Case Study: Meredith Grey

We can agree from the start that Meredith has some serious abandonment issues. Her father left her at age five, and her mother was too preoccupied with work to ever be there for Meredith. As a result of her rough childhood, she faces difficulty in maintaining close relationships. She has Cristina, a fellow surgeon with whom she shares everything personal with, and she has Derek, with whom she pursues romantically. Outside of Cristina and Derek, she has a wide circle of friends but only know little about her. She’s fairly social, but keeps personal information private, and only shares surface level content with her other friends. It’s clear to see that Meredith struggles with trust, and becomes anxious if she feels someone may abandon her. However, over the years, she has been able to establish a secure support network with Derek, and others. Meredith is very kind, and good natured. She never looks to offend or hurt anyone, and she has a very caring and non-judgemental way in dealing with her patients. She is respected by her colleagues because she is honest, but not in a way that tears down peoples’ self esteem. Meredith isn’t a natural born leader, and likely would not prefer to be in a leadership position. However, she is not a follower. She holds true to her own values and opinions and is not easily swayed, regardless of how much pressure is put on her. She’s quick to name someone the bad guy, because of her trust issues, but not because she believes in right and wrong. She sees things from the bigger picture, where someone may have done wrong, but they are still human. Meredith has a deep kindness, that presents itself even if she is feeling low. Before seeking therapy, it’s likely that Meredith had been functioning with untreated and undiagnosed Major Depressive Disorder. One of her most obvious symptoms was irritability, but is still able to hold a very pleasant, and warm bedside manner. One of Meredith’s strongest attributes is that she is able to remain calm in a stressful situation, even if she admits later how terrifying it felt for her. She needs time to process and puzzle things together, but she rarely goes off, or acts on impulsion. Her younger self may have made some impulsive decisions, but as she’s gotten older, she’s learned to work through situations, without letting frustration build up.
At first glance, Meredith is a very kind, collected and forgiving person, and deeper down, she’s found to be very wise, real, and honest. Because of her rough past, she has come to accept each day as something new, and avoids holding grudges, resentment, or dislike towards any individual.

The Pain of Missing Someone

I had a very close friend last year. We would do absolutely everything from getting every meal together, to going on spontaneous adventures, and texting constantly about the miscellaneous affairs that happened in our day when we weren’t together. We exchanged funny animal pictures, told each other everything from dense, below-surface thoughts, to lighthearted stream of consciousness ramblings.

I’ve never had a friend as close as this, and as a matter of fact, this was very rare for me to share such a close friendship with someone else but, she was my person.

Halfway into our second year of college together, she left and due to certain circumstances, we ended on bad terms.

If you’re one of the lucky ones, and ended a friendship on good terms with someone, a simple text, or video call is an indisputable solution if you are missing them but if you’re in the same boat with me, and ended things on a bad note, there’s not always a viable solution.

There’s the fear of rejection, if you would reach out to them to perhaps apologize, or ask for a second chance or maybe they blocked your number and you have no way of contacting them. Regardless of circumstance, the pain of missing someone is distressing, and perpetual.

The pain isn’t always constant or at least in my experience, it comes and goes, in waves. There may be something that triggers those strong emotions of missing my friend, such as a certain event or song, and it’s painful. There’s an emptiness, and frustration like when your seat belt tightens, and you have to reposition yourself to unclick, and loosen it.

On the outside, I want to be seen as someone who is relatively happy, and content with life, but on the inside, when I’m in those depths of missing someone who was once very dear to me, there’s an abiding sense of emptiness and sorrow, and it’s not fun.

 

 

The Importance of Compassion

This week, on my one hour drive home from school, I listened to a talk given by Daniel Siegel, the developer of interpersonal neurobiology. He spent a majority of his lecture talking about how this new field connects several branches of science with mental processes, and how it promotes well-being in several areas of our personal lives.

His talk was constructive in that, there was lots of content to take away, and apply to my personal life, especially when he proceeded to the subject of compassion.

He stated how society tends to constrain themselves to a belief that their value is based off of how much stuff they accumulate. This is the result of “self” being placed in the body, limiting oneself, and quickly leading to competition. This “insufficient state of mind” as referred to by Siegel, is miserable. People think that by the more they consume, the happier they will be. It becomes an endless cycle, because they are always wanting more, thinking they will become happier as a result.

The solution to this detrimental mindset is simple. By reaching out, helping others and pulling out of the state where “self” is confined to a body, anyone can achieve happiness.

It is compassion that brings happiness. By taking the focus away from your “self” in this body and instead, feeling other peoples’ suffering, and offering a helping hand, that is what the source of well-being is, according to Siegel.

Not only does compassion improve your mental well-being, but scientists have found that it also improves your physical well-being. There are studies that have found that those who feel and demonstrate emotions of compassion, and love to others, experience changes in different systems of their bodies. Dr. Siegel referred to a study where epigenetic molecules were improved, preventing various things such as inflammatory diseases, diabetes, and cancer.

When the body can self-regulate, the bad genes that cause inflammation are decreased, and the good genes are increased.

It’s not always easy to feel and regulate compassion towards others, especially towards those that differ from us, but by taking one’s “self” out of the body, there’s opportunity to rise above those states of not wanting to show compassion, and in turn, personal, and universal compassion are achieved.

French Bulldogs

Personally, I cannot take a french bulldog seriously. They are the funniest breed of dog to me.

I think it’s because I strangely relate them to the character, Stitch from the animated Disney movie, Lilo and Stitch.

I really can’t help but slightly chuckle when I see a french bulldog out and about. It’s often that I see a dignified golden retriever or white fluffy dog, obediently strolling along next to his owner with such poise, but when I see a french bulldog, trotting along on his stubby legs, with his perky bat-like ears, and silhouette that resembles a pig, it just makes me so happy inside.

That is all.

Have a wonderful day!

Untitled: Empathy

Very recently, I reconnected with a dear friend, and over lunch, we got on the subject of empathy. We were able to relate to each other, in the types of people we attract, and how we handle the everyday as we are both individuals who are high in empathy.

Now, empathy is not to be mistaken with sympathy. The difference is that sympathy is saying, “I’m sorry”and empathy is saying, “I’ve been there” or “I can understand how you’re feeling”. This doesn’t mean that the only people who can express empathy are ones that directly relate to someone else’s hardships. It can be shown in a few ways. The first, is by mentally placing yourself in the other person’s circumstances. You see that a friend feels discouraged after receiving a poor grade on a test, or is feeling hopeless after receiving a frightening medical diagnosis. Imagine if you were the friend, and what it would be like to receive the news from the doctor’s office or walking into a test, feeling confident, only to find out that you ended up scoring very poorly.

That level of understanding is what defines empathy.

Empathy is more challenging than a heartfelt condolence, because unless you lack a conscious and fill the 4% of the American population that holds no ability to feel shame, remorse or guilt, then it is fairly easy to express sorrow to someone who is suffering. It’s rather a choice in that, in order to deeply connect and identify with what someone else is going through, you have to find something in yourself that knows what the other person is experiencing. By allowing yourself to be vulnerable, and by letting the person know that you’ve been there, it can change someone beyond them acknowledging that you are sorry for their pain.

So next time you are in a position of comforting someone, I challenge you to take that leap of courage, and use your story to show someone else that they are not alone.