Category Archives: Psychology

Ch-ch-ch-changes

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Current Song: Elastic Heart (Acoustic) – Sia, quickly followed by Last Kiss – Taylor Swift as I type this.

So many changes in my life, it’s crazy!

A couple weeks ago, I was sitting unhappily in my bedroom, wondering where my life was going, when I suddenly decided, “You know what? I am tired of being a victim. Yes, I live with bipolar disorder. Yes, I will have setbacks. But I can’t wait around forever for things to go back the way they were before my illness developed. They never will. I have to incorporate this illness as part of my life, and not let it BECOME my life.

So I called up an Academic Advisor at the University of Winnipeg (where I had previously nearly completed a 3-Year Bachelor of Arts, but had to drop out due to the development and seriousness of my illness) to see what my GPA was, where I stood, and what I could do to complete my degree in a different field, namely Psychology.

Current Songs: Closing – The Nightmare Before Christmas, quickly followed by Turn It Off – Paramore as I was typing.

It turns out that even though my marks had started to go down drastically during my last classes at the University, I still have a GPA of 3.548, and thus I qualify not only for bursaries and scholarships (which I can start applying for in November), but I am able to enter the 4 Year Honours Psychology program as soon as the Spring term!

I didn’t want to apply for student loans for one Spring course (Psychology 1000: I had started taking this course, but had dropped it a few years ago, thinking my career was headed in a different direction), so I thought, well I guess that means I have to get a job.

I updated my resume, uploaded it to Workopolis, applied to be a Customer Service Representative at a call centre on a whim in the middle of the night, and two days later got called in for an interview. Later that day I was hired, and I now have a full-time job with benefits, an excellent work environment, amazing coworkers, and a means to pay for my Spring course without accruing any debt.

Current Songs: Save Your Day – Jose Gonzalez, Scarborough Fair – Celtic Woman

I no longer feel useless or like a burden to my family or like I’m wasting my potential. My academic advisor told me that every single one of the 66 credits I had earned for the 3 Year English Lit. BA can be used toward my Honours Psychology, which means that not only have I already completed all of my electives and humanities, but I am only 54 credit hours away from graduating. I AM ALREADY OVER HALFWAY THERE.

Once I graduate from the U of W, I plan to take Applied Counselling at Red River College and work using a behavioural therapy model based on DBT to help troubled youth and young adults.

A switch just flipped, and I suddenly realized I was at a place where I could take charge of my life again. It’s not a high, it’s not an impulse, it’s not a delusion. It’s just normal and filled with hope and potential. This is such a good thing, I had to share it with all of you.

Some of you might wonder, ‘How can someone with a mental illness be a counsellor for other people?’ Just to be sure of this myself, I asked my psychiatrist’s opinion, and he said that because I have suffered and live with bipolar to this day, it will help me be more empathetic in my job and will be an advantage rather than a disadvantage. I have no illusions that there will be no hard work involved, but I really feel that this is my purpose. It’s wonderful to find a niche. I. Am. Happy.

End Songs: Tonight – Lykke Li, All Fired Up – Petra

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My Psych Shelf

So, as many of you know, I deal with some mental health issues, including Bipolar Affective Disorder: Type I and Borderline Personality Disorder. I try not to let them run my life, though I concede that they do greatly affect it. I try to learn as much as I can so I can learn to deal with these things the best I can so I can make the most out of the times I am well and better handle the times I am unwell (that part has more to do with bipolar than with BPD, but I digress). All of this, and my very curious mind has led to what I have come to dub my ‘Psych Shelf’. It’s basically a collection of books, some non-fiction, some fiction, some for necessity, some for pure interest that I have collected, all of which have something to do with the psychology of the human mind (usually abnormal psychology but sometimes social and environmental psychology too). I thought I’d share it with you! Here it is:

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Here they are, from left to right:

– New Hope for People with Bipolar Disorder by Jan Fawcett, M.D., Bernard Golden, Ph.D., and Nancy Rosenfeld

– Icy Sparks by Gwyn Hyman Rubio

– Medical Muses: Hysteria in Nineteenth-Century Paris by Asti Hustvedt

– Silent to the Bone by e.l. konigsburg

– Dying of Embarrassment: Help for Social Anxiety & Phobia by Barbara G. Markway, Ph.D., Cheryl N. Carmin, Ph.D., C. Alec Pollard, Ph.D., Teresa Flynn, Ph.D.

– Bedlam by Greg Hollingshead

– Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds by Charles Mackay

– Brief Interviews with Hideous Men by David Foster Wallace

– Eutopia by David Nickle

– Asserting Yourself: A Practical Guide for Positive Change by Sharon Anthony Bower and Gordon H. Bower

– An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness by Kay Redfield Jamison

– Touched with Fire: Manic-Depressive Illness and the Artistic Temperament by Kay Redfield Jamison

– Night Falls Fast: Understanding Suicide by Kay Redfield Jamison

– The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls

– The Hypochondriacs: Nine Tormented Lives by Brian Dillon

– Broken Glass by Tabitha Freeman

– The Case of the Constant Suicides by John Dickson Carr

– Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes

– Mind Games by William Deverell

– Secret Lives of Great Authors by Robert Schnakenberg

– Page Fright: Foibles and Fetishes of Famous Writers by Harry Bruce

– The Secret Language of Eating Disorders  by Peggy Claude-Pierre

– The Anorexia Diaries by Linda M. Rio and Tara M. Rio

– History of a Suicide by Jill Bialosky

– Coping with Trauma-Related Dissociation: Skills Training for Patients and Therapists by Suzette Boon, Kathy Steele, Onno Van Der Hart

– Way of the Peaceful Warrior by Dan Millman

Not pictured on this shelf, but mentally included by me are:

– Sybil by Flora Rheta Schreiber

Psychology: First Canadian Edition by David G. Myers

– The Bride Collector by Ted Dekker

Have you read any of these? Do you recommend any more? Have you got a specifically themed shelf at home? Let me know in the comments, keep your brains sharp and happy reading!