Human debugging

Debugging [noun]
The process of identifying and removing errors from computer hardware or software

Debugging is a fairly common task in programming. You code something, it doesn't perform as expected and you then open stack overflow use your knowledge and expertise to find out why the error is occurring.

It's an easy and straightforward process that usually involves swearing, trial and error and asking for help from dev friends and strangers. I quite enjoy it.

Jokes aside, debugging is, for the most part, a relatively easy task in my job as a web developer. And that's because I generally have a reference to how that particular piece of code should work and I can compare the two.

But what happens when you're trying to "debug yourself"? "Mechanical" issues on your body are, for the most part, simple to debug. Your knee doesn't normally stop working for some mysterious reason and your back doesn't hurt at random. And by your back I mean mine. I'm still fairly young and I'm aware of what I did and didn't do to and with my body in the past 15 years. Some pains are expected and I can deal with them.

As for mental well being, that's a different story. I don't have a frame of reference for what's a healthy state of mind. I don't have a reference point I can compare to when I try to debug that. There's no precise pain I can locate in my mind, no incident I can identify as the root cause. I don't know if my brain hurts in the same way my back does.

And that makes this whole process of debugging very hard. It's similar to debugging an issue that only happens on a machine or a device you don't own. Someone said to you that an error occurs on their machine and you have no idea how to debug that because you can't even replicate the issue in the first place. But the error is still there and it's still causing issues.

The only information you have is that something is wrong, somewhere. And that's not a fun problem to deal with.

Where do you go from here?

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