Psychology: the Gateway to Empathy and Understanding for Society

So… I’m a terrible student.

I say this because I’m a procrastinator. But I work so much more efficiently when I have a deadline hanging over my head.

I have done over half of my abnormal psychology course in the last week than in the last 6 months.

That’s because I have to be done by Monday.

Whoops.

I’m actually doing very well though. I mean, I don’t agree with the text at all times nor my professor and his questions, but I know I’m understanding the material. I feel like the reason why I’m able to understand the text so well is due to my mental illness.

I mean, all of the written assignments, I’ve gotten raving reviews from my professor. I think I’ll post a few of them up here – particularly the mood disorders chapter assignment. I know I complained about the topic once on here, so I think some of you may be interested in the finished product (or not. No offense taken, I swear.)

I can’t help but be interested with his reviews on my assignments. Especially since I’m turning them all in at once… whoops.

Which turning them all in at once is exactly what the course recommends we don’t do…. lolz.

I think it significant to divert quickly to my medication changes. I have been on varying doses of Lexapro for the last year. This is the highest dose that I’ve been on in a long time, but it’s also the longest period that I haven’t missed a dose (coming up on two months without missing any doses!) I’m super happy about this, but I noticed the Lexapro only hitting the anxiety side of things, and not the depressive side of things. As I am typically more on the anxiety spectrum, this medication makes sense, but as it is winter, I was in need of some extra supports. Last time this happened, my doctor just tried to straight up change my medication. That was a disaster. So I have changed doctors. Well, I’ve been with this doctor for over a year (!!!) and right now I’m the happiest I have been in years! I have a supplemental Wellbutrin as well as my various sedatives for situational anxiety and betablockers for performances. Really, I’m the best I’ve been in years.

I’m just saying this is what works for me. Every individual is different. I just want to say though – don’t give up on medication!! It’s a long, difficult struggle more often than not. Medications take so long to take effect, they have adverse side effects, and can be costly. Even so, perseverance is key! We are the survivors. If there is something we know how to do, it’s keep going.

Going back to my class, it has made me realize how important I believe psychology to be. Even if you don’t believe it to be a “true science”, it has never interested you, or you think it doesn’t apply to whatever career you are doing now or are pursuing now, I think it should be one of the core classes all students must take to graduate! Especially abnormal psychology. I was shocked when my dad told me that he has never taken an abnormal psychology course… he was a PhD candidate for psychology! He wants to steal my book when he’s done… but I only said he could borrow it for the time being. I’ll probably upgrade to a book that was written/revised after the DSM5 came out. The book I have was written right before it, so they only “speculated” on the changes that would be made.

No matter what kind of job you have, interpersonal relationships are essential for surviving and succeeding in society. It’s important to be able to empathize with others and at times understand why some have such difficulty with empathy. I believe that studying (albeit briefly) psychology has helped me to understand people better. It has also helped me understand my diagnoses. While psychology and psychiatry treatments and understandings of mental illnesses look rather bleak for right now, I believe that mankind can make strides in helping those with mental illnesses with psychoeducation to the general population.

Calvin was upset that I told him this after he had already graduated from Iowa. Even so, an introductory online course through a community college can reap similar benefits!

It doesn’t have to be your college major. It doesn’t have to be something that consumes most of your time. It should be something that teaches understanding for those that suffer from mental illnesses and helps society grow and better treat these illnesses.

I think it will not only help to understand and empathize with people with mental illness, but to better understand and empathize with people all around. Society often shapes our views, our political leanings, our socioeconomic status, and how we empathize with people. In light of the Ferguson outpour and outrage, I think an understanding in psychology could benefit all parties. I have seen so many of my friends and family members in support of the Brown family and protestors and so many supporting the police force and officer Wilson.

I personally have many conflicting views on the matter. I do believe that the media has blown the whole situation out of proportion. I strongly and firmly believe in what Michael Brown’s parents are trying to do now – ensure that all cops wear body cameras at all times. I believe in peaceful protests (American protestors should take a note from the Hong Kong protestors. Those guys know how to throw a peaceful protest.) I believe in standing up for what you believe in. I believe in empathy and an attempt to understand the two sides. I’m not saying forgiveness, mind you. I’m saying understanding. You can understand something, but not forgive it.

I think more empathy and understanding is what the world needs.

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