Healthy Thinking, The Little I know, and Prevention

2/7/2015

Healthy Thinking, The Little I know, and Prevention

http://www.alz.org/what-is-dementia.asp

http://www.alz.org/we_can_help_stay_mentally_and_socially_active.asp

http://www.alz.org/alzheimers_disease_10_signs_of_alzheimers.asp?type=alzFooter

http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=nutrient&dbid=111

I have an idea.

Often, I forget things. In my family, my Dad is also this way, and we have many personal traits in common. He and his father have also suffered from mental health concerns. I notice that sometimes, I can be pretty forgetful. Usually it is very small things, like where I put my glasses, etc. In the past, my mom has also noticed this, and mentioned that it is like him.

When I write, sometimes I leave out a word or two. Part of the reason I do that is because I write FAST. Another part is because the way I organize my thoughts and think is very broad, and based on the idea that a person can substitute the parts of a whole, and produce a different results. It is rather scientific, because what I’m interested in is cause and effect, and how. For that reason, I can write well. For that reason, language is easy to me. For that reason, I typically speak to my friends in what they are really asking instead of filler words. I can read their faces, when I am near them. Things like that.

In the midst of last semester and extreme stress, I noticed several negative thought patterns I had been clinging to. One is the tendency to put too much emphasis on something too soon. That is not a bad thing, but it can be dangerous, when a person is in the habit of thinking that way. I do that naturally, but I have learned to adjust my behavior in active pursuit of doing it less, because it simply functions better.

I also noticed that memory problems are not such a bad thing, if you can find the right balance of a support system and external stimuli to trigger yourself to remember. I forget pretty easily, which is a good thing, if you ask me. But I know that if I make it a habit to try to remember, I will, and it will not even be hard. Part of that is designing better systems and finding ways to treat my own symptoms of confusion with having tools that provide me a way to think more organically, that is more spot on. I can’t fully describe that, but an example would be lists, Google calendar, texting my friends in batches (because I prioritize care, not because I will forget. I always remember people. I forget specific deadlines or tasks).

Typically, Dementia and Alzheimer’s patients also suffer from thought patterns such as this. Research on Dementia and Alzheimer’s has focused on preventative care to hedge against developing memory problems in later life. I am very aware, so it helps me to think about these things now. I’m not very concerned, because at this time, there is no reason to be. But I think that if I actively pursue healthier thought patterns now, I will stand a much better chance at not continuing unhealthy thought patterns into late adulthood, and forgetting things chronically.

When I was growing up, my Dad had a calendar on the side of his wall, on which he wrote all important dates. He forgets things very easily, but that isn’t a bad thing. He’d always get yelled at by everyone for forgetting. I don’t think it is his fault, but that is an entirely different story.

If this is part of my family, then this is who I am, whether or not it becomes part of me in later life. We share a family history.

The more I pay attention to my body’s physical cues and learn from a natural sense of intuition, the more I develop personal mechanisms that closer imitate some of the thoughts mentioned in this research. The idea of eating a lot of Vitamin E is something that my body craves; a lot of those dietary staples are something that I truly need. I seek out things like Kale and Avocado and Spinach without thinking about it. I crave those things.

I give blood at least once every six months, and one of the things that I have noticed is that I have high iron levels. Given that Iron is a pretty present thing in leafy green vegetables, and other things like vitamin D, it stands to reason that craving protein just makes sense for me. This is the whole reason behind why pot lucks are the greatest, and barbeques, and basically anything that involves a lot of protein (except peanut butter).

Perhaps the reason that the United States has higher rates of Alzheimer’s’ and Cardiovascular Disease, in comparison to the rest of the world, is that we have less flexibility in what we deem tastes good? In my sister-in-law Li Xin’s country of China, parents know a little more about what the specific taste profiles of their individual children (at least, from what I have seen from her). We talked a lot about all of this, when I was first learning to cook in junior high. She had just immigrated. Twas a learning experience for all.

But seriously. I am very sensitive, so I know what hurts, and often, why. I attempt to educate myself on anything I find valuable or relevant. I may not have all the answers now, but I pay very close attention. I know that these patterns of thinking are dangerous, and I don’t want them in my life, at least, as little as possible. I know that if I make a genuine effort to remember, I certainly can. My brain needs that exercise, as strange as it sounds. I know I am resilient, so given what I have googled about “Neuroplasticity”, there is no reason I can’t combine Behaviorist concepts (Classical Conditioning and extinguishing your fears, et. al) with the simple need to keep going. People who develop Alzheimer’s need a mental challenge, which is why learning new skills helps that disorder, according to the “mentally and socially active” link above. To me, that implies a lot of thinking, a lot of passion, a lot of compassion, and a lot of philanthropic attitude, given specifics by person. I know how this feels, so writing it down only makes sense. If we can treat the symptoms while finding a way to correct the cause, treatment is not so crazy, especially in terms of prevention.

This is the highlight of having a brain like mine: The ability to solve problems. It is hard to have such a vibrant life, but knowing that I’m like Rachel McAdams in the Notebook (not just in terms of eccentricity but also, family history) makes me well-aware of what not to do. I know that most of the things I care about lead me to what is right, because for whatever reason, I see things in them that are valuable, and that always leads me to the truth. I give God credit for that. But just because it is a little different, doesn’t make it less true.

Think about it. If you want to learn how to correct specific diseases, take data from the people who have a significant genetic risk for them, and have them design ways to correct them. They probably have some experience through family history with the disease. Find the people who did not develop the condition, ask them what they did, and make better public health policies. Isn’t that how it should be done?

I’m not particularly sure, but it’s a thought. While I am still young and there is a good amount of time to get my brain out of practice, I will try, and see what happens. I know many people would be worried about all this, but my faith makes that pretty irrelevant. It is what it is, and I love God. I would like to know how a relationship with God will change my life for the best, but unfortunately, there are too many factors to do anything other than LIVE IT. Lol.

This thought was inspired by the fact that I journaled out some anxious thoughts. That is generally how all of my good ideas start. Find a place to put them.

I say that I need “better words”, but a better real time translation is “I need to fix my attitude so that my words would be good.” I put my words in other places, and I don’t share the ones that are garbage. Some of it generally does suck. But if you can’t say something nice, don’t say it, and that certainly counts to the Internet. I needed balance to come to this conclusion, because otherwise, there are simply to many unknown factors to test, one by one. Without having a certain amount of stability, it’s like grasping after straws, and latching on to any well-intentioned but mis-guided external thought. Bad news. That stuff only escalates, over time. You buy in to others wrongness too much. Further reason to put God first, and let the rest align. Science is just a catch up game.

I began to journal this thought out after having FINALLY found the information I needed several months ago, that I forgot I needed. It was an out-of-sight, out-of-mind semester. Not all that great, but I’m not sure it could have been much better. I’m thankful to God for helping me keep it together, but Holy crap, I wouldn’t admit it very much while I lived it, but DANG that was hard. It was so ridiculously hard all the time. I’m pretty impressed on how God followed through. As things slow down and I transition into a new cycle of change and moving forward, it is strange to me how oblivious my brain makes itself when it is under extreme stress. It makes me feel pretty great, honestly. Others can think front ways, one step at a time, and I will do things backwards, and be a gift to front ways people (Type A?). If we meet one another in the middle, it cannot be so bad. Where do you think think-tanks come from? That concept was completely intentional in terms of why unity and helping one another actually works for better solutions.

I looked up “classroom etiquette”. Given how words work, it was easier to start with the perspective of an International student coming to the States, and then a dude. Let me explain.

I never was able to fully adjust to what was expected in my classrooms last semester. Having a short explanation from an outsider perspective really helped, because I felt like an outsider.

The reason I randomly looked up (and kept reading) the article behind classroom etiquette for guys is because if you haven’t noticed, guys write things EXTREMELY STRAIGHTFORWARD. That is fabulous. I may not always get specific connotations, and in a lot of ways, I have a more androgynous personality (in terms of Western thought), because I’m competitive, I see what I want, and I work towards getting it. That isn’t a bad thing, it just is. It makes me very well-equipped to take care of my friends and family, and although everyone seems to want to write of caring as a “feminine” thing, it is and I like it. Being able to have friends with guys and be independent is actually indicative of high self-worth and self-esteem. The only thing I really need sometimes, to calibrate my expectations, is a really dumb, simple answer. Bah boom! There we go.

But seriously, don’t make me read Little Home on the Prairie, I may literally puke. It’s not my thing. Neither was Nathaniel Hawthorne, but I’ve already ranted about that on this blog. He’s just so dumb. Nvm.

We all have preferences, and I think that is okay. But if getting the help I may someday need means reading an article written by a dude, I’m really not sorry. There is a lot of information on the internet, and women aren’t always better communicators. We can be extremely dramatic, I will acknowledge that. But sometimes, guys writing things aren’t just good because everyone is extremely more inclined to listen to them (it just is, and still), but because they’ll say just the facts and leave it as it is. That makes so much more sense. Leave your drama like your Italian dressing on the side, I swear. I literally cannot translate so much of it, and it makes me panicky to see everyone panicky. That is because of a little thing called “mirror neurons”. Same reason I can read people’s emotions on their faces without trying, and the same reason that if you start telling me about a scab I will start wincing. It just is. Please don’t.

That was a pretty good synopsis of right now. My goals moving forward would be to find even healthier ways to think and conduct my life. I know it’s possible. I can recognize why. There is no reason why I can’t do this, and even if not, I’m not very concerned.

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Published by

haleynoohra

I am a second-grade teacher and pastor-to-be who loves people. I spend my weekends with friends or wandering the museums of DC alone and with a journal, trying to put words on the places of the soul that still feel wordless. I spent most of my days at school trying to learn patience through my students and running on sheer nerdy passion. I follow Jesus Christ, and savor that as my most important identity--that I am a child of God, as are infinite others, regardless of their other identities. Christ is my one thing.

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