Voyageur Technologique

The Nefarious Interconnectedness of Well-being

[epistemic status: probably the cheesiest thing I’ve ever written and has probably been said better elsewhere]

The University of Waterloo Health Services has a bunch of workshops on dealing with stress. These are helpful workshops. The advice is pretty standard:

  • Sleep, eat and exercise.
  • Use Cognitive Behaviour Therapy to deal with unhelpful thought patterns.
  • If you’ve got weird brain things going on, take some medication.

However, the implementation details of these healthy habits aren’t given. This makes sense, because they’re super specific to the person, however it does give a person some weird expectations about progress. Specifically, progress should be linear and accumulate positively. This usually isn’t the case.

You would be forgiven for thinking the progress towards a better life is linear:

Why yes, graphic design is my passion. How did you know?

Instead, you usually get something looking like this:

Google Draw. Functional enough to get things done. Ugly enough that I wished I learned to use something else.

Because instead of the progress on these things looking like a bunch of parallel branches:

Look at all those nodes working together!

You get some cluster-muffin like this:

Oh noes. What happened nodes?

If you’re lucky, there are solutions to all these things can be supported with a community that help you commit to the incremental process, but if you’re not as lucky you might get stuck.

I’m not the only person thinking about this. Some clinicians think focusing treatment around a network of symptoms instead of a single diagnosis could lead to better treatment SlateStarCodex has an excellent summary and analysis. . I’m not a clinician, so I’m sure as hell not going to comment on the validity of that strategy.

I don’t know what the solution for this is. Managing food is getting easier, thanks to things like Soylent. I think Mates and 7 Cups are trying to work towards students helping students so that everyone has a good community. Mostly, I just wanted to put this message out there, based on the belief that realistic expectations are beneficial.

Recovery and coping is neither a uniform, nor a linear progression. Don’t expect it to be.

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