Tag Archives: Blog Post 5

Gamer brain

It sounds like an activity-related injury akin to tennis elbow or skier’s thumb. However, gamer brain is actually associated with higher cognitive function. The effects of video games on cognitive processes have been documented and studied by neuroscientists. In the study of video games on the brain they’ve discovered that people who game 5-15 hours per week actually have better vision than non-gamers. Furthermore, scientists have also been able to dispel the myth that video games are linked to behavior problems like ADHD and cause issues with distractibility. By testing a gamer’s ability to resolve conflict in an activity they are able to determine how long they can focus on a singular task, and it comes as no surprise that people who were adept at gaming had an easier time with this task. 

The average age of a gamer is 33 years old, and if that trend continues as anticipated we can expect a new demographic of geriatric keyboard warriors. Unsurprisingly video games are everywhere in our society and they continue to cater to an ever-expanding audience. The pervasiveness of this hobby has influenced global markets and continues to evolve as an entertainment media that spans generations. 

This blog wouldn’t be a fair comparison if I didn’t talk about the downsides of video games too. Like anything that’s good for you they should be enjoyed in moderation, playing too much or for too long certainly comes with health risks. There have been reported cases of people developing blood clots and dying while gaming and having bouts of depression because they become too attached to an online world. The best analogy I could find for gaming is to consider it’s effect on our brains like we would the effect of red wine on our health. As long as we consume reasonable amounts and make certain that the age matches the activity we can expect to enjoy the health benefits of both. 

https://www.business-standard.com/article/news-ani/playing-video-games-benefit-in-cognitive-development-study-suggests-120041200225_1.html

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1877050920324698?via%3Dihub

If I could own a building

Over the past years I have had the honor to be friends with many artists and entrepreneurs. If you are not familiar, New Rules is a multi-use space on the northside that people can use for an array of things like gallery shows, art studio, performance space, and private events and parties. This space has been of great use to the community and many people have benefited from this space. There are also spaces like Public Functionary which provides gallery space and studio space for arts. Recently, my friend Jojo was a part of creating Banana Leaf which is another space for young artist to work out of. Inspired by all of this I can only dream of creating my own space. I love the idea of multi-use spaces, whether its a cafe, gallery, event space, studio or library, I like the variety. This space would host community dialogues, pop-ups, movie nights, workshops and musical performances. I would want this space to be a cultural hub for creation and community. I am inspired by nature and art so I want this space to be calming yet inspirational. When I travel to spaces like New York and Mexico City, I am reminded how space, people, environment and culture are intertwined. This is ideally how I envision my space to be.

How Apple Tv+’s “Severance” Touches on the Realities of Corporate Life. (Potential Spoilers)

Severance is a show on Apple Tv+ about a man named Mark, who signs onto a job with Lumon Industries after experiencing a traumatic event that prohibits him from continuing his career as a professor. Lumon Industries produces the microchips needed for a procedure called “Severance”. The job requires him to go through this controversial procedure that wipes all of his memory while he is at work in order to protect “sensitive information” his employers do not want to be revealed to the public. Everything becomes more complicated when one of his old coworkers (that he cannot remember) warns him of what is truly happening at his job.

Before I begin, I would just like to state that I am aware that not everyone sees corporate life as toxic, dysfunctional, or unhealthy and that there are healthy workplaces out there along with employers trying to lead the way in showing the rest of America how to build better relationships between employees and employers.

Kier Eagan’s Core Values

Over time, the audience is shown certain themes and elements that resemble a cult or cult-like attributes in the workplace. Kier Eagan is revealed as the original founder of “Severance” and the founder of Lumon Industries. He is a source of mystery for the people outside of Lumon Industries because he has been long dead, but for the people working there, he might as well be a deity. He outlines specific core values for workers to follow that help keep them in line and list expectations. This is very similar to the core values that are listed during orientation when signing onto a new job. The issue, similar to real life, is that these core values are often weaponized against employees.

There are also gifts called “perks” in the show that are used to incentivize employees to work harder and achieve higher goals in order to increase the employer’s profits but these are usually useless material items such as finger traps or dance parties with unsettling monochromatic light shows and underwhelming snacks. This can be compared to table tennis rewards in silicon valley or happy hour gift cards.

Work-Life Balance?

The thing severance gets perfectly is the disregard or purposeful blindness that is shown from employer to employee when it comes to our personal lives. Severance is a process that splits “you” into two separate forms of consciousness, the “you” at work, and the “you” at home. You are essentially on a vacation at home forever besides the need to get up and drive to work each day. You are free from the stresses of having work follow you home, whether it is a deadline you may miss, a coworker you don’t like, or a new boss changing the status quo at work in the pursuit of their own glory.

What about the “you” at work though? That version is essentially a slave that works forever until the other version of “you” decides they want to leave. In America that is only a minor exaggeration of reality where 9-5 jobs only give you so much time at home before you have to go to work again. The questions this show asks are what would happen if you gave 100% of yourself over to the company you work for as long as you got to make a living and how much would that version of you need to fabricate their true personality to fit the rigid nature of workplace values. I encourage everyone to watch the show and find out.

My Mental Health is Stigmatized

I have mental illnesses that are stigmatized in today’s society. Borderline Personality Disorder and Bipolar type II. I am not afraid to share my diagnosis’ with people because I believe they need awareness. One of the many problems that contribute to the mental health stigma is the lack of understanding or willingness to understand. This applies to all mental illnesses. If we want to take a step in the right direction, there need to be resources that provide society with insight into mental health. Not only to understand mental illness but to understand your mental health to achieve your highest self. Your mental health is just as important as everyone else’s

What is BPD? 

BPD is short for Borderline Personality Disorder. It is characterized by difficulties regulating emotions. It’s a mental health disorder that impacts the way you think and feel about yourself and others, causing problems functioning in everyday life. It includes self-image issues, a pattern of unstable relationships, a fear of abandonment, frequent mood swings, and inappropriate outbursts. All of which are difficult to manage day-to-day. Even though these symptoms have been identified, it still stands as the most misunderstood disorder in the field.

The causes of Borderline Personality Disorder are tied to environmental factors that may increase the likelihood of BPD. If you have a family member that struggles with BPD or your someone who has had a stressful childhood because of trauma or neglect, you are more likely to develop BPD at some point in your life. 

Mental health stigma around BPD lies in the field as well as in society. Mental health professionals may choose to limit or decline those with BPD as patients. Even those who can see a professional, may not be adequately trained to help treat BPD which could hurt their treatment. This includes not feeling heard or understood, even valued.  They reinforce misconceptions by labeling BPD patients as treatment-resistant. Because of this, professionals are quick to gloss over them to the next patient in-line. This intensifies BPD symptomology and could lead to more harm in doing so. 

BPD vs BD

I struggle with both Borderline Personality Disorder and Bipolar Disorder, type II. To clarify, Bipolar I and Bipolar II are not the same. But one thing stands the same, moods cycle high and low over time. Type II’s typically don’t reach the extreme mania that usually happens in type I’s. They reach hypomania which lies underneath full-blown mania. Hypomania is characterized by euphoria – feeling “high”- or irritability. I experience both. But, what dominates the mood cycles are the depressive episodes referred to as manic depression. This is characterized by depressive moods and tendencies. 

Common symptoms you see in Bipolar type II’s are…

  • Flying suddenly from one idea to the next
  • Having exaggerated self-confidence
  • Rapid, “pressured” (uninterruptible), and loud speech
  • Increased energy, with hyperactivity and a decreased need for sleep

Even with these symptoms and the variation of moods, we can still lead a fairly normal life. I am a full-time student and a part-time mother. No one would know I had both Borderline Personality Disorder and Bipolar II. It just shows a normal life is possible even with having mental illnesses. Our symptoms don’t define us, nor do our diagnoses. If information like this was provided with first-person accounts, the understanding of mental illness would flourish and there would hopefully be an effort to combat the stigma that exists in our society today. It’s just a matter of time as mental illness rates climb. 

https://www.nami.org/Blogs/NAMI-Blog/June-2017/The-Stigma-Associated-with-Borderline-Personality

/https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/borderline-personality-disorder/symptoms-causes/syc-20370237

https://www.webmd.com/bipolar-disorder/guide/bipolar-2-disorder

Save for Your Future

For many people in their 20s and 30s, thinking about retirement is not on their radar. It is difficult to see the future of retirement at this age; it is years away, and there are so many things you plan on doing in the “here and now”, and in the next few years. I mean it did take FOREVER to: 1) get our driver’s license, 2) graduate from high school; 3) finish college, and 4) start our first “grown-up” job, right?

Fifty looks old when you are in your 20s, let alone looking to 67, which is the retirement age for anyone born in 1960 or later and want to receive full retirement benefits. You might be thinking, I have plenty of time to save for retirement; I might not live that long; or I want to enjoy my life when I am young and can physically and mentally be able to do things. It can also be difficult to save for your future when you are trying to pay off your student loans, possibly start a family, buy a home, buy a new car, go on vacations, and having some fun. Those are all valid thoughts; yet, getting an early start on retirement has many benefits.

Mass Mutual says, two out of three 21- to 32-year-olds haven’t started saving for retirement.” You might think, why is that important, I have a lot of time before I retire to save. However, what you might not know is that if you can start saving for your future in your 20s and 30s, you will have a stronger chance of ensuring that you can take care of yourself and not rely on other sources. Per Mass Mutual,“You don’t want to depend on Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, or even relatives to take care of you in retirement. They’re all unreliable sources that you can’t control.”

I was lucky that a few years into my 20s, when I started a new position, a co-worker popped his head into a conference room during my lunch break where I was reviewing my benefits and said, “put it in all in” kind of teasingly. I was honest with him and said that I didn’t really know what I was doing. I’m sure I talked to my parents about it some, but it was still pretty overwhelming to have to make all these medical, dental, and financial choices. My co-worker sat down and explained 401k to me and how the company would match my contribution up to a certain percentage, and that I should start saving as soon as possible for retirement. Unfortunately, not all companies match contributions, and it may not always be wise to go with your company’s selection of funds, but what is important is that the sooner you start saving the longer it has time to “grow” for you.

One reason to start early is, unless you have someone who pays all your expenses, you are used to making sacrifices to go to school, live on your own, buy your groceries, etc. If you put money into a 401k, 403b, Traditional IRA, or Roth IRA, starting with your first paycheck or by automatically having it taken from your checking into one of these accounts, you will not miss the money because you have never had it. It will be more difficult to start saving after you get used to spending the money you make then if you do not spend it from the beginning.

“Compound interest” is an additional reason to start early; the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s mentions that the, “Compound interest is the interest you earn on interest. This can be illustrated by using basic math: if you have $100 and it earns 5% interest each year, you’ll have $105 at the end of the first year.” Vanguard postulates, In fact, if you save just under $4,500 per year over a 45-year career, you could have over $1 million by the time you retire.; this amount would be $375.00 a month.

Not to mention that saving money to a retirement fund early reduces your current income taxes. Putting money into a 401k, 403b, or Traditional IRA is tax free until you take it out; the assumption is that you will have less income coming in once you retire, and that puts you in a lower tax bracket, which means paying less taxes on that money. You can also save money to a Roth IRA. When you use a Roth IRA, you pay taxes on it now, but do not pay taxes on it when you take the money out.

Putting money away now can be a little overwhelming, especially when you are not earning a lot of money, you do not understand how these types of accounts work, and you have debt and bills to pay. I am not a financial advisor, and I would definitely recommend that you talk to someone who knows about these different types of accounts. Nevertheless, if you can, I would suggest starting a retirement fund as early as possible, so that your money makes money for you, now and into the future.

This is a mini story…

This mini story is about family. 

This mini story is about balsamic vinegar. 

This mini story is about family, balsamic vinegar, and trauma. 

This mini story is about family, balsamic vinegar, trauma, and abuse. 

This mini story is about family, balsamic vinegar, trauma, abuse, and healing. 

There are a few things that make my siblings and I alike. To start off, we all have the same father, and all have different mothers. We all have our dad’s nose, we all have the same curly brown hair, and we all love balsamic vinegar. We also all have no contact with our biological father.

Yes, we have no contact with our biological father, our only link.

When I was fifteen, I was placed in emergency housing because of the abuse from our father. My oldest sibling was four; my youngest, a few months old. Unfortunately, having no mother to fight for me, being alone in the overworked child protective services system, I wrongfully slipped back into the hands of my abuser. At seventeen, I watched my six-year-old brother kicked down the stairs.

We dip our crusty garlic bread in balsamic and lick the sweet and pungent liquid off our fingers. 

At seventeen, I left for the military. It was my only chance of getting out of the house alive. I know to be a fact. Somedays, I thought my only option to free myself from abuse was suicide. I left, and left my siblings behind. It would be years before I saw them again.

My sister leaves the bread soaking the balsamic, much to the outcry of the others who want to dip their bread. She takes it out; the bread is now black mush. With her fingers and a grin, she shoves the whole thing in her mouth. She proves she loves balsamic more than either of us.

While I was away, my sibling’s mothers fought to terminate all custodial rights between my father and my siblings. They presented evidence of emotional, physical, and sexual abuse perpetrated on both myself and my siblings. At the time, I didn’t know any of this. Barely eighteen years old, I was still unraveling my trauma. I just had cut off all contact with my biological father. I felt like a victim, thinking the abuse I experienced was my fault for being a bad child, a failure, and so many other terms that came from his mouth. I didn’t even know the depths of trauma I had; I worked hard to stifle all my emotions and lead a normal life. I cut everything out of my life that reminded me of my father – including balsamic vinegar. 

We craft stories of how we are kin by the love of this vinegar. We prove our love to each other with every dunk of the bread. Every story gets a little taller, and every joke and jeer, prod and poke unleashes a fury of giggles as we proclaim our love for each other, with full mouths.

But, as it turns out, trauma doesn’t let you have a normal life. After recurring nightmares of being held hostage in my childhood home with my father telling me that no one was ever going to believe me, I got help. I was diagnosed with PTSD and started going to individual and group therapy. What helped more than therapy, in my experience, was helping others. I worked in a hospital, then as a 911 dispatcher, and I finally felt like I was unraveling the tight ball of trauma inside me. When I was able to heal other’s trauma and keep them safe, I felt whole again. 

I place dinner on the table. It’s the usual: vibrant green pesto pasta. We look at it with skeptical eyes. We have already filled up on bread and vinegar. Yet, almost as a routine, we scoop out a heaping plateful, ready to outdo each other at some new, but classic, food. My sibling piles on the parmesan as we protest – save some for us! 

My sibling’s moms watched me with wary eyes. I acutely felt how they looked at me, at first. I was a part of my father; I was entwined with the abuse. They were emotionally abused by his hands, too. There was so much healing to be done. They told me later they were scared for me– I would turn to drugs or have severe and debilitating mental illness from my years of abuse endured alone. Yet, they turned to me for help. When I was twenty-three years old, they asked me if I would write an affidavit on the abuse I suffered at the hands of my father. They finally had enough momentum in the custody case – a diagnosis from a court ordered psychologist– to terminate all rights. I was the piecé-de-résistance. 

We finish our carbohydrate-laden dinner. We bemoan our bulging bellies. Then someone suggests a nerf war, a pillow fight, and a movie. We hush as we scramble the dishes into the sink, ready for our next chance to try to prove ourselves. We aren’t competing to win at capture the flag or pillow-beat each other to submission. No. We are trying to prove that we, despite everything that has almost kept us from each other, deserve to be with one another.

I wrote. I wrote and wrote and wrote some more. I had a ten page memoir written; a love letter dedicated to my sibling’s freedom. The paper went to court. I was interviewed about it’s contents by a seasoned social worker. He looked at me, in my eyes, and solemnly stated, “I know every word of this is true. Everything written ring as the words of a survivor. Even your job in 911, your mission to try to help people, is the mark of a victim of abuse. I am sorry you had to go through this. You didn’t deserve any of it.” And that is the first time anyone ever told me they believed me. That is when my life began to make sense. That is when the healing began.

Now my siblings and I enjoy vacations and weekends together. Eyes are no longer wary, just grateful. There is a bond that is deeper than blood. The love that runs through our veins is sweeter, zestier, and a little more potent: it’s balsamic vinegar. 

If you, or someone you know, is facing a battle against domestic abuse and needs help, please call the National Domestic Abuse Hotline at 800-799-7233. For more options on how to help a loved one or free yourself from domestic abuse, visit https://www.thehotline.org/.

You do not have to go through this alone. If no one has ever told you, or even if they have and you want to hear it again, I believe you

Technology Is Making Us Dumber.

Sure, there are plenty of examples of how technology has made life easier, more convenient, and has proven to be helpful, but has it made us smarter? I would like to argue that technology has, in fact, NOT made us smarter but the opposite.

Technology has made life too easy, too convenient, and too helpful. Yes, it helps us navigate unfamiliar streets, find that perfect cookie recipe, diagnose ourselves (often inaccurately) online, and it got us to the moon, but what effect has it had on us cognitively, physically, and psychologically?

The article “What is Brain Plasticity and Why is it so Important?” from the news organization called The Conversation talks about Neuroplasticity – or brain plasticity – which is the ability of the brain to modify its connections or re-wire itself. The article describes why neuroplasticity is important to the development of the brain, but the takeaway for the sake of this blog is – your brain is a muscle. Like our physical muscles, the motto “use it or lose it” applies.

For example, since our brain has the ability to rewire, we are losing that self-navigational ability. Raise your hand if you’ve consistently used the GPS to get to the same location.

Due to the over-use of technology, it has caused us to reduce physical activity (leading to obesity and related health issues), to have poorer posture (which can lead to musculoskeletal issues), sleep problems, and eye strain.

Jon Johnson wrote in his article published by the newsletter Medical News Today, “Negative Effects of Technology: What to Know”, that technology can lead to isolation. He wrote “A 2017 study in young adults aged 19–32 years found that people with higher social media use were more than three times as likely to feel socially isolated than those who did not use social media as often.”

“Smart phone depression 2” by Mirøslav Hristøff is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The convenience of technology has made us over-reliant on its use. In some cases, this has turned into an addiction. The use of technology can be addicting. It can be distracting. It can make us less productive. We retain less information. It affects our concentration. It has a negative impact on our social skills. It intrudes upon classroom learning.

Considering these factors, we can conclude that although technology can be useful, it is making us dumber.

https://theconversation.com/what-is-brain-plasticity-and-why-is-it-so-important-55967

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/negative-effects-of-technology

Pet therapy: Animals as healers

Pet therapy is when a person interacts with a trained animal. Pet therapy can be used to provide support to the person. It is a coping mechanism that one can use to help with health problems or mental health. Having the presence of animals can help someone feel better.  

Pet therapy can help reduce one’s stress or anxiety. Having the presence of an animal is helpful and can help with the person’s situation. In college, they do have pet therapy. During exam week, one can touch animals to help reduce their stress. This very calming experience.

Pet therapy has many health benefits and provides one with support. This is something that can be implemented in most places. Mental health is a reason for people to have service animals. Many people face mental illness and pet therapy is a resource one can use. If Animals are a comfort for you they will help with your treatment.  

Benefits of pet therapy:

  • Stress Levels
  • Pain
  • Anxiety
  • Loneliness.

https://journals.lww.com/nursingmadeincrediblyeasy/fulltext/2020/01000/the_benefits_of_pet_therapy.2.aspx

https://www.certapet.com/psychiatric-service-dog/?gclid=CjwKCAjwn8SLBhAyEiwAHNTJbXFJs5dd35D637eErRZll14XJbY3ya-UcS_c2wrTH-rlngsACM1XPhoCLMcQAvD_BwE

Why are humans becoming addicted to their phones?

Theres been a study that found that Americans matured 35 to 49 utilized social media 40 minutes more each week than those matured 18 to 34. Gen Xers were moreover more likely than millennial to drag their phones out at the supper table. The middle-­aged spend more time than millennial on each sort of device phone, computer, tablet, and whereas they don’t look at their phones whereas driving more than youthful individuals, they do it more than they should. So Why can’t middle-­aged ­people put down their phones? Since the midpoint of life is when your got to communicate crests. The middle-aged are the central hub in their atomic families, the center through which all informing voyages. Beyond any doubt, individuals beneath 30 may juggle perpetual Snaps and Instagram Stories with their companions. But the middle-aged are handling writings and Face Times from their young kids (hitting them up with questions almost school or connections) as well as emails, phone calls, and more writings from then. millennial also have the same issue. These days social media is becoming so huge and also time consuming theirs so many things that can pull you to your phone and watch a tiktok, of Instagram and snap chat story. the distracting is getting huge. the feeling of putting your phone away and getting things done for yourself is becoming hard for many you feel lost with the world when you do it. I know I do. Since so numerous individuals utilize their phones as devices of social interaction, they ended up acclimated to always checking them for that hit of dopamine that’s discharged when they interface with others on social media or a few other app. App software engineers are checking on that drive to keep you checking your phone. A few apps indeed withhold and discharge social fortifications, such as “likes” and “comments,” so we get them in an eccentric design. When we can’t anticipate the design, we check our phones more often. That cycle can lead to a tipping point: when your phone ceases to be something you appreciate and gets to be something you’re essentially compelled to utilize.

here are some helpful tips to make your phone addiction better: try to get some apps on your phone that helps you with some self control tips. why not use you phone in a healthy format? once you tame you self control, set aside one day a week to your self wear you shut your phone completely off try to have some “me time”.

Heres a graph that shows you how hard it is for millennials to put there phone down!

Hey babe what’s your sign?

Humankind has always had a fascination with the stars. Astrology has been dated back to 2nd millennium BCE. It is a pseudoscience so in layman’s terms it means it should be taken with a grain of salt. When most people read about their ‘sign’ they are reading about their Sun Sign. There are twelve months in a year twelve zodiac signs along with twelve houses each with their own emphasis and 9 planets. Each zodiac sign is ruled by a planet and some signs share planets. When you read only your sun sign you are only reading about that part of your personality that you present to the world. When you are born the planets are set in the sky in a very specific pattern, each one in a specific house and there are different aspects, squares, conjunctions, oppositions etc. It gets very detailed. On the Wikipedia page for astrology there are 169 different reference points.

I’ve been reading about astrology and interested in it ever since I was in middle school. I’m not the kind of person that won’t get out of bed if my horoscope says not to that day, but I am the kind of person that will not buy anything electronic or sign a very important contract during Mercury retrograde. I think astrology is a guideline. It won’t tell you everything you need to know about a person. It doesn’t factor in nature vs nurture, class, education level, life experience. But I use it to get a rough idea of the kind of person I’m getting to know. Once someone tells me their birthday and I figure out their sun sign I never forget it. I know most of my partners chart and have his, mine, and several friends saved on my phone. I think what I love about it is the mix of science and art.

Most cultures since the dawn of time attached significance to astrological events Greek, Roman, Hindu, Chinese, Maya. Today on Twitter the astrological community was analyzing the presidential debates based off the time and place they were held and comparing Biden and Trumps chart with each other’s and the current astrological ‘weather’. A fun place to get started learning more about yourself is https://www.astrotheme.com/ where you can plug in your exact birth time and date along with place of birth. Who knows, maybe you will learn a little bit more about yourself.