i s o l a t i o n.

Christian-Hopkins-Dealing-with-Depression

isolation (n):

  1. the condition of being alone, especially when this makes you feel unhappy
  2. the fact that something is separate and not connected to other things.

Either way, it does not appear to be a pleasant word to me at all.

When people experience isolation, their mind can do some truly freakish things, says Michael Bond [1]. Have you ever wondered why the mental health of astronauts is one of the biggest impediments when it comes to successful space missions? Studies have found that there is a close connection between loneliness, social isolation and hallucinations or other severe physical and psychological effects. Loneliness meddles in a wide range of everyday functioning, such as sleep patterns, attention and logical and verbal reasoning. Chronically lonely people get higher blood pressure, are more exposed to infection, and are also more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease and dementia [2]. The mechanisms behind these adverse influences are still ambiguous, though it is obvious that social isolation unleashes an acute immune response – a cascade of stress hormones and inflammation. In the 1950s and 1960s, China was rumoured to be using solitary confinement to “brainwash” American prisoners captured during the Korean War, and the US and Canadian governments were all too keen to give it a try. Their defence administrations funded an array of research programmes that might come under ethical criticism till today [3].

Recently, the investigation led by the University of Virginia found that most participants from a range of ages did not enjoy spending even brief periods of time alone in a room with nothing but their thoughts, they would rather doing something – possibly hurting themselves – than doing nothing and sitting alone (published on July 4 in journal Science).

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I’m not here to argue over the validity of the research. The bottom line implies that isolation equals misery to human beings. Professor Ivo Vlaev, a behavioural psychologist at Warwick University and Imperial College (London) said that: ‘Research has shown that happiness is not only about experiencing pleasure. You need a sense of meaning and purpose – which you lack in these conditions. And when you have a task to do, you do have that sense – even if it’s a simple task.’ Therefore, every little thing that we do every day does embrace its own meaning – making us feel alive. Even if you do something just for fun, it already speaks up its function: making you relaxed and entertained.

I am inner-oriented.  I do not hate humans (yes, I do sometimes) (BUT) I look for deep connection (THAT’S WHY) I hate crowds (AND) I hate meaningless chit chat.

  • Inner-oriented: I think too much, I am extremely sensitive, most of the time I am too overwhelmed with myself or unnecessary thoughts.
  • Humans: sometimes I feel that human beings are destroying their own values of being labelled as the most intelligent species in the world.
  • Deep connection: The two persons do care for each other and voluntarily seek for a long-term relationship which is surely not based on and decided by a heap of bullshit chit chat.
  • Bullshit/Meaningless chit chat: for instance, a person coming out of nowhere texted you ‘How are you today? Long time no see! I just suddenly think about you’ but that person DOES NOT REALLY MEAN IT. Or a person that barely knows anything about you texted you ‘Happy birthday’ just because he received the notification. For others, these are social etiquettes but sorry, for me, I feel fucking annoyed.

When people do something because they feel that they should do it but factually they do not understand why they want or need to do it, I will be offended and heart-broken. Yep, I did mention I was hyper-sensitive, didn’t I? So do not be surprised. Maybe they do not mean anything bad, they think their actions would make me happy but urghh …

But

I do not want to be alone alone. I want to be alone among people. I need to feel that I am surrounded. The mind is designed to engage with the world, after all. I could be weird, I look cold and ignorant but for people inside my ‘caring-zone’, I am too hot to the point of burning them as I will not let anything hurt them by any costs.

Whenever I went through depression, I had to say that I experienced a feeling of complete isolation since I intentionally isolated myself with the rest of the world (even with the persons I appreciate), drowning into my own world and felt helpless inside as fuck.  ‘Helplessness’ is, in my opinion, the key word when it comes to depression, not ‘sadness’. Everything lost its own meaning and purpose, everyday passed by with the thinking ‘I do this because humans need to do this for survival’. I just wished that everything please fucking stopped so that my mind could stop spinning around as well. People keep asking why, but we don’t know please stop asking. If we really know why, we already cure it straight away because depression does not look like an appealing choice that much.

We just feel afraid as we know that who has never gone through depression cannot comprehend how it really is. It is not simply ‘pervasive sadness’ or ‘extreme unhappiness’. Sadness is a normal emotional state but depression is not, it is abnormal. It’s hard to distinguish indeed; therefore, people will tell us to be just overreacting, which is a total offense to us. Eventually, we feel ashamed of telling anyone about our own mental anguish.

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Everything from the two opposite ends of the spectrum, in a nutshell, clashes into each other making us feel perplexed all of the time.

I don’t even know why I am writing this post with full references as well.

References:

[1], [3] Bond, Michael Harris. The Power Of Others. London: Oneworld, 2015. Print.

[2] Hawkley, L. C., and J. P. Capitanio. “Perceived Social Isolation, Evolutionary Fitness And Health Outcomes: A Lifespan Approach”. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 370.1669 (2015): 20140114-20140114. Web.

Pic@ Christian Hopkins

1,2,3 till i lose count

✘✘✘

I’m the one “for a good time call”
Phone’s blowin’ up, ringin’ my doorbell
I feel the love, feel the love
Sun is up, I’m a mess
Gotta get out now, gotta run from this

Here comes the shame, here comes the shame

1, 2, 3, 1, 2, 3 drink
1, 2, 3, 1, 2, 3 drink
1, 2, 3, 1, 2, 3 drink

Throw ’em back till I lose count

I’m gonna swing from the chandelier, from the chandelier
I’m gonna live like tomorrow doesn’t exist

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I’m gonna fly like a bird through the night, feel my tears as they dry
I’m gonna swing from the chandelier, from the chandelier

But I’m holding on for dear life, won’t look down, won’t open my eyes
Keep my glass full until morning light, ’cause I’m just holding on for tonight
Help me, I’m holding on for dear life, won’t look down, won’t open my eyes
Keep my glass full until morning light,

’cause I’m just holding on for tonight (*)

(*) Chandelier – Sia

Pic@SalkisRe – No one loves me like you do collection

HERE COMES THE FINAL DESTINATION

Learning-without

Confucius is among my favourite philosophers as most of his quotes are simple but never lack the delicacy. The same goes for the quote above, it answers why every research assignment goes along with a reflective task. Bearing in mind that what we look in the mirror is our competition, I never make light of reflection’s value.

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Several weeks of conducting research are like being on a roller coaster since everything is so new to me.

An academic research revolves around not only the author but also a lot of other people which requires us to be highly conscious of every step that we take. According to what I have learned, a wide range of aspects is related:

  • Curiosity
  • Reflexivity
  • Social responsibility research design
  • Critical judgment
  • Accountability
  • Respect
  • Integrity
  • Flexibility
  • Creativity
  • Negotiation
  • Insight
  • Communication

When all of these are built up properly, we have already achieved what is so-called ‘Professionalism’ in research practices and this is the final aim of the course. Thanks to the obstacles during research conduction, many holes in my methodology have been revealed which should certainly be improved the next time.  

First of all, different researchers will approach a study situation from different positions, which affects ‘the angle of investigation, the methods judged adequate for the purpose, the finding considered most appropriate, and the framing and communication of conclusions’ (Malterud, 2001). This is linked with reflexivity – this concept helped me to decide on the research topic. I should go for the one that I barely knew much or had few preconceptions in order to minimise the chances of my own biases towards the subject.

Secondly, the most underestimated tool then turned out to be so helpful that went beyond my expectation is the risk matrix. No matter how hard I tried to think of the potential risks, there were still unforeseen ones and my data collection step, consequently, became sluggish. In particular, one of my chosen interviewees received scholarships in China exchanging program and was too occupied in preparing relevant documentations so he couldn’t help me with the interview as he promised. I found no one else to replace which meant that I lost one favourite source of information already. However, I had to be flexible by adjusting the rest of my process in the most logical way (no other choices indeed).

Thirdly, if I had chances of starting all over again, my survey would be much better. To be honest, I received not many ‘high-quality’ responses for the survey. Yes/No questions cannot help me to get enough detailed answers so most of my survey questions are open ones which make people too lazy to come up with thoughtful answers. I regret not choosing alumni/graduates as my targeted audience who will be capable of answering these questions with more credibility as they already successfully finished their courses (although contacting them would be more difficult).

Moreover, my tutor told me to filter out my information sources as too many would be overwhelming. Critical judgement is applied in this situation. Mostly I looked for online sources thus having to make sure about their trustworthiness. Particularly, I evaluated the sources by checking the time and the authors (Is it up-to-date? Is the content still valid and appropriate till now?). Unless they are basic facts and definitions, I prefer articles that are published within 5 years. I also prefer to get references from university library databases or learning websites whose link domains are usually .edu (i.e academia.edu) as they are more credible in my perspectives.

Last but not least, in terms of accountability and respect, their benefits can hardly be seen at the moment but I think, in the long term, they’d help us to avoid many unwanted problems. I almost forgot the existence of the consent form until I re-read the lecture notes. Even my interviewees said that: ‘Is this just one of your assignments? Why so serious?’ when I asked for their signature on the consent forms. I had to explain them that: ‘Because this is what the course is all about – be ethical and professional’.

It feels good after reviewing my mistakes in a row. I am still on the way of learning so mistakes are unavoidable. Research is a whole progress, hence what I have been gaining also makes an appreciable contribution and reflection will, to some extent, prevent myself from running a risk of repeating these mistakes again.

Bibliography:

Malterud, Kirsti. “Qualitative Research: Standards, Challenges, And Guidelines”. The Lancet 358.9280 (2001): 483-488. Web.

LẢM NHẢM #9

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i’m finally here, after letting all the fear and frustration wash through me for the last 2 months. every damn time i’m thinking about them, breath catching in my throat. i close my eyes tight and cast a glance around at the same time.

my life has been a mess as it should be these days. i have no stable accommodation to live. i have been abandoned by whom i trusted the most. my laptop was broken in the middle of exam time. i have to struggle all alone and become too tired to complain about anything. i felt the perplexity in my bones like an ache to the point of not minding wondering why and letting everything take its course.

since the day i studied abroad, i have been trying to be not to be me. i was occupied with many either toxic or strange things, and i gave them the power to destroy me. i just forgot who i was and felt sorry all the time for every damn things i did.

people are all busy, and sadly not all know how to filter out their contaminated surroundings by spending time thinking about only which deserve their attention. i’m thinking too much which, most of the time, annoys other people. they asked why i had to bring it too far.

have you ever wasted that much time for people you don’t care, my dear ?

there are not so many relationships that i truly appreciate. there are some, and all went wrong. my body was swelling up whenever i was trying to save them. then i realised, the more i treasured, the more they took me for granted. it makes me scared to be open up again, to call anyone my ‘friends’, or to love somebody else one more time.

i am too young to know about love, but what i have been had with you is so damn close.

 

pic@gideonhunter

 

Notification: I am still alive

Hello there!

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A couple of weeks ago, I posted a blog which introduces that my research will look into BCMS students’ expectations on their BCM courses. I was about to switch to something else many times.

Why I wanted to change it?

  • Because it sounds pretty boring. ‘I am already too overwhelmed with all of the studies, and now you are telling me to answer these bunches of questions about the courses, really?!’ – I imagined that you was yelling just like this at me at the moment you saw my survey.

However, this research project is of central importance, not because it affects my final BCM marks (though it does!); in a bigger picture, it would relate to all BCMS students as I deeply want this survey to be much helpful to the BCM staffs in their process of redesigning the courses. My survey and interviews, additionally, will try to cover both sides – what you like and what you don’t like. In fact, we usually think of what we want, but less likely think of what we don’t want whereas the ‘don’t wants’ matter a lot. It is like better knowing our weaknesses before trying to nurture our strengths.

I just want to confirm that I’m conducting the research. The results are yet to gain but everything, following my project planning, is so far so good. To be honest, I did struggle a little until I received big help from my professor and my friends. Basically, the data will be collected and analysed from the online surveys and the focus group interviews. The risk matrix is with me in order to prevent and manage risks thus making the research proceed more smoothly. The most time-consuming part is for extra readings on which the bibliography will be partly based. I prioritise it a lot since it is like a reflective task and a proof to the audiences for the quality of my research’s content.

No matter how hard I try, there will be mistakes. Hope that you will look forward to the research outcomes with me.  I believe that you would find it more interesting if you get more involved with the research conduction, just follow me on Twitter @derangedm97.

Cya soon!

Research Proposal – What are you looking for from your course, BCMS students?

Good news, finally I am no longer first year student of Bachelor of Communication and Media Studies (BCMS) starting from this February.

As a sophomore, I want to sum up my first year by writing a post about it. Then a question flashed through my mind:

“What do I exactly expect this degree bring to me during my studies?”

However, a single sentence is not enough for me to conceptualise the topic. Thanks to professor Kate Bowles, I got one worthwhile information that the BCM staffs are on the way of redesigning the BCM course. This propelled me to conduct the research on students about why they chose BCMS and what their expectations of it in the near future are. Provided that students always care about their degree, they will share their opinions more openly on such topics. By the same token, I believe that this research will attract their attention and they would be looking for the outcome along with me.

After the core question of the proposal was identified, the methodology is another consideration. In terms of the type of my questions, the research time limit and my personal budget, qualitative methods seem to be the best choice. First of all, most of BCM subjects involve using Twitter, then why don’t I utilise this social media platform by searching hashtag #BCMS for example, to find out what students talk about it. Next, I make a survey on a small scale with only BCM212 students. It would be easier for them to address the topic and for me to process the survey. Finally, I prefer carrying out an informal interview with some Dean’s Scholars students of our degree to see clearly what their thoughts are. Since they are the top students, great ideas may appear (please make sure it doesn’t mean I do not welcome other ideas). All of the data will be thoroughly analysed before drawing any conclusion of the research.

Overall, the goal of this research is to find out what benefits BCMS students look for from the degree. Based on this, we can discover how much these students care about their course, what their feelings during their studies are, which aspects the course needs to be improved. All of which aims at offering a better quality for the course thus satisfying student needs.

This is just an outline or a ‘base’ for my research afterwards. Also, this is the first time I have undertaken academic research. That’s why I am full of curiosity about the results and in hopes that it will go on smoothly.

 

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Whas’at? Whas’at? – Curiosity has piqued my curiosity!

From the moment of birth, we kept blurting out these words since we didn’t have the slightest idea about our surroundings. The situation frustrated our parents sometimes. However, not only children are, and should be curious. In fact, it seems to be an instinct that we are drawn to new things. Coming to BCM212 first lecture, it is not within my expectation that there will be a whole half an hour specifically dedicated to it.

“Cabinet of curiosity”

Okay, so now even curiosity has its own room while I have to share mine with another one to save money.

“Cabinet of curiosity”, or “wunderkammer”, “kunstkammer”, refers to ‘encyclopedic collections of objects whose categorical boundaries were, in Renaissance Europe, yet to be defined’ (Tonry, 2013). It is akin to, and to an extent, a modern museum. For the purpose of satisfying human curiosity and the desire to collect, the museum has evolved out of these two fundamental facets.  This “wunderkammer” marked its appearance in the seventeenth century. With this in mind, we can depict how knowledge-thirsty human’s brain has been.

A whole society works exactly like an intricate well-linked network where each and every element is of high importance. The curiosity of one person may contribute, more or less, to the long-term human development. Sounds serious but it is possible. The birth of many scientific theories or laws, how they were established, are perfect examples. Personally speaking, it cannot be denied that curiosity has supported me a lot during my both academic studies and social life. We tend to take everything for granted, especially familiar one. But the key point of curiosity is finding the unfamiliar in the familiar.

I got annoyed whenever my little sister asked me such question that everybody knows but few can answer immediately: ‘Sister, why the fur of our dogs is so thick?’, ‘Sister, why the beach is blue in the morning and black at night?’, but even as an adult, I question the “why” of many things not in our control.

I live at level five of a building, I have to walk into an elevator every single day. By noticing, it is not hard to realise that there is always a mirror in the elevators, but WHY? I gave myself a day for finding as many logical answers as possible. Then, I checked Google to confirm the results and how surprisingly happy I were when seeing all of my guesses were listed. Three main reasons are respectively attracting people’s attention in order that they won’t get bored, making people feel that they are in a broader space to help claustrophobia sufferers, and avoiding accidents as people can observe things through mirrors. Or another example, when I was English learner at beginner level, I was so stressed that could not help sticking myself with the question: ‘Why don’t we use one and only language then everything would be much easier and I do not have to struggle to learn hundreds of strange vocabularies like this?’ Few years later, I was taught about cultural identity and diversity in high school, the answer came out smoothly.

Regarding academic studies, curiosity is even more essential. It spurs our creativity, thus preparing the brain for better learning. All students are able to receive the same amount of knowledge from the professors. The one who stands out apparently will be the one actively searching for more additional information and resources. Likewise, students are repeatedly reminded of making the most use of textbooks and not relying on lecture notes only.

Given these points, curiosity is something that can be nurtured and developed. By the same token, with practice, we can harness the power of curiosity to transform everyday tasks into interesting and enjoyable ones. From my own experience, with curiosity (together with wisdom, of course) I feel more engaged with this world, more capable of embracing moments of insight and meaning. All of which lay the groundwork for an aware, prosperous, and satisfying life.

‘Curiosity killed the cat’. Are we cat by the way? 🙂

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► Reference:

Tonry, M. (ed.) (2013) The Oxford handbook of crime and criminal justice. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Pictures&Gif @Tumblr

come closer and save me.

how would your perspective about ‘intimacy’ be ?

🍃

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.

it’s neither just the definition on oxford dictionary nor the matter of theory about proxemics – that the intimate space between people is from zero to 45cm. it means much different to each, or at least to me. but one fact we cannot deny that intimacy defines the intrinsic nature of a relationship.

of course, sex is among the easiest ways to be intimate with somebody.

what goes unsaid but totally obvious is that sex is easy af (here i only indicate the act of having sex, not mention whether you are truly immersed in it or not). it does not take much effort to focus on somebody’s body, given the fact that it’s hot enough to turn you on (except the case of some having a fear of touching like me). and some keep making excuse for having sex randomly on account of regarding it as the means to and end, meanwhile,

it is an end in itself.

sure everyone got their distinct values and beliefs but i am still willing to yell right at their faces whose treat sex as if ‘i did it because i was able to, why not’ lame lame lame.

lame.

sex may lead two to the ‘so-called’ stage of intimacy fast af, but clichés exist for a reason.

.

since it’s special to have someone playing with fire with, but it’d be damn much more miraculous if a person makes us able to shut down, unwind, and be perfectly still no matter how hard life hits us,

 

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‘save me. save me. save me.’

img @h.k

 

galaxy.you/me

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Helix Nebula

Helix nebula (NGC 7293) is a fine example of planetary nebulae which are the remains of stars that once looked like our sun. It lies approximately 700 light-years away, in Aquarius constellation.

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Silver Coin Galaxy

The Silver Coin Galaxy (NCG 253) sparkles about 11.5 million light years away in the Sculptor constellation. Its marvellous spiral shape and immense clumps of new stars lend a photogenic look to the galaxy, which is known for an extreme burst of star-forming activity happening in its nucleus.

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Tarantula Nebula

Tarantula Nebula, also known as 30 Doradus, is among the most active star formation region in the Local Group of galaxies. It has hosted more than 800,000 stars and protostars. Its name – Tarantula – originates from the fact that its arrangement of bright patches somewhat resembles the legs of a tarantula.

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Trifid Nebula

Above the spout of the well-known asterism called the Teapot is the Trifid Nebula (Messier 20). Within it is a stellar nursery, a cluster of newly born stars, a blue reflection nebula, a bright red hydrogen emission nebula, and the dark nebula divided into three-part arrangement that got the nebula its name Trifid which means divided into three lobes.

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our Earth

(with Moon’s shadow)

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you aremy universe

as long as you are still within this space

85d0d9a39a12031b1b0718ad139ff904 is a hell no

moon ©

Random celestial objects were chosenImages taken (and animated) by NASA