Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Cognitive Processes

Guess what I have learned recently in my cognitive processes class. Besides the fact that I am really weird. ;p

Well, I learned that people who have tendencies toward depression think differently than people who aren't. Not that this is really unusual. What caught me, though, is that people who aren't prone to depression tend to remember pleasant events in their lives while "forgetting" the bad events. It is called the Pollyanna effect.

What this means is that people who find themselves depressed a lot need to change their thinking! (I think I might have mentioned that before) The neural pathways that connect all the wonderful nodes in the brain become very strong, or weighted, when they are used a lot. My metatheory of psychology was all about this, but since I hadn't taken cognitive processes yet, I didn't know there is a whole bucketload of research on it, mostly because I was ignorant of the official terminology.

So, a person can stop being depressed all the time by "refusing to remember" the bad and "choosing to remember" the good. This research really supports Carl Rogers supposition that a person can become self actualized if he is willing to change. When I first studied his theory, I wasn't sure, but it didn't sound so bad. He said a person who remembered their childhood as being unhappy will be unhappy as an adult. They way to change is to focus on the positive.

Cheri 1970Cheri doing splits 6 years old

Ok, so it's one thing to know this. It is comforting to know that the research literature has become rich with evidence to support it, it offers hope. Yes, my childhood was hard in lots of places. But there were times when I shone like the sun. There were things I could do that no one else could do. There were people who loved me unconditionally and treated me like I was valuable and valid.

Those are the memories to hold on to and treasure. I choose to "forget" the bad, and replace it with the good.

Wow, that was easy to type. It wasn't so hard to say either. I just have to learn to live it!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Natiional Singles Awareness Day!

I got some candy in sculpture class. I have a feeling it will be my only valentine. Maybe I'll do something for Zach, if I have any energy left when I get home. I've decided, Megan now has a permanent valentine, so she doesn't need one from me! (That is meant as a funny tease, not a mean spirited comment).

Valentine's days are usually spent without a valentine. Friends, family, yes, but no significant other. Even when I was married, I seldom got valentines.

I didn't come up with the National Singles Awareness Day, but it sure fits.

Casdok has a sweet sentiment. I really enjoyed it, and I'll bet you will too.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

I'm back, and better than ever!

I took the first of four cognitive psychology tests Thursday. I had been told that this teacher is the most picky essay grader in the world, and that the essays had to be word for word what she said in class. Our test grades are based on the highest score received, but the people in that class are sooooo smart. They've had her classes before. They know things!

So, I psyched myself out. After the way my test taking skills bottomed out last semester, I was praying to be able to get a C in this class. Please! Just a C! I just need to pass! Surely I can make off with a C!

Test day came. My heart was racing, my fingers were barely able to grip the pencil, and my lungs forgot their function. The paper was white and so official.

I was a little surprised as I read the questions. Each and every question was well thought out. There were no surprises; nothing was worded in a way that was different from the lectures or the book. The essay questions were not asking for an "information dump" (teacher's words), and they were all about the material we covered in class. I took many a deep breath and read very carefully.

When I had finished the multiple choice, there were 5 that I had marked as "I'm not sure this is right." Typically, the number of I'm not sures is the number I typically get wrong. Not the same questions, just the same number. It's really weird that way. The essays I did the best I could, I didn't have much trouble remembering the names of the researchers (who would have guessed that!) and the only one I remember being stumped on was the big one at the end.

I added things up in my head - looked like maybe a b.

Then I got home and remembered a handout she had given us and thought how strange that it wasn't covered in the essay. Then I realized it was, I just didn't answer it correctly. The more I mulled it over the more I felt 75% was the maximum I could get. Then I began to beg for that C!

Today, we got the tests back. I got 87 out of the 100 points possible. I would be absolutely thrilled with that all in itself, but she takes the top score and makes that the 100% mark. Guess what the 100% mark was. 87!

I can't believe it either!

Go figure.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Super Tuesday? What so super about it?

Ok, I know. I KNOW!

Remember when I hinted that Megan might need a maid of honor for herself? Well, Steve proposed to her! They have scheduled the ceremony for May 24, 2008. Yes, just two weeks after finals. But, I am really happy for her. I think she has found a really good guy, and they seem to be a good fit. I think this one is the forever kind.

School is trudging along. We have two bus drivers. The Tuesday/Thursday guy is a really good driver (I watched him drive through a horrible winter storm last week, so I know!). The Monday/Wednesday/Friday guy is afraid to drive.

Last Monday, we hit a snow storm and he couldn't see the road, so we pulled over at a truck stop to wait, which was fine with me. What wasn't fine with me was that we waited AT LEAST a half hour longer than we needed to before he drove us back home. Visibility was greatly improved, I could see at least a mile. But he wanted to wait until it got lighter so he could see. Grrrr! I would have driven myself up that day, but we didn't get back in time for me to make it on time.

Then on Wednesday, I didn't give him the chance - I don't know if they went. Friday, the roads were closed until 9:30, so that wasn't his fault. I drove up for my lab, because I really needed to be there.

Yesterday, I looked on the Idaho Transportation Department site to see if the roads were closed. I84 from the I86/I84 junction to the Utah/Idaho border was closed, but I86 was open from mile marker 1 to Pocatello. I showed up to the pick up site (5:10 a.m.!) just to be told by this driver that the roads were closed to American Falls. I was so mad! I filled my car up with gas (the gas tank, not the car) and drove to Pocatello. No, the roads weren't closed. There was a 3-5 mile stretch where visibility was bad due to blowing snow, but other than that, it was fine.

I don't know what tomorrow will bring, but I know bad weather is still coming.

Last Monday was horrible. I don't really know what is going on with Zach. He thinks the medication he is on is not working. He threw a tantrum last Monday and my left arm (and a few other parts) ended up all black and blue. It scared the crap out of me. There really isn't anything I can do right now, but when summer gets here, I am going to work really hard at getting him out on his own. With good supports.

I don't know how my sculpture class is going. I think I am learning. My painting class - well - I really hate one certain part of that class. Leaving. I mean it! I could stay there and paint all day. I'm sure of it. I still haven't finished even one painting, though I am getting close. I think I should win the lottery so I can stay home and paint all day. Maybe I could get committed - and spend all of my time painting. I actually have fantasized about suffering from a dissociative fugue. My brain never lets me forget. Anything. Ever.

Do you suppose that there will ever come a time when my life will actually be about me? Yes, I haven't written much because I have been in the January fog. I can feel it lifting a bit, but I'm not quite ok yet. Good things are happening all around me - and all I can do is watch. I am walking through molasses and I'm the only one who knows it. Ah - life.

Oh, and I'm glad Huckabee isn't leading.