Category Archives: Mind

Women’s Rights, Human Respect

This election and a short conversation with a family member has got me wanting to share my opinion. The country was floored by Donald Trump’s “locker talk”, his racist comments, and his blatant disrespect for virtually all minorities. My heart is broken that America really made a man like that president. There’s more to this life than the pointless bickering, money, laws, and politics. We are all living on borrowed time. We should view one another with love no matter our religion, disability, skin color, sex, or income. We should all agree to disagree respectfully. We should always be humble and remember that all life is life. However, when I look at my Facebook feed or talk to (most) of my friends and family, I come to realize that they share the same negativity.

“‘Merica!”

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While I do not have time for a review of this book, I wanted to share it. I just finished it last week and really found it helpful. With new babies, a 2 year old, and school I simply could not follow the suggestion of doing it all in one go completely. However, the methods and tips Marie shares are some of the most simple but rewarding ways of tidying. I really enjoyed the writing style. I was left feeling like I had taken a course and gained a friend. Marie’s personality and humor made it hard to put down. Very happy nook recommended it for me.

Check it out here

The problem of being in between [plugging in or turning off]

siavoshb:

Technologically and socially, I feel like we’re in a very awkward place and time. It’s official that we can no longer live without our smartphones, our email, our snapchats, and facebooks. Yet we also hate ourselves for it. For the cost it imposes on our personal time, our family time, our time for personal reflection and focus, and our mental and physical health.

As a software developer, I love all of it but like many others feel that something is out of balance. I find myself drawn to pre-industrial times, crafts, nature, and a slower way of living. I often find myself being nostalgic for a childhood without push notifications and asynchronous communication. Yet I cannot give them up because they define my relationships, my industry, my hobbies—they enable them, make them possible and help them thrive.

I’m not alone. If we were forced to choose what is healthy, what is sustainable, and what is more meaningful, my peers and I would no doubt choose that which is real and natural instead of virtual and artificial.

I swing from deleting all my apps, to installing them all back plus more. I swing from feeling guilty to feeling indulgent in answering all my technological cravings. I’m a binge consumer of digital things. This is no doubt a problem of discipline, one must control their compulsions. Unplug, go for a walk. Sure, I’ve always said, but I am made like everyone else, from the same faulty organic processes.

We can play a prediction game: what will satisfy all these needs and eliminate the inner contradiction in me and in you? The ultimate end is to surrender to a virtual life, the end state is one of living in bits and wire; it’s the virtual reality that will be developed in the next twenty or thirty years. A virtual world where everything is perfect and everything is possible. In this world, there cannot be any resistance or guilt. A fully virtual life, ironically, could be the answer to all our banal and civilizational problems. I think that’s where we are going, and it will eliminate any last vestiges of our luddite past.

We are having a problem of adolescence—a problem of being in between. We know where we are going. We are going to where our nature is. We strive for consistency and cannot help ourselves until we achieve it.

It’s strange.

How we never have enough time for anything.

To read. To write. To sleep.

To run errands. To watch movies. To cook

To Relax. To see friends. To travel.

Until we find love.

For love is timeless & is not bound by schedule.

Eight things that help manage bipolar disorder

First off let me start by saying I obviously am not a licensed
psychologist of any kind. I saw a conversation on this photo
of Max Bemis and it made me want to share the top eight things that help me
manage my bipolar disorder.

I used to be completely out of control. In and out of the
hospital, on a bunch of different medications, self-medicating with drugs and
alcohol, and letting my life just swirl entirely out of control. I was screwing
my mind, not sleeping, giving into urges, and pushing myself toward psychosis
daily. I didn’t care if I lived or died, I just didn’t want to suffer any more.
I just wanted to forget about everything and let myself go. When I got pregnant
with my first child I realized I had to get myself under control. So I finally
started taking my mental health seriously. Here is a list of the top ten things
that helped me get my bipolar disorder under control and keep it that way.

1) Removing stressors – The biggest stressor for me (that is
within my control) is mess. I can’t stand clutter, I hate dirt, and I don’t
know how I lived so much of my life in untidy/unorganized/dirty places. I used
to get so overwhelmed by the amount of steps it would take to clean or
declutter that I just wouldn’t do it. Then the mess would stress me out and
every time I walked through my home I felt like pulling out my hair and ended
up sending my mood in a downward spiral. Once I had this revelation I buckled
down and spent a few months decluttering and working out a cleaning schedule
that would ensure mess stayed to an absolute minimum (until I hit the last
month of my pregnancy that is)! I would break each task into multiple smaller
steps, which brings me to number two…

2) Tracking
and making lists
 – By
making lists I am able to battle my apparently lapsing memory, my anxiety about
large tasks, and able to actually get things done. By tracking my habits,
symptoms, triggers, and moods I have been able to learn when and where I’m
headed in terms of my bipolar. Not only has it helped me learn how to better
manage my disorder, but it has helped me become more disciplined.

I used to keep a paper journal, electronic lists, and bits of
this information all over the place. As part of my getting organized focus last
year I started keeping all of my bipolar related stuff in a single book. I made
a binder for all other things I needed to track and lists, along with a daily
time-blocker and task list. This really helped me stay on top of things but I
ended up modifying my huge home/self/school/time management binder. I moved all
of the information to a single moleskine notebook, taped DIY dry-erase pages
into it, then realized that the unorganized layout was stressing me out. So I
searched YouTube for organization and scheduling ideas and found all of these
videos on ring-bound planners and knew it was perfect for what I needed.

3) Creative expression – My Filofax is one creative outlet, but
knitting was my savior. I’ve always loved crafting and creating. However, it
became something more when I got serious about my mental health. Knitting and
sewing became my two favorite pastimes. Keeping my hands busy and mind focused
on a task keeps my mind from thinking too much. The sense of accomplishment and
feeling of joy I get making something and giving it to someone really keeps me
in good spirits too. I used to feel like I was just wasting time when Joe and I
would sit down at the end of the day to watch Netflix together and wind down.
Now I knit almost every day. If I’m stressed or anxious I can just pick up my
needles and the action calms my body and mind down faster than any medication
ever did.

4) SLEEP and
other biological needs
 – I used to stay up
however late I wanted, smoke myself to cancer, do drugs, and consume virtually
no drink other than Mountain Dew and hot tea. I started making sure I got at
least eight hours of sleep, stopped smoking, stopped drinking as much soda,
started drinking at least six glasses of water a day, and began exercising five
days a week. I had been doing yoga for years and occasionally pilates. However,
I started adding some aerobics and cardio which really helped me. I began
looking at my body as a home rather than a garbage can. My goal was no longer
to have as much fun and disconnect as much as possible before I died, but to
tend and care for my body. The biggest thing for me was to stop putting artificial
drugs into my system, both pharmaceutical and recreational.

5) Weaning from medication –
I believe there is a time and place for medication, sometimes it IS needed for
a short period of time. However, I also believe that just dosing a person up
with tranquilizers in order to “help them” become okay for society is
not good. These powerful drugs that are given to people with mental illness
many times end up having a worse effect than the disorder. Their weight
changes, their self-image changes, and they end up being reliant on a
medication that they are building an immunity to meaning more, more, and more
will be administered until eventually they have to switch to something else.
For people with bipolar, the meds often make them gain weight. For people with
ADHD, it’s often the opposite. I personally think the focus should be on
learning to manage the illness, and medication should be a tool; not vice
versa.

6) Shoot for truth with myself and
others 
– I needed to face myself, be honest with myself, and shoot for
truth. I needed to be straight forward and honest with the people in my life. I
needed to stand up for myself and stop just accepting the way things were. I
needed to accept the fact that no relationship was going to turn out well for
me if I spent all of my heart and time focused on someone that was completely
out of my reach. By loving someone that would never love me back in the same
way I was destroying my romantic relationships. I had this idealistic idea of
who and what we were, was in denial about the true nature of things, and needed
to be truthful with myself about the whole situation. I needed to get my
runaway legs and straying eyes fixed on the person in front of me that I had
decided to spend the rest of my life with.

7) Becoming
a bit of a hermit
 – I
would stress out so much about other people, their problems, and their
addictions. I lived too close to much of my family and was always getting
dragged into their drama and beef with one another. I felt as though it was my
responsibility to mediate and fix things for the people I loved. Distancing
myself really helped with that. I also needed to cut ties with the people that
were unhealthy for me. Not that I felt like I was better than anyone, but some
friends were not good for what I was shooting for in life and needed to be let
go.

8) Facing my fears –
The song “Fear” by Blue October explains this 100%. All my life I had
been running from this pain in me, allowing it to hold me down, trying
everything I could to escape myself. I used to fall, now I get back up. I don’t
have to be afraid, fall apart, and let the damage consume me. I don’t have to
be afraid of getting better, or being happy, or letting go of the past. Really
the whole Sway album from Blue October sums up the whole last year of my life.
I just had to face my fears, stand back up, and start picking up the pieces of
me.

Programming Learning Media: Pros and Cons

So you want to start programming, but not sure where to begin? There are many ways to learn how to code. In this post I will be covering the different ways of learning programming, and the pros & cons of each. First things first, you do NOT have to go to college to get a job as a programmer. However, I recommend it. You will be subjected to all of the different sects of programming, and get to see what kind of programming interests you the most. You also have an instructor at your disposal for idea exchange. You DO have to be dedicated to learning all that you can on your own time, whether you’re in college or not. Now, let’s take a look at different learning media:

Tutorials
There are a few options here. You can find text tutorials in books, online, and sometimes in the program console you’re working on. This is a great way to get your muscles (both brain and fingers) used to the language you are coding in. A great site for this is Codecademy, you will need to register (it’s free). Cons: you could miss some important programming concepts if you only follow tutorials.

Video Series
There are a number of really great video series on youtube that will not only give you coding examples and tutorials to follow along with; but insight into general programming concepts and good coding practice/tendencies. A personal favorite of mine is Jesse Warden’s Intoduction to software development for the basics. Highly recommend if you’re new to coding. He’s funny and very informative. Cons: it’s harder to ask questions, you may or may not get a reply, and you have to wait for responses.

Workshops
These are harder to come by (at least in my area). However, I have watched multiple recorded workshop sessions on youtube and they are a great starter for anyone new to programming. You follow along, get to take notes, and you have multiple event staff there to help get you set up and answer any questions you may have. Most of these that I have seen you bring your system and they will help you install what you need to start coding. If not, they provide detailed information on how to do so ahead of time. Cons: usually cost money, can be difficult to find, could have to wait a while for the workshop date.

Classes
Classes are one of my favorite ways to learn. Reason being, most programmers are lazy, myself included. A class helps me stay motivated to practice, practice, practice (because I have a due date for my work). Almost all the programming classes I have taken have been online (or half online half face to face). They usually consist of a mix of the previously mentioned learning media. You’ll have a book, tutorials, videos, and a person to answer your questions. You do not have to pay to go to college in order to take classes. There are many classes online such as Coursera, MIT’s open coursework, and W3Schools. Cons: They take a bit of dedication, but programming itself does too!