Woke Up Tuesday it Was Friday Offers Essay

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¶ … Woke Up Tuesday it Was Friday" offers a vivid, unflinching glance into the victims of trauma and the psychological processes that the human mind goes through to overcome the effects of traumatic experiences. The essay illustrates a number of different aspects of these processes, including, most eminently, that of disassociation in which the mind disengages from an active state of awareness to allow victims to "remove" themselves from emotionally and physically stressful situations, by chronicling the perceptions of patients of Stout. By illustrating these patients' daily struggles with the mind's coping of traumatic experience, the reader is given a virtual firsthand experience of what it is like to endure severely psychologically affecting events. Furthermore, detailing these processes within her patients allows the author to give readers a degree of insight into the makings and undoing of what is generally referred to as sanity, which appears to be considerably affected by the mind's process of remembering -- or not remembering -- certain crucial facets of one's life. A considerable amount of evidence within this essay exists that suitably demonstrates that due to its reliance upon varying aspects of memory and its effect on the mind, sanity is indeed a consistent state, and it is possible to fully know ourselves. However, not all people are perfectly sane (with good reason), meaning that everyone is not able to achieve a full degree of sanity.Get full Download Microsoft Word File access
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Essay on Woke Up Tuesday it Was Friday Offers Assignment

One of the most memorable patients of Stout's found in "I Woke Up Tuesday and it Was Friday" is the handsome, intelligent young woman known as Julia. Unfortunately for her, Julia's memory is often plagued by what is known as selective memory -- meaning there are certain incidents that she remembers adequately, and others that induce a degree of forgetfulness that is rather unbecoming within her and within others, as well. There is little doubt that when Julia is at her job, performing brilliant work involving film and documentaries, she appears to be quite sane. However, she sufferes from habitual depression, and attempted to kill herself on a number of occasions. The following quotation underscores how Julia was able to rationalize such behavior with her seemingly happy, healthy professional existence at work. In it, Stout asks the young woman a pointed question -- Julia's answer is fairly elucidating.

"Now the conspicuous question to as Julia was, "All this time that you've been so unhappy, all the times that you've tried to end your life, what did you think was causing all that misery?"

"I thought I was crazy," she shrugged" (Stout 390).

Julia's response underpins the notion that she believed that she was insane. Indeed, it would most likely be a clinical case of insanity that would result in a healthy, happy person wanting to kill oneself for no apparent reason. Yet Julia's case, and that of practically every other patient identified within this essay, is definitely at variance with the preceding description. She actually had plenty of reason to feel depressed, and to want to end her life on numerous occasions. The crux of this issue is that resulting from her mind's selective memory of the trauma she was involved in, she did not remember the reason why. So despite the fact that Julia's memory has shaped her perceptions of herself and her self-worth, Julia is far from insane. This quotation illustrates the fact that Julia feels crazy for wanting to kill herself. But feeling crazy and actually being crazy are two separate things, and despite the fact that Julia cannot remember why she is so sad and suicidal, that reason does exist. Not only does this quote prove that she is not insane, but it also demonstrates that sanity is consistent, independent of memory's effects on our perception.

As a matter of fact, it may be sufficiently argued that Julia would be closer to being insane if she were not sad and suicidal, after the specific trauma that plagued her for years -- a trauma so intense, and producing such a profound impact on her that she could not remember the majority of her childhood. The following quotation shows just how profound the trauma was that Julia dealt with -- and partially explains her mind's decision to not deal with it any further by purposefully forgetting it.

"What we eventually discovered was that, when she was a child, Julia had lived in a house of horrors, with monsters jumping out at her without warning and for no apparent reason, except that Julia had come to assume, as abused children do, that she must be a horrible person that deserved these punishments. By the time she was school age, she had learned not to cry, because tears only encouraged her parents to abuse her further "(Stout, 387).

In many ways, Stout is being generous in her description of Julia's abuse by remaining fairly vague about the nature of it. We can infer, however, that she was more than likely physically and sexually abused. Interestingly enough, Stout also declines to reveal any facet of Julia's sexual activity as an adult -- whether or not she is dating or has dated anyone. But if someone is consistently abused (well before the age of attending school as well as afterwards) virtually from the time of his or her own consciousness, that person has every right not to remember such abuse, and to feel as bad and as suicidal as that person wants to. An abnormal reaction (suicide) to a rash of abnormal events (child abuse) is perfectly sane. Julia's depression proves that sanity is consistent, even in abnormal circumstances, despite the fact that she cannot remember those circumstances. She is not insane for awaking on Friday and thinking that it is Tuesday; she was simply traumatized and had a severe disassociation reaction to it.

What is most interesting about Julia's story and about the current discussion of memory's effect on perception and insanity is the fact that memory truly is unreliable, which presents a degree of difficulty in allowing us to fully know ourselves. Granted, at the beginning of Julia's sessions with Stout she was largely ignorant about numerous aspects of her childhood, or even the fact that she had been abused. Furthermore, when she was able to gain a rudimentary understanding of both of these two facets, she was considerably daunted by the prospect of becoming re-traumatized and confronting the horrors of her childhood for a second time, and possibly on many other subsequent occasions simply by being able to access those latent memories. Yet even in a case as extreme as Julia's, with disassociation occurring so strongly that whole days of a work week are forgotten, as well as most of the salient details of the first 20 years of her life, it is not simply wishful thinking for her to be able to know herself, as the following quotation, in which Stout tells Julia the path to knowing herself, largely implies. "Well, you know, you could try to remember. We could try hypnosis, for one thing" (Stout, 398). This quotation demonstrates the crucial element in the mind's process that rules out the possibility that it is mere wishful thinking for trauma victims to know the things their mind has disassociated itself from. They can always try. So long as the mind and the body is willing to make the attempt to do something, to do anything, then that something is always a possibility, and may in fact come true. This concept certainly applies to those who are attempting to forgo their process of selective memory and actually remember the events that cause them to disassociate and miss out on large portions of their life. Options do exist for getting people to remember things that happened several years ago, or that are just too painful for the mind to cope with. Hypnosis is one of those options; psychologists can present other options as well. The main point is that the subject must be willing to go down that dark, murky road of pain in which the subject reverts once again to that scared, pained little girl (in the case of Julia) or boy and ultimately re-experience that trauma to eventually get past it. If such subjects are able to achieve such a thing, then they will be able to fully know themselves.

In conclusion, there is a significant amount of evidence that shows that sanity is a consistent state regardless of our perceptions about it. As long as there is a reason for abnormal behavior or anomalous perceptions, then the person experiencing such anomalies is not insane. Julia, Seth, and the other patients who experience severe disassociation syndromes are not crazy; they are merely afflicted. What fluctuates is their perceptions of reality. One of the best ways to prove this fact, actually, can be found in the actions that these people perform during their dissociative states. Seth is able to be dissociative while engaging in sexual activities with his wife. There are a number of people who… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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