Success!

Last night I posted about self-injury urges and honestly, I didn’t plan on fighting them much longer after I posted. However, I didn’t cut! Behaviorism helped. I’ve been cutting for 14 years now…Wow, that is more than half my life, sad… Anyway, cutting implements (razors, box cutters, etc.) are conditioned reinforcers for me. Simply seeing a tool makes me feel a little bit better. I held the box cutters for a while, set them next to me, and then drifted off to sleep. Yay, classical conditioning!

A reinforcer is anything that increases the likelihood of a behavior occurring again. That could be positive reinforcement, giving something a person wants (Ex. When a student answers a question correctly, giving them a piece of candy), or  negative reinforcement, taking away something they dislike (Ex. The car obnoxiously beeps at you. Once you put it on, the beeping stops).

Primary reinforcers inherently make people happy like water, food, or lack of pain. Other things are neutral (Ex. Money, grades in school), but they can be paired with a primary reinforcer. If a neutral stimulus is paired with a primary reinforcer enough times, the neutral stimulus starts to elicit the same response as the primary reinforcer. In Pavlov’s  famous dog experiment he rang bells while presenting food. Eventually, the dogs salivated when they heard the bell, without the presence of food. Before the experiment, hearing  a bell did nothing, but seeing food automatically made them salivate.

Dollhouse_everybody's programmed

If you’re wondering how pain can be an automatic-primary reinforcer… Some people don’t feel pain when they self-injure. I do. For me, pain distracts and obliterates my negative emotional state. I believe the pain distracts me and the neurotransmitters’ responses replace the fear/ worry/ anger/ sadness/ etc. with positive emotions.

Conditioned Reinforcement and Response Strength

Characteristics and Functions of non-suicidal self-injury in a community sample of adolescents

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Oops, Wrong Medication Dosage

Fun fact: The mood stabilizer I’ve been taking for the past 7 years, which I started after my last suicide attempt, has been at the wrong dose for almost a year. I’m supposed to take 200 mg; I’ve had 100 mg since April 2013.      loki_facepalm_by_foxedpeople-d56xo5a

 

Theoretically, mood stabilizers decrease the number of depressive or manic episodes and make the lows less low and the highs less high. The psych ward doctor put me on it after diagnosing me with bipolar type 2. No one else has ever agreed with the diagnosis, but no one changed the medication either. I have no idea how this happened. I didn’t notice the change because I think I figured it was the generic version of the medication. I didn’t even think to make sure it was the same dose! My doctor only figured it out because the pharmacy called him to authorize a refill and he said he was refilling 200 mg of the  medication. The pharmacist said, “She isn’t taking 200 mg. She has been on 100 mg since April.” My doctor thinks this is a contributing factor to my state in the past few months. Unfortunately it takes 5 months to reach its full effectiveness. Nonetheless, the 24 hour window of 70% tuition refund has passed. I decided to fight and stay in school.

 

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The (AWFUL) Reasons I'm Staying in Law School

I’m 97% sure I’m going to slog through the rest of the semester. It seems I hate law school with more passion than most of my peers, but I am staying. Here is why:

  1. To prove I can
  2. To make my professor’s proud
  3. In the hope that I will like law school/the practice of law later

(To prove I can) Objectively this makes no sense. I already passed last semester while battling depression. There is nothing to prove…except, to prove to the scholarship committee that I am capable of getting good grades. This should not matter at all, if I’m planning on quitting law school at the end of this semester. It matters to me because what positive views I hold about myself come from outside sources (IQ tests, scholarships, grades). Losing the scholarship by .07 of a GPA point makes me angry at myself. I feel the need to prove I can get great grades in law school, even if I’m not finishing.

boromir facepalmFyi, this is Ned Stark in The Game of Thrones (note the Hand of the King pin on his vest), not Boromir from Lord of the Rings

(To make my professors proud) This makes no sense either. I’ve spoken to 2 out of my 3 professors and they both said they were impressed that I got the grades I got last semester with my lack of class attendance and procrastination. They both also said I should have higher grades in their class based on raw ability. Lastly, they both expressed concern about my health, saying I am more than capable of being at the top of my class, but maybe not right now. They both suggested a leave of absence. On one hand, despite my failings, they think I’m smart and they both said they were proud. On the other hand, they both think I can’t do it. Well, I’ve proven I can get straight Cs in law school with depression. They mean they think straight Cs are no indicative of my potential and I should take time off to get healthy before coming back and kicking ass. I want to prove I can get As and Bs with depression. I suppose that is idiotic. Why does it matter that I can still pull off good grades while mentally ill? That is like someone saying, “I want to prove I can still get straight As while undergoing cancer treatment.” It matters because if I am as smart as they think I am, I should be able to get good grades in spite of depression. I want to prove them wrong in a good way. They think I’m intelligent, I want them to be happy when they think of me, not sad or disappointed. If I get the grades I “deserve“, they’ll be happy.

(In the hope that I will like law school/the practice of law later) I still hold hope that I can find a niche in the law, but as of now, I’ve only taken 3 classes because the classes I’m taking right now are continuations of last semester. If I can just struggle through the next 3 months and pass, I’ll be able to try classes I might actually enjoy. I’m scared of regrets. If I can make it through this semester and at least try some classes that align with what I believe I want to practice, I won’t have to wonder “what if…?”

In the meantime, here is my life:The Hulk_Avengers_I'm always angry

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Thankfulness and Sarah Michelle Gellar

My grandma told me for years to think of something your grateful for every day. I decided to give it a try after reading “How a Year of ‘Grateful’ Facebook Posts Changed This Woman’s Life” on Yahoo. Haha, oops…

Don’t worry in the future, I’ll tack them on the end of posts. I won’t add an extra post to your dash every day!

Day 1: I’m grateful for my sister-in-law because she never treated me differently after various problems. She isn’t blood (and therefore “obligated” to deal with me), but she knows my score and accepts and loves me anyway. At their wedding reception I told her I already considered her family because she’d been through so much with me and was always….human. Not everyone is understanding and I’m lucky my brother found a compassionate, amazing, girl! Happy 1 year and 3 month anniversary guys!

buffywillowtacklehug

 

While searching for a proper hug GIF for this post, I found a GIF of Sarah Michelle Gellar at The People’s Choice Awards this year! It made me smile and it fits the theme of the post!

SMG thanks buffy fans Source: Jarett Wieselman

Et tu, Tara?! or Only Broken People Submit

So much for Tara’s submissiveness being a good thing or even neutral. willow suprised

I re-watched “Family” yesterday. More love to Tara! *hugs fictional character tightly*

In combination with instances like this

Tara_I am you know. Yours

I think her general demeanor shows Tara is submissive. However, as usual in mainstream TV, it is not healthy for her. Buffy has a sadomasochistic relationship with Spike, but it is also unhealthy. Furthermore, it culminates in Spike attempting to rape Buffy. Back to Tara…

Tara’s family finds her in Sunnydale. Clearly, she is afraid of them. It turns out (I assume you’ve realized by now, my blog is full of spoilers for my fandoms, stop now if you don’t want to know what happens!) her family lied to her about the origins of her magic. They told her it came from being half-demon and her entire childhood they emotionally abused her, berating her, terrifying her, and feeding her self-loathing. Her male family members, especially her father, are obviously dominant. For Tara it seems her self-consciousness and fear of herself translated into a shy, quiet, easygoing, submissive demeanor. Her female cousin implores her to return saying Tara is selfish because with her gone, her father and brother must take care of the house by themselves. Her dad says demeaning things like, “I won’t be threatened by two little girls.” Her brother threatens her with violence. Earlier Tara even responded to an order with “Yes, Sir.”

Her submissive nature stems from childhood emotional abuse. This episode occurred in the 5th season. From then on, until her untimely, tragic, death in season 6, she becomes less and less submissive and more outspoken.

To me, her character background, coupled with her character arc, implies submission is for broken, wounded, scared people. Once they conquer their fear, they will no longer be submissive.

Do you think Tara is submissive? If not, why not? If you do, do you think my interpretation of Tara’s submission is correct? If not, why not? If so, do you think it was intentional?

Things I'd Rather Do than Go to Law School…

1. Join Division under Percy

2. Become a Doll                                  

(I DO!!!!!)

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3. Become stranded in an Alternate Universe (Assuming survival was possible…I wouldn’t want to go to a Hell dimension that was completely incompatible with human life)

4. Contribute to Manticore’s Scientific Exploration

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5. Marry a Celebrity

….Okay, fine, those last two are exaggerations. I already elucidated my position on knowing celebrities. I hope none of the theater girls from treatment ever make it big… In terms of Manticore: Surrogacy is awesome! Science experiments are awesome! Giving away the child I carried to a secret government organization who intended to torture him/her into a child-super-soldier…not so awesome. I wouldn’t really do that.

*sigh* Obviously my complaints aren’t the whole picture or I’d quit law school. Nonetheless, I am not looking forward to today.

*edit* I wrote this last night and scheduled it to post this morning. Right now I am sitting in Legal Research and Writing waiting for it to start in about an hour. I’m in a surprisingly good mood. I have no idea why…perhaps sleep deprivation? I managed to get at most 3 hours of sleep, even though I went to bed at a reasonable hour. I guess I’m anxious about the semester, even though I’m not sure staying in school is the right thing to do, I still want to do well. I want to prove I am smart and I can do well!

Why Tara Maclay is My Role Model *updated Jan. 11, 2014*

“It is  hard to find positive role models today. Especially ones that you can relate too.” Erik R. Voshel

Tara doesn’t fit the same overt BAMF mold most of my favorite characters fit, but I love her! I just want to give her lots of hugs and love! She is another character that reminds me of myself, but unlike Olivia Dunham, I loved Tara from the beginning!

Tara was afraid of herself. She never really fit in. She thought she was a demon, to save other people she stayed in the background, but she persevered.

Tara_Afraid

She feels useless. I mention this because I feel the same way. While feeling useless is not good, someone who feels bad about themselves, but makes progress, is a worthy role model.

Tara_surprised

…but she totally isn’t! Tara is wiccan.

Tara_magic

Tara has style! Considering this is her first BtVS scene, her style is the first thing I noticed!

She is shy, but cute about it. Also, she overcomes her stutter. Shyness isn’t good or bad, but sometimes it is debilitating. I’m shy to, shy enough that it interferes with adaptive expression of needs/wants. Unlike below, I’m not freaking adorable about it!

Tara is kind. She embodies non-judgmental, unconditional love. She teaches the Scooby Gang how to be wise and self-compassionate.

tumblr_m02lhq0TcU1r8gsqgo3_250Tara_role model Tara_it is ok to be worried

While Tara is kind and respectful, woe unto anyone who threatens the people she loves!

tara_go through me

Her loyalty is undying. (I’m sensing a submissive vibe. 😉 Look who is on top in the second to last picture!)

She is self-sacrificing. Tara lets Glory crush her hand and destroy her mind to save Dawn.

tumblr_m44wf59EB41qgmt5yo2_250toughlove

Tara sticks to her morals, even when it hurts.

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She beat the messages of her childhood and became an amazing woman.

… It makes me proud. It makes me love you more.”

Plus, Tara is the first positive lesbian character I remember. She and Willow helped make it okay to love who I wanted…And make an amazing lesbian couple you did, Amber Benson…

tumblr_mvnxjgCEmi1r0pbyyo6_250willowtarahug-1

I wish I was her. I’m still afraid of myself. I still hear “monster” reverberating in my mind. I don’t know if I can overcome the messages my family instilled about sexuality, intimacy, and self-worth.

The only difference is that I wasn’t lied to my whole life. She thinks she has a legitimate reason to fear herself, but she doesn’t. I do… Nonetheless, showing her deal with the messages of her childhood is powerful!

I don’t have her strength yet. I wonder if she is like me, nice because she feels she has nothing more to offer. The most common thing people say about me is that I’m “nice”, “kind”, “sweet”, “flexible”, “not argumentative”, “easy-going”. I pride myself on these attributes, but sometimes I think I’m just nice and laid back because I’m afraid no one will like me, if they see me. Tara and Nicciare the two fictional characters I identify with the most. I wish I knew more about their character development from Joss and Goodkind. Plus, I wish magic, the type of magic that makes an immediate clear impact on the physical world, existed.

*edit* How could I forget?! Amber Benson is (was?) body positive! I know there were silly haters about her body, but I think she was and is gorgeous at any size. I think her body appeared average on BtVS. By average, I do not mean average beauty; I mean average size when compared to the sickly thin, eating disordered Hollywood ideal.