Psychology Speak

Two very different articles/videos have touched me and inspired me today.

One was a very scientific video. It was a TEDx video (which I love those) about the part of the brain responsible for processing other peoples’ minds and how they think. A cognitive neuroscientist was discussing her research. She was very, very articulate and presented her research in an effective and easy to understand way to a general audience.

The other was an article, or more so a list. It was on the creative mind. It stated things like creative minds are observers, inspiration strikes them at odd times, how they don’t like boundaries, etc…. What really struck me was at the end, the last thing on the list was “they love”. It went on to explain how they love life and the things around them and it made creative people to be the most positive, rainbow-barfing motherfuckers out there.

The list struck me. I mean, it was a pretty good definition of myself to be perfectly honest. I don’t associate well with everything on that list (I keep a pretty regular sleep schedule and sometimes listen to my brain over my heart), but a lot of those things were pretty accurate for myself. 

I got to thinking. Obviously, it’s a list of stereotypes. No one every perfectly fits a stereotype unless if the parameters aren’t set wide enough (i.e. only going with 2 or 3 stereotypes.) But many artists are inspired by their darkest moments. Not all, but many. Many artists have struggled with loss, discrimination, depression, etc.. Those artists that did struggle with depression though… yes, they might have been more insightful on other perspectives than their counterparts, but were the two sides of the coin always positive and negative? Were they both positive? Were they both negative?

I’ve also been seeing all of these quizzes on my newsfeed lately testing to see if you’re right-brained or left-brained. 

I’ve always known that I have more right-brained inclinations. The difference used to be much more dramatic however. As I have grown, I have come to acknowledge rationality and in general think more. Especially on thinking things through more throughly. I hyper-analyze every situation. It’s a blessing and a curse. My results lately have shown that I use both sides of my brain fairly equally, just a slight preference to the right or “creative” side.

So I got to thinking a little, I wonder if people with depression have an inclination to one side of the brain. Or is it effected at all when one side starts to kick in more when the other side was primarily used?

Honestly, the more I think about it, the more ludicrous it seems. Depression is a mental disorder. It is a chemical disorder. Serotonin, endorphins, and other happy chemicals aren’t being absorbed/produced in the brain properly. It’s a malfunction. Some see this as intimidating, I find it relieving. I like knowing that it’s not just that I have a bad attitude to life, but I have a physical, tangible thing that’s happening to me.

But like any kind of therapy, it takes work. Breaking your leg requires physical therapy. A very physical, tangible thing happened to your leg, so you have to work that leg to get it back to normal. I have to have mental therapy because drugs aren’t going to fix me. I do need a bit of an attitude adjustment I guess.

I am registered for a mindfulness course as per instructions of my therapist. Hopefully my insurance covers it. More importantly, I hope I benefit from it.

But back to my original topic. Wouldn’t it be interesting though, just to see the correlation? I mean, the very specific spots triggered in the brain by the depression. What things wire the brain to fail to make those connections or make bad associations? I’m sure if I dug into it enough, I could find exactly what I’m looking for. I am taking Abnormal Psychology this summer so I’m sure I’ll read plenty on mood disorders soon enough. 

I just think psychology is fascinating though because we really know so little how the human brain works. We know the big things like what parts of the brain are responsible for speech, motor skills, seeing, etc., but not how we think. Not why people believe certain things and are willing to die for their convictions. 

I just think humans are endlessly fascinating and terrifying.

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Treasured Memory

I have you memorized like my favorite album. 

I pride myself on my excellent memorization skills. I always have. They have always been pretty good.

I’m going to start taking a mindfulness class. It should help me.

I can sense your frustration with my diagnosis. With my condition.

Trust me.

Not a day goes by that I wish it wasn’t like this.

You deserve so much. So much more that I may not be ever able to provide. 

For now, I will keep you in my memory. Commit you to it.

And you will become my most treasured memory.

Faith

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/samantha-eyler/why-i-had-to-lose-my-religion-before-i-could-support-gender-equality_b_5358474.html

I encourage all to read this article. 

Some of the passages she uses may not be entirely correct, but I believe her story to be interesting nonetheless. 

About a year or so ago, I came to terms that I was not a religious person. When I finally admitted that for the first time, I felt some part of my being broken and separated. I don’t necessarily regret the decision. I felt like I was forcing myself to believe in something. I would go to Thursday Night Mass at my college’s Newman Center with my friends and felt fake. It wasn’t true. It wasn’t natural. 

I have a lot of problems with faith and religion. I believe that it is laced with good intentions. Almost all religions or faiths preach of being selfless, treating others fairly, and being grateful for the gifts in your life. But many people aren’t necessarily against others, they are for themselves. Religion at times is used as a buffer or an excuse to explain a person’s or groups’ actions. 

Someone said this not too long ago to another friend of mine and it really struck me. 

It doesn’t necessarily matter – your intentions – if the rest of the world isn’t able to see your intentions. 

You could be trying to help a friend. You could be trying to fight for social justice. You could be simply unaware of how your words and actions are coming off to people. But that’s what’s crucial.

How people perceive what you’re doing is of upmost importance. Ultimately, it will help you to see what you’re doing and see if it is beneficial or harmful.

I’m someone who values selflessness very highly. When I perform an action, speak, or do anything, I try to think about how others will view it. If I believe others will see it as selfless or more so if they wouldn’t see it as an inconvenience, I’ll probably go through with it. I think like this and it does help me and my health in a number of ways. I worry less about if others are upset by my actions. People know I’m trying to take care of myself so they don’t have to worry about me which lifts that burden from them. It’s more of a win-win situation.

But humans are faulted in design in that we are not against everyone, we are only for ourselves. So I strive every day to not be for myself. I try to be someone that others are proud to call a friend, family member, or lover. I’m not always successful, but I’m human.

This is why I struggle so much with faith. How can I put an unknown, unseen being at the top of my list and say “I love you more than anything else in my life.”? I know that is what “faith” is, so that’s why I say I have none. I stated in my last post how the unknown is dangerous because you are unable to form accurate expectations (at least, that was one point I was trying to get across.) If all we have to go on is this “divine doctrine from the mouth of God written by man”, isn’t that corrupt in itself? People pour their own beliefs and opinions into their writing (cue large arrows at the writer currently writing this post.) 

I took a religion class last spring that taught me more about the Bible than 13 years of Catholic Education. I learned that any sort of written religious Christian text wasn’t put together until more than 300 years after the death of Christ. So how were things passed down? Word of mouth. Stories change drastically in one life time, let alone 300 years. There are so many books, so many religious texts, so many stories all proclaiming to be from the mouth of God. Who is this God? Why is there only one? Is this the same God as the Hebrews, the Muslims, the Hindi? 

I believe that there is probably some greater power just because humans haven’t figured out all the answers yet and I don’t think they ever will. 

A Deadly Sin: the Destruction of Wrath

From a young age, I’ve been quick to anger.

Screaming matches were common in our household. Not entirely from my end. I wasn’t always directly involved. But with loss comes anger and anger is a feeling my family doesn’t know how to cope with.

Anger is the root of my problems. Anger and Anxiety.

Often I wonder about Calvin. Mostly about his past.

Mostly about his past with his last girlfriend.

It’s horrible, I know.

Is it fair of me to hold him accountable? It’s not. I don’t need anyone to tell me that.

Do I though? Yes, because I’m someone who doesn’t know how to deal with anger.

Alisha was a senior my freshman year. She was originally accepted into the studio as a BA so I’ve been told, but worked her way up to a BM in saxophone performance. The other older undergraduates rolled their eyes at her, she was nice, but a bit strange and not a player to their standards. I never really understood her. She was never directly mean to me, but she wasn’t entirely welcoming either. I guess I should say she was nice. Eh… I don’t know. She was friendly towards me. It’s kind of hard to tell, thinking back on it now.

Mostly, she was a person I could never accurately understand. This is what always made me wary of her. That which you don’t know of is dangerous. And she was a kind of person I had never tried to associate myself with before. She was all glitter and glam – girlish to the extreme. Deeply religious – never cut her hair, wore skirts due to her faith and family. She had a nice smile, but everything about her seemed to move in slow motion. Her affect hardly changed. To me, she always seemed very superficial. Not particularly intelligent, not very many outstanding life goals, a person motivated by an unknown desire.

I honestly never really thought much of her because there wasn’t much to her. She was who she was and not too much beneath the surface. At least, I wasn’t going to take the time to try to scrape the surface. I’m a thinker. My mind never shuts off. “Perks” of an anxiety disorder and my introverted nature. People that don’t appear to be thinkers don’t really interest me usually (reasons why my infatuation and love for Calvin has never ceased to confuse me since his way of thinking is so incredibly unique. Probably why I am so infatuated and in love with him, but that’s besides the point here.)

I had maybe 1 close “girlfriend” in high school. It wasn’t until my senior year that I clicked with Christine. Christine has a humor much like mine – nothing like a “girls”. My best friends were and are all guys. Alisha was a whole new kind of creature to me. The only reason why I conversed with her was because she was in the studio and good friends with Calvin.

Calvin and I had started to become better friends the second semester of my freshman year of college. It took less than 2 months for me to start crushing on him hard though. As much as I hate to admit it and as little that I knew him, he had my heart then and there. I’ve been hooked for a long time my friends.

But when he told me that he liked Alisha, I was crushed. It was blatantly obvious that she liked him. She almost never shut up about him, like myself. Two, very different girls, hearts completely at his mercy.

He’s naive and doesn’t/didn’t understand this. Maybe young would be a better word.

I’m also the kind of person that when a guy comes to me and tells me who they like, I go with it. I don’t necessarily give up until the deal is set and they’re officially together, but I’m not one to try to intervene blatantly.

They were dating by… I don’t know… late March early April? I was really upset then. But I could see how happy he was. So I let it go. He was a guy that I crushed on, but I was at a big college with plenty of other fish in the sea. It wasn’t the end.

Here we are, two years later. I’m currently in his bed with one of his over-sized t-shirts on, cat lying on my arm grooming himself/playing with my hair to get my attention, while he’s in New York with his family. Our texting is rather sporadic. We’re not very good at this yet, letting technology and distance be our communication. We’re much better in person.

This leads to an array of anxieties, but that’s not the point of this particular post.

Alisha will always have this power over me. No matter how Calvin deflects her constant attempts at a post-relationship “friendship”. No matter how much distance they have between them. No matter who Alisha is and has been dating now. At least, this is what I have been blaming my insecurities with their relationship on.

Calvin lied to me. He told me he was a virgin. Apparently, they had tried. At least once without a condom and at least once with. I was upset for a number of reasons when he told me. Off of principle since he had maybe not necessarily lied to me but because he kept the truth from me. I know he has reasons, but that’s not something you can hide from your sexual partner. One of the more important reasons why I was upset was because he told me of this only after I had seen my gynecologist. I’ve been honest with him from the start. I lost my virginity at 17. Calvin was not my first. Not even close. But he is only the second guy I have slept with. Seeing as he told me he was a virgin though and I know my first sexual partner hadn’t had any other partners before me, I didn’t see a huge need to get a pap smear. Usually they tell you as soon as you have more than one partner to get one or when you turn 21. My gynecologist felt the same as I did. More so, because I explained my situation, she thought it would be safe for me to wait. Even though Calvin didn’t count his encounters as explicit intercourse doesn’t mean it doesn’t count period. I had to make him explain exactly what he meant by “tried to have sex” and even then he was vague and embarrassed. I tried to tell him I needed to know strictly for health purposes and just needed to know if there was contact. There was. Then I was furious. But why?

Health, of course. The whole hiding things doesn’t sit well for me either. But there’s been this underlying reason too.

Part of me feels like he picked Alisha over me. Of course, this is only partly true because he knew her at the time a lot better than he knew me probably. But part of me was able to mask those feelings because I was the one who truly got him. I took his virginity. I’ve slept with him. This sounds like a sick power-trip thing that I have, but it’s mostly that I treasure that he let me have something so precious. Although, he was very quick to give.

Like… just over 24-hours after we decided to officially label ourselves a couple quick.

That always struck me as odd.

Of course, there was that first night in September. That night where we flirted extensively, then he was on his bed, I was on his desk chair, our foreheads touched and he whispered, “so close,” and we kissed and he tried to sleep with me then. When he told me that he didn’t really like me after I tried to talk about what was happening. Processing. Or attempting to.

It all made sense then. He and Alisha had tried to have sex. Explains why he was so willing and eager to jump into bed with me.

I remember my therapist telling me that it probably would have been okay for me to have slept with him that night. Not that I would have been a slut or anything, but that she felt that eventually, he would have fallen for me given our past.

But it was never okay with me. It still isn’t.

And I have come to realize that it isn’t Alisha I’m angry at. It isn’t Alisha I need to forgive and let go. She isn’t apart of this. My view of her has changed extensively though with my knowledge, but I have no grounds, reasons, or desire to really blame her. I view him in the exact same way.

I need to forgive Calvin.

I need to forgive Calvin for being with Alisha. I need to forgive Calvin for not telling me fully about his past sex life. I need to forgive Calvin for that night in September and the hell that he put me through in October. I need to forgive him for picking her over me. I need to forgive him for not thinking as much.

But oh, how non-thinkers make me angry.

Forgiveness is something that usually isn’t too hard for me to come by. I’m quick to anger, but when I think about a situation, put myself in that persons shoes and try my best to understand, I can empathize and forgive.

I can’t forgive what I don’t understand.

And his lack of knowledge, his lack of understanding of how the whole situation drives me absolutely crazy, makes things worse.

I’ve become the girlfriend that I fear for my friends. The one who asks to read messages the ex sent him. He grants me this without a qualm. I ask questions about her constantly it feels like where he couldn’t give a damn about my past boyfriends.

Probably because he knows just how disconnected from them I am and how much nothing is ever going to happen there again.

But I don’t believe it. She still tries. She has a boyfriend, one she’s been with for as long as Calvin and I have been together. He’ll always have “a special place in her heart” (direct quote.)

I’m becoming what I fear.

I fear my anger, for wrath is always what destroys me.

 

Breathing Freedom

My cat and I have taken refuge at Calvin’s while he is away on the east coast with his family. Leo is scoping out the place while I try to cool down. He lives on the third floor of his building and it’s been warm and the AC has been off. It’s hot in here.

I was supposed to be working an overnight shift currently, but when I talked to my therapist about it, she shook her head at me vigorously. My doctors believe that since I’m in a vulnerable situation (i.e. Calvin just left) and I’m still not stable with my meds, messing with my sleep schedule will only make a big depressive episode.

I was very willing to oblige. 

I learned my lesson over winter break. Overnights are not worth it. Ever. They mess with the internal clock too much and lack of sunlight for Victoria when she’s already upset is a combination for destruction.

My therapist did tell me though how proud she was of me. She expected me to be in much worse shape. Losing someone I see every day to having barely any contact is hard. Especially for someone who has a mood disorder and relies heavily on said person for support. Just goes to show how much progress I’ve made she said. 

I mean, some part of me thinks that she’s right. I know I’m in a much different place than this past fall. So even though Calvin and I weren’t as close by the time winter break was here, that was harder for me in some ways. I also think I’m doing a pretty good job of hiding how torn up I really am. I mean, Monday morning at work I wasn’t, but I haven’t cried since then. I’ve been distracting myself too much to feel. 

I know this is a horrible way to deal with this. At the same time, I’m not too sure of what else to do.

Each time I start thinking about the horribleness of it all, everything that could go horrifically wrong, my depression, how scared I am, my heart picks up and I can tell I’m about to have a full-blown panic attack. So I stop.

I stop thinking about him. I stop thinking about us. 

I stop thinking because it’s the only thing that makes me stop hurting.

There’s a lot of other things going on in life too that I need to catch up. My room is a mess. My entire apartment is very disorganized. I’m waiting until after this weekend to get some money so I can go to the store and buy some cleaning supplies. I’m vacuuming my apartment tomorrow so that will be nice. 

Then there’s friends to catch up on. Christine wants to go boating out at Lake Macbride and I think that sounds totally awesome. I don’t know if I could be more excited to do that. I’ve got my sister’s wedding to start getting ready for even though the date is set for over 2 years from now. We’re going dress shopping Friday.

Then there’s school. I have one summer class that I’m taking. Abnormal Psychology. Funny – I’m very interested in our mood disorders unit. I know a lot of it will be triggering, but I’m taking it online which relieves some of that pressure of having to face that in front of others. I also haven’t picked up my guitar in a week. I just don’t like that. I want to play. It’ll be good. Learn new songs – some for therapy, some for fun. 

Summer provides endless freedom for me. The sun is out, the weather is warm, I have a good job, a good home, I can go see my parents whenever, there’s literally so much I can do. I love it. I absolutely love it. 

I abhor things in this summer. But usually, summer is good for me. I have time. I can breathe. Breathe.

Breathing is good.

Freedom is such a fickle thing.

But how it lets me breathe.

10 Struggles Of Being Not Fat, But Not Skinny Either

Thought Catalog

Okay, so I want to start this post off by clarifying that I don’t think I’m fat. However, I know I’m not stick thin. And that’s fine. No I’m not looking for comments from people being like, “OMG Sam you look GREAT” or “Girlll you have been looking so thin lately, stop it!” because in all seriousness, I am not Beyonce. I am Sam. And I am really busy so I can’t go to the gym every day like I used to. And I like french fries. And alcohol. But I have a nice looking face, I work out at least three times a week, I drink green smoothies (it’s like, they’re not that healthy, but they look like they are… so whatever), and I’m not obese so I REALLY DON’T GIVE A FUCK.

1. Analyzing the “You look so thin!” comment on a picture.

Wait, do I actually…

View original post 1,442 more words

Two Years

I made it 90 minutes before crying at work.

I went out for a smoke only to have one of my shift leaders be a bitch and tell me to get back inside since I wasn’t on break. Nothing was happening. My boss even rolled her eyes.

I just feel pretty lost right now. Calvin’s gone for the next three weeks. I get him for about 5 days. Then begins the hardcore long distance.

All I can do is be patient. These next 2 years can fly by thanks.

No Use Crying

I took a test today and failed it I think.

It wasn’t a final exam for school. But I’m pretty sure it was just as important.

I hate being an outsider. It’s exhausting. Having a multi-lingual boyfriend with multi-lingual friends can be awkward.

Don’t get me wrong, I love that he has that ability. Just had I known what I was getting myself into beforehand, I would have thought twice.

I still don’t really know why I agreed. It wasn’t really presented to me as a choice though.

Calvin had this dinner planned out with friends from Hong Kong and Taiwan I believe. Mostly speaking Mandarin Chinese, some Cantonese. I made other plans to get dinner with some kids before they went home for the summer, so it wasn’t like I was upset about it or anything. But he asked his friends if I could come, so I did. Of course, while there, it was beyond awkward. I was just standing there listening to them speak a language I didn’t know a word to. It’s cool, but intimidating and not very enjoyable. I also have to work at 6:00 AM tomorrow morning and wasn’t in the greatest of moods. My shower stuff is at his place though so this entire situation is not ideal.

I’m just a load of upset right now. I’m uncomfortable, upset, sad, and urggggg.

It doesn’t help that he’ll be gone from Monday until June 10th then he leaves for Hong Kong on the 15th. I don’t get much of him anymore.

But life keeps going and it’s not going to stop.

No use crying about it. But it’s too late for that because I already am.

Mother’s Day

This is a bitter post.

I can’t be on social media today. It’s too hard. It’s always too hard.

Mother’s Day.

I just get bitter when I see all the people I know posting pictures of how they’re so lucky to have their mom. 

All I can think is… yeah. Yeah you are.

Next year is going to be worse.

One of my explicit memories of my mom was when I was young and Mother’s Day fell on my birthday. My mom sat in the old, uncomfortable rocking chair we had and explained how excited she was to celebrate. I asked her why and she answered why my birthday was just so special that year. That it shows just how much we love each other.

So yeah. 

One of the few memories I have.

Here’s to 21.

And here’s to probably not being sober next birthday.