Counseling Programmers With Family Issues

Among my three siblings, I grew up the closest to my second sister, Liv. That’s probably because our big brother was too far in age (ten years older) for me to share a common interest with him, while our younger sister and I only had a one-year age difference, so we were constantly crashing. Though my second sister was five years older than me, that was enough for us to get along well.

My closeness with my sister continued even when we both got busy with our lives. When Liv was a senior in high school, I barely started in middle school. When I entered high school, Liv was graduating from nursing school. She was no longer home as often as when we were kids, but she would always call and ask me how I was doing, which I genuinely appreciated.

Becoming Adults

After passing her licensure exam, Liv made the biggest decision: she joined the army. Granted, she would be there to tend to the wounded soldiers and assist the doctors, but it alarmed the entire family. That feeling intensified when we found out that she would be deployed to Iraq. There was an ongoing war at the time, and that’s where she was heading. Still, Liv insisted on getting deployed, so our parents had no choice but to let her go.

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Throughout Liv’s service, I was in college, studying to become a programmer. Our conversations became much less than before since it’s difficult for her to find a signal overseas, but whenever we could talk, it was as if we were not on different continents.

Learning About The Unexpected

Then, one day, I was surprised to see a missed call from Liv. She had just been deployed for the sixth time in five years, and it was not in her nature to get homesick easily. Still, I decided to call her back.

“Hello, Live. Did you call me?” I asked when my sister picked up the phone.

“Yes, John. I am not in Iraq right now. I am actually in Vegas, about to get married to Link, my boyfriend in the army. We’re pregnant!” Liv announced excitedly.

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Her announcement and the fast way she delivered it made my head spin. For one, no one in the family knew that Liv had a boyfriend. Whenever we asked about her love life, she often said that she would only find love once she achieved her tenth deployment. And now, she told me she’s about to get married – and I was a soon-to-be-uncle?

As it turned out, my sister was not pulling my leg. She called us all to our parents’ house that night and introduced her new husband to us. Mom asked where they decided to live, what about her job, etc. All my sister said was, “Relax, guys. We have savings; we will get an apartment nearby tomorrow. I am retiring from the army, but my husband will still be a soldier, so that we will be fine.”

Then, Things Became Far From Fine Pretty Soon

The first year of Liv’s marriage passed blissfully. She had her baby girl six months after her big revelation, and then her husband got deployed right after that. Everything seemed to be going well for her until her husband was dismissed in the army to use illegal drugs with three other soldiers.

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It was awful news for many reasons. Liv was counting on her husband getting a pension at least once he retired. However, since he got discharged dishonorably, they could most likely kiss that pension goodbye. Then, he also needed to enter rehab, which was technically not cheap at all. On top of that, they had a baby whose financial needs tend to be bigger than that of an adult.

Who did my sister ask for help? That’s me. Of course, I could not say no to Liv, so I sponsored her husband’s rehab and shared money for some of their house bills. I did it for a few months without our parents’ or other siblings’ knowledge so that Liv could still save face whenever we would get together.

But I had to get counseling for myself when another year passed, and Liv and her family continued to rely on me. At that point, her husband was already sober, though he refused to find a job. The same went for Liv, who could have applied at any hospital nearby.

The counselor encouraged me to try detaching myself from Liv, especially since it was evident that she wanted me to support them forever. The counselor said, “There is never an easy way to do that, unfortunately. Your sister will get upset with you; she may even stop talking to you for a while. However, you should be okay with that if it means it will force her to practice self-accountability.”

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Final Thoughts

I followed my counselor’s advice and told my sister that I would stop giving her monetary allowance. As expected, she got mad at me and even tattled to our parents that I was awful. Hearing about it hurt me, but I stood my ground and kept my head down.

After some time, Liv reached out to me and apologized for her behavior. I was glad to know that she and her husband started working again, and they finally got their lives in order. Our bond only became stronger than ever once we moved past our previous issues.

Counseling Broken-Hearted Programmers

When I became a family counselor, I already anticipated that my clients would mostly be couples, kids, or parents with problematic kids. After all, family counseling could cover every possible issue that may affect the relationship between spouses, siblings, children, and parents. That’s also how I advertised my clinic, so you could imagine my astonishment when I started getting calls from broken-hearted programmers who sought counseling to get over their failed relationships.

In hindsight, it was not the fact that programmers wanted to book an appointment with me that shocked me the most. I lived near the Silicon Valley; I had several posters strategically in some tech companies. More importantly, my clinic sat along the main road, so it would have caught the attention of the people who went to work in Silicon Valley every day.

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What’s most surprising about it was the number of individuals willing to do a one-on-one session with a counselor to understand the best way to move on. Programmer or not, I would call that progress. It meant that people were getting wiser at handling breakups.

As you probably know (or you may have experienced yourself), heartbroken individuals tend to adopt harmful coping mechanisms. For instance, some may drown their loneliness in alcohol or partying. Others may swim in tubs of ice cream and junk foods. After doing that, they feel worse about themselves than ever, and the road to self-destruction may continue.

If you feel down today before your girlfriend or boyfriend just broke up with you, allow me to share some of my clients’ journeys.

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Programmer #1: The Martyr

Cristina had a playboy boyfriend who she believed was way out of her league. Because of that, whenever the guy would cheat on her with different women, she felt the need to forgive him. In her words, “I might never meet another handsome fella like him again, so I have to hold on to him despite his infidelities.”

Cristina gave me a call when her boyfriend ended up getting another girl pregnant, and she could not decide if she should take him back. The clear answer is that Cristina should stay as far away from that guy as possible, but she could not make up her mind due to her insecurities. Thus, I helped her build self-confidence so that she would stop being a martyr.

Programmer #2: The Workaholic

Gerard was married when he launched a tech startup in Silicon Valley. He did not come from money, so he worked day and night to ensure that his wife and future kids would never worry about bills ever. However, in his business, Gerard forgot to spend quality time with his wife, which caused them to grow apart.

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Gerard sought my help when he received the divorce papers from his spouse. He found it challenging to accept because all his hard work was dedicated to her. Still, I reminded Gerard that money never made the world go around. I encouraged him to try to patch things up with his wife, but if she would refuse to do so, he would merely have to learn from his mistakes.

Programmer #3: The Overly Romantic

Evan was a computer whiz who always felt introverted. Hence, when Lena, a beautiful British girl, approached him, he did everything to make her happy. Every night was a date night; every weekend meant a holiday trip. He also professed his love for her every minute of the day. Unfortunately, it’s all those antics that scared Lena and pushed her to leave him.

When Evan came to my clinic to share his story, he felt highly wronged since he did not hold back in showing his love for Lena. But I reminded Evan that coming in too hot too soon might have been the problem. “Though women love to be wined and dined, they are not always into overly romantic guys. You need to remember to chill on your next relationship and let the women make an effort on her own, too,” I said.

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Final Thoughts

Was it easy to counsel people who were primarily geniuses? No. The issue was not that they could not comprehend what I was talking about. Instead, it was the introversion that many programmers had. This introversion tends to make them awkward – sometimes desperate – choices to ensure that they will no longer be alone.

While my clients’ scenarios are different, I often need to remind them that those people they chose to shower with understanding and affection were lucky to have them. After all, tech is a progressive industry. If you tie the knot with a programmer in Silicon Valley, you are pretty much set for life.

However, as in the examples above, I also have to remind my clients to balance everything and be confident in themselves. You cannot be confident at your workplace alone – you must show confidence in your relationship so that you won’t step over or be stepped on by your partner.

Frequently Asked Questions About Situational Depression

I had always told my parents and friends that I would grow up and become one of the world’s best programmers. I developed a deep interest in computers and software as early as seven years old, you see. That was when my 1st grade teacher allowed us to use a computer for the 1st time. She only taught eyes how to boot it and type our name on a notepad. As my classmates were more interested in banging their fingers on the keyboard, I was busy staring at the screen with a stupid grin on my face, dreaming of the day when I could make a similar software that other people would love to use.

 However, I faced gender discrimination early in life. I am a female, and programming was seen as a job for males. It might no longer be the case in the 21st century, especially now that we are in 2021, but it was a big deal back in the day. Whenever I told my parents about my dream, they would ask me to become a model, nurse, or actress.

What my parents did not account for was my inability to submit to what people expected of me. It would mean that I would be unable to follow my dreams, and I could not accept them. Despite their efforts to enroll me in a ballet school or make me do theater work, I refused to do any of that and stayed in my room. They eventually gave in and allowed me to apply for a programming degree in college.

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When My Depression And Anxiety Started

I found out that my parents’ views were more common than mine. I learned that firsthand when I went to a college to send my application personally. The administrator asked me thrice if I was applying to make sure I wasn’t mistaken, but I told them that I genuinely wanted to be a programmer. I technically met all their requirements, so they accepted me, albeit reluctantly.

When the semester started, I felt the need to prove my worth because I was the only girl in that class. All my classmates seemed to bond over everything, but they tended to leave me out of things because of my gender. It made me lonely, to be honest, but I still pushed through because I wanted to program in my life. 

Then, when it was time for me to look for a job, I faced another hurdle. The first two companies that I applied for specifically told me that most firms only looked for male programmers – there was no room for a female in that department. This brutal revelation made my confidence wane, and it showed in my worsening subsequent interviews.

What is situational anxiety?

Situational anxiety is a short-term type of anxiety that you experience when you face a worrying situation. For instance, you may feel nervous because of an interview, school performance, or presentation.

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What are the four types of depression?

  • Bipolar disorder
  • Dysthymia
  • Seasonal affective disorder
  • Persistent depressive disorder

What is situational disorder?

Situational depression is a mental disorder that a person typically experiences due to stress. When you get over that situation, it tends to go away on its own.

Is depression a behavioral issue?

No, depression is a mood issue. Despite that, it can make you behave differently.

What are the five signs of mental illness?

  • You cannot stop worrying or getting paranoid, no matter how much others assure you that everyone is safe.
  • It does not feel like anything can lift your spirits or make you relax.
  • Your mood does not seem to stabilize for days.
  • You refuse to socialize with anyone – even with your family.
  • You eat or sleep excessively or not at all.

What does a mental breakdown look like?

A mental breakdown looks like you have lost control of everything, so you cannot help but cry it all out or behave erratically.

What is a psychotic break?

A psychotic break entails that an individual who is supposedly free from psychosis already starts to experience delusions and hallucinations again. 

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Do you cry during a mental breakdown?

Not everyone who experiences a mental breakdown cries, to be honest. Many people also feel depressed, detached, angry, or fearful, but they do not always cry.

What triggers psychosis?

Psychosis is typically triggered by other existing mental conditions like bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, severe anxiety or depression, and sleep deprivation. If you must know, many of these illnesses have at least one symptom similar to that of psychosis.

What are the early warning signs of psychosis?

  • You feel inappropriate emotions towards a specific situation.
  • You want to be alone, even if you didn’t use to be like that.
  • You act suspiciously towards everyone, including the people you have known forever.
  • You rarely or no longer shower, brush your teeth, change your clothes, etc.
  • You cannot think straight most days.

How can I stop being so sensitive?

If you do not want to be too sensitive anymore, you must do the following:

  • Write about the situations that hurt you instead of lashing out. You need not be a writer to do that. It should be no different from writing in your diary.
  • Ask yourself, “Why do I feel overly sensitive?” Is it because of how people react to what you say or do? Is it because you care too much about others’ opinions? Whatever it is, find a way to resolve your issues.
  • Keep in mind that berating yourself for being too sensitive will not ease your problems. In truth, it can worsen everything, considering you are only focusing on negative thoughts.
  • Try not to obsess about the littlest things you see or hear. That is called overthinking, and it will only do you harm in the end.
  • Take a deep breath and think of how you should react in every situation, especially if it is an awful one. It does not mean you should hide your anger or irritation when you do not feel respected – it just means that you should decide if the person who made you feel that way is worthy of your attention.
  • Welcome constructive criticisms. Doing so may feel like encouraging others to throw rocks at you, but you should let them do that and listen to every word objectively. That’s the only way for you to realize your misgiving and improve yourself.
  • Understand that not everyone hates you, even if it seems that way. Often, those people you claim to hate you are merely too busy with their lives to caring about yours, so chill.
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Is crying a sign of weakness?

No, crying is undoubtedly not a sign of weakness, even though you may have been told in the past that crybabies are losers. Over time, you will realize that crying indicates that you are brave enough to show your negative emotions to others.

Final Thoughts

I struggled with situational depression and anxiety for months. It came to a point when I thought of changing my path instead of breaking the mold. Things only got better when I went to counseling and understood my worth as a person. I became more prepared for my interviews and showed them how I could become an asset to the company. I soon received offers from one but five companies, all wanting me to start immediately.

 

Mental Health Of Programmers

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We all know at least one computer programmer in our life. At times we might assume that all they do is play games or hack into other people’s computers or maybe spy on us through our webcams. We can all blame the movies for that because, in all honesty, a computer programmer’s life can be pretty dense. Most of the time, programmers spend their time writing code or thinking about solving problems such as testing for bugs or thinking of how to create a new feature.

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When A Family Member Is A Programmer

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Have you ever wondered how a programmer lives their life? Are the movies right when they show programmers as these nerdy guys with glasses living in their parents’ houses? Well, in reality, programmers are not at all like that. I have had dates with and friends who are programmers and let me tell you, they are the best kind of people. Some of them are the people who I see as family.

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Why Programmers Should Take A Break Like Everyone Else Amid A Pandemic

The fates had undoubtedly been unkind to millions of people on the planet. Some either lost their only source of income or got evicted from their homes. Others—the more unfortunate ones—became infected with the coronavirus and had to recuperate without loved ones by their side.

Despite that, there are still a lucky few whose health and job are not at risk because of their chosen careers. We are talking about the people who may be working from home even before the pandemic. E.g., online teachers, freelance writers, and programmers. It is especially true for the latter, who must do everything on a computer.

Now, even if your job has not been affected by this pandemic, it does not entail that you should be a hero and continue overworking. You must spend some days off the job because:

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Relaxation Can Strengthen Your Immunity

The ultimate reason you need to take a break during this pandemic is that working too much can weaken anyone’s immune system. From one programmer to another, I know how some folks tend to spend hours on the computer until the wee hours. That may have been fine in the past, but your passion can become a bane, especially now that the coronavirus has practically put a target on everyone’s back.

The quickest way to strengthen your immunity is by prioritizing relaxation. Say, if you cannot leave work behind for an entire day, try to reduce your daily tasks. Doing so will give you enough time for relaxing activities, such as reading, cooking, baking, or at least taking a warm bath. The more me-time you get, the more your immune system will not need to deal with stress hormones. Thus, your body can defend itself against intrusive viruses more effectively.

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It Will Help You Avoid Burnout

You see, being overworked does not merely result in weak immunity but also make you experience work burnout. When it happens, you may feel like vomiting the career that you once dedicated your life to. Your mood turns sour whenever you think about it; you come to the office only because you have bills to pay.

It is scary to think of being stuck in a job that you no longer love. That can suffocate you, to the extent that you may try everything to get away from it. If you wish to avoid burnout, be a dear and take a well-deserved break while there is still a pandemic.

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You May Develop A Renewed Interest In Programming

It seems familiar in any relationship to find one who seems to be less interested in staying together than the other. This scenario typically occurs when the two have never spent a day without each other in years.

Well, the same idea applies to a programmer and the field. Considering you have been programming 350 out of 365 days, your attraction towards the activity may wane over time until you realize that you have had a change of heart. Therefore, before experiencing that, you should take a break from programming and stay away from codes and computers. Absence is supposed to make the heart grow fonder, so the holiday should help you develop a renewed interest in your career.

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Final Thoughts

I understand if you constitute “taking a break” to “slacking off.” That’s what every hard-working individual may say, and it is not too surprising. Despite that, have you ever considered the benefits of spending time off work before today?

If you haven’t, go back to the top of this page and read why programmers—or any workaholic, for that matter—should take a break amid a pandemic.

Good luck!

COBOL Programmers Are Badly Needed During The Pandemic

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If you are a COBOL programmer, then you are in luck. Your expertise is needed in some states here in the country, according to Kathy Gurchiek of the SHRM website. She says that COBOL programmers are in demand these days because they can align with workforce planning issues of the government. Well, here is what’s said in her article.

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Morale-Boosting Facts That Every Programmer Should Hear About

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When you talk about programming in front of someone who has never heard of it before, you cannot expect them to understand it fully for the first time. Some may say, “So, you play around with computers all day long? That sounds so easy! Even my four-year-old kid at home does that.” Others tend to quip, “Being a programmer cannot be better than becoming a doctor.”

Listening to such comments one too many times can undoubtedly make you feel less good about yourself. You may think that nobody appreciates your skills and that it may be more practical to go on another path now before it is too late. The thought may even depress you, to the point that you wreck your computers and quit your job and dream of living under a rock.

The thing is, why should you let ignorant people affect you? They have no idea about the relevance of your job. It sounds mean, but many of them do not have IQ that’s high enough to comprehend programming. If you still feel down, here are a few morale-boosting facts that we would like to share with you.

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The Entire World Needs Your Expertise

The first thing to realize is that billions of individuals across the globe rely on the applications on their gadgets to survive every day. For instance, they use their smartphone to text a loved one, ring the alarm, listen to music, and take Instagram-worthy photos. They may also open various websites to answer their questions or sign in to online messaging apps to talk to someone.

Now, aren’t all of these creations of programmers like you? Without your expertise, we may still be seeing supercomputers instead of laptops now. There may not even be Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube. I know that you may not be the one to make them, but you get the idea.

Your Contributions May Be Small, But They Are Not Unrecognized By The People Who Matter

Budding programmers tend to feel low because they can only work on small projects such as building a website or maintaining it. They wish that they can develop an app that everyone will want to download in their devices. They do not seem to think that they are doing valuable work by being a part of the tech support team either.

Well, I would advise you against thinking that way. Yes, your projects may not be known to a lot of people. Yes, some strangers lose interest in knowing more about your job when they realize that you do not work for the bigwigs in the tech industry. But what matters is that your bosses, family members, and friends recognize your hard work. I believe that matters more than the opinion of strangers.

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Final Thoughts

Why don’t you have a little bit of faith in yourself? Is it easier to listen to your bashers than to your supporters? As you have probably heard by now, what feels easy is rarely the right thing to do. And speaking of supporters, I’ve got the solution for you. BetterHelp is an online platform that can provide you with affordable counseling and therapy. Best of all, you get to do this wherever you are, it is that convenient. Take that leap of faith and get yourself better help.

Keep your chin up and take pride in being a programmer. You owe that to yourself and the field you love.

Cheers!

Communicating Tips For Programmers At Work

Have you been accepted to a new company? That’s excellent news! You will no longer have to take part-time jobs or live off of your savings. You can proudly say that you are a programmer, as well.

Now, to be in good terms with the people you meet in the company, you should remember a few communicating tips.

Listen Carefully

The first thing that you should do is to listen well to your bosses and older coworkers. Our working idea here is that you are a newbie in a company. You do not know anyone there, while the others may be in the same office for months or years. They may be following a specific process that you have never heard of before. There may also be new programming tools that you can only find there. If you start on a project without learning about everything, you may end up redoing the task and upsetting your new coworkers.

To help you stay present in a meeting or conversation, turn away from your computer and put your phone into airplane mode. Even better, leave your phone at your desk. — Emma Seppälä Ph.D.

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Speak Clearly

I want to think that every company promotes a safe space for all the employees. In that sense, you should be able to raise questions regarding processes that you do not understand. You may also present new ideas without fearing that they will shut it down before you can even finish your words.

The key here is to use your voice and not mumble anything. If you do the opposite of that, who will hear you – the wall?

Disagree Politely

In conjunction with the previous tip, being able to speak well entails that you can express your disagreement towards the things that your bosses want you to do.

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For instance, you are asked to develop a game for kids, but some of the designs they are suggesting are for adults. You cannot directly say, “Are you kidding me? That game will not make money!” Instead, you should say, “I love your ideas, boss. However, how do you feel if we do it this or that way?” By talking like that, your superior will not feel humiliated, and so they will be more likely to listen to you than not.

If a message is important, such as a new workplace policy, a directive, scheduling an appointment, and the like, it is important to repeat the message to ensure clarity. — Ronald E Riggio Ph.D.

Participate In Meetings Actively

As a programmer, you need to take part in project meetings actively. That is especially true if you have to work with other programmers. You need to know the output that is expected of you. You should be able to raise objections or suggestions in that instant, too. Otherwise, you may not have a chance to do that as you start a project.

Work Humbly

The last thing that you want is to exude arrogance at work. You cannot strut in the office every day and boast about how excellent your programming skills are. You do not have to do that, primarily if your output can speak for itself. Not to mention, your coworkers may like you less if you are not humble.

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Final Thoughts

The duration of your stay in a company not only depends on your technical talents but also on your communicating skills. What good will it do for everyone if you can program applications well but have a rotten attitude, after all?

Be smart and kind so that your coworkers will love you.

Knowing how to build rapport is the basis to experience success and fulfillment in life. — Aldo Civico Ph.D.

Good luck!