Use what you were 'given' - Mental Illness to Super Power

Quick background on me

My entire life I have been an outsider. I have always looked at people as a puzzle that is to be worked on, not as a group I actually belong to. I have been kicked out of every school I ever attended, starting with Kindergarten.

I obsess on things. I see patterns where others don’t. I take ‘short-cuts’ constantly. I never completed homework back in the day. I rarely ‘took’ what I was being taught as the ‘gospel’, instead I was known for challenging the teachers.

Yeah, it is NOT a surprise when I tell you I did not make a good student and my expulsions were indeed warranted. I was also a physically abused child, so I lashed out at bullies, or perceived bullies. I was always in fights.

Use your ‘gifts’

Having a brain that isn’t normal isn’t easy. It is absolutely isolating, terrifying, and nerve wracking. However, all of you are coders, people who can control technology and who can make a FAR better living than most of the corporate slaves around you.

You may have been told that your differences were problematic your whole life. You may have been convinced of this simply through observation. You may feel, inferior and ‘not normal’.

That is all bullshit. You have a special mind, and you can tackle special problems many normal humans around you would be boggled with. You can digest information at alarming speeds in comparison to those around you. You can detect patterns in numbers and words and code. You can then use those patterns to create abstractions.

You are really a super hero, with a dark side.

By all means, get some professional help for your ‘downcycle’ but use that ‘upcycle’ (in the case of the bi-polar/manic depressives) to perform amazing feats of learning and creation. You have a gift, along with a dark side.

Did you really think it was a coincidence that so many of us, men and women, dug the shit out of characters like the X-Men? Or that things we were into when we were younger got us beat up, but then that shit turned into cult classics?

Wrapping up

See a doctor if you feel like you are one of us ‘damaged’ ones. When you meet with them, make sure to let them know you are a programmer. Let them know you have special gifts along with some bad stuff. That will help your therapist help you better.

I am no longer in active therapy, but I have also been dealing with this stuff since I was a little kid, and I practically grew up in therapy, as shipping a non-believing, science loving, almost autistic kid as way easier than explaining how a pair of Ministers could birth such a monster.

At some point you will have a vast catalog of dealing mechanisms that are not that unlike software patterns. You will have a framework for dealing with the world that is comfortable for you. But it takes years to grow into that place, and then occasionally, you will need help to get you back on track.

Final note on dealing with other programmers

We are all a bit fucked up. That is my opinion. I can spot a programmer by their habits and thinking long before they have to tell me they code. We are all arrogant at one time or another, or possibly all the time.

We are also smart. We are funny (if you are smart enough to get it). We are a bit crazy. We are the ones Steve Jobs and Apple made a tribute to. Our ranks also accept the scientists, researchers, social change pushers, and inventors of the world.

Is it any wonder we are sometimes hard to deal with? Remember that the next time, and I will continue to work at it myself. Love the neighbor, even though we are a bit of a pain in the ass. That neighbor is you, you are that neighbor.


To anyone who has stood up and ‘outed’ themselves, and more so for those who continue to remind the world and us, that we exist.

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