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I'm back.

Posted by DarkLordCthulhu, 31 August 2014 · 6027 views

I've been away for quite some time. Looks like my last blog post was way back in March 2013, so that's probably the longest time I've gone without CodeCall. I stopped doing coding for a while, but now I'm starting up again. I'm coming back to CodeCall, 'cause I miss being here. I miss all the people here. You guys are awesome.

Well, I guess this calls for an update, some kind of explanation for why I've been gone so long and what I've been doing all this time. Well, basically, my life was in a constant downward spiral for a couple of years. I had a series of hospitalizations for psychiatric issues - first psychosis and then bipolar symptoms. I had to quit my job because I realized I wasn't able to work anymore due to everything that was going on. That was back in January 2013, though I hadn't worked at that job since the end of October 2012. That summer I had some more psychiatric problems, which I still can't ascribe to any specific cause. I started to lose contact with reality, retreating into a fantasy world. I no longer cared about real life, only my fantasy world of speculating about things that would probably never happen. I was stuck in that loop for almost a year. I lost interest in programming and mathematics. I did do one positive thing, which is I took up an interest in art. I spent some time drawing (though mostly I was just fantasizing) and I hung out on DeviantArt for a while. Last March I moved out of my parents' house and into a group home, and that made everything even worse. I lost my ability to drive due to my seizure disorder, which had been under control for a while, until I started having an allergic reaction to the medication I was on and had to be taken off it. I was still spending my money like I had an unlimited supply, and I ended up running out last June. At the same time a bunch of my things broke, things that I absolutely depended on for conducting my daily life, and I had to shell out huge sums of cash to fix or replace them. So I was left with no money, no car, no job, no friends, no parents to help me out, nothing.

But I learned to adapt. I started economizing with what little money I had. I worked to eliminate all the self-defeating behaviors I had, that I could no longer afford to continue - impulse buying, excessive fantasizing, explosive irritability, etc. I took a gradual, holistic approach to improving my situation, using a method of getting rid of bad habits one by one and slowly building up good habits. I knew that the first step was to improve my overall health - mental, physical, and spiritual. I started a regimen of daily meditation, along with mindfulness. I started studying Buddhism and learning about the Noble Eightfold Path. It was obvious that what I had been doing so far wasn't working, and I had to try something completely new. I couldn't go on living the way I was, and none of the life skills I had learned thus far had had any effect in rectifying my situation. The only remedy was to effect drastic changes in the way I think, feel, and live.

Now, after more than two years of fighting wall after wall, I'm finally starting to see some improvement. I have another job now; it's not much, but I get a little bit of money from it. I went from spending $500 to $1000 a month on things I would probably never use to having a weekly budget of only $25, which I have been able to stick to. I've figured out the root cause of the fantasizing and eliminated it, and I've also gotten over my sexual addiction and managed to maintain a lifestyle of complete celibacy. My irritability has significantly decreased - whereas in the past I would throw a fit every time my computer was slow or a vending machine ate my money, now I can have my computer break on me without even raising my voice. In fact today my Debian box failed to boot at all - I think I had it off and unplugged for too long and the CMOS battery died, causing the BIOS settings to be lost, and now I have to pay someone to manually reset the BIOS, but I don't have enough money - I will have to go without Linux, TeX, Common Lisp, etc. for a while, until I can save up some more money. But I handled it well; I figured out what was probably wrong with my computer, without getting really irritable. This isn't just a single occurrence either; this $hit happens to me on a regular basis. I've had horrible luck lately. Everything good that has happened in my life has been solely a result of my own hard work and ingenuity; I have had almost no luck or help to aid me.

There have been some other improvements as well. People around me have been a lot more friendly with me for some reason. I think it has a lot to do with the calm, peaceful, affable vibe I'm now giving off due to months of practicing mindfulness and meditation. I'm also able to think more clearly, to see things more objectively, to remember things I'm supposed to do, and to deal with life intelligently without having to overanalyze it. I'm also able to understand concepts I'm learning better. Since I started studying mathematics and computer science again, trying to relearn all the things I forgot during the worst few months of my life, I can easily understand things like Karnaugh maps, RS flip-flops, D flip-flops, bases of vector spaces, and the theory of cardinal arithmetic. I think this is partly due to the time I spent studying mathematics in 2012, which instilled in me a much better aptitude for understanding rigorous mathematical principles, and possibly partly due to my healthier lifestyle and more focused approach to learning. I'm correcting some misconceptions I had the first time I read these books. For example, I used to not understand the Schröder-Bernstein theorem because I thought it was a trivial statement that if A and B are cardinal numbers, then A ≤ B and B ≥ A implies A = B, which is obvious. Now I understand that the statement pertains not to simple ordering, but to the relation "is similar to a subset of", which makes the statement of the theorem far less obvious. I also understand the importance of the theorem in providing the necessary condition for proving that the set of rational numbers is countable. I also used to think that the completeness of the real number line precluded the existence of surreal numbers (nonreal numbers between real numbers); now I understand that surreal numbers are a possibility because the real numbers are not dense within the surreal numbers.

Right now I'm taking a more balanced approach to my self education. Rather than focusing on one subject for a few months and then abandoning it for another, I'm focusing on several areas of learning. I'm currently studying mathematics, computer science, and physics, and trying to teach myself TeX (though I won't be able to actually use it). I've put the drawing aside for a while, but I'm going to come back to it in a couple weeks, and then it will be fresh and new. I'm rediscovering everything that used to fascinate me, as well as reconnecting with the computer geek community and the mathematical community. I started reading Slashdot again. Looks like Steve Ballmer quit Microsoft, and now MS is being led by a computer geek. That's a positive change to say the least. I kinda wish the same thing would happen with Apple. Since I can no longer use gcc and make (on either my Mac or my Debian box), I'm figuring out how to use XCode, so I can start C programming again. I worked out how to make a command line program, but for some reason it spits out a compiler error whenever I try to use multiple C files. So no modular programming for a while; I'm going to have to compress all my code into one megalithic source file.

I'm coming back to CodeCall, hoping all the people I knew are still here. WingedPanther, gregwarner, Guest, Alexander. I'd love to hear from you guys if you're still here. :)

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I'm still here! Good to see you back in these waters again.


It sounds like you've been dragged through ** and back. Thank goodness you're coming out the other side stronger and smarter than before.

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Welcome back! Keep strong and smiling :)

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