Incoming: Finals

Yeah, it’s probably because I’m finally at a place with my workload where I’m like, “DAMN YOU GO GIRL YOU’RE AHEAD OF THE GAME!!” Two of the short stories I have to read for next week are ones I’ve read and annotated at least twice each, so I don’t have to drive myself crazy over them. Those stories are “Bulliet in the Brain” by Tobias Wolff and “Jealous Husband Returns in the Form of a Parrot” by Robert Olen Butler, in case you were wondering. Both are fantastic stories that I recommend by the way. Especially the parrot one, that’s the kind of stuff I really enjoy.

Anyway, my workload for now isn’t too heavy, but looking ahead I’m just like wow okay I gotta get on this. I have two papers, one with a project and presentation included, and a few more tests before the year ends. The good news about my project is that it’s basically me writing a short story. HA!!!

I kind of wanted to blog a bit about my assignment because I think it’s pretty cool and I’m excited about it. It’s in my Narratives of Disorder class, basically it’s a class about mental health and disorders in everyday life. I have to write a paper on one aspect of disorder, whether specific or general, and then make some kind of creative project to show the class that kind of encapsulates that idea. Well, I was terrified for the project once I got it, I still am terrified, but I’m really happy to be working on something that I love and feel really passionate about.

My focus is on the education of middle school aged kids and how they are taught to view mental illnesses and healthy ways to deal with emotions that may prevent delayed treatment and stigma against others who have mental illnesses. It’s very personal for me, because my earliest memories are from when I was three years old back in the Bronx, and they’re all really scary thoughts I would have about being taken from my parents by men in suits, having a black figure with white eyes staring at me while I slept, etc. They were these intrusive thoughts that played over and over and I still remember them vividly, to a point where if I think about them it takes me a few minutes to stop and try to stop them from replaying. I was so anxious for such a long time and only when I had my public panic attack at school when I was 16 did I get the help I needed. Even then, I didn’t even know anxiety WAS a disorder. When my nurse said we needed to call my parents I started crying and panicking all over again because I thought they’d be mad at me because I couldn’t explain what was wrong. I thought my anxiety levels were normal and that I was too weak to deal with it. Then when I was diagnosed with depression a little bit later, I didn’t even know people my age could get depression. I always saw it as depicted on TV, with the middle aged woman looking sadly out the window in an oversized sweater and maybe a mug of tea in one hand as she crossed her arms and watched the golden retriever play with her grandchildren out on the lawn.

Safe to say, that isn’t me. I mean I want a dog in the future, and I wear oversized sweaters, and I love tea….oh dear.

But my point is I had to actively go out and get answers for myself. I had to seek out the one psych class at my high school, then go even further and take Abnormal Psych in college. That’s how I learned. I researched online, I downloaded apps, I’ve read books, I’ve looked up every treatment option and suggestion my therapist, psychiatrist and assistance counselor gave me. I helped educate my parents on the issue when they weren’t sure what to do, even when I didn’t know myself. My entire family had to learn how to deal with me when I need that additional support in a successful way, and it was a long learning curve. I’m still learning, they’re still learning, it always changes.

That’s why I feel so strongly about my project. So, what it is is me suggesting some options and exploring what’s already out there to educate kids on mood disorders and so on. My short story, is, well, very Sammi. It’s magical realism, there’ll be one element that’s not normal and everything else goes on as usual. Long story short, it’s about a girl and her puppy, and that’s all I’ll tell. I never know who’s plagiarizing me because I’m a goddamn genius.

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Anyway that’ll be all for now, I’m gonna go try and brainstorm some ideas for my final papers while lying facedown on my bed.

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