Friday, December 10, 2010

Should you be telling me this? Also, is this real?

We'll, my pessimistic/realistic self was a little surprised when after only a week of turning in my app to schools I get a phone call from one of the professors I want to work with. I won't say who, and I won't say where (cryptic I know). We talked for about an hour and a half and this professor told me things I was little shocked to hear. Also, I scored an interview! I'll be flying out in February, so wish me luck! In the meantime, I'll impart what I've learned, because yes, I learned a lot from my phone conversation, some of which I don't know if I should even know.

1) GRE scores may not matter as much as I thought- fit with a professor for a clinical program really seems to matter a lot more.

2) If applying a more researchy school, stop talking about clinical stuff!

3) apparently, if you have a partner applying to the same school, a professor that wants you may put in a call to have your partner's application "seriously considered"

4) if you think you blew a phone interview- you may be wrong!

5) professors get drunk during a weekend of interviews. They don't expect you to. Graduate students get drunk, they expect you to as well.

6) being a minority works in you favor- and whatever, I'll take it.

This is all very vague I know, but I don't want to put anything in jeopardy or to be honest put anything out in the universe because I might not get into any schools.

Needless to say, a small part of me is squealing. I could actually become Dr. Cruz!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thankful for...

Well I would say I'm back from an extremely long hiatus but that would imply that I'm back...

It's more like, it's 43 degrees, I'm too cold to sleep and I decided to write.

That said, things have happened while I've been gone, many of which have kept me very busy. What have I been doing?

1) I've been taking GRE's and applying to grad schools. Almost done!
2) I've been enjoying living out of my parents house, and it does have to end and I have to move back :( I won't bore you with the details. Suffice it to say I can't afford to live on my own anymore
3) I've been mourning the loss of my cat :(
4) I've been dealing with hells of dental surgery, which contribute to number two

It's been a tough couple of months. The old me would hide under my covers and cry, hoping it would just end on its own. The new me did that, but only for a couple of days. And the new me has some things to be thankful for this Thanksgiving.

1) for my friends- through my tough time they've all really come through. Also, for making new friends!
2) for this awesome new E! show called "What's Eating You?" (seriously, it's good!)
3) For learning again how strong I am
4) for my mom
5) for (almost) being done with this grad school app stuff
6) for having medical insurance (oh boy, I really am a boring adult now)

That's all I've got for now.

oh yeah, for Turkey! and Pie :)

Thursday, June 17, 2010


It’s been a while since I studied.
I mean really studied

The books sit on a table that isn’t even mine in a foreign room
But I still read
Sometimes my own poetry
Sometimes yours
I realize its edges are yellowing and it looks like one of those old withering photographs
Or a flower so falling off its stigma
One touch- disintegration

The words are old and decaying and it’s quite miraculous that it’s only been a year.
Since then I’ve replaced the images in my head with real ones
And these new images are so sharp and bright, and sometimes painful
That they’ve replaced the need for poetry
Or really, it’s just that they’ve taken over any room to create it

I come home exhausted, forgetting really what it is I dreamed
Creating newer, simpler dreams
I hope she goes to her group today
I hope we can decide on a discharge plan
Let’s not have to call a code today

My stories fill up rooms with laughter, sadness, and overall amazement
And as I tell them I feel myself growing bigger and less tied down
like a balloon
Stories get reconstructed, dolled up and shiny, like a Hollywood starlet
or those bags of fake gold you get as a kid after taking that field trip to the gold mines

And I find myself asking to go back to the dream
That original one
The student one
While I get dressed and ready for another day
And at work one of the patient’s looks up, smiles, and says “Thank you”
And there’s no bigger dream in that moment than wishing that was enough
And that this image could replace last nights
In which she was strapped to the bed in restraints
and she cried out to get the fuck off her
as the janitor picked up the broken pieces of porcelain
and the children lucky enough to be on the other side of the fence
ran after the ice-cream man

Friday, January 22, 2010

The westernization of mental illness, rain, and working out

Seeing as to how this blog is entitled "A patchwork mind," I thought that would serve as fair warning that sometimes my entries would weave together various thoughts that would seem to anyone (even me), not to go together.

That being said, let's move on.

First of all, what the fuck California? How dare you present yourself as "good ol' sunny California" with your surfers and your orange trees (or is that Florida?) and your beautiful fake boobed women in bikinis. All lies! This is day five of not only rain, but real rain!

Case in point:

This picture goes along with an L.A times article entitled: "L.A coast slammed by tornado like storm"


This brings me to case number two: L.A really isn't built for rain. People go crazy, roads become ridiculously flooded, houses and cars get destroyed. Other places DEFINITELY get more rain than we do and they don't become engulfed in madness.

All in all it has made for a fun filled week, including gems like seeing a man walking his poodle who was wearing a raincoat (I kid you not).

So how to spend a Friday off when the world has gone mad?

Along with making an elaborate breakfast in which I baked pop-overs, I found a beyond fascinating article in the New York Times (what I actually read when not looking for rain pictures in the L.A times) entitled: "The Americanization of Mental Illness". It points out what has always been believed to be true: mental illness is shaped by social constructs and therefore looks differently in different parts of the world. Eating disorders for example present very differently in America versus India, that is, until now. Watters takes it one step further and points out something I always wondered about.

There is now good evidence to suggest that in the process of teaching the rest of the world to think like us, we’ve been exporting our Western “symptom repertoire” as well. That is, we’ve been changing not only the treatments but also the expression of mental illness in other cultures.

He refers of course to our exportation of the DSM (clinical psychology's bible and means of identifying, classifying and treating mental illness) as well as research studies.

The article points out too many "aha" moments to write about in this hodgepodge post but I did have to point you to this gem, perhaps encompassing Watter's main point:

In the end, what cross-cultural psychiatrists and anthropologists have to tell us is that all mental illnesses, including depression, P.T.S.D. and even schizophrenia, can be every bit as influenced by cultural beliefs and expectations today as hysterical-leg paralysis or the vapors or zar or any other mental illness ever experienced in the history of human madness.

The article is a must read from a sociological, psychological, and historical perspective. And well, it's just damn interesting, so go read it!

Other than spending a day reading and finally getting around to studying for that GRE, I'm also very excited by new pilates and ballet classes! They're kicking my butt but they certainly help with the stress that inevitably arises from working in a locked psychiatric facility. :)

How are you all spending your fridays?

Monday, January 18, 2010

Rainy Day Plans

Back from hiatus. It's a rainy Monday and the forecast reads it'll rain for the rest of the week (yes, I still live in L.A). This is such an uncommon occurrence that when it happens people don't know what to do with themselves. But it's also MLK day which means no work and no research :) Instead I will spend my rainy Monday lazily getting up and having lunch in Downtown Disney with a friend. Today, if only for twenty four hours, no stress looms over. :)

Happy Monday! (and thank you, so so much, Martin Luther King Jr.)