Saturday, March 13, 2010

Not Knowing

When I was in college back in the 1960s one of my Psych professors told us the most difficult thing for humans to endure is not knowing what will happen. He said when prisoners were brainwashed the captors made sure to keep the torture unpredictable because otherwise the prisoners were better able to hold out against it.
Unfortunately, many people with special needs and their families are often in a position of not knowing what to expect. Will their conditions get better or worse? Will they be able to get the medical help they need or not? Will this new treatment be effective or won't it? Not knowing can be very stressful.
But different people react differently to stress and perhaps the difference depends at least partially on attitude. Expecting the unexpected can become the norm, in which case not knowing what will happen can be easier to deal with.
Maybe it works sort of like physical exercise in healthy people; repetition increases strength. After all, most people with special needs and their families have already dealt with things that would seem overwhelming to "normal" folks, but many of those things have become just another part of everyday life.
In weakness there really can be strength.

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