Reducing Anxiety During Earthquake

I’m writing this especially after the Earthquake that happened in Nor Cal just recently. And if you’re like me who lives an anxiety disorder, ADHD, and PTSD, earthquakes definitely doesn’t help the hypervigilence (and sometimes energy) that comes with those. Trust me…it took me 3 days for me to calm down after the second quake happened after the Fourth of July.

While we’re told to prepare for an Earthquake, whether it’s going under a table for cover or stashing up on a 3 Days supply of food and water, how do you emotionally prepare for an Earthquake, especially if you live with a mental health disorder and/or ADHD? The infographs below showcase below how to physically as well as emotionally how to prepare for an Earthquake. It even give a rather nifty phone number to call when you experience a natural emergency distress. Be sure to check them out!

Shaken Up

I have to since the earthquakes on July 4th and 5th, I’ve been a bit shaken up. I did do the whole under the table thing when I was at my brother’s house—seems I’m pretty good when it’s time to be in survival mode, but I was still shaken up by it (especially since there are a lot telephone poles in his area. I was planning an escape route in my head). It was a lot more powerful and longer by two minutes compared to Thursday. Regardless, it’s been hard to get back into the swing of things. I’ve never noticed how scared of earthquakes I am, especially that I live in California. It doesn’t help either that it’s been hard to find work. Like I have a job, but I’m only working pretty much 6 hours a week & I’m struggling to pay rent & I am hoping to fix up my laptop, so that’s why I’ve been MIA. I have things to write about but not much motivation to write them. But I gotta say after not writing here for awhile (I’m writing from my phone), I will do my best to write again. It feels good to do so again.

Shaken Up

I have to since the earthquakes on July 4th and 5th, I’ve been a bit shaken up. I did do the whole under the table thing when I was at my brother’s house—seems I’m pretty good when it’s time to be in survival mode, but I was still shaken up by it (especially since there are a lot telephone poles in his area. I was planning an escape route in my head). It was a lot more powerful and longer by two minutes compared to Thursday. Regardless, it’s been hard to get back into the swing of things. I’ve never noticed how scared of earthquakes I am, especially that I live in California. It doesn’t help either that it’s been hard to find work. Like I have a job, but I’m only working pretty much 6 hours a week & I’m struggling to pay rent & I am hoping to fix up my laptop, so that’s why I’ve been MIA. I have things to write about but not much motivation to write them. But I gotta say after not writing here for awhile (I’m writing from my phone), I will do my best to write again. It feels good to do so again.

Westworld Psychology: Violent Delights

 

“We are not determined by our experiences, but are self-determined by the meaning we give to them.”

Alfred Adler

What makes people violent? Are they simply born that way or does the world around them make them that way? The novel Westworld Psychology: Violent Delights explores this matter through it’s namesake and the HBO series, “Westworld.”

Arnold Weber (played Jeffery Wright) and Robert Ford (played by Anthony Hopkins) who are the founder and creator of Westworld

The story of  Westworld takes place in the distant future, where people (guests) can partake in the old western frontier of a theme park called “Westworld” and embark on the adventures and locals within it. These “locals” are hosts or rather androids that help guests further experience the realm that is Westworld. Guests take on roles based on the loops or stories the hosts are to play. Some of the roles guests take upon are good and some are malevolent. Though unknowingly to guests even the programmers of the park, slowly hosts are gaining consciousness of themselves including the roles that they are forced to play among the guests and they are not happy.

“Westworld Psychology” uses the stories and characters of the television show, even the topics that the show ambiguously discusses such as gender inequality, social roles, tragic losses to understand why people would take on violent acts. The most notable characters that the book brings up are William, a guest of Westworld, who later becomes the “Man-in-Black”, and the hosts, Dolores Abernathy and Maeve Millay in order to better understand why and how even the best of people can slip into violent intentions.

Logan Delos (played by Ben Barnes) who is William’s brother-in-law

The one prominent details that I remember reading in the book is the infamous, Stanford Prison Experiment. I remember hearing about this when I took a Psychology 101 class back in college. In this experiment, young healthy men were randomly selected to either act as a “prisoner” or “guards” in a fake prison. The problem with this is that both peoples became quickly subdued in their roles. The “prisoners” began to complain about the dehumanizing conditions and treatments that the “guards” were subjecting them to—“guards” who would have never in their everyday lives behave in deplorable manners—reprehensible conditions. Interestingly enough this phenomenon was labeled—named by the same conductor of the experiment, social psychologist, Philip Zimbardo—the Lucifer Effect. Named after the angel Lucifer, who later betrayed God who once was holy and beautiful creature who then led a life of evil, the Lucifer effect shows how “good” people can do “bad” things “due to their situational circumstances” (pg 52).

William (played by Jimmi Simpson)

William’s older self as The Man In Black (played by Ed Harris)

The perilous terrain of Westworld definitely tests hosts and guests alike, such as it did William, Dolores, and Maeve. The mild-mannered William who at first upon setting foot upon the theme park was appalled by the atrocities guests did toward the hosts, now 30 years later became the “Man-In-Black”, committing the same dehumanizing actions toward the hosts all in order to feel “alive” especially after the loss of his fiance. The hedonistic behaviors of his brother-in-law and other guests eventually influenced him as well as the many years of attending the park. The thing was outside of Westworld, he was a “wealthy humanitarian, a philanthropist, a generous benefactor who saves people’s lives through his work.” He achieves this duel life through a mental trick compartmentalization. The term in itself means that person can separate their self and history into separate psychological “chambers that prevent interpretation or cross talk”. However, because William’s nice guy/bad guy behavior is determined by whether he is inside or outside Westworld and the situation he faces, this kind of behavior is another form of compartmentalization, called doubling. Man…talk about being two-faced.

Dolores Abernathy (played by Evan Rachel Wood)

Then you have the hosts Dolores, whose loop—story–was to play a sweet rancher’s daughter, and Maeve, who who played the brazened madam of Sweetwater, who freed themselves of their “programming”to play these feminine roles in order to take on the role of self-efficacy (when a person believes they can change their behavior, motivation, and outcomes). They use aggression, independence, self-focus and leadership skills, which is frowned upon women, in order to get their freedom. For Dolores she used direct aggression and violence to sometimes protect others, but really herself. For Maeve, she would sacrifice others to save herself and find her daughter, who was in her last loop.  I don’t blame them of this change, especially all the violence they have faced simply for just being women.

Maeve Millay (Played by Thandie Newton)

To be honest, I’ve never watched the “Westworld” series because well..I don’t have an HBO subscription. I only read  Westworld Philosophy, because I enjoy reading the Psychgeek book series. And you know what? I still enjoyed reading the book, just because of Dr. Travis Langley and his co-authors constant ability to diverge philosophy and the science of psychology with pop culture. Like I mentioned earlier, I was reading topics about philosophy and psychology I haven’t heard of since college. Even if you haven’t attended college, it will make you feel like a college student. But…it doesn’t hurt either to have watched a 3-minute snippet summary of the HBO series on You Tube to better understand the philosophy and psychology being used in Westworld Psychology novel.

In conclusion, this book challenges the black or white fallacy that only bad people can do bad things. That really when under the “right” influences and circumstances, we can be capable of doing unspeakable things. Does this mean that underneath it all we are ALL bad people? Of course not. But definitely it is a reminder to remember that only we as individuals–not just our genes or programming or even our surroundings—ultimately decide the type of roles and people we want to play in our own lives.

“Westworld Psychology: Violent Delights” is available wherever books are sold and at these fine retailers:

Other posts on Psychgeek Books and Dr. Travis Langley:

Daredevil Psychology: The Devil You Know

Dr. Travis Langley: Creator of the Psychgeek Series

New Job

Oh my gosh, oh my gosh, oh my gosh! I got a new job! I got offered the job yesterday during the interview. It’s for a learning center teaching job (I wanna say it’s more of tutoring job) where I will be able to perform duties such as:

  • Preparing for each instructional session; Gathers and prepares materials as appropriate
  • Evaluating and recording the progress of each student on their program assignment
  • Managing students, tasks and time to create a balanced and robust instructional session

It starts at $12, but that’s fine, because at least I will be able to practice my teaching skills. But what’s even better is that I got this job before the school year ended this week. I was so worried because I was afraid I wasn’t going to get a job before the end of this month. I feared of being homeless again. I didn’t want to relieve what I went through last year living in my car especially during the upcoming summer months (it’s already hot right now, but it’s going to get worse). I don’t want to roaming to place to place looking for places to park my car.

I’ve been putting in applications since January of this and NONE of the jobs contacted me for an interview. I was wondering what did I put or put down for me not to be employable? I mean…I have 7 years of customers service skills under my belt. Yes it’s been AWHILE since I’ve worked at such jobs, but it’s not hard to do. Anyways, a couple weeks ago, I got called for an interview for another job I wanted, but I didn’t get it (which is fine because it was only for the summer).

Let me tell you… the thought of NOT getting that job, the ONLY job which contacted me for an interview was heartbreaking. I couldn’t sleep, couldn’t eat, the fear of my landlady kicking me out of my room haunted my thoughts. And like it wasn’t bad enough, I gained weight (due to stress; not eating)! I was bloated! When I’m anxious/stressed I tend to develop a lot of gas, most of it going to my stomach, making me look (as students have told me) pregnant. But after I received the good news of getting interviewed at the job I have now and getting hired on the spot…I let out a BIG burp! In fact, I gave TWO big burps. I was THAT stressed out and I could’ve sworn my stomach got smaller after that.

I got my needs met which was to be financially stable. Without that, my anxiety disorder and depressive disorder will worsen. But now it looks like I can take a breather (for now) and just focus on the upcoming training I’ll be able to partake in. Finally…I’ll be able to sleep with a peace of mind.

Titans: Hank and Dawn (Part 2)

 

In the last post, we learned about Hank. This time we will learn about Dawn. Before Dawn sported the hero apparel, she was an accomplished Ballerina. In fact, she was able to perform a dance, when mother came over to visit her from England.

Minka Kelly as Dawn Granger

As she catching up with her mom, Marie Granger, she found out her dad was still being abusive to her. Each time Dawn tried to talk about her getting away from him, her mom made an excuse like how he wasn’t as bad as he was in the past and that he is “trying to change”. What Dawn’s mother is experiencing is called “Intimate Partner Violence”. Intimate Partner Violence or IPV describes physical sexual, or psychological harm by a current or former partner or spouse.

IPV doesn’t just affect women, it also affects men too. According to the Center of Disease Control (CDC) about 1 in 4 women and about 1 in 7 adult men revealing having had experience some form of physical violence from their intimate partner in their lifetime. So, if Dawn’s mom knows he’s abusive why did she make an excuse for him? It’s easy to say, how you would have done better, but it’s not that simple.

There are emotional and situational reason why victims like Dawn’s mom would stay with their abuser.

Emotional Factors include

  • Belief that the abusive partner will change because of his remorse and promises to stop battering
  • Fear of the abuser who threatens to kill the victim if abuse is reported to anyone
  • Lack of emotional support
  • Guilt over the failure of the relationship
  • Attachment to the partner
  • Fear of making major life changes
  • Feeling responsible for the abuse
  • Feeling helpless, hopeless and trapped
  • Belief that she is the only one who can help the abuser with his problems

Then there is also the situation factors

  • Economic dependence on the abuser
  • Fear of physical harm to self or children
  • Fear of emotional damage to the children over the loss of a parent, even if that parent is abusive
  • Fear of losing custody of the children because the abuser threatens to take the children if victim tries to leave
  • Lack of job skills
  • Social isolation and lack of support because abuser is often the victim’s only support system
  • Lack of information regarding domestic violence resources
  • belief that law enforcement will not take her seriously
  • Lack of alternative housing
  • Cultural or religious constraints

Marina Sirtis as Dawn’s mother, Marie Granger

From what it sounds like to me, Dawn’s mom believes that her husband will “change” and will stop abusing her. Unfortunately that doesn’t happen. From what I remember, she never mentioned, for example, admitting how he has hurt her or stopped making excuses and blaming…nothing. To be honest, I was hoping she wouldn’t return to him, but unfortunately, it seemed like she already made up her mind to return.

I remember feeling disappointed when my mom returned to my dad once a long time ago…like Dawn, it was hard to see my mom go back with my dad. I felt like mom deserved a better life than to return with my dad. He never stopped making excuses and blaming, he never took responsibility of his behavior, he never showed respectful, kind, and supportive behavior….nothing. It hurt me to see my mom not just hurt physically, but emotionally as well.

So how can you help a loved one who is undergoing domestic abuse? According to the National Domestic Violence Hotline, loved ones should:

  • Acknowledge that they are in a very difficult and scary situation, be supportive and listen
  • Be non-judgmental
  • If they end the relationship, continue to be supportive of them
  • Encourage them to participate in activities in activities outside of the relationship with friends and family
  • Help them develop a safety plan
  • Encourage them to talk to people who can provide help and guidance
  • Remember that you cannot “rescue” them.

I provide this knowledge, because domestic violence isn’t easy to see or experience and I understand how it’s easy to become judgmental towards someone, especially if it is someone you love, because you can’t understand why they would continue to put themselves in an abusive relationship. All you can do is love them and be there for them when they need it.

References

Center for Disease Control. (2018).Intimate Partner Violence. Retrieved from: https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/intimatepartnerviolence/index.html

Domestic Violence Roundtable. (n.d.) Why Do Abusers Stay? Retrieved from: https://www.domesticviolenceroundtable.org/abuse-victims-stay.html

The National Domestic Violence Hotline (n.d.) Help a Friend or Family Member. Retrieved from: https://www.thehotline.org/help/help-for-friends-and-family/

 

Perfectionism

I am terrified of failure. Absolutely terrified. I know that out of failure you can, for example, learn how to write a better or how design a better classroom instruction. But it’s still terrifying, because I want do so well on those activities. I want people to know I’m an expert in what I’m talking about or presenting. It can be so terrifying that anxiety begins to settle in me that I don’t want to do activity anymore…until the last minute, making easy for others to think I’m a procrastinator, when I am not. I’m really a perfectionist.

Perfection is defined as the need to be or appear to be perfect or even believe that it’s possible to achieve perfection. The thing is…true perfectionists think nothing they do is good enough, regardless of how much they have achieved. What they do has to be absolutely perfect. Instead of giving themselves a pat on the back or kudos, they may withdraw from the activity (something I’m too good at). Having such personality traits may lead to and/or coincide with anxiety. Though perhaps if we conquer such unreasonable expectations, we can achieve more practical, achievable goals.

To begin with there are different types of perfectionism…3 kinds to be precise: personal standards perfectionism, self-critical perfectionism, and socially prescribed perfectionism (Good Therapy, n.d):

    • Personal Standards Perfectionism-This person may have a set of standards they live by. These standards may look high to others, but it’s what drives the individual to achieve their goal. This form of perfection (as long as it doesn’t leave the person fatigued, stressed or paralyzed) can lead the person to success.
    • Self-Critical Perfection-This person is more likely to be intimidated by goals they set upon themselves (haha! Me!) thus making themselves less driven, because they feel the goal is hopeless or it may never come true. This form of perfectionism can lead to stress, anxiety, avoidance and self-condemnation.
    • Socially Prescribed Perfection: This kind of perfectionism can affect a person in one of two ways:

A) when a person is in a job in which precision is heavily required. People who work as, for example, lawyers, medical professionals, and architects can be affected by perfectionism. Such jobs can cause professionals to experience hopeless thoughts, stress, and a higher risk for self-harm and suicide.

B) The other form of socially prescribed perfectionism is when individuals aspire to meet unrealistic goals that can be set by high cultural or societal standards. this can include when kids try to meet the goals set by parents or individuals trying to obtain a particular body type high regarded by society.

So which one, do I think I identify with? I would have to say self-critical perfectionist. I cannot even begin to tell you how many times I have procrastinated on projects just because I fear how I won’t execute them well. I expect nothing the less from myself, but possessing such a mindset can be crippling because I think can’t perform the task well. Such mindsets can also induce major anxiety for me. Speaking of which…

How can anxiety trigger perfectionism…or visa versa? Well that relationship is …complicated (Kvarnstrom, 2016). All that is known is that one, perfectionism is the onset of the individuals’s inability to cope with the stressors they ave set upon themselves and then on top of that, perfectionism itself worsens anxiety that in turn prevents the person from achieving their goal. Huh…go figure. Makes sense why I procrastinate.

So how can you help yourself overcome perfectionism. According to Healthy Place article, “How to Stop Being a Perfectionist” try to:

+ Recognize perfectionism as a problem

+  Set realistic goals for you

+ Look for positives in yourself and your life

+ Love yourself in your entirely, including your imperfections

+ Embracing your uniqueness

+ Stop procrastinating (This includes when something is just not right)

+Think of mistakes as lessons

Speaking for myself, failure should not be looked as a stain that would forever blotch out any opportunity for success. That’s not what failure is. This is what it means to F.A.I.L: First Attempt in Learning. It’s only in failing it’s pushes us to reach deep within ourselves and pull out sleeping and dormant skills and resolve we thought we’d never had or we thought we exhausted. However, this cannot be achieved if we strive for perfection instead. Perfection only leads to a shallow, unreasonable and perhaps unattainable goal(s). As the old saying goes: To err is human. So it’s not just much we should accept our errors, but our humanity as well. We need to start accepting our humanity.  

References

Agathanelou, F. (2015) How to Stop Being  Perfectionist. Retrieved from: https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/buildingselfesteem/2015/09/how-to-stop-being-a-perfectionist

Good Therapy. (n.d). Perfectionism. Retrieved from: https://www.goodtherapy.org/learn-about-therapy/issues/perfectionism

Kvarnstrom, E. (2016). Why Perfectionism and Anxiety Disorders Go Hand-in-Hand. Retrieved from: https://www.bridgestorecovery.com/blog/why-perfectionism-and-anxiety-disorders-go-hand-in-hand/

Other Readings:

You Aren’t Lazy–You’re Just Terrified: On Paralysis and Perfectionism