Today, I am going to unveil a theory I have been working on for over 10 tens years, but first I’m going to explain a little about how I arrived at this theory. I’ve worked in computers since the days when the PC was first invented and I am now nearly 50 years of age.
So we’re talking something like 25-30 years working around computers, whether this be installing them, programming them or managing them.
Now, I myself have an anxiety related illness that 10 years ago led to chronic panic attacks and finally to an emotional breakdown. I had learning difficulties as a child, again because of anxiety and an inability to concentrate. Yet, I had a very deep interest in learning and when computers came along took to them like a duck to water.
Anyway, to cut a long story short, as my career in computers progressed I found that my desire for programming got stronger and ended in me purchasing nearly every book on computer programming in the Waterstones shop. Equipped with such a library you would have thought that I would turn out to be a master programmer, yet the reverse turned out to be true.
As I read the book, my mind would begin to drift off elsewhere, I would suddenly feel overwhelmed and extremely tired and when I got back to the code I was reading I found I had lost the thread of the script and had to start all over again. If I did manage to learn an algorithm, my anxiety would come a day or two later and almost entirely erase the model in my head.
I found this extremely frustrating and my enthusiasm for computing began to wane, although I always remained hopeful that I would find a way to overcome this problem.
Well, it took me nearly 30 years to understand this problem and only a short time this evening to write the solution out to my cousin John on Skype.
Here is the problem and here is the solution.
With people who have emotional problems, memory can be a real problem and so can continuity of thought. It is like having a mind that has limited integrity. It means that you can be trying to work out a problem on one day and begin to get a result, but when you come back to the problem the next day, you have forgetten some of what you learnt the day before and so you have to start all over again, or at least further back than you should – and so it goes on. This is because emotional instablity is continously erasing some of you memory.
The only way I have found to ensure such a mindset remains consistent with programming is to have someone looking over my shoulder as I code, putting me right and being patient with me until such a time as the programming ability is burnt into my psyche.
People with mental disorders live in a world of abstraction and by helping them focus on using their hands and eyes to construct logical statements and build code that returns fantastic results, these people are effectively reprogramming their reality and in turn re-programming their way beyond their mental illness.
I believe that learning programming is a way out of my mental fragility. At least for me!
It brings cognitive alignment, concentration, increase in self esteem, potential income, interest, friendships and a sense of belonging.
If you are someone who would love to learn programming and have had difficulties with anxiety, depression and concentration contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I don’t have any formal qualifications in the field of treating mental illness, but I have spent most of my life fighting with it and the majority of this time, working to alleviate it (until very recently) on my own.
All the best,