Archive | September, 2012

Sunday’s Studying Song.

30 Sep

I needed some background music while I do research on the social stigma of physical disabilities for my Community Psychology project. This seemed perfect. 🙂

Photo Friday: Shadows.

28 Sep

Grey’s Anatomy returns tonight!

27 Sep

The season 9 premiere of my favorite tv show, Grey’s Anatomy, is tonight!!!!!!!!! I’m so excited! Check out this promo of the new season. 🙂

The problem with the word ‘disabilities.’

26 Sep

“Part of the problem with the word ‘disabilities’ is that it immediately suggests an inability to see or hear or walk or do other things that many of us take for granted. But what of people who can’t feel? Or talk about their feelings? Or manage their feelings in constructive ways? What of people who aren’t able to form close and strong relationships? And people who cannot find fulfillment in their lives, or those who have lost hope, who live in disappointment and bitterness and find in life no joy, no love? These, it seems to me, are the real disabilities.” -Fred Rogers

Due to the presence of a new person in my life, I’m slowly beginning to understand what has set me apart from so many others with a similar disability (and even those who are non-disabled): my drive. Yesterday, this particular new person in my life said: “You have incredible drive. It’s what I like about you. If you’re standing at the bottom of a hill and you know that you’ve got to get to the top, you’re going to find a way to reach the top, even if it means that you have to push yourself harder than ever before. I admire that so much.”

Even though I’ve known that I’ve had an incredibly strong drive for the majority of my life, giving up or walking away from something just because it’s hard has been something that I don’t consider often simply because in my mind, in terms of my disability, I’ve never had another option. I pushed through because I had to. However, due to the current new person in my life, I’m beginning to see that my drive has the potential to help not just me, but so many others around me as well. Also, over the last few months as I have done more introspection, I have come to understand that focusing on my abilities is a much better way to live rather than focusing on the ways that I am limited on a daily basis. Though that may sound obvious, I can’t tell you how easy it is to slip into the hole of self-pity. Even though for my entire life I have never wanted to accept pity from others, I place so much pity on myself through my own thoughts and actions. Maybe that has to do with my low self-esteem or something else. However, I have a gut feeling that this new person in my life has the ability to change many of the negative outlooks that I’ve had towards myself for so long.

Though I may say that I have a physical disability on a regular basis, maybe I’m focusing on the wrong things. Maybe I should be focusing on the things that I’m able to do rather than those that I can’t. I know from personal experience that this is so much easier said than done. However, when a new person has come into my life who thinks so highly of me, I owe it to both of us to at least try.

Tuesday’s Tunes: Dixie Chicks.

25 Sep

I love this song! 🙂

The arrival of autumn.

24 Sep

After a drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway yesterday enjoying the beautiful weather, I’m welcoming the gradual change of colors I saw along the curvy mountain roads as well as the cooler weather in the mornings that begin to require long-sleeve shirts and hoodies. Autumn is just my favorite time of year! 🙂

Downtown photoshoot.

22 Sep

I went downtown with my friend Olive yesterday evening to get some artsy shots while the light was good. Enjoy! 🙂

 

 

 

Finally Friday!

21 Sep

So glad to have a few days to recharge and relax, plus getting ahead in schoolwork as usual. But for now, some nice Norah Jones to take the stress away from the crazy busy week I’ve had. 🙂

The helping profession.

20 Sep

I’ve been glued to On Being a Therapist by Jeffrey A. Kottler for the past 2 days, taking in each and every word with excitement and wonder. Since I want to be a counselor, any book or article that talks about the helping profession is music to my ears. As if I need any more reasons or drive to be a counselor, I went to a Psychology talk at my university today that was given by one of the professors in the Psychology department here, Dr. Wetter. The talk was titled, Mechanisms of Change: Why do people improve in therapy? Just as the current book I’m reading has captivated me, I was pulled in so deep to the talk today that I was actually a bit sad when it ended. Ways to measure success in therapy and many well-established therapy techniques (like Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Interpersonal Therapy, Behavior Therapy etc.) were discussed. What I found most interesting though were the reasons why people improve in therapy. That isn’t to say that all people do improve, but the talk looked at those people who did improve to try to figure out what factors went in to their improvement in therapy. The factors included common factors (such as a healing setting, expectations of improvement, a treatment ritual, and the therapeutic relationship. Not surprisingly, the therapeutic relationship is the most important), specific factors (such as cognitive restructuring, challenging negative automatic thought, behavior activation, and exposure), therapist variables (such as age, sex, race/ethnicity, amount and type of training, professional experience, and interpersonal style), and client variables (such as severity of diagnosis, co-occurring diagnoses, age, sex, race/ethnicity, expectations for change, and preoperations for change). Though it was a lot of information to take in, I was hooked from the very beginning!

I didn’t need yet another reason to be a counselor because I already have so many that I might burst from happiness. However, it is exciting that I have found something that I am passionate about. After Dr. Wetter’s talk, I made sure to go up to her and tell her how much I enjoyed her talk. Plus, I also wanted to introduce myself and see what classes she’d be teaching next semester. She’s teaching theories of personality as well as a class on trauma disorders. I told her that she could count on me to take both. Before I spoke with her, another student was asking her if there were any undergraduate research opportunities that were related to therapy. Even though there were not any undergraduate research opportunities specifically related to therapy, Dr. Wetter did say that next semester she will be continuing her research on trauma disorders and she’d be welcoming students. Not only did I attend a Psychology talk today that I absolutely loved, which furthered my drive to be a counselor, but I also may have gotten a potential undergraduate research opportunity out of it. Not too shabby. Not too shabby at all! 🙂

Being taught to fall.

19 Sep

In my early years of physical therapy, before all of my intense surgeries, I was taught how to fall. Though that may seem strange, it makes perfect sense when you realize that I was a kid who had a physical disability, which included having issues with balance on a daily basis. Because my physical therapist and my parents knew that I would be falling a lot, I had to learn how to fall so that I wouldn’t break or sprain my wrists every time my face met the concrete. I was taught to splay my hands out relatively wide when I felt like I was about to fall. However, the number one rule was to make sure my hands were out in front of me and that my palms were flat so that I wouldn’t injure any of my fingers. It seems like a relatively easy concept (one that would seem like common sense to an able-bodied person). However, things got a bit more difficult when I first began walking with four-prong canes. Since by that time I already knew I had to catch myself if I fell, I began to understand that I’d have to let go of the handles on my canes really quickly if I was going to catch myself in time. It wasn’t necessarily easy (since the canes ended up getting in my way), but I still did it.

Throughout middle school, my friends often told me I fell in slow motion. However, after seeing me fall countless times, my mom has told me that this isn’t the case. Although, it did cause me to wonder why my friends even thought to think that I was falling in slow motion if I clearly wasn’t. One of my first explanations is maybe since I “learned” to fall, my falls looked more controlled and slower, as opposed to just tripping randomly and landing flat on my face. Who knows though. As well as being told that I fall in slow motion, many of my falls go unnoticed. I remember one specific time when I was at the mall with my mom. My mom and I were shopping, and I don’t know if I was walking too fast or something, but either way, one minute I was walking and the next I was on the ground. However, when I looked up, my mom was walking away from me. I had to call to her, and only once she turned around did she realize that I had fallen down. Though it may seem sad that my own mother didn’t realize that her daughter had fallen down, I should point out that my falls were never really a big deal. I never made them a big deal unless I actually did hurt myself. They became such a regular part of my life that I didn’t make a scene when they happened. I just got back up and kept going.

However, on a day like today, falling isn’t such an easy thing to brush off. I fell a total of eight times today, and I have reached a point where I don’t fall too much anymore. Therefore, eight falls in one day sucks either way you look at it. Though it sucked that I was falling so much, when I realized that today was the first day that it actually got cold, the falls made more sense. When the weather starts getting cooler, my leg muscles get tighter, and tighter leg muscles lead to more falling. Add stress on top of that from recent exams this week and you’ve got an even higher probability of falling more. Unfortunately, even though I did learn how to fall in my early days of physical therapy, the falls can’t be prevented, no matter how much I wish they could. That’s life though, I guess.