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Coping with depression

The weather is getting colder. The days are getting shorter. I’m getting older. My friends are moving away. Whatever the cause is, I find myself depressed. The usual signs are there. I sleep longer. I do less exercise. I eat the lowest-effort food. I take longer to reply to friends and family. I lose the requisite enthusiasm and attention span for most activities. The little energy I have is frittered away on the infinitely repetitive distractions of the internet.

It’s familiar territory. I’m 29 now, and depression has been with me since I was around 13. My mood wavers in cycles, months or years long. As I’ve got older, the consequences have become less extreme. Years ago, I’ve lost girlfriends, education, housing and jobs to depression. Nowadays, its effects are less dramatic, because I’ve learned to cope with it a little better.

“Little” is the operative word here. Though my life is not caving in right now, I could still be coping with depression a lot better.

One remedy is talking. Hiding depression is a losing game. Depression is tightly bound up with repression; one causes the other. Repression causes depression which you try to repress. Depression is a bundle of positive feedback loops. Depression causes repression causes depression. Depression causes guilt causes depression. Depression causes reclusiveness causes depression. To cope with depression is to break the loops. Try to get out of the house every day. Try to make a decent meal. Try to read a book instead of looking at a screen. Above all, try to talk.

I’m sure this advice isn’t universal. Someone else’s depression might be rooted in bad diet. It might be caused by bad health, or drugs. But mine at least is rooted in failures to communicate, and a significant way to break this cycle is to at least admit the problem.

What can computers do? What are the limits of mathematics? And just how busy can a busy beaver be? This year, I’m writing Busy Beavers, a unique interactive book on computability theory. You and I will take a practical and modern approach to answering these questions — or at least learning why some questions are unanswerable!

It’s only $19, and you can get 50% off if you find the discount code ... Not quite. Hackers use the console!

After months of secret toil, I and Andrew Carr released Everyday Data Science, a unique interactive online course! You’ll make the perfect glass of lemonade using Thompson sampling. You’ll lose weight with differential equations. And you might just qualify for the Olympics with a bit of statistics!

It’s $29, but you can get 50% off if you find the discount code ... Not quite. Hackers use the console!

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