Myth Busting Monday: “Brainy” Edition

My emotions have been on a roller coaster (and according to google, “roller coaster” is two words, geez I’m dumb, I thought it was one word).

Anyhow, some of you might think that you could not blog in times of crisis with your parent’s life in danger. But in all honesty, this is the one thing that actually feels good. I can’t even put myself through a yoga class right now.

Some moments during the day I’m feeling hopeful and strong, but other times I feel like I’m about to burst. And often, I just feeling like yelling at friends and family of my dad that keep calling.

“How’s you dad?”

“Did they move him?”

“What happened?”

“Can he talk?”

“Do you need anything?”

I feel like yelling “EFF YOU!” but thats rude and if by chance I have the guts to actually say that “yes, I need a new Marc Jacobs bag” they will for sure refuse.

I feel like people wont read posts unless the have pictures, so I'm just posting a bunch of my dad

I took this picture of him in his hometown in Antwerp, Belgium. That's a pond behind him that was frozen solid.

Also in Antwerp, we were being silly and climbed the frozen jungle gym

Anyhow, I want to follow the Eden’s Eats tradition and bring you a myth busting monday. Ever since this happened, I’ve been researching information on the brain and memory. So here’s a special “brainy” myth busting edition:

Brain damage is always permanent.
It used to be believed that each person was born with a finite number of brain cells, so if you damaged any of them you operated on a deficit for the rest of your life. Evidence now shows that the brain remains “plastic” throughout life: it can rewire or change itself in response to new learning. Under certain circumstances, the brain can even create new cells through a process called neurogenesis. This discovery not only refutes the  whole “we are born with a finite number of brain cells” myth, but it also raises hope for victims with brain injury caused from either diseases or trauma.

Myth #2: Depression is all “in your mind”

It seems hard to believe that in this day and age there are still people who think that depression is all in the mind and that all you have to do to get out of it is pull yourself together. This is not only untrue, it is a dangerous misunderstanding. Depression is real and people need to know that. We’re not talking about feeling a bit down in the dumps here, that is a normal part of life, we are talking about clinical depression that causes people to be unable to carry out their normal lives. There can be many reasons why someone will develop depression and another doesn’t, ranging from chemical imbalances, genetics, and environmental toxins to social circumstances and life events. What we do know is that people do not choose to become depressed and that without professional help they are far less likely to get through it. The problem with perpetuating a myth like this is that people who are truly depressed are going to be less likely to seek the help they need.

You lose memory as you get older

It’s a commonly held misconception that memory loss is inevitable as we grow older. There are many different factors that can affect our ability to take in, store and recall information, such as genetics, disease, drugs, general health, and so on. Yes it’s true that many people will appear to have less of an ability to remember things as they get older but no, memory loss isn’t inevitable. To keep your brain active and in good condition in your twilight years the best thing you can do is eat a healthy diet rich in nutrients (yea, this is why I think I failed chemistry when I was college: malnourishment!). Moderate exercise also improves the blood flow to the brain and keeps it oiled up and in good working order and if your diet provides the right fuel then you’re laughing. Unfortunately, we do tend to become more sedentary as we get older and we also have lots more experience and information to store as the years go by. My grandmother is 88 and she tends to remember better things than me!

I will be teaching tomorrow so be prepared for a recipe. I haven’t been adding recipe lately but hopefully I’ll get back on that. And as far as my dad, he was indeed moved out of the ICU but we are not out of the woods yet. I will have to be patient.

In the spirit of this “brainy” myth busting, what is the strangest detail you remember about your past?


28 thoughts on “Myth Busting Monday: “Brainy” Edition

  1. I remember a lot of the scenes I would play out with my dolls and baribies when I was little. Since I was an only child, this was always by myself. So I would actually record their voices on my tape recorder and then play it back so it looked like they were talking. The funny thing is that I was really happy and could do this for hours on end!
    I miss the simplicity of those days.
    I a glad that you have something that makes you feel good. Blogging and connecting with people, in any way always helps!

  2. I love the brainy edition, especially because of my background in neuro-psychology. You facts bring back memories of cramming for exams 🙂 I am glad that is over!

    Your dad is a very handsome man!! He looks like Robert De Niro!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    People will read your posts even if they don’t have pictures! I come to your blog for your personality, and straightforward attitude.

  3. Hi Eden!

    Glad to hear your father is out of the ICU. I felt the same exact way this summer when my mother had surgery and her friends were calling me non-stop. They all wanted personal updates and I felt bad that it annoyed me so much because they were really really well meaning, but it just made things worse. I had to repeat myself over and over again and it wasn’t like I had any major updates (I literally made of list of the 20+ people that called me so I wouldn’t forget to call them back). I think by day 3 I only called back VIPs (as in family friends I really liked). You should focus on taking care of yourself and your father and all of the other people will get the point.

    Strangest memory? Humm, this might not be the ultimate strangest memory, but I recently had dinner with some old friends from sleep away camp and they reminded me that we used to shave our legs on the porch. I went to a co-ed Jewish camp from 8-13 and camp was the only time in my life where I was “popular” in the mean girls sense of the word (though I was nice!). My friends and I would sit outside and shave our legs and we thought we were super cool because some girls weren’t allowed to shave yet. In retrospect, this is absolutely ridiculous and shows what an alternate reality camp can be (shaving in public is gross!). Hope you found this at least slightly amusing and don’t worry if you don’t follow your usual blogging schedule or have photos, we will all continue to read you anyway because you are a fabulous blogger!

    • Thats hilarious! I went to a co-ed Jew camp as well so I can totally relate! I haven’t been calling anyone back! But like you, I notify the VIPs and thats about it. If they are that interested, they can visit him or read me blog.

  4. Hi Eden – I just found you through Mama Pea, and I just wanted to encourage you to hang in there. My cousin suffered a brain hemmorage a few years ago when she was 13. It was a long recovery, but she’s doing just fine now – has trouble with short term memory, but she’s doing great! I’ll keep your dad in my prayers.

  5. I think brain chemistry is possibly the coolest thing ever…but I’m also a neuro psych major.

    I’m glad your handsome dad is out of ICU. The body has amazing healing capabilities, somettmes it just doesn’t move at the rate we’d like.

    Hang in there girl. You’re right, sometimes writing is the best therapy.

  6. first off, eden, i just wanted to say that you DON’T need to post pictures to get me to read. I agree with Jolene up there- i like your blog because of your wit and content, the best part of which comes out through your words and not pictures.
    I sometimes get really frustrated that blogs ALWYAS seem to have pictures in them. I myself feel like i need to put pictures in my posts all the time now. its sad b/c i think there IS value in learning to read something that seems a little more dense or to focus for more than thirty seconds…the internet doesn’t seem to be going in that direction, though.
    Brain chemistry is pretty freaking cool stuff. I didn’t know that about memory loss!
    Hm, in terms of strange memories yesterday i was telling my parents how when i was a little girl i used to PRAY that santa would come to my house or that i would (i’m jewish, btw) wake up with a christmas tree and tons of presents on christmas day. I would want this so badly and i remember thinking that if i just prayed hard enough, santa would bring me presents! so sad! but i’m sure i was not the only child with this experience.
    don’t call people back. they can deal.
    hang in there, eden.

  7. The human body is pretty flipping amazing (I was a human biology major, obviously putting that degree to great use right now). For some reason, my brain retains song lyrics incredibly well. I was a huge New Kids on the Block fan when I was little (NKOTB baby), and the other day Step by Step came on the radio. I hadn’t heard that song in at least 15 years (probably longer), but I still knew every single word.

  8. This is my first visit to your blog, via Mama Pea, and I just have to say you have the most handsome dad ever. (Not in a creepy stalker way, but in an appreciative-of-good-looking-dads way. Wait, that sounds even creepier.) Seriously, even in the hospital bed. How does he do that? Well wishes going out to him.

  9. You are still in my thoughts and prayers Eden.
    I’m so glad that you are blogging it out. I can’t imagine how frustrated you must be, but if blogging can even make you feel a fraction better, I totally understand!

    Regarding the pictures, I always think no one will read my posts if I don’t have pictures… but people usually do 😛 Anyway, you look absolutely GORGEOUS.. and your pops kind of looks like Robert DeNiro:

  10. … and now I feel retarded because I’ve realized that you need to approve them before they show up. Just delete those last two? Haha.

    Hope you are having an awesome Monday (or as awesome as it can be, considering)

  11. Oh my gosh. I am so frustrated… apparently wordpress just ate two of my comments!
    I pretty much said that I am still praying for you, that you are GORGEOUS, and that your pops looks like Robert DeNiro.
    Much love!

  12. Awww – I’m really sorry about your Dad, Eden!
    I’m sure he’ll be better soon, though. He really does look like the kindest man ever 🙂
    And I definitely enjoyed this myth busting edition. Brain misconceptions are so common… Thanks for helping us all out.
    Wish you a great week!

  13. The thing that keeps popping into my head while reading this is “You’re just a woman with a small brain” from “Anchorman.” One of the best cinematic films of our time 😉

    I have a billion strange memories, but I remember once when my grandpa was “babysitting” me and I cut off my ponytail along with all the hair off our dog. I put it in envelopes and he didn’t notice until my mom came home and freaked out.

  14. I love the brainy edition- especially the bit about depression.

    And you deserve the Marc Jacob bag. Your family, and us readers, are lucky to have you!

    My strangest memories are learning to swim at a nudist colony in France by a woman who made the most amazing crepes in this old hippie van. I remember swimming under water and opening my eyes and…balls! Yep. Balls.

    • Ha, I remember when I was about seven, my mom and I went to Paris and we each got a crepe from a street vendor. I must have had nutella or something like that and she had brandy in hers and I remember her being all tipsy trying to find our way back to the hotel! But I think a nudist colony+hippie vans+balls make for some interesting memory!

  15. Just caught up on posts about your dad! So sorry I wasn’t there for you over the weekend…I wasn’t “there” for anyone. But you and your family are in my thoughts!!!

    My strangest memory? Four years old, pretending to be a flying duck, jumping from the steps in our basement onto the couch below.

  16. I am sorry to hear that you are being constantly questioned by family and friends about your dads health, but I am sure that they are just concerned.

    I think that my strangest memory is when I was younger I was so ill, but I refused to miss school so I went anyway and my teacher had to send me to the office because I looked like I was going to pass out. I went to the school office and I had a 103 degree temp and I was sent home immediately and spent the next few days at home watching disney movies with my mom and my mom even kept me home an extra day so that we could just spend time together!! 🙂

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