Eliminating Toxic Influences

There are many people who struggle with setting boundaries for themselves. But not setting limits with others can often result in feelings of conflict, depression, and guilt. These influences can alter the trajectory of our lives. We have asked Mackenzie Ryan, OMS I, a member of STIGMA and a Peer Support student leader, to again share her thoughts on this issue.

Mackenzie Ryan, OMS I

Personally, this is a very difficult subject for me to talk about. I have a very hard time being confrontational and so working to eliminate toxic influences from my life has been a struggle for as long as I can remember. This is something I am still working on daily. As medical students, this can be especially difficult. I often get the feeling of guilt when I try to eliminate a toxic person. It’s important to remind ourselves that we have to take care of our mental health too.

I think the most important step, and the first step you can really take in this effort, is just to be able to recognize a toxic person. The handout that goes along with this post has a lot of really great points and I encourage everyone to read it. If you don’t know what the signs are it can be easy to let a toxic person persist in your life without you even realizing it.

There may be times, as a medical student, where you don’t necessarily have the choice to eliminate the person. They may be in your lab group, in a group project, or a roommate. In these situations, I think it’s just best to remember that you have to protect yourself and your mental health. Try to limit your interaction as much as possible and if something upsets you take the time to talk it out or journal about it. You have a right to feel safe and you have the right to live out from under the control of a toxic influence. As always, reach out for help if you need it. The peer support office and the counselors at school are always ready to listen.

Mental Health Resources
For behavioral health emergencies, 24/7 support can be accessed by calling the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255, texting HELP to the Crisis Textline 741-741, calling 911, or visiting your nearest emergency room.

Colorado Campus Resources
Kären Robinson, LPC
Mental Health & Wellness Counselor
Click here to schedule an appointment with Kären.
Click here for Virtual Drop-in hours Tuesdays and Thursdays 2:30-4 p.m.
24/7 Emergency and Referral Hotline Student Linc 1-888-893-LINC (5462)

Southern Utah Campus Students
Kathy Killian-Harmon, LMFT
Mental Health & Wellness Counselor
435-668-7996 / kkharmon@rvu.edu
Zoom or chat on Teams site.
24/7 Emergency and Referral Hotline Student Linc 1-888-893-LINC (5462)

RVU Faculty and Staff
EmployeeConnect program for mental health counseling services: Call Guidance Resources 888-628-4824. Guidance Resources also provides legal consultation, financial consultation, work/life consultation regarding childcare, eldercare,  and health advocacy.

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