actually contributing to a struggle. It took me a while to understand and actually listen to my needs due to people pleasing. This is your friendly reminder that you should stop people pleasing for your mental sanity.

To find balance, you must be willing to be patient with yourself and let go of the things that are not serving you anymore. Whether that be a job, family member, old friend, clothes that you don’t wear, etc.

Finding Balance in Self-Deceiption

For those who think they are people pleasing and actually aren’t, you should really internally reflect. You must fit into a specific criteria for this. There’s no shame in self-deceiption as long as you’re willing to improve yourself. So the criteria of self-deceiption includes:

  • being mean to people,
  • losing a lot of relationships or opportunities,
  • manipulating people,
  • not telling the full truth,
  • not being mindful, and
  • think your behaviors aren’t a problem

This is self-deceiption at its finest and requires heavy self relfection. People who are doing these things are typically very unhappy. There’s an aquired victim mindset. The way out of that rut is facing yourself and your trauma to do better. If you fit into this, sacrifice your need for instant gratification. And hold self-accountability. Also, an apology to the people who have experienced your maltreatment can really help.

Happy Autumn Equinox and reflecting!

– Dez 🙂

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You can submit blogs, art, and poetry by clicking “Express Yourself” on our Creative Expressions page. You can also share your story by tapping “Share Your Story” on Our Stories page. Go to our Videos page and upload your content by tapping “Share Your Video”!

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You can also email the TurningPointCT team at TurningPointCT@positivedirections.org MP3 recordings of your topic or for more information to join a podcast episode!

Workshop: Navigating Mental Health Crises w/ Psychosis (9/20/23)

STEP is running a workshop for any CT family or community member who’s interested in learning how to navigate mental health crises with young people who experience psychosis.

WORKSHOP TITLE: Navigating Mental Health Crises in the Community Among Young People with Psychosis

WHEN: Wednesday, September 20th, 2023 @5:00PM

REGISTER: https://yale.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJItfumrqjkuEtyvA6mPmI0uk0t0hEpiD3HG

This workshop is part of the STEP Family and Community Workshop Series, a series of educational workshops. They are open to both STEP affiliated families/support people and to any community members interested in learning about early psychosis. This training is supported by the CONNECTing to Care Initiative

The Accountability Adults Need to Take: Reading Past a Façade

Many adults don’t know how to take accountability. Which is a bad influence to society. They honestly don’t understand how their action(s), treatment, etc. impact us young adults, let alone, other people. The same thing goes for parents; there’s no accountability taken in their child’s experience(s) and/or wound(s). And not enough people, psychology books or resources talk about this issue; The issue of external/internal accountability within recovery.

Reading the Doer (If the Shoe Fits, Wear It)


Self-accountability within many doers feels like a never thought. It’s mainly because the doer is in denial of how the other individual feels in relation to their personal involvement in their life. Which really boils down to how they are being viewed by the public’s eye.

Sometimes, the doer tries to over compensate via their work/act of (internally ‘needed’) kindness; in order to restore balance within themselves. It’s a way to feel better about how they treat others and/or a way to invalidate their subconscious perception of how they truly treat others.

** A doer (in this specific context) – the person (parent, friend, partner, etc.) who is mistreating you or other individuals.**

Taking Accountability can Heal!

Blindness of a perpetuator is harmful.

Society talks about suicide, self-harm, alcohol and drug addiction prevention but don’t see what leads up to those very instances or of having to recover. It’s very important to know the leading cause of each coping mechanism: trauma. Trauma includes how we are treated, what we have seen, experienced, etc.

From experience, it’s healing when someone takes accountability for their actions.

Not only that, but I always try to take accountability for my own actions that may have negatively impacted another person. Accountability involves self-reflection and working on the shadow self.

Here’s Some Irony: Reading into it Further

I can say that some of the people who talk about recovery are the very people who are stimulating such internal conflict to others. Or in other terms, are the doers and show that they are hypocrites to their own ‘practices’. And it’s hard for them to take accountability.

From experience, many doers take offense when they’re called out on their unjust doings, and perpetual lack of accountability. Some of these doers act innocent in the part they play in another individual’s experiences with them. Which really confuses everyone and the experiencer. So accountability matters.

But when accountability doesn’t happen, it’s real to say: “It’s the relationship to whiteness for me.”

It’s Giving… Very Colonizer

I know some of you are tired of my colonizer references. But there are things that need to be pointed out! Unaccountability heavily traces to colonizer culture which leads to avoidance as a coping mechanism.

Honestly, If the shoe fits, wear it. Take it personal and take accountability for your actions. Sit with your offense and internally reflect past your ego. Work on your shadow!

There’s nothing wrong with being flawed if you’re willing to improve yourself.

– Dez 🙂

Marsha P. Johnson: The Queen/Legend

marsha p johnson

Today, on August 24th, I’m screaming Happy 78th Birthday to Marsha P. Johnson! Our beloved queen and legend, was one of the most prominent figures of the gay rights movement of the 1960s and 70s. She was an important advocate for homeless LGBTQ+ youth, those impacted by HIV/AIDS, and gay and transgender rights!

Marsha “Pay it no mind” Johnson

Marsha P. Johnson was a transgender black woman who found her identity through drag and exploring herself! She stuck to who she was and didn’t change for other people; even knowing how dangerous it was.

I’m extremely grateful for Marsha’s advocacy. Marsha was actually on the front lines of the Stonewall Uprising with Sylvia Rivera. Marsha stood strong and was herself regardless of how illegal it was to be gender non-conforming… Even knowing how dangerous it was already to be person of the Black and Brown communities!

Due to Marsha’s strong advocacy and community, the year anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising became a day of Pride. Hence why we have Pride month! This is a great reminder that the foundation of Pride month has everything to do with the advocacy of transgender women!

– Dez 🙂

Breath Body Mind Workshop

breath body mind workshop

Join this Breath Body Mind Workshop to learn gentle movement and breathing practices! They’re easy to learn and allow you to heal from within!

Sessions run on the 3rd Wednesday of the month from 6PM-7PM!

Facilitated by Level 4 BBM Teacher, Linda Lentini. At the Connecticut Clearinghouse on 334 Farmington Ave, Plainville, CT.

Click here to register for the following sessions: 9/20, 10/18, 11/15, and/or 12/20.

Young People in Recovery, Your Story Matters

For recovery month, DMHAS is looking to showcase stories from young people who are in the recovery process. Your recovery story matters!

That is no matter where you are in your recovery journey or what you are recovering from!

Share your story by recording a video and sending it to CelebrateRecoveryMonth@gmail.com. Don’t forget to send off the signed consent form that is accessible here.

To the right, there’s a set of questions that may help you in your video.

Make sure that you meet the recording guidelines so your are easily heard and seen!

Having a hard time seeing the images on the page or want a PDF copy? Click here!

September Themes ’23

Hello everyone! This is what September will be filled with! Feel free to share our September themes or even share your experiences/opinions! To submit an article, be a guest on a podcast or provide a video today or in the future, email the team at TurningPointCT@positivedirections.org.

You can always submit other content directly to Our Stories, Creations, Videos and Map pages!

Redefining the Success and Crafting Healthy, Impactful Lasting Goals

How do we reshape how we see our goals and redefine success?

Some of the biggest impacts I’ve made in my life were less about the act of doing a tangible activity and more about shifting a mindset. 

What I’ve Done

I’ve done therapy; I’ve read self-help books, taken medications, I’ve journaled, I’ve prayed, I’ve screamed into both the “void” and my pillow. Yet, still the days occurred where I felt this pressure. So much so, I could tangibly feel it on my chest, this deep, long, clinging anxiety. When I took a step back, I realized why my efforts were failing.

Feeling Dissatisfaction: Recognizing Progress/Success

I felt dissatisfied with all the work I’ve done, and hopeless to what I would eventually do. Therefore, the actions, the work, felt powerless. It felt useless. Like a hamster running on a spinning wheel. Yet, those are powerful methods. So they were working. But if I didn’t change how I measured their progress, I would never feel or recognize progress. It didn’t matter how much I journaled, or what I told my therapist. If I didn’t change how I defined success, and how I processed daily experiences, I was always going to feel this way.

Redefining Success: A Process

So then, I went on a mission of redefining success. In that mission I’ve come to understand that most of us were not taught the correct definitions of success, and with modern technology and media – it would stay that way. I am TOTALLY a fan of all kinds of media. I am a fan of education. However, it’s so important to take inventory of how these tools have downsides, not just upsides. 

The Downside of Redefining Success: The Measurement

The biggest downside is we are mass exposed to millions of successes, all mixed together, in our face, beautiful and loud. We aren’t exposed to these individuals’ full process of creating the perfect photo, or how many years it took another to bodybuild. 

We are constantly measuring our process against the final product and the output of that is a feeling of inadequacy. I do this everyday. I look at people I admire, am jealous of, or gain inspiration from and with every post, article or book I feel more of a failure. So therefore, when it’s time to work; workout, write, read, practice – half of my headspace is seeped in anxiety. The other half is baked in doubt. This makes for a challenging ecosystem to create habits. This makes the body want to say heck no and run in the other direction. Which for me is usually the process of Netflix and pizza or hiding under a blanket.

Social Media & Its Mark On Me

Social media has made its mark on me. It’s made some irreversible cuts, deep into my creative body, the place where I identify myself. I’ve come to see that this is not a battle I face alone, and in fact, many people also hold the same battered heart against the noise of platforms. But I’ve come to realize that an even more important element, besides how we view ourselves through this social lens, is then how we actually treat ourselves. We’re allowed to have intrusive, negative, thoughts while looking at our morning Instagram feeds. But we’re not allowed to then treat ourselves as unworthy throughout the day.

As people that are not beautiful. Beings that have no creativity. As forgotten.

It’s imperative we let those emotions and thoughts pass, and come back to reality. A very real world where we are loved. A real world where we do good work, we are seen, we are chosen. A real world with sweet smells of chocolate baked goods, and the smell of basil. A world full of hugs, and flowers in grocery stores, and thrift books. The social world is so cold, glass on our fingertips. I much prefer a good conversation and a warm cup of coffee over it. Even with a side of momentarily feeling unfinished.

Treating Ourselves as Worthy

I get it, this sounds like a lot. How do we even treat ourselves as worthy? How do we stop comparing?  

First we need to realize we’ve been taught a lot of things about success and how to measure value. In school, success was the beacon of a student’s experience. Everything was graded, even friendships/social life, participation, and speed. When we are released from the school atmosphere, we use similar applications to judge ourselves. But this time, there isn’t a single teacher grading you, it’s the world. So of course, social media, and yourself, are the gradebooks. The world is also your rubric. Which is your Instagram feed. You might find yourself saying: This is how I should be doing, this is how I should look, this is how my life should be at insert age, time, season, etc. 

Questioning Success

But if those “final products” on social media don’t show us the process, or maybe even the truth (i.e. editing, staging, manipulating, selecting the best outcome), how do you define success? Is using this gradebook healthy? Do you have to do what you’ve always been taught?

No. You have the power to set impactful, actionable goals that will actually get you success. That success is defined by you and it takes into consideration, your body, your mind, your lifestyle and desires, not anyone else’s. I like to call this, “making goals in a room with no mirrors.” 

Making/Creating Goals

When we decide we have a goal, what is the decision we’re ultimately making? 

We are making a goal to be different then who we are today, in the future, under a certain set of consistent steps and standards. Now, growing and “becoming” new isn’t bad. It’s expected, irreversible. It’s designed. 

But, what if we set the goal with the intention of being in a different place then we are today, and who we become on that journey, is just part of the process, not the reason? In that way, we are not looking at what the outcome looks like, but why we want an outcome.

Why are you setting the goals for you? Not, the goals being set because you want to become someone else.

Healthy Goal Setting

You need to make your goals in a space that is not about comparing who you are now with where you “should be,” (aka, a room with mirrors). Rather, believing that you are worthy and deserving of achieving something simply because it’s close to your heart, it will make you healthier or stronger, etc. 

When we build goals and thoughts off of this idea that we are not good enough today, we are invalidating our present self. Our present self is who we live with everyday. This present self will not be gone tomorrow. Tomorrow will be the “new today” and suddenly, you’re still left unsatisfied and discontented. 

Bypassing the “Unworthy”

If we decide that we’re goal setting because we are unworthy today, then all we are doing is telling ourselves we will be unworthy tomorrow. Almost no big goals can be achieved overnight. They are a series of steps over weeks, months, maybe even years. 

If we condition ourselves that we are not successful or good until we hit that rather large benchmark, like writing a new book, or losing sixty pounds, even when we get there, we will have open wounds of a lack of self care and validation. It will leave you starving. We will pursue our goals with a sense of vigor that will lead to burnout, to exhaustion, to cutting other important things like mental wellness, and social time. It will ultimately lead to us quitting.

Now I want us to think about how we define renewal.

Defining Renewal

When we want to renew something at a library, it usually means it’s because we need more time with it. We appreciate the work, or want to dive deeper into the book, or maybe are even re-reading it. We’re not renewing it because we want to throw it out, tear it up, or re-write it entirely. We renew it because we want it. We think it’s valuable. Habits, and repeating steps to achieve a goal is renewing something over and over again.

When we decide to renew something it should be with the intention of stepping deeper into who you already are, not redoing it entirely. Social media often makes me think I need to hit the redo button; with my feed, my style, my hair and so on. So then I become a constant consumer. Not someone setting goals.

It’s Okay to Feel Overwhelmed

It’s okay to feel overwhelmed by goals too. Sometimes we are in seasons of life where a lot of “micro” changes are happening.

Your work bosses have you set new goals for a new quarter. Your teacher gives a new big essay project and a series of tests. And your parents decide to rearrange all the rooms or decide to not have family dinners in front of the television. We’re in a time where a lot of micro changes are happening, and we are sometimes caught in the crossfire, so we feel the agitation. We feel the rubbing of these changes, and mostly, the anxiety of them. 

Change happens at your own pace, and you are the grade-giving of your life. So, how are you grading yourself?

Written by Sarah Edwards (@setapart_company)

International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples

August 9th was the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples. This day recognizes and celebrates the culture, languages, and legacies of Indigenous people. It’s also a day to express appreciation for Indigenous contribution to our everyday life.

I wanted to create a blog post for the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples on August 9th. But I really wanted to wait after I went to my tribe’s powwow. I’m Blackfoot by blood, still learning about which tribes my ancestors originate from in Africa, and was adopted in a Narragansett dominant tribal household.

Honoring Indigenous Contribution to Today’s Understandings

To me, a powwow is a sacred community ceremony that involves feasting, singing, dancing, grieving, and learning.

Last year’s powwow, the Narragansett tribe did a ceremony to welcome the Taino tribe to our reservation. This year, before the Narragansett grand entry, the Taino tribal members did a few dances. The dances they did at the powwow taught us the creation of our galaxy by also teaching us community. The Narragansett tribe and many other tribes have similar teachings!

Please acknowledge that these dances were teachings long before today’s understanding of the cosmos.

The accuracy of their teachings drew me into personal validity. My thoughts and understandings of the galaxies felt validated by the Taino tribe. Today’s sciences are constantly proving that Indigenous people were correct long before they understood. Society should honestly give our Indigenous people more credit!

Culture & Ancestors: What I’m Willing to Share

This year, I found myself needing to acknowledge my ancestral blood more than ever. Before I left to the powwow, I cleaned my ancestral altar and placed clean water on it. I also made certain ancestors leave because they weren’t beneficial to my journey. Can’t forget about their altar snacks!

This powwow, I had a mission to get indigenous ancestral blessings. I wanted to create a gesture that would be acceptable to my indigenous ancestors. So I arrived at the powwow wearing all the wampum, and 2 native non-wampum necklaces I’ve been gifted over the years. Some pieces I wore were over 9 years old. I kept them all in great shape as a kid!

Traditionally, wampum showcases the status someone has in the tribe. The more wampum someone wears, the higher their status in the community.

My gesture was accepted, not only by what I wore, but by my attitude…I danced, walked around barefoot, drank from the reservation natural water supply, and felt the spirits of the land. I can say that I left the powwow with exactly what the ancestors knew I needed in my spiritual journey.

– Dez 🙂

TurningPointCT is Airing On 107.7 FM

107.7 FM

Enfield Youth Council hosts Dez on their bi-weekly radio show on 107.7 FM WACC Radio!

Tune in at 6PM on Monday (8/14), Wednesday (8/16), and/or Friday (8/18).

Can’t reach 107.7 FM WACC on your radio?

Tune in here to listen.

Want to do/join your own podcast on TurningPointCT? Email the TurningPointCT team at TurningPointCT@positivedirections.org MP3 recordings of your topic or for more information to join a podcast episode!

If you’d like to upload any other content, click here!

Prioritizing Self-Care

It’s National Wellness Month! This recognized awareness month really focuses on prioritizing self-care through committing to healthier habits. Healthier habits make an impact no matter the ‘size’ of the habit. Like listening to your body when you need to use the bathroom. instead of holding it in. Eating when your body is hungry. Or leaving behind someone who doesn’t treat you with respect. These healthy habits can really improve your overall health.

Prioritizing Self-Care in Today’s Society

Colonization has really fucked up the dynamics of society and self-care. We are wired to think that self-caring is wrong. We feel guilty for prioritizing ourselves into thinking we are being selfish. When in reality, the only way we are able to function properly is through prioritizing self-care. Everything around us tells us that routine care is the way things function properly. And when things go to shit, throw it out.

Think of it like a phone. You charge it for it to work. Or when it drops and gets debris on it, wipe it off. Why? So the phone can operate better and/or longer. And when it no longer works, get a new phone by tossing the old one out.

Observing society, I see that we care more for our material things than ourselves. Although it’s hard to care for ourselves, it’s worth it.

How to Self-Care

Before, I have written a blog about Coping and Self-Caring. It goes into detail about self-care tips that are also thought provoking. To say the least, there’s no specific how-to-guide for self-caring. However, there are ideas on how you can be prioritizing self-care in your day to day life.

Prioritizing self-care is to respect yourself and boundaries. You really have to treat and talk to yourself like you would to your best friend. Think about how you would like to be treated by someone else and treat yourself like such. What is also helpful when it comes to prioritizing self-care is thinking about how I would treat someone/something else. My rule of thumb is “if I wouldn’t do that to a baby, animal, and/or another thing, I shouldn’t do it to myself”.

Prioritizing self-care also includes cutting out people of your life, leaving a toxic job, etc.

It’s 2023, it’s a standard to be prioritizing self-care! So don’t rush yourself, take your time! Allow yourself to self-care. And if you get guilted for it by someone else, question their position in your life.

– Dez 🙂

Moths: Cultural Symbolism

It’s the 12th annual National Moth Week! This week celebrates the beauty, habitats and the life cycles of moths! Typically, National Moth Week is all about science; understanding and contributing data. You can do that here.

Outside of the science of moths during National Moth Week, I want to highlight a moth’s symbolism. A moth’s omen stance vary by culture but are very similar by their symbol or what they represent!

Befriending Moths, Culture, & Their Symbolism


I typically find myself befriending and being protective over moths. They land on me, even in daylight. Sometimes they allow me to hold them…which is rare. And, I just admire their presence around me.

Culturally, I find these occurrences to be good luck! And when someone kills a moth purposefully, it can bring great misfortune to that specific person. So I urge people to leave them be.

Moths symbolize change, transformation, endings, death, and mystery of the night. All of which I stand for and really value in my life.

Reconciling with Uneasy Moth Symbolisms

I know many people don’t feel easy around death symbolism. Depending on your relationship with moths, the translated message of their presence may vary. Which all really depends on your outlook on life. If you’re pessimistic, you’re more likely to be uneasy and translate a moth’s symbolism negatively. If you’re optimistic and stoic at heart, you’ll understand how a moth’s symbolism is all about opportunity, and beginning/ending cycles!

Either way, moths are here to remind people of opportunities regardless of the journey it takes to get there.

So, happy National Moth Week! Remember to enjoy the beauty of nature!

– Dez 🙂

August Themes ’23

Hello everyone! This is what August will be filled with! Feel free to share our August themes or even share your experiences/opinions! To submit an article, be a guest on a podcast or provide a video for August or in the future, email the team at TurningPointCT@positivedirections.org.

You can always submit other content directly to Our Stories, Creations, Videos and Map pages!

After Domestic Violence: Relationships & Breaking Cycles

A while back I posted a blog about “Recovering from Domestic Violence“. And throughout that writing process, I was sure that I wouldn’t be interested in anyone for a VERY long time. But I found myself oddly attracted to a few people and found my intuition leading me. So this is how I experienced the formulation of a new relationship after domestic violence.

Scroll all the way to the bottom for the key take-aways!

We’re Attracted to Familiarity/Potential

When I first experienced attraction to a person after domestic violence, I questioned myself what I liked about them. I couldn’t pin point what at first, but with time I understood that they were familiar to me. AND I can’t forget about potential. In the past, when I experienced familiarity, I went for it because I saw potential. The familiarity I knew was typically by how they were internally. Which was in need of healing, stagnant in mindset, lower vibrational, addictive, etc. but with a little deception of appearing higher or better.

I can confidently say that my last relationship taught me that familiarity isn’t always a good thing. And to never fall in love with someone’s potential.

What I’ve been seeing and have experienced is that, familiarity attraction has led to more low vibrational, stagnant, domestic violent, toxic and emotionally damaging relationships. And because of how we perceive different things, we stick with what we know.

Reminder: Just because someone is familiar and you like them, it doesn’t mean you have to stay with them if they are treating you like shit. We may not be aware but families teach us that we should be tolerant of toxicity. That’s even though we don’t like how it feels.

My Experience with a New Relationship After Domestic Violence

The second person I found myself attracted to, my attraction to them was extremely strong that it really surprised me. I wasn’t familiar with anything about them. This attraction actually scared me. My brain was trying so hard to find anything that was familiar about this person that was rooted in trauma. When my brain couldn’t find anything, something made me question my attraction to this person. I questioned myself if it was obligation to stay or genuine interest to grow. Sure as shit, it was genuine and not obligation like my other relationships where I felt bad for leaving.

The First Kiss: Listening to Intuition

As cheesy as this sounds, I’ve always said that I’d know when a person is for me by the first kiss. In my past relationship, I knew for sure and deep down that the person I was with, wasn’t for me by the very first kiss. I was actually confused when I felt nothing kissing this person.

But I ignored my intuition. Never ignore intuition.

With the person I felt this strong attraction to, the first kiss made me feel everything. Through my experience of trying to see if our connection was genuine, I kept going back to that moment.

Other Moments I Visited

During the talking stage, I needed to understand my emotions I experienced with this person. I literally sat down and thought about every possible thing. It was because I was afraid to lose myself again in a toxic, emotionally damaging and domestic violent relationship. I was still finding myself.

I stopped myself in the dumps of anxiety and fear to visit the moments this person and I shared. I wasn’t going miss out on a person who was loving, kind, vulnerable, genuine, straightforward, understanding, and just everything I dreamt of. We even share the same values, have similar views on the world, and want to grow!

My Nervous System After Domestic Violence

My therapist described my experience response under the polyvagal theory. Which basically explains that my nervous system was conditioned to think that I wasn’t going to ever get what I wanted/dreamt of… So, in the moment, my nervous system was like “Now what? We didn’t think we were actually going to get what we dreamt of or wanted.”

Key Take-Aways

If you’re going to take away something from this blog, remember:

  • Never ignore intuition.
    • Don’t get into relationships out of obligation and/or because you feel bad for someone.
  • Familiarity isn’t always good for you.
    • Just because you like/love them, it doesn’t mean you have to stay with them if they are treating you like shit.
  • Never fall in love with someone’s potential.
    • Potential is an idea that aren’t typically acted on.
  • It’s normal to freak out or not know what to do when you get in a healthier relationship.
    • Take the time to heal to be your best self!

Gabe H.

7 Ways to Overcome Caring About What Others Think

I want to break down why we care so much about perception. Because I believe caring about what others think about us is so damaging. Caring about outside perception keeps us away from knowing what we believe about ourselves and knowing ourselves.

I personally admit that I think a lot about how people perceive me. And it’s rooted in so much shame, pride and fear. 

Caring and having the desire to know the perception of others is really a deeper desire for control. And for me, it is a form of anxiety. If I could control how people see me, technically I could control outcomes in my life. And I think, selfishly, that’s a want we all have.

Under the Layers: Authenticity

My authenticity is hidden under layers of my own perceptions of worth…. And a masking layer is applied every time I think negatively about who I am.

This is so hard with mental health struggles because some conditions create repetitive negative or intrusive thought cycles. Such as my Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). I also tend to feel like I am not worth being around because I have these conditions. So therefore I am starving myself of value and now am hungry for approval from others to replace what should be my core values.

I imagine a lot of this is due to the fast pace of media. Like the pressure it creates, catchy headlines and misleading or emotionally charged information. In general, it is making it difficult for us to know our values. To study what we care about, our opinions, and then therefore, finding people to uplift those opinions and strengthen us.

Caring About What Others Think

So the question becomes, despite the above, how do I free myself from wanting that control, and ultimately nixing the need for external validation? What is the discovery process for identifying our values in a world that doesn’t give a lot of space for formulating self-opinion? For having a belief system, and even giving work life balance to achieve a form of self care and exploration? 

I’ve learned that starts with peeling back the layers of negative thought and letting more of my authenticity appear in the cracks. For me, this is what that process looks like:

ONE: Identifying what I value and what I believe to Overcome Caring

Taking time to educate yourself in your belief structure is crucial to adjusting the course of your life and giving you direction. We are so often sold on the idea that exploration of beliefs is a lifelong process. While this is true, in the evolution of what we believe, it is not an excuse to avoid making firm statements. Especially truths and ideas during our daily lives, starting in the present. I personally have become fearful of making firm statements. Mainly because there are not a lot of safe spaces to express new thoughts and strong ideas today. Especially if it counteracts the majority opinion.

An example of this for me was confirming and standing up for my religion. It gives me structure, faith, and direction. I now know what to give time to in my educational process, in the people and experiences I look for, and that gives me confidence. It takes away negative, doubtful thoughts and gives me a truthful narrative. 

If you walk through life without confirming any truths, and you are constantly evolving with sporadic media and emotional voices, or thinking you need to recreate who you are constantly, you are opening up all those cracks for doubt, confusion and exhaustion. Being malleable and deepening education is key, but not anchoring yourself anywhere can create circles, and constant needs of reassurance. You have the ability to make time for this mindset change in your life. And therefore,  you don’t need to go on autopilot (aka, be runned by your anxiety driven thoughts).

TWO: Taking care of my physical and mental self is the best type of caring

Investing in yourself daily, in whatever way you are able, no matter the amount, gives evidence that you believe in yourself, and that you matter. This might be in the form of reading, boundary setting, drinking the green juice, going for a walk, journaling, whatever works for you. By neglecting to do this over long periods of time, you are putting value on other things over yourself. If we value other things, we are telling ourselves what we care about, perhaps work, or the opinions of others. Investing in yourself with the highest currency, time, is one of the ultimate forms of self care and with the bonus of giving us back from control that we might be seeking in validation.

THREE: Being kind and focusing on loving others

When I become very self aware for many days and hours, it usually means I am under distress. Or I am becoming more self-centered. A lot of us shutter at the word self-centered, which is totally understandable (me too). However, self-centeredness is actually a great indicator that we just need to adjust where our focus lies.

This can also include taking inventory of overall spatial awareness. Also awareness of others, and doing a check on our ignorance or assumptions. Taking the light off of us and shining it on others is a great way to improve connection in relationships and our community. Acts of kindness; sending a text, making dinner for someone, etc, can really re-ground us in gratitude and emotional needs. It gives us a better understanding of the human experience. It also allows us to sometimes exercise a sense of vulnerability. Kindness and caring often requires empathy, or taking a risk, or sharing a part of our story.

FOUR: Making gratitude a requirement in my day, like eating a meal

Gratitude is a word often used in methods to improve happiness. Especially being in the present. Which helps with reducing anxiety and so on. And while this isn’t a new concept, the reminder of gratitude is important. One of the ways I’ve improved my gratitude dialogue is by viewing gratitude as a requirement. It’s like eating meals in a day. As a Christian, I get the visual prompt when eating to pray for my meal. And often try to slip in other words of thanks for parts of my day that once seemed insignificant.

Pairing a visual cue, like mealtime, with the act of giving thanks, can help rescale the balance between negative thoughts and dialogue in your day. 

FIVE: Taking inventory of the content I am consuming; social media, music, conversations, books, television, etc.

This is a habit change that so easily goes under my radar it’s scary. But when I switch up my media I notice an overnight and overwhelming change in my mindset. I also believe this is a habit we don’t need to constantly be strict with. But be strict with checking in with ritualistically. If you find yourself struggling to keep a more positive persona about yourself; your worth, value, age, appearance, success, and so on, it may be catalyzed by your consumption. 

This is something you can do today to make a potentially big impact for your tomorrow. 

SIX: Staying curious; exploring new things I might enjoy like new wine, or foods, a hobby, even a style of clothing or cosmetics, books and literature, etc.

Trying new things gives us permission to fail. Sometimes it’s a small consequence such as regretting a takeout selection, and sometimes, it’s taking a risk and quitting your job in pursuit of your dreams. Demonstrating to yourself and others that you decided to feed your curiosity, that you are worth investing in yourself, gives you a foundation of personality and authenticity. Therefore, minimizing the need to look to others for answers and approvals when you’re already seeking them yourself. By being curious you want to learn about the world and those interests point towards what you love, and when we focus on love we gain gratitude and joy and that also reduces anxious feelings.

SEVEN: Investing in things I believe in (such as goals, people, activities) even if others don’t understand the level of commitment or why I am putting the time/effort

I think strong authenticity, values and characteristics appear when our doubts are at their highest level. When we call upon ourselves to invest time and energy into a dream, a goal, despite the statistical odds, or others opinions…we are betting on ourselves. We then bet again, bet again, bet again, until we get the outcome we want. In this circular process we stop caring about other people’s bets or validation because we’re too busy rolling the dice, and finding out new things about ourselves while we build strength and stamina along the way.

In all these methods, the pattern is to get too invested to care, dig, explore, educate and lay firm foundations that are so strong that validation from others, or from this broken world are weak against what you’ve created.

Life After Graduation

Man, life after graduation can go one of two ways: very busy/chaotic or very relaxing! I can say that my life after graduation has been a little chaotic. But not in a bad way!

Good Chaos After Graduation

To be honest, I really planned to relax after graduation but the universe had a different plan for me! In all honesty, I really planned on only healing, going to work, and nothing else. But with healing, everything else starts to move too!

Reminder: Going with the flow is a must when things are coming your way!


You can’t sit there and say “tHiS iS hArD” and then stop in your tracks because that’s fear talking. It’s valid to say “this is hard” but never allow fear stop you from great things! I almost missed out on a great opportunity because of fear.

You gotta keep going because great opportunities will keep coming as long as you’re open to them as experiences!

Because of my openness, I’ve received so many good things and opportunities from the universe. All of which were very overwhelming at first but allowing myself to go with the flow worked in my favor :). I leveled up in many areas and met new/amazing people that will be there in my future!

Taking Steps into Adulthood after Graduating

I think many of us think about adulthood and kind of freak out because there’s no exact understanding on “how to adult”. Old people make it seem like everything is easy but in reality, adulting takes self-patience. It’s a process!

So it’s okay not knowing how to adult!!! I’m 23 and still learning and I know people in their 40s still learning how to adult! So please don’t worry about not knowing!

– Dez 🙂

National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month: The System

July is National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month. This awareness month brings awareness to the challenges and unique struggles that affect the mental health of racial and ethnic minority communities. As someone of the racial and ethnic minority communities, I face a lot of unique struggles and challenges. These challenges and unique struggles are presented everywhere… In relationships, at work, with family, in society, etc.

  • minority mental health

Throughout my healing journey, I found that nearly all of my mental health disparities tie to my race and ethnicity. To be direct, white assimilated people’s cognitive dissonance and racial/ethnic ignorance has negatively impacted my mental health. And that statement is 100% true for all of minority communities.

The System vs. Minority Mental Health

One of the biggest struggle I’m currently facing, is the health system’s role in declining the mental health of minority racial and ethnic communities. At this point, it kind of feels like they enjoy marginalizing already marginalized people. So, from the bottom of my heart and the deepest depth of my soul, FUCK the system and the health system!

The system and health system always dismiss minority communities. But mostly, perpetuate and continue making the minority communities unattended to in order to keep us under the label of “minority”. These factors actually lower the help we receive for our mental health! And it really has a lot to do with how society is very oriented to the white cisgender male and/or white population.

** That’s a clue to understanding white assimilation. **

Listening to My Body & Ancestors

Although the system caused a lot of trauma and mental health decline, I learned more about my roots. I wasn’t able to learn from my family/environment as they were assimilated to white society. They were deep within their learned cognitive dissonance.

Due to this circumstance, I did a lot of intuitive learning from my ancestors, researched what I’ve learned, and started healing myself at home. My experiences with the system and “health” system has made me turn to ancestral holistic methods of healing. I learned to self-medicate through herbal remedies and heal via ancient/ancestral methods that were lost in cultural assimilation. I’m grateful for my experiences.

Racial/Ethnic Minority Mental Health Matters

Regardless of my gratefulness, no one should have to experience mental health disparities because of unique struggles or challenges of race and ethnicity. Everyone should work on their white assimilated ways, cognitive dissonance, and racial/ethnic ignorance.

Reminder: No one is safe from white assimilation nor racial/ethnic ignorance. And if you’re a person of racial/ethnic minority groups, know that you are NOT alone.

– Dez 🙂

Renewed Hobbies

Who said hobbies have to be practical or useful in our everyday lives? Many of us kind of think about adopting a new hobby or hobbies. And some of us kind of think about adopting renewed hobbies. There’s no shame in renewing a hobby we once enjoyed before.

No one really talks about the self talk we have because of other people’s poisonous cognitive patterns. We often get stopped in our tracks by the unreal expectations of “ReAl LiFe” application or usefulness. All of which were placed on us by other people! Stop listening to those thoughts!

My Renewed Hobbies: Guitar Hero, Math, & Physics

I can confidently say that my renewed hobbies come from past passions. And it’s definitely not useful to my career path or anything like that. It’s geeky and nerdy. The first renewed hobby was something I was very conscious about because people found it to be a waste of time.

Nothing that improves mental health is a waste of time to me. Avoiding passions and being bitter are wastes of time.

Renewed Hobby #1

My first renewed hobby is guitar hero! Not really, lol. But it is very similar…it’s Clone Hero. I was able to download the songs I liked from other games from this doc. I thought it was cool asf! What’s even better is that you can download any song you want to play. from Chorus. What’s even better is that it’s all free!

From least expensive to more expensive: You can use your laptop keyboard, a separate bluetooth keyboard, random remote that has a USB end, remote that can connect via bluetooth, or even a guitar hero guitar.

Renewed Hobby #2

This second renewed hobby is definitely a nerdy one; math and physics. In middle and high school, I really enjoyed math and physics. Going to college, I didn’t have much time to continue enjoying those hobbies. So, I went to Khan Academy, signed in and added what I wanted to re-learn and continue learning. Khan Academy is also free! No need to pay money to learn and do things you want to!

Breaking out of Hobby Expectations

I think this kind of brings many points together. Essentially that:

  • We don’t need money to do simple hobbies
  • What improves our mental health shouldn’t have to meet societal expectations
  • And, being a geek or nerd can be fun and is cool

In case you’ve missed it, nothing that improves mental health is a waste of time. Avoiding passions and being bitter are wastes of time. Also, in a materialistic world, find something non-materialistic. Non-materialistic things can greatly improve your mental health!

– Dez 🙂

July Themes ’23

Hello everyone! This is what July will be filled with! Feel free to share our July themes or even share your experiences/opinions! To submit an article, be a guest on a podcast or provide a video for July or in the future, email Dez at dchapman@positivedirections.org.

You can always submit other content directly to Our Stories, Creations, Videos and Map pages!

Neurodiversity & Autistic Pride Day

During pride month we have Neurodiversity Pride day (June 16th) and Autistic Pride Day (June 18th)! These pride days give people of the neurodivergent/diverse, Autistic, ADHD, Tourette’s, etc. communities a day to focus on the positive!

As someone of the neurodivergent/diverse community, I think it would be nice to share some memes that I really relate to!

P.S. there are term definitions at the end of the blog.

Pride Memes

  • pride

Neurodiversity Terms to Know

  • Neurodiversity – refers to the natural diversity of human minds. It’s a biological fact that we are diverse in our minds just like we are diverse in our ethnicity, gender, sexuality, etc. Acknowledges the whole spectrum of neurodiversity from neurodivergent to neurotypical individuals (Created by Judy Singer).
  • Neurodivergent – an umbrella term for individuals who have a mind or brain that diverges from what is ‘typical’. Neurodivergence can be acquired or genetic (Created by Kassiane Asasumasu).
  • Neurotypical – a term that describes people whose mind or functioning falls within the society standards of what is to be ‘typical’, ‘common’ or ‘normal’.
  • Neurodiverse – a term to describe a group of individuals who represent the spectrum of neurodiveristy which includes neurotypical and neurodivergent individuals.

Reminder: Being different doesn’t mean that you are less! You matter and fit in other communities!

– Dez 🙂

Trans Issues: Birth Certificate Rant

The other day I was filing to get a new birth certificate with my chosen legal name and affirmed gender because I wanted to get a passport. I had an idea of what I needed until I looked on the state website. So I ran into something that I like to call a “trans issue”. If you are trans and are looking to update your birth certificate in CT, click here.

What are Trans Issues?

Trans issues are struggles only transgender people face. Meaning, an issue cisgender people don’t have to EVER go through.

Trans Issue in Context

In the case of trying to get a new birth certificate, cisgender people only need to fill out a 1 page form to send to the state, town, or fed with a copy of their legal ID. For transgender people, we have to:

  • Fill out the form cisgender people fill out
  • Attach a copy of our ID or driver’s license (like cisgender people)
  • Have a doctor or psychiatrist fill out a form that they have to get notarized (to prove gender identity)
  • Fill out the form to get notarized (to also prove gender identity)
  • Provide COURT documents
  • And if you’re adopted (which I am), you must also provide adoption proof

If you are trans and are looking to update your birth certificate in CT, click here.

Why Trans Issues?

I find it weird that we (the trans community) have to go through these hurdles. We shouldn’t have to provide that much proof of our identity to anyone. To mention, it took me about 3 years to finally update everything to reflect my gender identity and legal name.

trans issues

Although I updated things right away, the state didn’t update my name as it was updated federally, on my voter ID, state government issued ID, on the Selective Service System (war draft), and far more.

Being for real, what was the reason for going through all of this if I couldn’t get my birth certificate updated like any other person?


Regardless of someone’s gender identity circumstances, there should be some form of equity to lower the amount of struggle trans people face.

I think an updated government issued ID should be enough proof of our gender identity and name update. We should be able to provide the same number of documents cisgender people provide for everything. Especially because a lot of us went through well over enough hurdles.

– Dez

June Themes ’23

Hello everyone! This is what June will be filled with! Feel free to share our June themes or even share your experiences/opinions! To submit an article, be a guest on a podcast or provide a video for June or in the future, email Dez at dchapman@positivedirections.org.

You can always submit other content directly to Our Stories, Creations, Videos and Map pages!

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The Mask I Wear: PTSD and Autism

The more I work on PTSD recovery, the more I recognize the mask I wear. As I start to unmask, I realize that I haven’t had the privilege to live an unmasked life. And the more I learn about myself, the more I realize that I really haven’t had an unmasked life since the age of 2. Most importantly, I’m realizing how important it is to speak up.

Growing to Wear my Mask

I’m still working on accepting being different. I find myself feeling shame for being born the way I am. I accepted myself for my sexuality, gender identity, ethnicity, etc. but not for being autistic. It has everything to do with how I grew up.

By my childhood, I had the choice to either adapt or to be hurt for being autistic. So I wore my mask. And I wore my mask really good. I realized at an early age that my behaviors and way of life were deemed unacceptable in society. In certain foster homes, I was considered a demon child because of my sensory needs. I was made fun of or shamed for self stimming (fidgeting, pen cap chewing, etc.) all of which were silent.

Growing up this way made me feel as though my sensory needs weren’t necessarily important. In relationships (family, past lovers, etc.), there were indications of disbelief in my different needs and behavioral patterns. Which induces shame in being autistic under the PTSD mask I wear. This impacts my ability to express my needs and why I have such needs in areas of my life. I don’t want to be treated differently, just understood without judgement. So what other way can I avoid such disparity than to mask myself?

Unmasking in Recovery

As I heal from PTSD, I find myself having a really hard time navigating the socially perceived unfavorable characteristics of autism. Which include self stimming, bluntly saying things, needing to say certain things when something is off or wrong, and/or needing to do something in accommodation to attendance importance when I’m overwhelmed.

I struggle navigating these socially perceived unfavorable characteristic everywhere. But, I’ve been having a harder time with it at work. Which leaves me to acknowledge and voice my needs as it’s important.

In all, I’m basically trying to navigate the cognitive dissonance people have around autism that are created by the lack of understanding and education.

– Dez 🙂

Recovering from Domestic Violence: The Journey

Many of us really don’t think about whether or not we are in a domestic violent situation. Recently, I learned that I experienced domestic violence and I had to admit it to myself. Admitting it was the hardest part of my journey. I wanted to deny it. But I quickly understood that I was romanticizing my connections out of survival. I kept telling myself, “it could be way worse”, “they’re not like this deep down”, and “they didn’t mean it”. But indeed, they were aware of how they were hurting me. Understanding domestic violence has led me to question the reality I perceived.

What is Domestic Violence?

Typically when I hear domestic violence, I think of physical and sexual abuse. But domestic violence includes emotional, psychological, technological, and economical abuse. I learned about it here.

  • Physical abuse: hitting, slapping, shoving, grabbing, pinching, pushing, etc.
  • Sexual abuse: forcing/coercing sexual interactions of any sort
  • Emotional abuse: undermining someone’s self-worth
  • Psychological abuse: fear by intimidation, threats to harm (either self, partner, children, etc.), forcing isolation, gaslighting, etc.
  • Technological abuse: behavior that’s intended to harm, threaten, control, stalk, harass, exploit or monitor another person via technology
  • Economical/financial abuse: using money, financial situation, or tactics in a form of manipulation for money or to control

My Past Relationship/Situationship

To say the least, I didn’t understand masculine people were valid in their experiences of domestic violence. I experienced being hit in my prior relationships but never experienced something like I did in my most recent past situationship.

In my most recent situationship, I was experiencing the most damaging emotional and psychological abuse. I questioned my entire existence a lot and rather have left this plane of existence than to experience another moment of manipulation. That includes the manipulation that came with trying to leave. I was convinced that I was going crazy. This person made me feel psychotic!

To a degree, technological abuse was there. Economical/financial abuse was there too. I was also guilted and gaslit by the person because I wasn’t sexually attracted to them anymore. It made me feel less. They found it odd that I needed to feel connected to a person emotionally to have that sexual attraction. Their response to my lack of sexual desire was to accuse me of talking to other people, and far much more. They didn’t want to put in any work.

Unfortunately, I don’t feel safe enough to elaborate more. But one day, I’ll be able to talk more. I just wanted to make people aware that masculine people experience domestic violence too.

Losing Myself & Growing

Honestly speaking, this experience broke me. I lost myself trying to prove my love and positive intentions. It was all because I saw so much potential in this person. I saw how hurt this person was and made excuses for them in how they treated me. This person wasn’t willing to grow as I grew no matter what. Because of my growth, this person felt threatened by my presence and independence. As I kept going, they just grew pessimistic. And just more agitated with how I was soaring outside of their stagnant mindset.

The Complex Lesson

There are many lessons I’ve learned through this experience. I mainly learned about the complexity of love and domestic violence. But most importantly, I learned that it doesn’t matter what other people say to you. Their actions and ability to grow is what matters. Even if they say they love you. Those words mean nothing if they can’t see you and love you like they want to be loved by another person.

I learned that people will say anything to manipulate you into taking your energy. Whether that be with guilt or honey. This person’s tactics were guilt. They only wanted me around because I was benefiting them. They made me feel guilty because I started to love myself. In other words, they kept telling me that I didn’t love them, despite all that I’ve given emotionally, because I was trying to fill my cup after the damages. They started to gaslight me even more because I set boundaries. They tried to control everything; even how my apartment looked, how I communicated, etc. In all, I learned that people will feel threatened or offended by your boundaries if they’re out of alignment with you.

Closing Words on Domestic Violence: Validity

No matter your age, love is proven to be complicated and complex. Your age doesn’t define when you experience emotional or psychological pain. No matter the age, you can experience domestic violence on any scale. No matter your gender identity and sexuality, you can experience domestic violence. Domestic violence isn’t easy to go through either. Always think about your safety in relationships.

Gabe H.

Job Opportunity at YAH

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I’m Riding My Bike Across the Country

I want to ride my bike across the country. And I will be riding my bike across the country. I plan on doing it after I graduate. My goal is to do it within a year; or after I fully recover from bottom surgery! Bottom surgery is literally around the corner for me! Read all about the bottom surgery I’m getting here.

Staying Motivated

I’ve heard people ask me: “How will you do that?” They even say: “You need to prepare” or “People spend years training”. I sometimes get a laugh because people don’t think I’m being serious about it. It’s almost as if a kid said it. Although this may be enough to discourage some people, this is something my soul is really urging towards. I’m so passionate about doing it, that people’s reactions motivates me to problem solve and think abstractly.

Everything I need is right in front of me.

In my world, riding my bike everywhere is literally enough training. My asthma is well controlled. My allergies are well controlled now that I’m paying attention to my body. I can’t forget that I rode my bike over 16.5 miles from Bradley Airport to the South End of Hartford because my co-worker came in a few hours late: at 2/3 AM, and the last bus already left at midnight. In the moment, I was anxious that I wouldn’t be able to go to my morning appointment if my co-worker didn’t show up. But somehow, I knew everything was going to be okay.

That experience alone was extremely nice and calming. The scenery was just beautiful along the way. Something that people would’ve found extremely upsetting, I found to be a great experience to further push me in the direction I want to go in. Riding my bike from Bradley Airport was a confirmation that I am able to do something I want to do without ‘proper’ training.

Why I’m Riding My Bike Across the Country

At first, it was an impulsive thought that came from my unconscious desires. My old social studies teacher, Jonathan Williams, sparked my interest after he talked about how he ran across the country. This has been in my thoughts since my freshman year of high school. Now I’m a senior in college.

People asked me why I wanted to do this and the only think I could come up with was to prove myself to everyone. However, that reasoning never aligned nor felt accurate to say. It was just something I said in the moment of silence. Thinking about it now, I’m really doing this for myself. I need to exemplify to myself that it doesn’t matter what other people think. I honestly need to do this for my mental health and spiritual self. Whether it be valid or not.

The Proposed Outcome of Riding my Bike Across the Country

Throughout this process, I hope to have a better understanding of who I am. I also hope to develop a better connection to the land spirits and my ancestors. After-all, my ancestors were the ones who occupied this land first and the ones who were enslaved to build this country. So why not feel their energies and their emotions to understand my feelings in the process. My time in nature will only grant me the healing that I need; and maybe give them a little of the healing they need.

I just may even bring a notebook and pen to write in about my encounters/experiences.

– Dez 🙂

Autism Awareness: A Guide for People, by an Autistic Person

April 2nd is World Autism Awareness Day and it’s Autism Awareness Month! World Autism Awareness Day and Autism Awareness month draws attention to the need for growing innovative programs that are designed to support those with autism. I feel like there’s a need for supporting people more than just supporting programs. Reason being, in order to make autistic people feel seen, heard and understood, we must start with people. And as a fellow autistic person, I want to share my experiences and give insight on how people can be more supportive.

The Need for Support

My biggest struggle as an autistic high functioning/masking adult is that people don’t see me as an autistic individual. And that’s a problem! It does get frustrating for me. Mainly because my actions are typically taken in another way and/or I get discredited for being autistic. Which invalidates how I feel at times, and even my needs. So being cognizant over labeling someone as high functioning is important!

I do want to clarify that being autistic doesn’t mean that we are incapable. There were times where I was treated and talked to like I was a child because I made people aware that I was autistic. I was extremely aware that people who do that typically don’t fully understand autism and aren’t comfortable. However, a good portion of this treatment came from licensed clinicians, people with a PsyD, and/or PhD in psychology who don’t fully understand how to navigate autism.

Part of My Experience as an Autistic Person


These are just a few things I’ve heard either my entire life or from people in general. We should spend time to #StopJudging, #StopTheStigma, and #BeMoreAware.

Hearing some of these things makes me feel misunderstood and frustrated. However, hearing things about not looking autistic makes me question someone’s entire thought process. Especially the comment about my ability to pass my college courses. Like, where are people getting their information from? And it’s all about stigmas!

To explain the “different variations” under the Mr. Know-It-All quote, people typically complain when I correct their harmful stigmas. I can say that I strongly dislike having to educate people on their ignorance and inaccurate perceptions. Mainly because I do it so often that people either ignore me or that I hear people complain about how I’m too uptight, I always correct them or I get called a Mr. Know-It-All. If you don’t want to be corrected, be more aware of your harmful language and/or the harmful stigmas that you are perpetuating. Fix how you are talking.

This is How you can Support Autistic People

This biggest “rule” of support here is to believe a person when they say they are autistic even if they are a high functioning/masking adult. Here are additional ways you can support autistic individuals:

  • #StopTheStigma; stop saying things that are exemplified in the image above. You might see something as a compliment but it only perpetuates the continuation of harmful stigmas.
  • Don’t treat or talk to an autistic individual like a child. Ask if we need help with something that shows that we are struggling. And if the help is declined, don’t take it personal!
  • Understand that we experience emotions and are capable of empathy!
  • Don’t take our actions in a personal way. Trust me, we are not being rude or are doing things that make you feel some type of way, annoyed, etc. on purpose.
  • Please be patient with autistic individuals! Your patience means a lot!
  • Be direct with autistic individuals. I definitely have a hard time taking a hint and taking things as jokes.
  • Get to know the person as a human! Don’t rely solely on online information! Don’t discredit that someone is autistic because they are high functioning/masking.
  • Ask how you may be able to help in certain situations when you are unsure! It’s nice when people try to understand how to navigate a situation.
  • Autistic people are not your walking encyclopedia! Don’t treat them as such! If they enjoy discussing a topic, by any means, ask the question.

Reminder: Every autistic person isn’t the same! And, every autistic person experiences themselves differently. So please get to know someone first!

– Dez 🙂

Self-Harm Alternatives

Many people talk about self-harm and ways to prevent yourself from self-harming. But, many people don’t talk about the self-harm alternatives.

Self-Harm Awareness Month

March is Self-Harm Awareness Month. Self-harm is an overall hard topic for me to touch upon because I used to self-harm by cutting and punching myself. And people around me currently self-harm by multiple methods. I’m not going to lie, it does trigger my nervous system when I’m around it. But this isn’t why I’m writing.

I asked myself and out loud “what is classified as self-harm other than the obvious?” Reading the list surprised me. I’m going to include the entire list:

  • Cutting/Biting/Poisoning/Hitting yourself
  • Over-Eating or Under-Eating (purposefully)
  • Exercising Excessively
  • Picking/Scratching/Burning your skin (purposefully)
  • Inserting Objects that are Harmful to your Body
  • Hitting Objects that may cause an Injury
  • Misusing/Abusing Alcohol, Prescriptions & Drugs
  • Pulling your hair
  • Having Unsafe Sex (w/ a stranger, someone who is unsafe, putting yourself in danger)
  • Getting into fights where you know you will get hurt.

I, of course, added a few context words to the list because it matters. The last time I self-harmed by cutting was around 2016. I honestly don’t remember the last time I self-harmed by hitting myself. However, based off this list, the last time I self-harmed was December 20th, 2022 (hitting objects that may cause an injury). It wasn’t purposefully done to hurt myself, however, due to a need to exert my anger.

Self-Harm Alternatives: Ideas

I don’t have all the answers to alternatively prevent all the methods of self-harm. However, I do have ideas that can help someone who self-harms by: cutting, poisoning/pill taking, and hitting objects that may cause an injury.

Cutting Alternatives

I was trying to find the self-harm recovery pen online, however, it sells out extremely fast! Essentially, the pen is filled with a strong mint essential oil to cause a mimic burning sensation. The point of the pen doesn’t harm the skin at all, but it does feel like scratches. It’s typically sold on Etsy. Although this pen isn’t currently selling, there is an alternative to those who cut to draw blood. It’s a Self-Harm Recovery Blood Roller. If you are looking for the mimic burning sensation, use a thin ice pack or just ice and place it on the skin.

One last alternative to cutting is tattooing yourself or getting a tattoo. Many people around me use my tattoo gun as an alternative to self-harming! This tattoo gun is similar to what I have but a cheaper alternative. This one is very similar to mine. It’s important to sterilize your skin before and after the tattoo. Take care of it. Let me know if you would like some tips in the comment section! I’ll definitely do a blog post for it!

Poisoning/Pill Taking Alternatives

I can say that this one is one of my favorite alternatives! Mainly because it’s cost effective, comes in any color, and is Vegan/Vegetarian friendly! This is the Vegan option, Vegetarian option, Gelatin option.

Hitting Objects Alternatives

This is something I recently invested in! Instead of punching things that may cause an injury, I got a double end speed bag. It helps me work out in a fun way, manage my anger/emotions and impulses. It was actually the cheapest and higher quality punching bag kit I saw. It’s great for small spaces.

Another good option for smaller spaces would be a freestanding reflex bag. If you are looking for something more heavy to put all your force into, I suggest buying a stand kickboxing/punching bag.

What self-harm alternatives will you use?

Drop some self-harm alternative ideas in the comments! Or share ways you prevent yourself from self-harming!

– Dez 🙂

Fighting Burnout & Depression in College

Last week was spring break for me and it definitely didn’t feel like break. Mainly because I was experiencing a burnout on top of depression. My burnout definitely sparked before finals week. Soon after, my depression followed as there was no room for me to self-care.

Trigger Warning: Contents of heavy history and sensitive topics such as racism are mentioned.

My Burnout & Depression is From Teaching the “Teacher”

I’m tired of teaching people without being compensated for it. Especially at a college level. My burnout is from a sociology course that is being ran by a closed minded White Cisgender Heterosexual male. This professor has acted in micro-aggression to myself and fellow peers. It definitely has contributed to the declination of my mental health.

The first two discussion boards, the professor shared his opinion with me about my views. The first time, I let it slide until he compared the holocaust to racism. Indicating that racism doesn’t exist and we (marginalized groups) learned helplessness. To “prove” his stance, he said that he was an “expert” in African American, Native Indigenous, and immigrant history/studies. Right there, I understood what language I had to speak in order to effectively humiliate him for his bigotry in a professional manner. This made me understand that a degree, title, and position truly means nothing besides validity.

This professor makes me work 10x’s harder. The student-professor hierarchy allows him to take advantage to corner students. All I can say is that I fought back harder than he could ever imagine with facts and actual history to the point he was humiliated enough to personally email me. He couldn’t take accountability to give an actual apology in his email. However, used psychology to go around saying a formal apology.

Stepping in the Right Direction

The sociology professor has triggered my past educational trauma. And it took its toll on me along side outside factors. Recently, I was challenged to do something for myself by the TPCT team. I’m trying to take it one step at a time. Especially, allow myself the care I need. I’m definitely due for a self-care bath.

Self-caring has allowed me to creating a little planting project for myself after getting a home garden starter. Planting and growing herbs allows me to ground and slow down. It gives and provides me with a quiet head space. So far, I’m trying to grow lavender, eucalyptus and white sage in the home garden pods. The lavender seeds are sprouting. I may give growing updates here and there! I’m also growing lettuce; which is looking amazing!

Burnout & Depression

Now, I have something that will allow me to regulate more effectively as I continue taking this required sociology course. The hope is to minimize the amount of burnout I experience from this course. While also connecting me with my feelings.

Dez 🙂

Women’s Herstory Month: How to Celebrate

Womens herstory month

It’s Women’s Herstory Month!! But what does that mean? How do we celebrate or recognize women’s history month?

What Women’s Herstory Month Means

Women’s (Her)story Month is all about encouraging and commemorating the actions, rights, practices, importance, and celebration of the vital role women have played in the betterment of society and history! It’s all about celebrating those who identify as women too! Like Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera! You can also celebrate women from all over the globe! Like Mahsa Amini, Queen/King Nzinga Mbande, Masako Hojo, Rani Abbakka, Frida Kahlo, Selena Quintanilla, etc.

Don’t forget to celebrate the Native Indigenous women!

How to Honor this Month

Here are a few ideas on how you can honor Women’s Herstory Month:

  • Read about women’s rights
  • Listen to podcasts that support women
  • Watch documentaries about women leadership
  • Watch TED talks by women leaders
  • Learn about historical women
  • Read about women led activism
  • Read books by women

You can also take action!

  • Support women-owned businesses
  • Fight for women’s rights and freedom
  • Be the change!
  • Stand up for women (in public too)

These are just some of many ways you can celebrate, recognize and honor women! How will you celebrate Women’s Herstory Month?

Accepting my Adoption

Dear Anonymous,

Growing up, I had periods where I had a hard time accepting my adoption and thought about my birth mother. I thought about how excited I would be to “finally” have a mom. How happy I would feel to “finally” have someone who understood me. And someone who would hug me with more love — I expected myself to have all the reactions an adopted child is expected to feel when meeting their birth parent(s) for the first time.

Some Background Info: Adoption Experience

I had a rough upbringing in the foster system. And even a rough life as an adopted child. There were many things that my adoptive mother did that has caused me trauma. All of which made me feel resentment towards myself, preventing me from accepting my adoption because I wished to be somewhere else. I wanted to be with my dad; but he wasn’t alive. So I tried finding my birth mother.

I got in contact with my birth mother in 2017. I experienced all that I have expected of myself. My birth mother even went to one of my basketball games.

We Didn’t Talk For 3+ Years

Through time, I experienced anger and sadness through a sunken self-worth caused by people who told me that they were right. I sat and reasoned with myself for over 3 years by my own intuition to understand that the words of others meant nothing if I intuitively felt.

This year I put together a family collage of pictures for my ancestral alter. My adoptive mother and birth parents/family were included. The following week, I went on a man-hunt to see if my birth mother was still alive. I searched online, databases, voting information, social media, etc. I called more than 15 numbers that I found online. And went to a few addresses. I slightly gave up; then reflected.

A few days after reflection: My birth mother reached out to me. I expected myself to cry, to be excited, happy, fulfilled, etc. And not a thing came out, besides asking myself why I wasn’t reacting how I expected.

Why I’m Writing ‘Accepting my Adoption’

All this time I was looking to replace the mother I already had. I turned to realize that I accepted my adoptive mother to be my mom. In a way, I surrendered to the universe. I accepted that everyone was flawed in their responses and actions. And what mattered most, was how someone bettered themselves through their mistakes. All this time I resented my adoptive mother for all the things she has done to me without accepting how she bettered herself.

Now that we’re here, I accept my reaction and lack of excitement. I accept my adoptive mother as my mom. I no longer resent my mom nor myself for the decisions that has led me to being adopted. Lastly, I accept my intuition because it has led me here.

Through this all, I learned to understand that a relationship must be built.

Yours Truly,


NAMI: Free Young Adult CT Events!

NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) Connecticut is holding FREE upcoming CT events and opportunities for those ages 18-29! Take a look at the following flyers for more information!

February 25th, 2025

ct events

Spots are Limited!

Register your spot here!

Location: 997 Farmington Ave, West Hartford, CT, 06107

ALL materials are covered by NAMI!

April 28-30th

It’s okay if you’re unable to go to the event/opportunity in February. Check this out!

ct events

Registration Required!

Contact Val: vlepoutre@namict.org

Who: NAMI invites young adults with leadership qualities and readiness to step into the peer world!

What: There will be workshops, bonfires, fun activities, etc. and brainstorming sessions to “reimagine” the future of NAMI CT and it’s Next Gen programs!

Location: 253 Bushy Hill Rd, Deep River, CT, 06417

All meals and lodging are covered!

Visit NAMI for more CT events, opportunities, and information!

Teen Dating Violence Awareness

Each February, young adults and people across the nation raise awareness about the issue of teen dating violence. National Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention month focuses on educating young people on how to stop dating abuse before it starts.

What is Teen Dating Violence?

Teen dating violence includes physical, psychological, or sexual abuse. This also includes harassment or stalking of anyone ages 12-18 in context of present or past romantic or consensual relationship.

  • Physical Abuse: biting, hitting, scratching, pushing, hair pulling, etc.
  • Emotional/Psychological Abuse: name calling, bullying, intentionally embarrassing, shaming, monitoring, etc.
  • Sexual Abuse: forcing a teen partner into a sexual act against will or without consent
  • Stalking: following or harassing a teen partner in a way that causes them fear of safety and/or well-being

Teen dating violence can be done in person, via social media, phone communication, electronically.

Why Teen Dating Violence Awareness is Important

We want to prevent teen dating violence. Dating violence is more common than you think:

  • 1 in 3 U.S. teens will experience physical, sexual, or emotional abuse
  • 1 in 3 teens (1.5 Million) admits to being in an unhealthy relationship
  • Transgender teens report the highest rates of physical dating violence (88.9%), psychological dating abuse (58.8%), cyber dating abuse (56.3%), and sexual abuse (61.1%).
  • LGBTQ youth statistics: cyber dating abuse (37%), physical dating violence (43%), psychological dating abuse (59%), sexual abuse (23%)
  • Heterosexual youth statistics: cyber dating abuse (26%), physical dating violence (29%), psychological dating abuse (46%), sexual abuse (12%)

Transgender, LGBTQ, and heterosexual youth/teens of color (e.g. Native Indigenous, African, Asian, Latin, Hispanic) experience a higher percentage of dating violence than their white identifying peers.

Preventing Teen Dating Violence

We know how hard it is to get out of a violent relationship, especially talk about it. It’s highly encouraged to talk with your trusted friends or a trusted adult. Your experience is taken seriously and there is always someone who can try and help!

For adults reading this; it is extremely important that you open your lines of communication. Meet teens where they’re at. Share your own experiences of when you were a teen. Model compassion and kindness. Always encourage teens to think about how they want to be treated or their “non-negotiables”. Doing so will only create a safe environment and teen motivation to step in the right direction.

Click here for resources!

My Body Image Journey

Growing up, I was always self conscious about my body image. Primarily because family members would comment on my body. I either looked like a “fat cow” or was labeled “anorexic” even though I was in the middle of the chart. Regardless of my weight, I was over sexualized and received uncomfortable comments about my body. It has caused quite the issue that has contributed to a body image turmoil.

Food to Hide vs. Losing to Be Seen

At some point, food became my only comfort. I tried eating to hide even though I knew it wouldn’t make me feel any better. I ate to no longer be called anorexic or be made fun of for being a healthy weight. So, I ended up gaining 77lbs in one and a half years; ending up at 220lbs by the beginning of my freshman year of college. And yet, my efforts weren’t enough for certain family members. My body image was then taunted with disgust.

That has led to a point in my life where I unhealthily lost weight. I lost about 60lbs in 6 months due to depression, an unhealthy eating habit, and taking weight loss supplements. I felt shame in my weight loss journey while also feeling better about my body image.

Personal Realization

It took me a while to lose weight in a healthy manner. I told myself that I had to do it for myself and in a healthy way. It has led me to research how to healthily lose weight. This resulted in me trying intermittent fasting; tailored to my active times while incorporating balanced meals. Outside of my body changes, I noticed that my brain functioned a lot better when I was fasting. I was able to do homework during the day instead of only at night. My overall mood, energy and sleep was better.

In those moments, I began to understand what I put into my body matters, not my weight. I’m only healthy by engaging in healthy things. My body is beautiful regardless how it looks because my soul is beautiful.

Navigating My Body Image Today

Although I had that breakthrough, I still struggle with my body image. In response, I try to engage in healthy activity at least 5 times a week. First, I started with a goal of stretching everyday. Then, I set a goal of doing at least 20 sit ups a day. Which is where I’m at in my journey. Setting a smaller goal actually motivates me to do more. This is what I have been doing (depending on my mood):

  • Jumping Jacks for 1 or 2 songs 
  • 15 to 20 Push-Ups
  • Air Punches for Half a Song
  • SpongeBob Dance
  • Arm Curls
  • Glute Raises

There are days where I do all of the workouts on the list! There are days where I would do just one workout. I can say that all of this has been making me want to start jogging. My next goal is to start jogging at least once a week! When I do, I may give you all an update!

– Dez 🙂

Grieving my Uterus: Transgender Journey

I haven’t talked much about my transgender journey here. Mostly because it’s personal and complex. As a disclosure, I’m not here to talk solely about my journey but also about grieving something sacred; my uterus.

The Uterus is Sacred: Grieving

Culturally, I have identified the sacredness of my uterus. It’s a portal that held so much of my power. With it, I felt whole and divine. I was balanced of both feminine and masculine energies. My psychic abilities were at its peak as I was tapping into that sacred energy.

Without my uterus, I felt lost and out of touch with the feminine energy. And it kind of made me angry. But mainly angry with society.

Grief that Turned to Anger

Throughout my grieving process, I wanted to answer: Why did I need to get rid of something sacred to qualify for bottom surgery when I have been aware of my gender identity since I was 4 years old?

My grief turn into anger upon answering that question. The anger sparked from the expectation that people must conform to the binary system in order to receive what may alleviate their gender dysphoria. The binary system started with colonization and the whitewashed governing body that strips people of their culture, self-expression, and self-autonomy. This forces non-binary individuals to conform to the binary system for medical procedures. Which only causes more distress.

Systemic Irrational Fears

People with money don’t have to go through any of the barriers that the gender expansive community has to. No one questions, interrogates, expect publicity, requires more than one medical document, and/or makes up a wait time for someone with money who wants a surgery done. There are no rules or barriers for them. So why do those of the gender expansive community need to go through all of these barriers? Why do we need to prove ourselves when society has prevented self-expression from happening?

What people fail to process is how self-expression within the childhood would actually help individuals find/be themselves. It’s actually why many cis-het people are so unhappy; they don’t know who they are so they try to conform to something which only makes them feel guilty. And due to how the United States was build, people fear the lack of control over another’s gender identity through forcing binary social conformity. In other words, closed/single minded individuals seek to control gender identity and gender expression within others because they’re uncomfortable with people being free of a construct they, themselves, are prisoner to.

What I’ve Learned & Done

In some way, I learned many things from my grief and anger:

  • I shouldn’t give my power away.
  • Not having a uterus doesn’t make me any less.
  • I am still me without my uterus.
  • It’s okay to grieve and be angry.
  • It’s okay to cry.

In all of this, I have tattooed a ram skull with Lilith’s sigil on its forehead on my lower stomach area. This is how the tattoo looks on paper.


These are their meanings:

  • A skull with horns symbolize the major change and death of a cycle of life.
  • The ram skull represents overcoming obstacles; my grief and anger. It also symbolizes the sacrifice I made in order to qualify for the surgery to feel aligned to myself.
  • I placed Lilith’s sigil on the forehead because she is a symbol of femininity, freedom, rebellion, strength, courage and beauty.

Remember that it’s okay to grieve something that society doesn’t think you should grieve.

– Dez 🙂

CEUs (Free); Holistic Approach to Recovery

WEBINAR TITLE: NEGOTIATING IDENTITIES | Recovering the Self; A holistic approach to supporting recovery, during the transition to adulthood. Click on the image below to the interactive version of the flyer! Continuing Education Units (CEUs) for recovery support specialists and social workers!


For those working in the recovery psychology field!


This is a free community webinar hosted by Advocacy Unlimited, Inc. Attend virtually, via Zoom. No recording will be available.

WHEN: Monday, February 13, 2023 9:30am-4pm

REGISTRATION REQUIRED: Click here to register!

Click the image to view and/or download interactive flyer!

What Attendees Said About this Webinar for CEUs

  • CEUs Continuing Education Quote

Click here to register! Or download/view flyer!

Celebrating Yule with a Twist!

Celebrating Yule was my companion’s idea; which is who I celebrated with! Yule is a celebration of the winter solstice (the longest night of the years) and the return of the sun. Before celebrating Yule, I honestly sat and thought about cultural relevancy. I asked myself: How does the celebration of the winter solstice and return of the sun tie into my African and Native Indigenous background? There was a natural understanding that my Celtic, Nordic and Viking ancestors celebrated the winter solstice and the return of the sun. I didn’t want to make my other ancestors feel left out of this celebration! I came to understand that the traditions of Christmas came from other cultures.

What I Did to Prepare/Celebrate Components of Yule

Leading up to the winter solstice, I sought to find congruences in cultural celebration to make my ancestors feel welcome, not excluded. I then decorated the place with lights, garlands, ornaments, and plants. I also welcomed a new plant child; Gaia.

Yule Post Plant

There were other things that were included and will be included in the continuation of the celebration:

  • Pine cones, pine, and sticks to make protection talismans. Respectfully hand picked and provided by nature.
  • Yellow, White, Black, & Burgundy Candles
    • Yellow – Represents the Sun (Lit the day of Winter Solstice) for joy and/or clearing mental blockages.
    • White – Lit on the 24th at sun down to bring harmony, truth and new beginnings. It tells fortune and future.
    • Black – Lit on the 31st of December to banish any negative energy remaining.
    • Burgundy – Intuitively lit to bring strength, determination, courage and willpower.

What Else Did I Do?

The night of the Winter Solstice, my companion and I went to a cleansing meditation in Unionville, CT. Meditating and having my energy field cleansed felt amazing. This experience made me understand why meditation is really important. Further into the celebration, my companion and I planned what flavor the Yule log was going to be (gingerbread). That is something that we are going to do soon! I can’t forget about the fairy house! I would show my fairy house but I like to respect their wishes/privacy. Just think mushroom and cabin in the woods!

– Dez 🙂

Take A Self-Assessment Of Your Choice


Click here to take a self-assessment of your choice (depression, postpartum depression, anxiety, psychosis, bipolar, eating disorder, PTSD, ADHD, addiction & more).

Visit our Q&A page to learn more!

‘Tis the Season; Coping & Self-Caring

‘Tis the season for depression, suicide and relapse. Some people call it the holiday blues. But, this is a time where many people struggle the most whether that be with self-harm, alcohol, drugs outside of weed, or other addictive coping patterns.

Friendly Reminder: If you are reading this, please be kind to people! Do yourself a favor and be aware of yourself, take accountability, and responsibility for the way you treat/talk to people. No one deserves to receive the back end of unprocessed, conscious, subconscious, unconscious, etc. thoughts and emotions. We don’t know what another person is going through; even if we are near them!

The Cold Days

December is a hard month for my family. Personally, the colder days are hard and so is the winter season. To say the least, it’s a time where I experienced loss of innocence, valued time/family members, and overall the sense of control. It came to the point of me being desensitized to my own pain at a young age. So I have a harder time with it during the colder days.

I used to cope to avoid. Since 2020, I have become aware that coping to avoid wasn’t helping. It honestly led me to self-harm relapses and near suicide attempts. Since then, I tried using silence to view my thoughts and have used coping to bring out those trapped feelings. I can’t forget about self-care. Self-caring has honestly helped me get out of a rut with myself when coping hasn’t helped. Which is why I am sharing my understanding of coping and some self-caring tips!

Coping in General

Some people actually find silence and time alone to be scary, weird, unhealthy, and/or not helpful. Despite opinions, I found it to be most helpful for me! I love the silence and that time to sit with my thoughts. Believe it or not, this is actually a coping mechanism. I also use other coping mechanisms, but to bring out my emotions of a thought when I’m having a hard time understanding them.

Many people use coping to only occupy the mind in managing difficult emotions. Coping mechanisms are not supposed to be only mind occupying but also strategies used to face/manage difficult emotions. Many times I hear people say that their coping mechanisms aren’t working and not taking their pain, thoughts, etc. away. As sucky as it sounds, coping isn’t going to take it all away, but looking within may help you understand where these feelings are coming from.

Self-Care Tips

When coping didn’t help, I turned to self-care. We all need a little self-care. For myself, I set goals each day to make sure I am self-caring! We do more self-caring than we think and tend to forget about the little things!

  • Drink Water
  • Eat at least once
  • Brush teeth
  • Wash or splash water on face
  • Shower

But sometimes we need to show ourselves that we are special! Onto thought provoking self-caring tips!

  • Think of a scent that soothes you or like to smell that you have access to. If it’s an herb, essential oil, candle, etc. grab it.
    • With herbs/essential oils: fill up a pot of water and add the herbs/essential oils in it. Allow the pot of water to boil. The air will fill with the aroma.
    • If it’s a candle, light it or sniff it.
    • If it’s a perfume, spray it!
  • Listen to instrumental/meditation music and let your mind explore!
    • Reminder: Meditation isn’t about silencing the mind! It’s all about exploring your thoughts!
  • Think about one thing of access that you haven’t done in a while.
    • Could it be going outside?
    • Painting? Coloring? Drawing?
    • Singing? Playing Music?
  • Or do at least one thing for yourself!

Coping and self-caring isn’t all that easy when we think of it as this grand thing with expected outcomes. That’s why it is important to acknowledge the little things!

Be kind to yourself and others!

If you haven’t seen my last post and would like to read it, click here! I share changes, a poem and talk about society!

– Dez 🙂

Life as a Game, Flash Poetry & More

Hello all! I have chosen a new title for this blog series! From “Navigating Autism” to “The Game We Call Life”. I’m still going to talk about my experiences with autism! I’m also going to talk about my experiences being BIPOC, as a member of the LGBTQ+ community, with mental health and just my overall life experience(s). Or as Ally says, lived wisdom!

My Flash Poem

reminiscing life

Reading those words reminds me of how much I want my poetry to be dissected by an English class. Besides that fact, this poem highlights a generalized statement of personal experiences. I feel like many people reminisce days they never had. But this poem isn’t just about the reminiscing, it’s also about going after it; eventually.

For Future English Classes

Inspiration to write this poem was truck by feeling like I missed certain things in life because I wasn’t living for myself. I was controlled from a young age by what I can or cannot do because I was assigned female at birth. Reminiscing the days I have not experienced link to gender identity and BIPOC history. It was common that people of the BIPOC community (traditionally) didn’t assign a gender to their child at birth. However, a child was able to announce their gender identity by the age of 5 or 6 and live as their truest self. The land spirits, elders, and/or shaman would then give these children a name. In some cases, a child would name themselves. I’m quoting my ancestors on this.

Personally, at the age of 4, I became aware of my gender identity through my self-perception of being a boy. I was aware of my attraction to feminine people at the age of 4 too! I was actually really verbally expressive about my attraction to feminine people and my self-perception. Unfortunately, it was swept under the rug to be hidden from the world. I felt stuck in society’s “evolution” of norms.

I reminisce the day that I was able to be myself without expectations of gender identity from birth.

Maybe This Can Act as Words of Life Encouragement 🙂 !

As much as I can reminisce on the days I never had, I know I can’t live those experiences in this physical reality. However, I can call back what I wasn’t able to experience by healing my wounds. Play life the way you want to; as yourself.

– Dez 🙂

“Thanksgiving”: Learning Native Indigenous History

The History of Thanksgiving

Yesterday was Thanksgiving. We’ve ALL heard the story about why we celebrate Thanksgiving. We heard that it marked the day where the colonizers and Native people shared their first harvest feast in 1621. And I’m here to tell you that this wasn’t the first thanksgiving nor it happened the fairytale way. In fact, there were hundreds to thousands of thanksgivings and many of them (in Turtle Island; now the U.S.A) were related to the massacres, genocides, and murders of Native Indigenous people.

  • Read about the partial timeline/records of thanksgiving.
  • Read the Wampanoag side of the ‘first’ Thanksgiving story.
  • Read the true story behind the continuation of celebrating Thanksgiving.
  • Read where Thanksgiving came from and the dark history behind it.

The Irony of it All

Here’s the irony, the colonizers fled their country for freedom. Freedom of what? To free themselves from control of religion, law, government, debt, etc.

Here’s a little history recap: The pilgrims of the 1621 Thanksgiving didn’t arrive until December 1620. These colonizers were helped by Native people (per usual), with open arms, despite what happened prior to their arrival. Prior to their arrival, the Europeans made their way over in 1616. The European diseases and cruel activities killed up to 90% of the Wampanoag population. On the European’s way out, they ripped Natives from their tribes and families to become slaves. Although Natives were welcoming, the pilgrims still had to take.

Quick Summary: The colonizers came here for freedom to take freedom; which is what the government was build off of.

Putting it All Together: What is Thanksgiving?

Thanksgiving is a day of grief of what happened and what continues to happen to Natives. I continually ask myself, why celebrate a holiday that celebrates the downfall of my own people? In a simple answer, we weren’t given the truth in history class. We only read about the colonizer’s perspective to cover up what actually happened to Native people. This narrative paints colonizers to be the good and Native people as bad. There were many other demeaning words that described my people; my family.

Ignorant People: “WhErE iS tHe PrOoF?”

Many uneducated/ignorant people ask that for any fact that exposes the true colors of America.

Answer: The colonizers/government tried their best to burn and erase every single piece of Native history and culture in more than hundreds of ways. Watch how the government did it and are still doing it today!

Things to Try

Learn the history behind holidays. Dig deeper. Ask yourself if you are hearing the truth. Be open to listening/learning from/about people who are systemically being oppressed. Be the change, not the problem. If you don’t see the problem, ask yourself how you would feel if the same happened to your race/culture. Treat people with kindness and dignity!

Those who are being oppressed, erased, targeted, etc. are at greater risk of suicide. We are humans! We exist and have feelings! Native Indigenous Lives Matter!

If you are struggling with mental health and would like to seek help, click here for our resources page.

– Dez

CT STAY STRONG for Young Adults

TurningPointCT.org is Proud to be Partners with the CT STAY STRONG Program!

young adults CT Stay Strong

Check out this CT STAY STRONG Brochure to find out more!


The CT STAY STRONG program utilizes the wraparound approach for working with young adults (ages 16-25) in the greater New Britain and East Hartford area who are in need of behavioral health related support services. Funding for this initiative is made possible by the Department of Mental Health & Addiction Services, via a grant from SAMHSA.

What is it like for Young Adults? Hear the reasons why your peers love this program!

CT Stay Strong uses “wraparound” care!

Wraparound is a planning process used to build constructive relationships and support networks among young adults & their families.

Wraparound is…The Team is build of (a)…Wraparound can help with…
Community BasedClinician(s)Home
Culturally Relevant Family Advocate(s)School
IndividualizedEmployee Specialist(s)Community Connection
Strength BasedPeer Specialist(s)Basic Needs
Family CenteredSocial, Emotional, Spiritual, & Cultural Needs

How will CT STAY STRONG help YOU ? Hear more from your peers who have received treatment from the Care Team!

  • young adults quote

How do I sign up?

Accepting referrals for young adults ages 16-25 residing in the greater New Britain & East Hartford areas! Referrals are accepted from yourself, schools, courts, higher education, adult education, and community based organizations!

Contact the provider within your community for a referral form or to complete a telephone screening!

Amanda RossDirector of Intensives CMHAaross@cmhacc.org(860)229-4850 x1900233 Main Street, New Britain, CT, 06051
InterCommunity, Inc.jessicarees@intercommunityct.org(860)569-5900281 Main Street, East Hartford, CT, 06118
Cindy McGrathPrincipal Investigatorcindy.mcgrath@ct.gov(860)262-6975Department of Mental Health & Addiction Services for Young Adults
Karen HensleyProject Directorkhensley@abhct.comAdvanced Behavioral Health, Inc.
213 Court Street, Middletown, CT, 06457

Open/Download a PDF copy of the CT STAY STRONG Brochure by Clicking Here!

It’s Transgender Awareness Week!

In light of Transgender Awareness Week, I wanted to share a poem I wrote about my transgender experience! It’s definitely a piece that would be in my future poetry book!

What is Transgender Awareness Week for?

Transgender Awareness Week starts on November 13th and ends on the 19th. This is a week dedicated to help raise visibility of transgender folx and the issues faced by individuals of the community.

My Personal Trans Experiences

I have faced many adversities being transgender; especially in the ‘awkward’ transitioning period. I experienced sexual/verbal harassment, aggression, discrimination, verbal abuse, etc. For obvious reasons, experiencing all of that was hard. I would never wish this amount of emotional pain onto anyone; not even people who appear to be horrible. I can say, feeling like the world was against me was the absolute hardest moments of my journey/life. It led me to turn against myself.

My experiences has led me to write the poem, “The Power of Labels“. I wrote this poem to shine light on a struggle members of the gender expansive community face. The hardship(s) of not being addressed by our underlying identity but rather by the gender binary social construct of appearance.

My Poem

transgender awareness week poem

Labels are powerful. Please be kind to people! And please respect transgender individuals. Say their chosen name(s) and correct pronouns. Those are really important to us!

– Dez 🙂

Receiving & Accepting New Diagnoses 

Depression & Anxiety

I have made friends with my diagnoses, anxiety and depression, about 5 years ago. For me, depression was an easy one to accept. I had researched countless hours about what depression was, the varying symptoms and how to cope with it – all before telling anyone I was struggling. I went as far as taking online quizzes labeled “Do I Have Depression?”. Not to my surprise, each came back saying “highly likely” or “see a provider”.

Anxiety was another easy one to accept. For me, it actually felt like a relief. Looking back at my childhood, I thought I was just being difficult or worried too much. Oftentimes, I felt I was just too sensitive. But, in reality, many times I was feeling anxious and overstimulated. During high school, I would stay home by myself when my family was at work and extracurricular activities. Unlike other kids who could walk around the house freely and relax in the silence, I would be frozen. My anxiety told me at any second someone would break into the house. I would sit and go through different scenarios in my head and how I could get out of the house if something happened. I kept 2 phones with me at all times and stayed in the living room until someone came home. And I just thought I was being crazy and needed to calm down, but I couldn’t. So, when I was given the label of generalized anxiety disorder, I felt like what was happening in my head had been rationalized.

My Journey of Accepting my Diagnoses

Recently, I have developed more prominent signs of OCD. For me, it’s been in the form of contamination OCD or what I like to call “germ OCD”. When I come home from being out in public, I immediately have to wash my hands. Not once, but multiple times until they feel clean. I also need to change my clothes immediately in fear of sitting on something and getting it “dirty” from being outside of my house. I have also been obsessive about numbers, specifically the volume of music playing in my car or on the TV. They all have to be odd. If not, I will continuously think about it until it is fixed. After talking through these symptoms over many weeks with my therapist and healthcare provider, we decided what I am experiencing is most likely OCD. I felt so discouraged when this label was first brought up. I felt as though all the hard work I’ve been doing in therapy was wasted. Honestly, I felt like it was one more thing to add to the list of “what’s wrong with me”.

Over the past few weeks I have come to realize it’s not just “one more thing that’s wrong with me”. For me, talk about diagnoses and a new diagnosis is a way to explain why I am thinking the way I am. I also try to remind myself that just because I am experiencing these symptoms now, does not necessarily mean I will always experience them. But, if I do, it is okay and I will continue to learn ways to cope.

– Maria

Voting on November 8th, General Election

How many of you received a text message from a state representative? Over the past few weeks, I have received over 5 text messages about who to vote for. I have also received over 5 pieces of mail for who to vote for with ‘red flag’ language. There probably were a few phone calls that I didn’t pick up. This makes voting a bit nerve racking due to the many choices!

To Say the Least

I’m someone who is extremely uninterested in politics. I surely don’t follow politics. But there’s an importance to keep/put people like us in office! That includes those who care more about those who are struggling with mental health, addiction, gender identity, sexuality, to stay alive, etc. rather than trying to control people’s rights as human beings.

Voting Should be Influenced by YOU

Many of us allow other people to influence our choices with their use of words without doing basic research. To the people who see past particular choices of language, AKA the ‘red flags’, thank you! We’ve all been in a position where we haven’t picked up on the ‘red flag’ language because of surrounding influences. For you, question political “arguments”, especially when they don’t make sense!

This is a friendly reminder that we must research who to vote for despite our family’s, friend’s, and even our own political affiliation! Ask yourself:

  • What do I struggle with that this person will address?
  • What are my values that this person has?
  • Will people and/or the people I love be in heightened danger due to their mental health, sex at birth, gender identity and/or sexuality if this person gets elected?
  • How does this person talk about/to others who are different from them?
  • What matters more? The people or the economy?

There are many people who regret voting for someone of their political affiliation as it has put their loved ones in danger!

Your Voice Matters!

– Dez 🙂

I’m Autistic & Misdiagnosed with ADHD

All my life, I knew I was different. It showed with the way I thought, did things, and just knew certain information as common knowledge. People treated me like an encyclopedia, however, they never understood my behavioral patterns. Almost 14 years later, I now understand that I am autistic with autistic problems!

Where it All Started

I was informally and misdiagnosed diagnosed with ADHD; attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. A caregiver gave me that diagnosis without any formal testing for ADHD. All it took was for them to ask a family doctor of 20+ years for an ADHD prescription. I didn’t really resonate with that diagnosis and was very conscious about it at a very young age. Growing older, I stopped taking the ADHD medication because I didn’t think I had ADHD. At the age of 22, I understand why there was a misdiagnosis of ADHD when my behaviors fell under Autism. Many people do not know the difference! AND are not aware that there are more diagnoses than ADHD.

What’s the Difference?

This is a Venn diagram of some ADHD and Autism differences with some overlapping similarities. Image found here.

This is How I Knew I Didn’t Have ADHD…

People with ADHD often have a hard time paying attention for an extended amount of time and may get distracted easily. Which wasn’t my issue. I had a limited scope of interest that didn’t show to be just one thing as it correlated with my academic performance in a positive way. It was the mask that greatly hid that I was autistic. My personal struggles with language also served as a mask that explained the negative impact of my reading scores. I only spoke Spanish but understood English when I came back from Puerto Rico in 2008. From my perspective, I was able to read the material and understand it. I just didn’t know how to write it down in English.

As a complex factor, another result of my impacted academic performance was how uninterested I was in reading certain things. I absolutely had no interest in reading anything besides ghost stories, Shakespeare plays, and/or poetry. When it came down to independent reading, I never read! SORRY MIDDLE/HIGH SCHOOL TEACHERS, but I was acting. I wasn’t the best actor and broke character a lot. It interpreted as ADHD because I would have rather looked outside than read something I didn’t have an interest in. That gave off that I was easily distracted.

This concludes the reason why I appeared to have ADHD and not Autism. But it doesn’t conclude this blog series!

– Dez 🙂

To You From Dez :)

Hello! My name is Dez Chapman. My pronouns are he/they and I am the new Project Assistant here! You may have seen a post about my story. There, I talk a little about my struggles. You can also read about our peers’ unique stories here! They have helped me feel like I’m not alone.

A Little About Me

I’m a transgender masculine person who is part of the BIPOC, neurodivergent and spiritual communities. Throughout my journey I have learned how to manage my gender dysphoria, PTSD, and sensory difficulties of Autism. My experiences make me extremely passionate about ending the stigmas and stereotypes surrounding mental health and culture. All of which motivates me to contribute to this evolving world!

I would like to consider myself as a unique and old soul; my temperament and use of language really shows it. Learning about the world and the universe is something I greatly enjoy doing as a hobby. For ways of coping, I play the guitar, piano and drums. I also create art and poetry! Only a fraction of my poetry is on Wattpad. In addition, I love music. You can always find me listening to music of different languages and genres! Music suggestions are welcome!

What Makes Me Unique

I’m a psychic medium! I realized that I had this gift when I was a child. My experiences of being a psychic medium helps me understand the world and people. Most importantly, it helped me understand that personal connection matters! That’s why I like spending time listening to myself and/or in nature; preferably surrounded by trees near a stream of water! I sometimes find myself helping injured animals when I come across them out in nature.

To read more about me, visit the About Us page!

I’m excited to be part of TuriningPointCT.org! I aspire to make people feel like they are not alone in their unique journeys!

Contact: dchapman@positivedirections.org