Responding to Defeat and Creating Communities of Hope 2023

From TCU Wiki

This session is part of The Wellbeing Monthly 2023, a monthly virtual workshop will be led by diverse mental health professionals, and will focus on psychoeducation and coping mechanisms on diverse topics including anxiety and fear, guilt and survivors guilt, defeat and hopelessness, trauma, and burnout and stress.

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Responding to Defeat and Creating Communities of Hope

Individuals that work on digital rights do their work in oppressive contexts, usually with minimal resources, that can challenge their sense of self, make them feel demoralized, and question whether their work has any significant impact. In this session, participants will explore experiences of defeat in their activism, and learn how to create communities of hope. By attending, participants will:

  • Explore what defeat and hope means and looks like in their lives/work.
  • Discover visible ways in which their communities and networks are already responding and holding on to hope.
  • Learn how to create safe spaces to talk.
  • Gain wisdom on how to build a sense of solidarity and connectedness.

The session is guided by narrative ideas and practices, which are respectful, non-judgmental, culturally relevant approaches to counseling and community engagement which centers people as the expert of their own lives. These approaches also recognize that all problems are rooted in oppressive structures rather than in communities, individuals, or identities.

Jehanzeb Baldiwala has aligned herself with narrative ways of working for over twenty years and is a voracious reader who believes in dreams and magic. She loves to travel and to connect with people. She is a therapist, supervisor, trainer and co-founder of Narrative Practices India. Her work includes consulting with persons, families, and children in responding to a range of issues that include anxiety, depression, school related issues in addition to training and supervising mental health work. She has been instrumental in developing several long and shorter training programs in narrative practices with a team of narrative practitioners and mentors Shona Russell, Maggie Carey and Peggy Sax. More recently, she has developed an interest in documenting the narrative work done in the Indian context.

Notes & Resources

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1. Conversation around Burnout/ Failure/ A sense of hopelessness/ A sense of defeat

- What are some of the challenges you’ve been experiencing lately as you continue to work towards a cause that’s important to you and the community?

- What do these challenges trick you into believing about yourself? What effect does it have on you, your relationships, your hopes and dreams?

- What are some little-big things that support you in responding to this challenge or feeling? are there people, voices, values, little actions or something else?

2. Write a letter to the Problem: Burnout/ Failure/A sense of hopelessness/ A sense of Defeat

- What are some ways you want to address the problem as? What does it look like? Is there a name to the problem that you collectively think is apt? Example: The Hopelessness Hole, Mr. Burnout,

- In what ways has it been operating in your lives? What does it

show it up as, what tone does it take with you?

- What are some ideas, discourses around that support this problem? In what ways do the support the problem?

- What effect does this have on you? On people or communities around you?

- Is it okay of what the problem has been doing? Are there things that are okay and things that are not okay? Or something else?

- What does your position in the face of the problem say about what’s important to you? What are some of the values, hopes and dreams you hold close to, that the problem is trying to transgress?



Dear Exhaustion,

Thanks for showing up in my life. Thank you for trying so hard. You help me stop, and reflect. You force me to slow down.I deserve to have a break and to rest, but you told me otherwise.

You triggered anxiety, physical fatigue and imposter syndrome. You made me feel inadequate, not good enough.You left me with very little. You magnified the different challenges in various aspects of my life and made me feel hopeless and blame myself for things I have no control over.

However, I don't want this to go on forever and now is the moment I decided our relationship changes and I take control again. I know that i am strong and resilient and will not allow you to continue whispering those lies in my ears.I know I am not my exhaustion. I am more than the pain I feel every day. I am loved and want to love, but most importantly, I want to be seen and heard. But you bring me down and I will not let this happen because I value and honor my spirit of giving, my spirit of compassion. You steal my spirit and Exhaustion, I'm sorry, but this is where it ends.

I also appreciate that you will not let go forever. You will come back in waves crashing the shore when the tides are high and strong. Whenever you do, I will slow down, I will listen to my voice and remember who I am and why I'm here on this beautiful Earth in the first place. The ocean is both stunning yet scary, and I will find ways to love all parts of you but not to the point of losing control.

I will constantly remind myself of the amazing work i am doing and how i am contributing to a better world despite who you may belittle my efforts. I will be grateful for small wins and be kind to myself as a way of stopping you from taking center stage in my life

I want you to remember that you can rest, you can receive and you can be nourished too. Somebody has to take care of the carer.

I hear your voice now, asking me to focus on what is essential for me, what is my core. And to be true to that, always.

I am ready now to commit to myself, to say no when needed and yes to all people, actions  that align with my deepest sense of identity

With love and solidarity,

the (tired) human.