Research that will make you feel better: Affective Forecasting

by on Sunday, October 26, 2008 23:32
This entry is filed under: UC

 

Since I’m a researcher by trade, I’ve been thinking about how research can help others who are going through, or anticipating going through, surgery for UC. I’m currently in alone in a hotel room in Quebec City (poor me – I’m here for a conference) and so have decided to take advantage of the time alone to put some of the thoughts together. I still really would like to write about body image issues but am still having a very difficult time with those things personally and so have not been able to get coherent thoughts together.

 

I think the basic idea here is that humans are incredibly adaptable and resilient – far more than you one would think. An important area of research is Affective Forecasting (follow this link for a good magazine article that explains the research: http://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/pto-20021125-000001.html). Basically, humans overestimate how good or bad they will feel given a certain situation. What does that mean in this situation? If you have not yet had surgery, you likely overestimate how bad you will feel about having to get surgery or having an ileostomy. I am likely currently overestimating how devastating it will be to me if I cannot get the j-pouch surgery. I regularly said that I’d rather die than have an ileostomy before the surgery became a real possibility. And then it became a possibility, and then it became a reality, and, well, I adjusted and had massively overestimated the negative effects it would have on my psychological well-being. I’m not saying it has been easy, but I am very, very happy to be alive and the ileostomy is slowly becoming an accepted part of my life. While I would definitely prefer to not have it, having lived with it for 5-months I realize that a relatively normal life with an ileostomy is definitely possible and feelings of normalcy can only increase as time passes.

 

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