Monday, September 28, 2009
and not a contraction in sight.
i am wallowing in the self-pity today although i am trying not to. i'm huge and uncomfortable and soooooo ready to pop this baby out. i'm torturing myself by watching a baby story and birth day on discovery health. mostly because there is nothing else on tv at this time of day and little buddy is napping...and partially because i can sit here and whine about how these women get to have babies, why can't i already? whine, whine, whine, sigh, sigh, sigh....you get the picture.
it is hard to believe that we will have two kids. i'm excited and anxious for our baby girl to be born, and not just because i'm in pain physically. i'm also scared to death. i have always struggled with feelings of inadequacy, and being a mother seems to magnify that at times. quite often i feel i am an inadequate mother, and now i will be responsible for two children, for their health and happiness.
the good thing is my husband is an amazing father. he is so good with little buddy, and he works so hard for our family to make sure we have what we need. our kids are so lucky to have him--and so am i.
i will probably struggle with feeling inadequate for my entire life. but i know that i have a family that loves me, and that makes things infinitely better. i am so blessed to have such a beautiful family and i can't wait to have our second child join us.
Saturday, September 19, 2009
(originally published on 14 June 2007).
Most people think of the “mentally disordered” as a delusional lot, holding bizarre and irrational ideas about themselves and the world around them. Isn’t a mental disorder, after all, an impairment or a distortion in thought or perception? This is what we tend to think, and for most of modern psychology’s history, the experts have agreed; realistic perceptions have been considered essential to good mental health. More recently, however, research has arisen that challenges this common-sense notion.
In 1988, psychologists Shelly Taylor and Jonathon Brown published an article making the somewhat disturbing claim that positive self-deception is a normal and beneficial part of most people’s everyday outlook. They suggested that average people hold cognitive biases in three key areas: a) viewing themselves in unrealistically positive terms; b) believing they have more control over their environment than they actually do; and c) holding views about the future that are more positive than the evidence can justify. The typical person, it seems, depends on these happy delusions for the self-esteem needed to function through a normal day. It’s when the fantasies start to unravel that problems arise.
Consider eating disorders, for instance. It’s generally been believed that an unrealistically negative body image is an important factor in the self-abuse that characterizes anorexia and bulimia. A 2006 study at the University of Maastricht in the Netherlands, however, came to a very different conclusion. Here, groups of normal and eating disordered women were asked to rate the attractiveness of their own bodies. They were then photographed from the neck down, and panels of volunteers were brought in to view the photos and rate the women’s appearances objectively. The normal women, as it turned out, evaluated themselves much more positively than the panels did, while the self-ratings of the eating disordered women were in close agreement with the objective ratings. The eating disordered subjects, in other words, had a more realistic body image than the normal women. However, it is important to note that the study was based upon the broad concept of “attractiveness” rather than body weight specifically—while the eating disordered women may have rated themselves poorly because they felt “fat,” their weight was a controlled variable and not the basis of the volunteers’ assessments.
Studies into clinical depression have yielded similar findings, leading to the development of an intriguing, but still controversial, concept known as depressive realism. This theory puts forward the notion that depressed individuals actually have more realistic perceptions of their own image, importance, and abilities than the average person. While it’s still generally accepted that depressed people can be negatively biased in their interpretation of events and information, depressive realism suggests that they are often merely responding rationally to realities that the average person cheerfully denies.
Those with paranoid disorders can sometimes possess a certain unusual insight as well. It has often been asserted that within every delusional system, there exists a core of truth—and in their pursuit of imagined conspiracies against them, these individuals often show an exceptionally keen eye for the real thing. People who interact with them may be taken aback as they find themselves accused of harboring some negative opinion of the person which, secretly, they actually do hold. Complicating the issue, of course, is the fact that if the supposed aversion didn’t exist before, it likely does after such an unpleasant encounter.
As one might imagine, these issues present some problems when it comes to treatment. How does one convince a depressed person that “everything is all right” when her life really does suck? How does one convince an obsessive-compulsive patient to stop religiously washing his hands when the truth of what gets left behind after “normal” washing should be enough to make any sane person cringe? These problems put therapists in the curious position of teaching patients to develop irrational patterns of thinking—patterns that help them view the world as a rosier place than it really is. Counterintuitive as it sounds, it’s justified because what defines a mental disorder is not unreasonable or illogical thought, but abnormal behaviour that causes significant distress and impairs normal functioning in society. Treatment is about restoring a person to that level of normal functioning and satisfaction, even if it means building cognitions that aren’t precisely “rational” or “realistic.”
It’s a disconcerting concept. It’s certainly easier to think of the mentally disordered as lunatics running about with bizarre, inexplicable beliefs than to imagine them coping with a piece of reality that a “normal” person can’t handle. The notion that we routinely hide from the truth about ourselves and our world is not an appealing one, though it may help to explain the human tendency to ostracize the abnormal. Perhaps the reason we are so eager to reject any departure from this fiction we call “normality” is because we have grown dependent on our comfortable delusions; without them, there is nothing to insulate us from the harsh cold of reality.
Monday, September 14, 2009
the thing about that is now i'm even more paranoid about every stupid braxon-hicks contraction i have. i feel it start and i think, is this one going to hurt? is this the start of real labor? should i look at the clock and be timing this? when is the next one going to happen? and every night i fall asleep wondering if i'll be woken up in the middle of the night going into labor. every morning i wake up and i'm still pregnant and i wonder, is today the day? will our baby come today? then i go back to bed at night, still pregnant, shaking my fist at the labor gods because i'm still HUGE and i'm still waddling and my hips are still hurting and will this baby EVER come?????
the ironic thing is i still have two weeks left. two weeks! i shouldn't be crazy like this already, especially considering my track record. of course i've only got one baby to compare this to, but little buddy was born one day before his due date. it's more than likely that this pregnancy will last right up until the end as well.
poor hubby is going crazy too, mostly from stress. i'm stressing him out which is normal (i am his wife....and wives stress out their husbands....even if they don't mean to....right?) and he's also stressed because of work, money, lack of sleep, and the impending birth of our baby. he is excited and terrified just like me.
well we're down to two weeks. two weeks.....two weeks....i can't believe it.
Friday, September 11, 2009
i was fifteen years old in september of 2001. for some reason, school had a late start that day. i was in my bedroom listening to a cd and getting ready to leave when my dad came downstairs. he told me that i needed to go upstairs right away, there was something i needed to see. at first i thought i was in trouble. until i walked upstairs and watched the news in my parents' bedroom.
i was shocked, and didn't really know how to react. as i watched the news the second tower was hit. a few minutes later i was walking out my front door on my way to school.
the whole day was spent watching the news. every class i went to the tv was on, we all sat watching the footage being played over and over again. i learned of the attack on the pentagon and also of flight 93. i was horrified. i was appalled. i was scared and unsure of what the future held for our country, for me, for my family. but i did not cry that day.
looking back it is blantantly obvious to me that i did not fully understand the implications of that day. as an adult i am much more affected by it. i've probably teared up at least five or six times already today.
i will never forget the nearly 3,000 people who lost their lives that day. i will never forget the courage of the first responders, who were running in to the towers as everyone else was running out. i will never forget the way our nation was united in the days following. i will never forget the sacrifices made. this picture was taken last year at a local healing field. (there are many across the country. look here to see where....if there is one near you i would definitely recommend going.) hubby and i go every year. along with the flags for every life lost on september 11 are flags for every soldier from our state who has lost their life since in the war on terror. every year i cry, i pray, and i thank god for my country and the opportunity i have to live here with my family.
last year i witnessed one of the most beautiful things i have seen in my life. there was a woman with a bouquet of flowers, kneeling at the base of a flag....crying and praying for her soldier. attached to the flag was a yellow ribbon and a card with the soldier's name, rank, area of service, and the date he died. i cannot even imagine what she must have been thinking and feeling. it is an image that will never leave my mind. her soldier gave the ultimate sacrifice for our country, for our way of life, for our safety and freedom.
from the national september 11 monument at ground zero:
"May the lives remembered, the deeds recognized, and the spirit reawakened be eternal beacons, which reaffirm respect for life, strengthen our resolve to preserve freedom, and inspire an end to hatred, ignorance and intolerance."
and may we all remember to be grateful for our lives, our families, our country, and all of the freedoms which we take for granted every day.
god bless america, and god bless our american heroes.