Monday, October 23, 2006

Inadvertantly, Dr. Jerk provides the solution

It would have to be inadvertant, because he'd never actually go out of his way to help me.

One of the articles on stress and mental illness that Dr. Jerk assigned to us (if you want the citation, e-mail me at helpfordepression@gmail.com) examined proactive coping as a way of decreasing the stress one experiences. I was especially struck by this paragraph:

[M]edical students with an internal locus of control were more likely to report having accepted relatively unchangeable stressors, such as hostile professors and an impersonal work environment, than would students with an external locus of control.... Optimists reported working actively to fix problems appraised as controllable but reported using strategies to manage their emotions in the face of problems appraised as uncontrollable.

Locus of control "refers to an individual's generalized expectations concerning where control over subsequent events resides" -- internally, within himself, in which case he has a great deal of control, or externally, in which case he is the victim of circumstance and fate and has no control over his life.

I decided to find out if I have an internal or external locus of control by taking this web survey. Unfortunately, I scored exactly in between the extremes. So I apparently have both an internal and external locus of control.

I need to let my internal locus of control dominate. That's the only thing that will help me deal with a hostile professor and an indifferent school environment. And I need to work on my optimism and strategies to manage my emotions in the face of uncontrollable factors, such as Dr. Jerk's hostility and the rest of the faculty's lack of support.

Unwittingly, Dr. Jerk is also helping me with my weight problem. I'm so stressed out by his harassment that most of the time I don't want to eat. When I notice my hands shaking or I feel dizzy and shaky, I know I need to eat something, and I force myself to. But I've lost more than 10 pounds, without much physical exertion because of my knees, since school began about seven weeks ago.

Years ago, during my first depressive episode, I was hit with the same phenomenon. I was in a very bad relationship; I wouldn't say my ex was emotionally abusive, but he was definitely taking advantage of me. I became severely depressed, stopped wanting to eat, and lost a ton of weight, dwindling down to a size 2 and 99 bony pounds. I called it "the Steve diet."

That's not going to happen this time, if only because I'd have to lose at least 50 pounds to come close to that perilously thin condition. Also, I am mindful that I need to eat regularly, and I make sure that I do.

But I badly need to lose weight right now, and I can't exercise. So there's a tiny silver lining in the huge Dr. Jerk storm cloud: he's helping me lose weight and lower my cholesterol. I wouldn't say I'm getting healthier, though, because who knows what he's doing to my blood pressure and blood cortisol levels. It's a miracle I haven't gotten sick (kinahora) this semester, since, as the next article on my list affirms, stress can cause immune system dysfunction and greater vulnerability to infection.

It's a good thing I won't be visiting my sister's kids for a while, then. Their house is always a germ factory, and somebody's always sick.
Copyright (c) 2006 "Ayelet Survivor"

3 comments:

  1. well how you doing?? smiling at all?
    ;-)

    keep at it. dont go down to 99 pounds not worth it!

    you know who this is so ;-)

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  2. There's a silver lining to every cloud, isn't there? :)

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  3. It's bizarre that any time that we seek to join a new professional "guild" in our society, hazing, abuse, and an absence of respect and compassion are acceptable from the established order. Those who speak out against the senselessness of it all are branded deficient; weak; whiners; complainers; pains-in-the-ass; etc.

    Find your internal strength--because you KNOW that you're a better human being than these a**holes, and, therefor, will make a better therapist. Pay attention to your diet, and try to at least walk a bit every day for stress management and cardiac well-being. Hang in, Ayelet. in a few years these a**holes will be nothing but insignificant memories.

    ReplyDelete