I am learning what the students at school are learning about computer programming. I believe if I learned programming this way in the first place, I wouldn’t have the anxiety I do now. I stopped taking computer classes when I felt sick at the thought of taking another one. Code.org is free. The 2 minute video I watched today caught my attention in a big way. Jumping up and down and shouting, “Eureka,” seemed reasonable. You would need to get a user name to go to this link but here it is https://studio.code.org/s/course3/stage/1/puzzle/1 I watched it several times writing notes. There are 4 basic steps to breaking down a problem. First is to Decompose the problem…..what are all the little pieces to a problem. My counselor often reminded me that PTSD is a big problem made up of a bunch of little problems snowballed together. Many hours of counseling I spent decomposing my problems. To illustrate this idea I will use Thanksgiving dinner planning. I used to have melt downs at the thought of preparing Thanksgiving dinner. However, when I started breaking down the BIG THANKSGIVING DINNER to turkey, rolls, mashed potatoes…..etc….each smaller piece could be broken down into smaller solutions. The best part was grown children that cook better than I do each contributing to the meal. To decompose a problem is to break it down to its smallest parts. Decomposing PTSD would be separating emotions from flashbacks, anger about past from anger concerning present problems. Pulling apart all the different components make the problem more manageable. Another way of looking at decompose in old cliches is “How do you eat an elephant? Cut it up into small pieces.” I believe counseling did the most to help me to recognize, catalogue, and teach me skills to fix smaller problems.
The next thinking process is pattern match. Once you have smaller pieces I can compare the small pieces to other smaller pieces. Matching up my reaction to other people reaction. I excel at match games. But my counselor took it one step further. He had enough experience to show me how my reactions to situations differ from the average person. He explained every parent is concerned about children being safe in a bathtub. He pointed out that I only allowed one inch of water. He pointed out that most people don’t like being grabbed, I freeze so I don’t shred the poor stupid soul. So the conversations went, finding patterns in my behavior that needed altering but also finding strengths that far exceeded the average schmo. I learned survival patterns. I needed to create self care patterns, thriving patterns, and letting my guard down. Thing about matching patterns is finding the differences and learning how those differences affect the outcome.
From pattern matching and finding similarities and differences abstraction is the name of the game:
2. the process of formulating generalized ideas or concepts by extracting common qualities from specific examples