Psych Mix: When Boy Meets Girl

Very privileged to host the talk “When Boy Meets Girl: Understanding the Dynamics of Love”. Some Psychology majors from Far Eastern University attended the said event and with some unforeseen problems, it still turned out to be a great experience. Especially that Ramon Bautista came to share his expertise on love. Kahit na alam kong puro kalokohan yung mga pinagsabi niya, he still made us happy, and kilig. hahaha

The Perks of Being a Psychology Major

The excitement for the much awaited film adaptation of Stephen Chbosky’s Perks of Being a Wallflower has been finally justified! Aside from the relatable choice of songs not only of the film but of the characters in the film as well, the story is just in itself a self-fulfilling prophecy for teens. Well, for myself at least. The joys and pains of what they call “misfit toys” had been served well in this movie, getting every aspect right and beyond expectations.

What made it even more interesting is that as a fellow misfit toy who studies psychology, I am able to understand the repressed life-changing events that is hard to take all in. Charlie had to go through serious mental problems as a result of a series of traumatic events he experienced since childhood. And just like what any messed up head needs, he was able to recover through friends who have been comfort in strangeness. And The Smiths, of course.

I could watch this movie over and over again until I fall “Asleep”.

The Joys and Pains of Writing a Degree Paper

Writing a degree paper is the greatest thing a student could ask for. This is what I realized after the first comprehensive research I did so far. Who would not enjoy countless days of thinking what to write about then researching on related studies. Then there’s sleepless nights of editing your own paper while trying hard not to commit theft of ideas. Also, who would not enjoy calling, e-mailing and personally going to almost every hospital in Manila only to find out weeks later that they cannot grant your request? That was quite an adventure. Who would not be fond of submitting your paper to your thesis adviser, proud enough to produce a thousand words, but getting it back looking like a coloring book, only with red ink. All these while trying hard not to give in to temptations of fun social networking which takes away our focus. Can a student ask for more?

Because of being too preoccupied with finishing my research, it even came to a point where I forgot I was also human. I put aside other important things such as my basic needs- eating, sleeping, then leaving my student assistant (S.A.) hours to twenty out of a hundred. I even got a sickness I never heard of before, all because of excessive thesis-enhanced cortisol. Moreover, aside from our own personal preferences such as working styles, one must also compromise with whoever she is working with- a thesis partner. There were times where what made it hard was when stress came up not only from the research itself but because of arguments of two people working on the same thing. But of course in the end, we remember we both only want to produce a decent paper.

Sarcasm aside and contrary to popular belief, there is also happiness in thesis writing. Personally, it was the data gathering process that was not only fulfilling but also a heart-warming experience for me. It was the first time I interacted with medical patients, not mental patients, and it has been great. I was happy about it because in 9 meetings, I was able to not only learn what they were going through as stroke patients, but I also felt a sense of disclosure from them in the course of the interview and some even remained as my friends. Sometimes after the administration of tests and interview, we would just stay in the clinic or at their home to simply hang out and they would joke around, keeping things light. I was very happy to know that that was already enjoyable for them that it was even them who thanked us for the interview and for keeping them company. Though that was not always the case.

There was one particular session where I doubted pursuing psychology. A patient showed an unexpected response to our last activity, which was not even included in the study. He insulted the test, laughed at the activity and even gave snide remarks about it. This response triggered a lot of questions for me for a while. It seems that there are really a lot of people who look down on psychology as a science and might even take it as a joke. Aside from that, what made me question my course was upon learning that medical (physical therapy) interns already obtain a psychosocial evaluation of the patients. That made me ask myself, what else can we offer? Can Psychology really help people or are there already other fields doing the job for us? This were just some insights I had because of that particular session. Then I remembered this was not the first time I encountered such a response. People kept on, and maybe will keep on questioning psychology or look down on it as a profession. I also think there will always be people who will ask the most vital query of all upon knowing you’re a psychology major, “Nasa-psych mo ba ako ngayon?” or “Can you read my mind?”. Yeah we get that a lot, don’t we, psych majors? But still, despite all connotations on my chosen field of interest, here I am, still open and very much interested in different reactions of people to different matters. Believe it or not, I enjoyed all these. Especially because during the latter part of the study, the patients considered us as their friends. Some of them joked a lot about how they did in the test asking, “Ano pasado ba? O may tama?”, and all of us would just laugh and I emphasized that it’s not like that. All of them thanked me and my partner, sharing that we were actually able to help them by developing an awareness of what they were feeling and also by keeping them company for a while which was for them a few hours of preventing loneliness. With that, I already felt a hint of accomplishment. I got close most especially with the patient who challenged my view on Psychology. I even called him an hour before our final defense to ask him how he was and also update him that we were about to present. I would never forget what I learned from him during our first meeting which he repeated all throughout the study. He said that a person needs STD to get better. I was confused, thinking it was about the acquired disease. Little did I know he was talking about something else, the most important thing for him to get better: Sipag. Tiyaga. Determinasyon. I was instantly amazed. The patients, or, our friends in the clinic were sincere when they wished us luck in our studies and even asked us to update them on our success. Fortunately, their blessing gave us luck and even more positive feedback.

In my attempt to contribute something to Philippine psychology, I chose to give my best in our study. And I can say I do not regret if I lost days of sleep. It was all worth it in the end. I was particularly touched when the panelists were able to feel the heart we put in our study, commenting that “We feel you put your heart in what you do. It’s evident in your paper.” I therefore conclude, STD is effective for success.

It is inevitable for a writer, in our case, thesis writers, to experience hardships throughout the writing process. However, in the end, what matters and what lasts is what one has gained from all those challenges, and what we were able to share with a small group in the society.

What if you were sent major pain, not only to learn from it, but to help others, too?

-A line from The Daily Love

Earlier today I met again with the patients in a community based rehabilitation. Again, similar to what I learned from my internship in the psychiatric ward last summer, I have been reminded that everybody carries a cross. I used to feel that I was in so much pain that none of my psychology books, lessons from lectures, not even professional advice could help me.

So I tried to give meaning from what I experienced. Yes I developed that habit thanks to my majors. In an application of my course called real life, I learned why the “Vicious Cycle of Depression” was called vicious. Though many tears have been wasted, a lot more lessons were learned. Those of which to keep my guard not to repeat the same mistakes and experience the same pain.

Until I met some other patients. What a shame I called myself “in pain” or “helpless”. These patients have been struggling with their condition every single day, for n years. And there I was, healed by God’s grace, seeing other people go through a vicious cycle that is hard to get out of. So maybe, just maybe, the pain I felt was not only for me to learn, not only for my own good, but for the better of others? It may seem big to think that I could help these people feel better, but the pieces just fit perfectly and beautifully.

Therapy

Restless. That’s what I have been the past three weeks. But the question is, since almost everyone is feeling the same way too, what keeps you going?

A patient made me happy today. Last week, too, actually. Patient X suffered the consequences of a cerebrovascular accident, also known as stroke. Me and my partner have been meeting with stroke patients since last month, and I can say that although this study we’re doing involves intensive reading, writing, analyzing and interpreting, I became even more interested and motivated to go deeper because of the things I learn from them.

It’s just so amazing how the process of relating to patients work, whether it’s with mental patients (from my internship in the Psychiatric clinic) or medical patients (whom I am currently dealing with). It starts with you trying to get the patient to confide to you and let them know that you’re there to sincerely help them, not really to be cured, but to feel better about their condition. Then, as the rapport is built, and you feel that they trust you and opens up to you on their deepest fears, worries, struggles, it’s as if they are the ones who become therapeutic for you. Their hope, resilience, optimism that things can get better; it’s like I’m the one receiving therapy. But it works both ways, and that’s what keeps me going. :)

So how did Patient X made my day?

Aside from making me laugh by his snide remarks and occasional teasing during and after the psychological testing, he was so generous to me and my partner. I offered that we would walk with him on his way home, but then he treated us to dinner first. We really didn’t want to, cause we were too shy to be “treated” by a patient, haha, but he really wanted to cause he said he was thankful for us. For keeping him company, for sparing time alone that saddens him, for hoping that he could really go through it all with a smile on his face.

After dinner, he said he wanted to go to the mall to buy books. Reading is mainly his leisure activity since the occurence of CVA. Again, I offered that me and my partner would at least take him there, but we ended up not wanting to leave so we were with him the whole time. We went to a book sale, a jeepney ride from his home, and there I knew his interests: thriller/crime/suspense novels were his type. He bought two books and then saw me reading a psychological book by Carl Jung. He looked at the cover as I was reading, asked me what it was about, and immediately and forcefully grabbed it from me to the counter. He paid for the book! I was so shy and thankful, but he said, “You’re my friend, so you shouldn’t be shy just by something like this.” I blushed even more. This made my day.


So much thankful, for my dear patient. :)

Malice in Wanderlust

JULY 19, 2012

Our org, the Psychological Society if Assumption, held its first General Assembly slash Acquaintance party with the theme of movie stars. My block came as the cast of Alice in Wonderland, but I came up with a more appropriate title for me and my blockmates: Malice in Wanderlust. Guess who’s Malice. :>

from left: Ge as the Cheshire Cat, Bea as Tweedle Dee, Me as Malice, and Ayra as Tweedle Dum. :))

We performed Karmin’s Brokenhearted and Fun’s We Are Young that night. As usual, short notice and no practice. lol

yeah uhm, more instruments please? haha. that was kinda hard. XD

In my opinion, this sem’s G.A. ended so fast. Or maybe I was just disappointed about me being forgotten to be called when the officers were mentioned, and that I wasn’t able to eat any hotdogs. Just popcorn for the night. lol. My dormmates too felt bad that it was weird how the GA came out and didn’t really “feel” it. To make them feel less disappointed, I told them I’ll just take pictures of them while their costumes were still on. :)) (They’re not my blockmates so they’re not a part of Malice in Wanderlust)