This week, our friend Rocio Fatas, an interactive digital media artist and a surface pattern designer, based in La Rioja Spain, contributes to our journey around the world, to explain how certain forms of trauma can provide the foundations for a meaningful and impactful social work.. 

“It remains our hope that some sparks of this phenomenon are produced by the solidary action of civil society, that provides hope for some of those affected to resiliate these dramatic circumstances.”

“These words were recently written in reference to the refugee crisis by Jorge Barudy Labrin, a neuropsychiatrist and psychotherapist that advocates firmly for Resilience, a concept he discovered through the work of psychiatrist Boris Cyrulnik, and a capacity that helped him recover from the trauma he suffered after being arrested, incarcerated and tortured during Pinochet’s coup d'Etat. 

Resilience is a term that originates in physics, designating the capacity of materials to come back to their original shape after receiving an impact. 

In psychology, the term refers to the human capacity to overcome traumas and injuries. According to mental health professionals, human capacity for resilience is widely dependent on human connection. This, along with Barudy Labrin’s vision of hope, which I share, is precisely why I will be participating of the Eroles Project’s Borders Residency: to be part of a civil initiative to build resilience for refugees through skills and collaboration.

In our adolescence, my younger brother and I would every now and then have the occasional existential conversation. Once, he would brightly acknowledge: “Our problem is that we have nothing to fight for, and everything has already been given to us”. He was referring of course to the fact that our grandparents lived the Second World War and a terrible civil war, while our parents grew up in a fascist dictatorship that lasted for forty years, restricting intellectual and cultural activities amongst other. Then we grew up in the 80’s under an optimistic climate, and we would consider ourselves mostly happy and satisfied in all essential planes of our lives. But this sense of luck and happiness lasted only for as long as we weren’t awakened to the wider reality of our world: the wars, the famines, the widespread violence and exploitation.

When I suffered my first depressive crisis, my psychologist had to help me figure out what it was that I wanted for myself, since all I could think of that would make my life better was: peace in the world, social justice, end of all violence… (and any other global issue that I felt deeply affected by as if it were personal). 

Now I know that all these global catastrophes are personal as they affect us all, more so if you happen to be born on the wrong side of the world, or are stuck at the wrong side of the fence, which is exactly what is happening to refugees in the European borders. I learnt to be resilient in order to recover from my first depressive episode and the ever less intense consecutive ones, and I was capable to do so only because I had the support I needed from family, friends, and society at large. Now it is my time to pay it forward. 

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More on the Eroles Project here.

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