Author: jessicak16

Thoughts on Shams and Delusions of our own Brains

Our brains are our masters and we are the slaves. We fall under the spells of our brains every single day. But are those spells malicious and manipulative or beneficial? Are we falling into traps subconsciously? Are we ever truly aware of our actions? Are we doing strange things right now, at this very moment, that others see in us but we fail to see in ourselves? Are people not telling us something? The endless questions and mystery we see in our own lives probe us in a direction that we do not expect to go in otherwise. What makes us so sure of ourselves? We explore the manifestations of human existence and the delusions of our own thinking that drive our entire existence as we delve into higher order thinking.

It is a societal paradigm to shift from forming one’s thoughts based on societal standards of perfection and what is deemed “normal” to forming one’s own thoughts and thinking for oneself. Being able to think for oneself is considered attaining maturity. I believe that thinking for yourself means to not only form your own opinions based on your intuition and ignore societal standards, but being able to act upon them. An internal societal conflict among men is inaction versus action. We know things. We learn things and read books and internalize messages from the media. However, the knowledge just lies in our brain, completely idle. If I asked you this question, please answer it honestly for me: what is the point of knowledge without application? What good does idle knowledge do to you or others if it just lies in your brain? Are all those endeavors and late night studies you use to obtain knowledge completely useless if you cannot apply it to your own life or utilize it to benefit society?

Do you ever wonder if we delude ourselves into thinking that we are dumber than we really are, so when people ask us questions we don’t fully use our brains when we speak and come off as stupid because we think we are? Is this false act of stupidity an equivalent to “playing dumb”?

What about delusions in memory? Do we delude ourselves into over analyzing past situations and delude ourselves into thinking past events were worse than they really were? Do we ever overestimate our importance as individuals? Let me know what you think.

Furthering the Depression Discussion

I just read an article, Spending Your Entire Life Wanting to Die (link: based off the memoir This Close to Happy by Daphne Merkin. I saw the book in catalogs and have been dying to read it.

Overall, this article communicates ideas to audiences that correspond to the possible factors contributing to depression, ranging from how it appears to outsiders, modern society’s perception on it, family issues, one’s household environment and many more. I would just like to elaborate on this. Having experienced a phase of depression, I’ve always wanted to look into it to understand why victims feel the way they do.

The symptoms associated with depression are either so simple and overemphasized that people see it as something that has lost meaning, or depression is communicated often as just a serious health condition that outsiders see it as that: something to sympathize for. For one who has experienced depression, and please feel free to comment below if you have any thoughts on it, the symptoms are much more complex than that. The stories behind the symptoms and how they impact us rise beyond those listed in healthcare pages online. They kill us—there are stories behind every person who experienced depression—and society tries to sympathize without full understanding.

Household environments are different for everyone. I like how educators encourage parents to support kids, but how many parents out there actually do that? How many parents are busy and working hard? How many kids grew up in unfortunate environments or experienced unfortunate events that have changed them?  Unrealistic expectations are traps for failure. Parents are all humans with disparate personalities and we cannot expect every kid to be a happy, jolly soul all day. Educators once judged me for being sad in school and on trips where everyone was having fun but me. And you know the education system is absurd when educators are part of the reason for your depression in addition to unsupportive parents. No parent is expected to be perfect, but having ideal students or judging others without knowing them as complex humans is just unacceptable.

Anecdotally, ever since we were young kids desperate for support and affection, regardless of whether our parents openly displayed love or not, there is this gut feeling inside us convincing our mind that maybe they do love us. Even if they are abusive or in conflict, we have hope that deep inside, beneath all the anger, they do love us anyways. And that wishful thinking is why we cling to them even when there is tension. But as we grow older, we become more skeptical of others and uncomfortable with intimacy because we aren’t sure what it will bring to our lives or we may question its authenticity.

Furthermore, household environments are complex for everyone. We strive everyday to understand why our surroundings are the way they are. Everyone has been through different experiences in their lives. As a result, some people make a big deal out of petty problems. If you come from a relatively affluent neighborhood and household, you are not immune to depression. If you come from a household in a neighborhood with poverty, you are not immediately prone to depression. It is absolutely ridiculous to think that someone cannot be depressed due to external values like wealth or even education. When I was depressed, I went to school and put on a happy mask so no one noticed. When I consulted my guidance counselor, she sent out an email to those teachers. Soon enough, they all accused me of lying about depression just to make teachers more lenient on grading because my drop in grades stressed me out in addition to the depression. I barely slept at night. It was bad. One night, I broke out with bloodshot eyes and a pit in my stomach. It was difficult to force myself to pull through school while being miserable. You can be one person at home and one at school. It’s what depression can do to you.

Concluding all of this, I just want to note that in this society, there are a lot of misunderstandings regarding depression. The symptoms appear simple but are much more complex than they appear on the surface. Depressed individuals may have masks and it is important to look beyond that in order to help them, and to not be impetuous to judge them. Household environments are factors in the overall development of children, and external things like wealth, power etc. do NOT determine one’s chances of encountering depression. We all have different stories and backgrounds behind us, and as educated humans, we should always refrain from developing ideas about individuals we barely know or jumping to stereotypes. Yes, depression is serious, but we need to stop overlooking it just because there aren’t many vicarious accounts of it. Friends, if you want to talk or have any questions or concerns, feel free to comment on this post and I will reply. I’m always open to talk if you ever need somebody and I’m completely open to discussion and feedback. I hope we can grow as community members and continue fighting for what it is that we want.

Women’s March

Yesterday, nearly two million people (both women and men) gathered in cities stretching across the country and extending across the globe to fight and continue the legacy that suffragettes like Elizabeth Cady Stanton initiated 169 years ago. Women’s Marches, like the ones that took place yesterday, are so inspiring. A sense of ease touches the minds of our citizens. Through opportunities akin to these, kids of this next generation will recognize and be exposed to the many good willed people of this country in the face of conflict, in the presence of a man sitting in the office who does not have a regard for women’s rights. When Trump was elected, I shall never forget the Not Our President protests that swarmed social media. When a man who is abhorred by so many gets elected, it is no surprise that a sense of fear may loom in on some Americans. But in the midst of that fear, our citizens step up with a voice. The power of our citizens prevail over the cruel beliefs of a man in office, expressing our opinions and fighting for what we believe in. The face of our nation and the definition of America is not derived from the man sitting in the Oval Office. Our citizens, the unity, the perseverance of our current citizens and our forebears, denote a much stronger and accurate representation of who we are as Americans. The bold voices and attitudes of our citizens in the face of hardship will forever represent us. The protests in the Women’s March carried out the same strength. Our country is a unified whole, and although Trump calls for unity in his speech, there is an ironic unity against him.

My generation’s voting next, Trump. We are cradling a handful of feminists here, and I can see it in the schools every day. We will continue fighting. We aren’t done and never will be. We are continuing the legacy left behind by those suffragettes who fought years ago and sustaining their efforts. They did not exist for no reason. They are not written about in history books studied by the youth today for no reason. We have a role as Americans and women in general, fighting for what we believe is right. Human rights are women’s rights. Women are not property, we own our bodies, we deserve respect, suffrage, and a quality education. All of us. Too many girls are being left behind and we need to work to pick those girls up. I commend all of those who marched yesterday. A woman with a voice is by far a strong woman, and the ability for strong women to unite is powerful enough to knock an arrogant man off of his own feet. Our Constitution, those words of the framers, reiterated that our natural rights extend to all citizens, regardless of gender or race. Is this the first time we are seeing a president coming in who does not respect just that? The man’s beliefs in the office are questionable, but the power of our civic-minded citizens and powerful youth are enough to satisfy me. A man of such arrogance will make several futile attempts to carry out his missions that apparently serve the people, whatever they may be. Our country’s voice is louder than his. Let’s keep fighting for what we want. That’s America, and the way I see it, we don’t stop fighting for what we want.

Be Alert: Depression Today

Among the many mental health issues that may be experienced in life, depression is among the most prevalent and fatal. According to The Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance, depression is the cause of over ⅔ of the 30,000 reported suicides in the United States each year. Although the age of onset for depression varies, as many as 1 in 33 children and 1 in 8 adolescents have clinical depression.

Whether the depression is mild or chronic, it is important that one seeks help immediately following diagnosis. Even while showing early warning signs, it is important to recognize them and avoid isolation. If the symptoms go unrecognized by the patient or by people surrounding them, the symptoms may worsen and overall deteriorate the individual’s mental health, physical health, and relationships.

During depression, thoughts are distorted. Patients have a negative outlook on life and believe that the world is cruel and that no one wants to help them, leading to isolation and hopelessness. Those feelings then cause the individual to keep everything inside of them and swallow up the sadness, causing symptoms to worsen if untreated. On a personal account, depression developed through overthinking, loneliness, and isolation. It occurred after a dreadful experience that I did not tell anybody about. The minute the experience began, self-deprecating thoughts swarmed in my head for weeks, and that had never happened to me before. But even while it was detected, I did not do anything to stop it. Now, that’s called self-destruction.

For parents, I would strongly advise them to ensure that their kids know, early on, that they are open to conversation and that if kids ever experience tough events, they can tell the parent. Adolescents and children may experience adversity too intense to be handled alone, so it is important that parents provide guidance and support. This does not call for a dependent relationship on the parent: this calls for the parent to talk through the event with the child, teach them proper coping skills, and eventually let the child use them on their own. The kid will eventually “spread their wings” and use those skills, but only after they are taught. If parents notice persistent warning signs of depression, or any disorder for a matter of fact, in an adolescent, do not instantly mistaken it for a “typical teenager attitude” or impetuously assume that the teenager is simply moody. Adolescents are moody by nature, but persistent symptoms should not be dismissed; it may be a sign of something worse. The number of times I have heard of depressive symptoms being mistaken for “moodiness” or the “onset of puberty” cannot be expressed in numbers. Parents, teachers, siblings, or anyone surrounding those you care about should always be on the lookout because there are those who suffer in silence or conceal their sadness in masks.

I find that those who have experienced depression are better at understanding, empathizing, helping, and being alert for symptoms in others in order to ensure that people do not go through what they went through, or experience a relapse. Regardless of its intensity (mild or severe), depression fundamentally affects mood: that in turn affects academic performance, motivation, relationships with others who are unaware of the depression, work life, and willingness to live. Now, whether you have experienced it or not, be on the lookout, offer support, and reach out to those who are suffering: they may feel too alone or hopeless to talk to others themselves.

The Key to Human Growth: Understanding Its Nature

The growth mindset is probably the most important, advantageous attitude one can acquire and use not only for educational purposes, but for work and life as well. The best characteristic of the human brain is its malleability; it can be molded (not necessarily physically) because the mindset changes as we experience different events and meet new people. Humans “create” themselves. I’m not referring to the processes that bring them into this world, but the overall mindset and character of humans. Humans are molded by experiences and have the power to make choices, such as who they decide to surround themselves with, who they will allow to influence them, and whether they want to improve in certain areas in academic and social learning. Humans generally endeavor to change and improve themselves every day; the drive to improve simply reveals the consciousness of humankind: we are naturally creative, conscious humans who are aware of ourselves and our own actions.
Now there lays the importance of the growth mindset. A personal fundamental belief is that life is a long road full of challenges and obstacles (and to conform with the metaphor of the road, life is full of sharp turns, steep, bumpy terrain along with smooth pavement, bad and good weather, and traffic lights that cause our cars to accelerate and halt spontaneously). But because of the mixed nature of life, we must learn to persist and work harder everyday to become the best possible form of ourselves. We must eliminate doubts, uncertainty, or fear from our minds: those are terrible toxins that impede our ability to progress effectively. Fear should not drive one’s success; success is strongly determined by attitude. Attitude is everything, especially for capable students. Students who are capable of academic achievement but lack the drive, motivation, or courage fail to succeed in school or meet their maximum potential. The positive or negative attitudes of human beings rub off on other people as well; everyday, we are impacting the lives of others.
The nature of this idea begins in the beliefs emphasized by Immanuel Kant, one of my favorite philosophers. He was this brilliant man who defined enlightenment as “man’s ability to leave a state of immaturity” which implies man’s ability to think for himself and trust his own instincts without guidance from an external force or “guardian.” Kant also emphasized the idea that one who fails to achieve a state of maturity, or the state in which one believes in their judgement and ability to apply knowledge to their daily life, is due to a lack of determination and courage. That further implies a fear of failure, doubt, uncertainty, and a general lack of confidence in personal ability. Kant brings light to a common frailty in human nature; the inability for men to apply knowledge to their daily life out of either fear (as implied by Kant) or an excess presence of knowledge, too much to apply, which leads to confusion as to where to start. Engendered are the ideas that humans must believe in themselves and dream beyond the confines of society. Today, the superficial things that draw attention away from the the true definition of a human, such as grades, acceptance to a college, financial stability, social class, education, etc. remain important, but do not represent the full scope of a human. Anecdotally, students are too often feeling defined by their grades, which causes them to not believe in themselves if the grades are mediocre. The core values of Kant’s teachings are that deep in the realm of human nature lies a determination (or lack of) that drives achievement and growth. With the courage and belief that one can develop intelligence rather than feeling that intelligence is ingrained at birth, one can achieve anything. Just as babies have to learn how to walk, humans have to learn too. That’s why we go to school. Babies are not born into this universe knowing everything the second they let out their first cry. Now, I strongly encourage you to look into the growth mindset and look at how to acquire it and nurture it. It is an idea present in books and on the Internet. Remember, no new skills happen overnight, and none of those skills stay unless you nurture it, utilize them frequently, and practice them. If we want to fulfill our lives as humans, take our jobs seriously, and grow to contribute to society, we ought to do whatever it takes to develop the courage and boldness to face life’s adversities and learn from them as we grow continuously. And what facilitates that? The growth mindset: the idea that intelligence can be developed through hard work, effort and determination. Everyone has gifts, but intelligence is something that is not ingrained in individuals at birth. The ability to work hard and build character, though, definitely is situated at human nature. And we all have the capacity to gather our tools, put ourselves out there, and create a masterpiece.

First blog post: Bonjour!

First blog post: Bonjour!

A growing student ready to embrace others and the simple pleasures in life that allow you to live a meaningful life. Coming out of adversity cleaner than ever, ready to keep driving through life and breaking down multiple times along the way before the road slows down and ends.
Returning home from a trip that changed my life with a strong urge to discover myself. Got a glimpse of it while looking out at the sunset in the photo on this blog homepage. And the true, genuine thoughts of my inner self, the one beneath the ego and thinker, are all written down in the posts on this blog.

I hope we can embrace this adventure together and help each other as we cruise through life. I started this blog to publish my love for writing and to reach out to others. Please do not hesitate to contact me with questions, comments, or concerns. I hope the power of reading and writing can reach whole new levels of depth and enhance our ability as humans to fulfill our own lives.