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Archive for the ‘memory’ Category

Word Help

I’ve been rather swamped with work lately. Not because the work is so much, but because the energy is so little. As a result, I’ve been thinking a lot about energy and motivation. Those are some interesting and rather fickle birds. Perhaps I’ll post more on those ideas…when I actually have energy and motivation ūüôā

My job is medical transcription. I like my job, which makes¬†my frustration¬†extra frustrating because I can’t blame my lack of energy and motivation on a poor fit between my abilities, interests and the actual job.

I enjoy typing. I like learning new things. And I like language. Interestingly, language aptitude is something I discovered was helpful in learning to do medical transcription. Since I can picture root words and similar words as well as remember new words fairly easily, I have not found it too hard to acquire this new language. It also helps that I only type for doctors practicing one branch of medicine.

I also like my job because it is not emotionless, mindless typing. These are real people, with real lives, and my heart is often deeply moved as I transcribe their stories. The diagnostic procedure is also fascinating to me–my ISFJ brain likes the whole concept of thinking in differentials, etiologies and variables as the doctors often do when working their way through symptoms, testing and diagnosis.

Sometimes I cry for the patients (and wonder if its unethical to do so…) Sometimes I pray for a patient and wonder if it matters. Sometimes I smile at a doctor’s personality traits that come through in his dictating style. Sometimes I wonder about all the factors not spoken of and not taken into account in the diagnosis and treatment process. Things like the whys of someone continuing to smoke while they battle asthma or lung cancer. I can hear the doctor’s frustration, yet I think, There has to be a reason.

All of these things keep my job interesting.

Okay, I didn’t mean to get all philosophical there. Really, what I have is a rather shallow question. There are a few words that are giving me trouble. Funny enough, they are not the long complicated words. For some reason, those are easier to learn than these little homonyms which I keep stumbling over.

I wonder if you all can give me some brain hooks to help me remember the differences between these stumpers, so that when I hear them, I can easily keep straight which spelling I want, without having to resort every time to Dorland’s Illustrated Medical Dictionary or Google (when I have to stop to look the words up, I tend to get distracted by other neighboring words or links, which is not helpful for making my work efficient.

My homonymic (Oh, my word–that’s really a word. I expected spell checker to underline it!) stumpers:

proceed vs. precede

disk vs. disc

chord vs. cord

And the big one that aggravated me today when I had to look it up yet again is:

mucus (the noun defined as “the free slime of the mucous membranes, composed of secretion of the glands, along with various inorganic salts, desquamated cells, and leukocytes”, just in case you wanted to know) vs. mucous (the adjective)

I’ll sort of get it straight with some memory trick, and then I’ll think about the trick so much that I get even more confused. Maybe your fresh (and possibly funny) ideas will help me keep these pairs straight. Who knows why one set of words is easier to keep straight than another? For whatever reason, I don’t mix up affect and effect. When in doubt, I always think “side effect” and am confident that I have the right spelling. From there I think about the part of speech the word has in that context and then compare that part of speech to the word I’m typing. Fortunately, that process happens rather quickly ūüôā¬† In any case, side effect with an “e” is emotionally hooked in my brain, and vocal cord or chord is not.

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Why I Love Florida

Because it’s sunny. And warm. And because we DO have beautiful seasons–you just have to think outside the box to notice them. There’s the rainy season (also known as the hot, can barely breathe because of the humidity season), hurricane season, baby lizard season, squirrels running around in your attic season (okay, that one lasts all year, since the weather is never cold enough to motivate the squirrels to hibernate). We have flowers blooming and critter activity all year round. We have citrus season right now, where oranges and grapefruits rot on the ground, even if you drink loads and loads of fresh squeezed orange juice.

It’s really hard for me to miss the beauty of the snow that is covering various other parts of the country, when I¬†was sitting over the weekend, with my screen doors propped open because of the building work happening right now, and hoping that not too many more mosquitos would come in. Yes, the mosquitos are a pain, but the perfect weather that is implied in the reality of having mosquitos in December, well, that is just wonderful.

I suppose this is where being highly empathetic becomes a positive thing–I can read your stories of being snowed in and drinking hot chocolate before a roaring fire and receive vicarious pleasure through your experience. I can feel the pleasure of those experiences without having to freeze my nose or my toes off. Plus, my highly emotional memory can bring forth all my own beautiful snow experiences to play like home movies. My highly emotional memory also vividly plays back what it felt like to be attacked by the cold every time I stepped outside, so any sentimentality is effectively kept in its place. (And that would sum up the story of my life–never a good memory without the bad, never a bad memory without the good. But that’s another nasal-gazing ramble for another day. UPDATE: I meant navel-gazing, but the thought of nasal-gazing sure is funny, now that I think about it.)

All this pep talk is because I’m cold right now and I need to remember that Florida is still, in comparison to the rest of the Continental U.S., warm. Winter hit last night and my kids and I are shivering today. The weatherman says it only got to 41 last night, but my kids don’t care what any scientist says about the freezing point–it’s freezing here, and if you don’t believe them, ask the school crossing guard wearing about 7 layers of clothes, gloves and a scarf covering up everything but her eyes. One of my kids asked why we didn’t see frost on the ground and another asked if that was ice on the lake. It’s practically incomprehensible to them that it has to get 9 degrees COLDER before anyone can technically say anything is frozen.

It’s days like this when we need to view the following photo documentary to keep how cold we are feeling in perspective:

WHY PEOPLE MOVE SOUTH

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Well, I know my identity is rather obscure to most of my readers.¬†There are several reasons,¬†including¬†wanting privacy because of some circumstances I have been through recently. But I’ve also been thinking that, even if those circumstances were different, I’d probably still like to blog more or less anonymously. ¬†Iyov said something a while ago that resonated with me:

I post here anonymously. I don’t do it to be mysterious, but because I simply wish to have a forum separate from my “regular life” where I can speak purely about ideas — in a way that won’t make my friends, colleagues, and acquaintances uncomfortable.

So, even though I won’t tell you who I am (unless we strike up a one-on-one conversation by email :), I decided to tell you a little bit about Eclexia. Wayne’s post at Better Bible Blogs gave me the push to try to figure out again how to post my personality badge. Lingamish gave me instructions on how to do it. I’m so happy I was able to post something in HTML code, that I’m posting it again here:

Click to view my Personality Profile page

To quote Larry the Cucumber, when he first got a glimpse of the new neighborhood StuffMart: “What’s it mean?!?!”

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For a long time I have cringed whenever I heard someone say we cannot trust our emotions. I kind of think it is true,¬† but it also seems (feels ūüôā ) to me to¬†be at least partly wrong.

Until recently, the¬†best explanation I had for the cognitive dissonance I felt with statements like that was, “Our thoughts are just as able to lead us away from the truth as our emotions are. Why should I trust my thoughts over my emotions? Don’t they both need to be transformed, filled, directed towards and by the Holy Spirit? And if so, is one really more or less trustworthy than the other? Are¬†feelings more innately false and thoughts more innately true?”

Another step towards sorting this out came during a very dark time in my life. For over 2 years friends and counselors helped me correct my wrong thinking. The assumption seemed to be that if¬† I¬†fixed the wrong thinking, the emotions would correct as well. Thoughts rule the emotions, so fix the king and the servants will all be better off. (Or¬†maybe more accurately, “Put the¬†thoughts back¬†in charge and the emotions back in their subservient place, and you will¬†be (feel ?) a lot better.”)

Well, again, there seemed to be some truth in that. But at the end of the day, with my thoughts being continually challenged and corrected, I felt like I was left with healthier,  right thoughts and still-broken and hurting emotions.

I would think, “Can’t we move on to caring for my hurting heart now?” And that is what God did.¬† He brought me to a place where I began to be embraced and ¬†cared for¬†in the places¬†I¬†hurt. People still challenged my thinking, but at the same time, they sort of left that up to God and began to actively care for my heart. To love me. To provide rest. And encouragement. And a safe place for me to hurt without always trying to find what was wrong with me and fix it.

God Himself, as I cried out to Him to touch my broken emotions, began to do so. To pour healing and beauty in my heart. To comfort me and give me peace and joy. To free me up so I didn’t have to have “verifiable, tangible, intellectual proof” that He was doing so. His healing didn’t always make sense, and more often than not, I couldn’t explain it, but I began to experience connection and relationship with Him as an emotional person.¬† My brain didn’t die, but my emotions were given a new lease on life, so to speak. They didn’t automatically have to be the bad guy to be held at bay because they were erratic, changing and illogical.

The most recent awareness in this process has come out of being overwhelmed by many people’s comments on how smart I am, how amazing my memory is, etc.¬† Being smart is hard for me to talk about–I could fill a few posts with why. But my point is, I began to try to understand why/how I am the way I am, and how that is different from other people . Not to make a big deal of myself, but because I just didn’t understand.

¬†I wanted to know–Why DO I remember this, if remembering stuff like this is not normal? And it kept coming back to my emotions. If an emotion is attached to something, I remember it. If not, I don’t. That’s why I sometimes can’t remember if a friend wears glasses or not. And why I don’t notice when they lose weight. Because for me¬†those details don’t usually attach themselves to feelings.

But everything I do remember has a feeling with it. No, that’s not technically true. The memory doesn’t hold the feeling, I think, as much as the feeling holds the memory.¬† When I read something by John Piper and it makes sense, I feel it making sense, and that is why I remember it. I feel math making sense when I finally get it. I felt it when gerunds first made sense. Actually, I felt it when they didn’t, and that is why I remember specifically the process of gerunds moving from not making sense to making sense.

To make it more complicated, there isn’t just one feeling with each memory. There are lots. Each thing I experience ends up being a package deal full of emotions, with its own sort of emotional DNA. But there is overlap between experiences, and that ovelap creates connections.¬† All emotional.¬† There again is another post for another day.

The thing is, people see me as this great thinker (my friends tell me I think too much AND feel too much!). But I can’t even think in detail about something unless I’m feeling it first. I know this sounds weird and even spiritually heretical in some camps. It doesn’t go over very well theologically to start out with, “Here’s what I feel about it….”

So for now this is why I think I cringe when I hear someone say you can’t trust your emotions:¬† Because if I can’t trust my emotions, I can’t trust me. I have no trouble saying that my emotions are as corrupted by my sin nature as any other part of me. But are they more so? Can I trust my body, corrupted as it is by sin, when it tells me I need to go to the bathroom? Or do I always need to check it out first with my “renewed mind” to make sure it is not a sinful thing I’m going to do? Of course not.

The other day someone asked me if I knew what the presidential line of succession was. It surprised even me that I remembered. But when I thought about why, I realized I felt what the answer was (don’t even ask me to name that feeling. Most of my feelings don’t have names. And they aren’t on those feeling charts with faces, which, for whatever reason, have more negative emotions than positive ones). Now, I wasn’t 100% sure that my answer was correct (it turned out to be), but my distrust was not that I couldn’t trust feelings. It was that I’m human and I’m not always right, in my feelings or my thoughts–no matter how smart you think I am.

I do question myself a lot, because I know I’m not always right and also that there is¬†almost always another way of looking at things. But I unashamedly do not question or doubt myself “just” because the things I know, experience, remember and think are experienced, stored and¬†retrieved emotionally.

My assumption is no longer that if it is a feeling it is false unless otherwise proven true by a thought.

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