View Full Version : A Class I'm Taking and Hyperfocus - Ebola

10-02-14, 11:15 PM
I have a tendency to become interested in something and it becomes the only thing I want to think about, read about or talk about.

This one is different though. I have had an interest in virology for a really long time, even before I went back to college. I read several books over disease and have done a lot of research. Although I am no scholar, I do have quite a bit of knowledge over certain pathogens and how they transmit to humans as well as the cycle leading to death or immunity.

Ebola is one of the diseases I read and researched anything and everything I could find. I remember reading an article back in March of this year that a few people had contracted it in a small community in Africa. I thought back then... "Uh oh. This is not going to be good..." I had a feeling back then that this could get severe. (But then again, every outbreak of disease has potential to become severe.)

This semester it was as if the universe hand delivered an upper division class I needed to satisfy a requirement. The class is "The Impact of Disease on Global Events." OH HOW I LOVE THIS CLASS! I have learned so much about several epidemics and pandemics through out history and it is AMAZING! I have never felt so engaged in a class and so willing to do the work (and beyond) as I am this class.

In two weeks we are doing a section on Ebola and other hemorrhagic fever disease. With everything in the news the last few months and especially with the very recent update of the Liberian man testing positive for Ebola in Dallas, Texas, I can't wait to get to this section. I am just hoping that it has some recent information to add to whatever we are going to go over which I assume will be origin, location, history of outbreaks, the strains and of course, the pathogen itself and how it affects the body.

I think I am driving my husband nuts with this. I am constantly reading updates, arguing with the media or people that really don't understand or believe everything they've heard. I'm trying to not take on that "know it all attitude" because I do know that I do NOT know it all.
I'm also trying really hard to not let my imagination get away from me. I dig deep when it comes things like this and often it connects to some kind of government cover up and/ conspiracy. (And yes, I do believe these things do happen, but I do not believe that EVERYTHING is conspiracy. lol) I am a skeptic so I really can't help where my mind takes me when things start to link.

Well I didn't expect to write this much about this.. I was mostly wondering if anyone else experiences anything like this? What do you hyper-focus on? Does your ADHD give you an over-active imagination?


10-03-14, 04:22 PM
All I do is hyperfocus on that. My anxiety levels are up, and I'm pretty much completely useless these days.

Thing is, I've been concerned about it since April. Until the texas thing I was worried that others aren't worried. Now I'm just worried. Worried about whether people will stop going to work leaving everyone to fend for themselves. No farmers, no food. No workers, no nothing. Rich, poor, whatever right?

A couple days ago I wrote this:

"How infectious is Ebola? The information out there indicates that it is transmitted by touching infected fluid. Spit, sweat, tears, blood, excrements. What's not clear is, is it just touching and somehow makes it through your skin barrier or is it touching and then scratching your eyes or eating a burger? Unclear.

I'm no biologist, though I'm well-versed in many topics. My main day-to-day job involves math however. So from the math standpoint, it is suggestive that Ebola is less infectious than influenza. On the other hand, it also suggests that it is far more infectious than HIV; you don't hear about doctors treating Aids patients getting aids, short of the few who've had accidents with sharp, infected instruments.

So on the spectrum of how infectious a virus is, it lives somewhere between those two.

The other thing we know is that HIV kills very slowly, therefore has a greater chance of persisting; Ebola does have a chance of getting squashed because it kills in a few days.

But that leaves the incubation period in question. The information out there seems to suggest that you're not infectious until you exhibit symptoms. In my opinion, that is a reasonable guess from the few epidemics of ebola there has been; I don't think actual scientific research ever truly could be done on the topic to accurately map the actual infection mechanisms in a black and white irrefutable manner. This 'guess' also doesn't describe how long that infectious window truly is. A non-biologist like me assumes that as your body goes from a viral count of hundreds to trillions, there must be a period of time when you start sweating out that stuff while still feeling fine.

Understandably, there is no political will to take drastic measures to contain the epidemic. There cannot be. Society works just like vaccines do in medicine. Bad stuff will always make its hardest hit the first time. Then legislation passes in reaction to some event and the next time it won't hit us as hard as it did before. This pattern applies to everything. FEMA response to Katrina. Gun control. Animals escaping zoos. Building bridges that won't fall down this time due to quakes.

This is Ebola's first time out here. The government's not about to put Dallas under siege. It can't. There's too much money and logistics at stake. There are too many questions and there's not enough data or evidence. It may be the correct thing to do, but we'll only know this in hindsight. There is no way the government has the balls to take drastic action here. If you were a politician you wouldn't either, so it's not like they're to blame... they're just humans like everyone else, living in this body of humans called society and subject to the same types of attacks a human body is subject to but at a macroscopic scale. And society hasn't received its vaccine for this type of epidemic yet.

If we get to 10 reported cases in the US by the end of the month, we'll get to 100 million cases by mid next year. It will spread much faster in the US. Us adults work amongst other parents whose kids hang out at different cesspools of germs from all over town called 'elementary schools'. In other words, I'm exposed to disease from multiple cesspools via my coworkers. It can spread so much faster in the US I would think.

I also think that the death rate will be lower in the US than in Africa, thinking that by our better nutrition (debatable, ha!) and our medicine will reduce the rate, perhaps only by giving our immune systems the best chance to fight back as possible with IVs and what not rather than actual ebola-specific remedies.

But with the increased speed of spread, the medical system will be overwhelmed quickly and many will be left with no support. It's a race, and in the big picture I think there's only one thing we can do: pray we get lucky."

10-04-14, 05:04 PM
Yes, I too have a history of hyperfocusing on a new, interesting project. The interest might last several years or more.

Supposedly this is fairly common with ADHD.

Unfortunately it can go along with failing to meet other obligations because of the distraction/hyperfocus.

My experience is that medication + supplements and dietary modifications helped me to balance my obligations more effectively. Unfortunately at the moment, I need more ADD support but that is for another discussion.

10-11-14, 01:45 AM
as long as at least some focus is going towards school/work, and not some addictive game Robot wins.