Programming's Effect on Mental Health

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#16 gabehabe  Icon User is offline

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Re: Programming's Effect on Mental Health

Posted 04 July 2011 - 04:33 AM

View PostBrewer, on 04 July 2011 - 10:32 AM, said:

View Postmaniacalsounds, on 01 July 2011 - 04:34 PM, said:

Well, I'm not going to college to get a useless "psychology" degree


My girlfriend is a Psych major.

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#17 Dogstopper  Icon User is offline

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Re: Programming's Effect on Mental Health

Posted 04 July 2011 - 12:13 PM

And...how do you feel about that...?
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#18 KYA  Icon User is offline

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Re: Programming's Effect on Mental Health

Posted 04 July 2011 - 12:17 PM

I have this incredible urge to smoke a cigar right now.
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#19 litedrive  Icon User is offline

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Re: Programming's Effect on Mental Health

Posted 05 July 2011 - 08:44 PM

View PostJeff H, on 03 July 2011 - 10:12 PM, said:

Is it kinda like you feel as your going to have a hallucination but never do?
Do feel like you are in a type of dream world?(more like a nightmare)
I could be totally wrong but your posts just made think that.


Almost exactly it. I've been feeling like I've been in a dreamworld for quite a while now - that was actually what caused my therapist to suggest I take a break from programming in the first place.

It is interesting how the brain functions in these ways. The problem is that it really was all because of impulsive meditation and Yoga practice (which is basically meditation++, in another sense, or better yet: meditation with workout).

Seriously, that shit will fuck you up horribly if you are not careful.

Anyway, yes I would say that's almost exactly what I'm experiencing. Everything I look at is surreal to me. It's almost like I see an inner presence within inanimate objects, sort of like they're alive in some way. It's hard to discern exactly what the issue is, or why this itself is what I'm seeing. I'm not a fan of surreal things, so the representation could easily stem from subconscious fears.

I have a feeling that I'm more bipolar than Schizophrenic, though if I haven't mentioned it before my exact diagnoses (at least, for now) is Schizoeffective, which is more of a generic diagnoses that borrows from the elements of both BiPolar and Schizophrenia. It's quite interesting, actually. The BiPolar side of it may be causing anxiety in many different ways, which may be triggering the hallucinations. I read an article which described a symptom of a BiPolar I diagnosis, which reported similar events to what I'm experiencing.

People with BiPolar (and Schizophrenia as well, I belive) are strongly warned against practicing meditation, or any other form of Yogic mind/body practice. I've even had to stop taking Kung Fu lessons because of the mind/body movements it requires.

Some food for thought. I understand I'm trailing off a bit here, but it's only so others understand the actual source of the problem itself.
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#20 modi123_1  Icon User is offline

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Re: Programming's Effect on Mental Health

Posted 05 July 2011 - 09:55 PM

Hmm.. not to pry but the whole "meditation is dangerous" - do you have any lit on that or can you explain more? I've daubed with some here and there, but eventually lost the time to carve out for it. Usually bineural audio and what not.
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#21 litedrive  Icon User is offline

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Re: Programming's Effect on Mental Health

Posted 05 July 2011 - 10:05 PM

I'm not really sure what the ramifications are for audio sensory things, but I'd imagine their relatively the same idea: clear your mind and become more focused, calm, and self-aware.

Meditation is as spiritual as it is scientific. People have literally gone insane because of it. Yogi Mandella, who was a guru back in the '60s was given LSD. It didn't do anything to him because he was use to experiencing the same sensation everyday through meditation.

Granted, for most people this takes at least an hour of daily meditation for years. For people in my case, though, we're like ultra-hyper sensitive to it.

I recommend looking up "meditation risks" or something similar in Google. You'll find plenty of information on what to watch out for, and if you search well enough, you'll find information on how to meditate properly. Even with that, though, I still wouldn't recommend getting into it until you have a guide to help you.

The basic idea is that you sit with your legs in a lotus or half-lotus position (look that up, too, if you don't know what that is) with your back straight, and your hands in a specific position, the fingers emanating a shape.

Then you either focus on your breath with your eyes closed, or you use a mantra to guide your meditation. Whatever you do, try hard not to space out, but don't force your mind so much either. It's hard to explain, but you have to do it right, or else negative things can happen to you. I'm neither spiritual nor am I anti-spiritual in terms of belief, but I can tell you that the belief revolves around the idea of these portals called "chakras" which are like spiritual levels within your body that you open. The longer you meditate, the more chakras open, the more open your soul is, and therefore the more any "entity" out there, if you will, will have access to you.

I was in a trance for twenty minutes, and after I came out of it I was pretty fucked up. I'm still that way, for the most part. I also wouldn't try it if you smoke, drink daily, or are taking any kind psychoactive medication. If you smoke pot, stop smoking for a month first then get into it.

If performed properly, the benefits are amazing and truly healthy in many ways. If performed improperly, however, there is no telling what will happen. Things could be mildly upsetting or very bad. I cannot stress this enough: just. Be. Careful.
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#22 tlhIn`toq  Icon User is offline

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Re: Programming's Effect on Mental Health

Posted 05 July 2011 - 10:38 PM

View Postlitedrive, on 05 July 2011 - 09:44 PM, said:

Almost exactly it. I've been feeling like I've been in a dreamworld for quite a while now - that was actually what caused my therapist to suggest I take a break from programming in the first place.


At the risk of starting a fight I just have to point out you can't take someone already in therapy and use them as a study subject to try to decide if programming would cause mental problems.

You can't take someone who already tests positive them as a test sample to see if some thing will cause them to test positive.

Personally, my best 'meditation' to get my brain re-focused is either shooting or bowling. Both require you block out everything else and pay attention to your body and attempt to accurately reproduce all of your movements. You have to get your mind tuned to your body for both sports.
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#23 litedrive  Icon User is offline

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Re: Programming's Effect on Mental Health

Posted 07 July 2011 - 10:06 PM

Wait, are you saying that my therapist is using me as a test experiment to see whether or not programming can be a link to mental health problems?

Please elaborate.

And it's true that you don't necessarily need meditation to have a clearer level of thought. Everybody truly has their own method of clearing their mind, it just depends on which method works best for the individual.

For some people it's practicing a martial art. For others it's doing surfing, or hang-gliding. Etc.
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#24 Nightfish  Icon User is offline

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Re: Programming's Effect on Mental Health

Posted 08 July 2011 - 04:36 AM

View Postlitedrive, on 07 July 2011 - 10:06 PM, said:

Wait, are you saying that my therapist is using me as a test experiment to see whether or not programming can be a link to mental health problems?


That wouldn't make any sense, which was that guy's point, I believe. That'd be like if you showed up at the hospital with 2 broken legs and they threw puppies at you for 10 minutes and came up with the conclusion that puppy impacts cause broken legs. They might very well do that, but I'd have to throw puppies at a healthy person to see if it has any effect. When your legs are already broken, all I can prove is that puppy impacts are no miracle cure (assuming your legs stay broken after the duration of puppy throwing).

If you wanted to prove that programming caused people to go bonkers you'd need, say, 2000 people.

Step 1: Make 1000 of them program like a boss for an extended period of time and forbid the other 1000 to do any programming at all. Otherwise let them go about their buisness. After the duration, compare the amount of people that went coo coo for cocopuffs in either group and - assuming that more programmers than control group people went nuts - ask a mathematician if those numbers are statistically signifcant.

Step 2: ???

Step 3: Nobel Prize.

This post has been edited by Nightfish: 08 July 2011 - 04:37 AM

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#25 tlhIn`toq  Icon User is offline

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Re: Programming's Effect on Mental Health

Posted 08 July 2011 - 05:16 AM

View PostNightfish, on 08 July 2011 - 05:36 AM, said:

That wouldn't make any sense, which was that guy's point, I believe.

Very correct.

Nightfish said:

That'd be like if you showed up at the hospital with 2 broken legs and they threw puppies at you for 10 minutes and came up with the conclusion that puppy impacts cause broken legs. They might very well do that, but I'd have to throw puppies at a healthy person to see if it has any effect. When your legs are already broken, all I can prove is that puppy impacts are no miracle cure (assuming your legs stay broken after the duration of puppy throwing).


I love the analogy. It worries me however that you had to re-explain it to the OP in even simpler terms than my original statement...

tlhIn`toq said:

you can't take someone already in therapy and use them as a study subject to try to decide if programming would cause mental problems.

You can't take someone who already tests positive as a test sample to see if some thing will cause them to test positive.


I think this right here answers the original question of this thread:
It was NOT the programming. The OP was already this way. :1eye:

0500hrs. 23 hours at the keyboard, coding. I hate it when my boss makes impossible commitments that *I* have to live up to. :gunsmilie: Still sane-ish. At least as much as I was when I woke up at 0600hrs yesterday morning. - Good night all. :zzz:
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#26 litedrive  Icon User is offline

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Re: Programming's Effect on Mental Health

Posted 08 July 2011 - 02:28 PM

I misinterpreted what you said, then. I thought you were actually saying that was what my therapist was doing.
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#27 luckielordie  Icon User is offline

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Re: Programming's Effect on Mental Health

Posted 12 November 2012 - 04:25 PM

Programming my own brain ?? I'm in !
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#28 wordswords  Icon User is offline

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Re: Programming's Effect on Mental Health

Posted 14 November 2012 - 06:42 AM

Hi OP,

I don't really understand the supposed risks of meditation. I meditate for 2 minutes several times a week, and find it helps clear my mind, not cause me to hallucinate. I have the same mental health diagnosis as you. I would recommend you check out this book - "The Mindful Approach to Depression".

http://www.amazon.co...s/dp/1593851286

It talks about using meditation exercises to help combat mental health problems, such as depression. If you become too absorbed in lengthy meditation, I think it can cause problems, but I would argue that you are not really meditating then, instead you are hallucinating. I agree that putting yourself in a situation which can trigger hallucinations is a bad idea though - different approaches work for different people.

One thing that has helped me is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy - CBT. You might find it useful. It is about 'programming your brain' into changing your mood by changing your internal thought processes. It is entirely safe. I recommend this book called 'Mind Over Mood' for CBT:

http://www.amazon.co...g/dp/0898621283

There are also some good online CBT course sites, which are free and anonymous, such as Moodgym:

https://moodgym.anu.edu.au/welcome

As far as the mental health impacts of programming, I would say that programming is an activity which encourages solitary and obsessive problem solving. In my experience it is only the isolation aspect of programming which causes a problem, ie: if all you do is program for 8 hours a day with no human contact for weeks on end, it can negatively affect your mental health. But so can any solitary activity for that amount of time. If you are in a workplace where people talk to each other, I think it is fine. Alternatively, if you work solely alone but if you have a good social life or people to meet up with at lunchtime or after work, I think that is fine too. If you maintain a decent amount of human contact in your day-to-day life, you should be OK. Some people prefer to have a lot of human contact, some get by or prefer to have little, so the amount that is right for you will vary.

I have had a very successful and rewarding career in software engineering despite having the same mental health problems that you suffer from. One of the things which I have found very important is a workplace that is understanding about taking sick leave when you need to, and also one which is social and friendly. Definitely keep seeing a therapist though, even if you decide to stop seeing your current one. I have also found that appropriate medication has really helped.

This post has been edited by wordswords: 14 November 2012 - 06:43 AM

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#29 wordswords  Icon User is offline

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Re: Programming's Effect on Mental Health

Posted 14 November 2012 - 06:53 AM

View PosttlhIn`toq, on 02 July 2011 - 03:08 AM, said:

My personal opinion is that if someone is weak minded and weak genetically they are going to suffer more problems both mental and physical than someone of stronger stock.

Basic Darwinian evolution.

Except for extreme jobs where you deal with chemicals, coal dust, radiation and the like your job isn't going to cause it.

However, one's job can be a source of triggers. Being a coder with tight deadlines and pressures might not be a good fit for someone already weak in the head. Perhaps donut shop clerk might be better.


Incidentally, high rep or not, this is one of the worst posts I've ever read on this site.
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#30 cgren72  Icon User is offline

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Re: Programming's Effect on Mental Health

Posted 14 November 2012 - 07:36 AM

OP, was the original question posted out of paranoia that one of your favorite things (programming) could be taken away from you? I have noticed that people (including myself at times) will try to take something away from themselves that is important to them, so that it can't be taken away by other means.
When I was a younger, and unable to control it well, I was effected strongly by ocd. It wasn't the kind that gave me urges to organize, but it was more of a self paranoia. I used to play guitar alot, and always worried that if I didn't play a certain way, and at certain amounts, I would not be able to play well. I also had to treat the guitar itself like it was a 100,000 year animal fossil. I also have a strong paranoia for certain things like chemicals and making sure everything is turned off and locked 50 times, that I have to control daily. I have been prescribed medications which I never filled, because I am strong enough to control it without. There are benefits to it though too, so I am really not complaining. I have a great memory and remember details well.

The examples go on, and its not really the point, but what I was really asking is do you have a fear that someday you won't be able to program anymore? If not, disregard this
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