Overcoming obstacles with Optimism

Posts tagged ‘media’

Question & Answer Week 1 – c

With TV being a major player in society, do you watch shows and movies with your family? How do you cope with the characters? –Samantha Hil


CSI is no longer one of my favorite shows.  I never did watch a full episode of Desperate HousewivesThe Good Wife offers me no entertainment value whatsoever.  Which shows do I now tune into every week?  Psych and NCIS are great.  Call of the Wild Man is another favorite when I sit down with my daughters.

Yes, I enjoy a good medical drama.  Crime shows have always captured my interest.  But what is it about Psych and NCIS that keeps my attention when others can’t? Why do I no longer find any entertainment with CSI and Law & Order?

Prosopagnosia, or face blindness, caused this evolution in what I watch.  Understanding that my inability to remember a face developed seven years ago easily explains my current choice of favorite TV shows.  Shows I direct my attention to now have consistent and diverse cast members.  They have both males and females in leading roles.  Race varies among leading actors.  If there are two people of the same gender and race, their age difference makes them easily identifiable.  It’s also important the cast rarely includes guest stars.  While it is nice to have an occasional added character on a show, the rotating and unexpected characters usually leaves me wondering who someone was and which role they were playing.  Shows become confusing when you are not sure if it was this person shooting the gun or if this person is the cop we saw in the last scene.  More than once I have watched a show and lost interest within minutes because of my inability to identify who just walked across the screen.  For these reasons, I also find many movies difficult to follow. 

I will take a book any day over sitting in front of the television.  With a book, I can create my own images through written words.  Memorable words are always easier to follow than a screen of rotating unfamiliar faces.

Prosopagnosia awareness has recently increased due to media coverage and confessions of famous people such as Dr. Oliver Sacks in “The Mind’s Eye” and most recently Brad Pitt’s announcement of his condition.  I hope movie companies and television networks soon take notice of this disorder.  I would love to join the water cooler conversations about last week’s episode of Grey’s Anatomy.  However, when the characters all look the same to me, I am left with nothing to add to their conversation.  I won’t stand at the cooler and tell you about the trouble I had attempting to follow the story line, or about how many cast members lacked unique identifying characteristics.  Maybe I will interrupt and ask if anyone caught Big Bang Theory last week.  Or better yet, have you heard Pink’s new song?  Nate Ruess sings with her.  Did you know he is from the band Fun.? (And yes, Fun. does have a period as part of their name.)  I am still able to join in conversations with others regarding pop culture topics.  I just attempt to change the subject until I find something both you and I are familiar with and can talk about.

Why I Enjoy Interviews

People ask why I subject myself to interviews for the world to read and watch.

People want to know how I prepare myself for unexpected questions that often deserve revealing answers.

Life Design September 2012.  Thanks Ciesco for taking this picture.

Life Design September 2012. Thanks Ciesco for taking this picture.

I am grateful to accept interviews and sit with a microphone because I was once the person searching for these answers.  No matter how many books I read or papers I flipped through, I could not find anyone who shared their similar situations.  When I was trying to learn more about seizures, the personal interaction I had with other epileptics was nearly nonexistent.  I had never met a stroke victim let alone a young stroke survivor.  I had no instruction booklet preparing me on how to walk confidently in a world that was suddenly only filled with strangers.  The answers I wanted are the ones I hope to pass on now to others.

I know what it is like to be the person desperately seeking answers. I remember, and still experience, the challenge of suddenly needing to ask questions I never before had imagined but not being able to find a person with first-hand experience on the subject.

Why do I subject myself to this? Why do I allow myself to become so vulnerable all around the world? I do it so you know you are not alone:

65 MILLION People around the world have epilepsy

1 IN 26 people in the United States will develop epilepsy at some point in their lifetime.

Every year, 15 million people worldwide suffer a stroke. Nearly six million die and another five million are left permanently disabled. Stroke is the second leading cause of disability, after dementia.  Disability may include loss of vision and / or speech, paralysis and confusion.

Globally, stroke is the second leading cause of death above the age of 60 years, and the fifth leading cause of death in people aged 15 to 59 years old.

A German study surveyed the face recognition abilities of a large group of students, and reported a prevalence rate of 2-2.5%. That is, as many as one in 50 people may suffer from developmental prosopagnosia.  This number goes even higher when you add in the number of people who have acquired prosopagnosia through brain damage.

Next week I will start a series of posts answering questions from the spring 2013 Life Design class. These questions are mainly asking about prosopagnosia. Do you have any questions you would like to ask regarding my experiences?

I want to hear your questions, too.  If you are thinking of these questions, please know there are many others out there wondering the same thing. When I am asked questions, it also helps me learn more about my conditions.  Often life happens so fast we do not take time to think of how and why we respond to challenges the way we do.  Your questions make me slow down and really think about how I have journeyed from a victim to someone who not only survives but thrives. Please feel free to ask questions either by commenting on this blog or sending a message to findingstrength[at]rocketmail[dot]com.  They will be answered in a post next week.  I look forward to hearing from you soon!

Thank you morguefile.com for the use of this picture

You knocked on the door.  I answered.

You have talked.  I have listened.

When you ask your questions, I will respond.

The Jeff Probst Show Interview

Two weeks ago a wonderful crew from The Jeff Probst Show came to our home to spend the day with us

Last week, we were offered a ride to Los Angeles to be interviewed in their studio

We first found the Hollywood sign








Then we found a room with a view








Wednesday morning the girls and I prepared to for the taping in front of a live studio audience:

The interview went great and was full of surprises!

The Jeff Probst Show introduction

We were able to spend time with my parents


Watch the interview October 24, 2012 on The Jeff Probst Show

Full Episode


Seeing the bright side of ‘face blindness’

Thank you to Diane Heldt of the Cedar Rapids Gazette for taking time to interview me and help raise awareness of face blindness and the Iowa Neurological Patient Registry research program.

Seeing the bright side of ‘face blindness’.

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