Bang Bang

Wikipedia describes a bang bang controller as one that is fully off or on. I don't remember exactly when I first read about this, but it was in the context of control systems and optimization, in some programming text, I think. At some point shortly after that, I made an analogy between bang bang controls and the crude, but natural tendency many people have to go from one extreme to the other, repeatedly. I strive to do better than this in my own life, whenever I can, but I'm honestly pretty shit at it.

Especially when it comes to opening up. Even with my oldest and dearest friends, I'll go from sharing ridiculous amounts of detail to hardly telling them how I'm doing, or saying hi, for weeks. It's not that I don't want to be friends anymore or anything of the sort, generally. Rather, it's that I oscillate between anxiety about starting to, or having, overburdened a friend, and intense loneliness and need for connection.

Of course, I'm a big boy, and I can take care of myself. I'm putting legitimate effort into understanding this part of myself, and figuring out what it even means to adapt to it1. I'm not asking anyone to solve it for me, but I do figure it's about time I have a ready explanation for people it might matter to. That's what this is. If I've sent it to you, it's because I think this might be impacting you.

Lastly, if I'm not reaching out to you anymore, there's a pretty good chance this is why, and an even better chance I won't tell you that unless you ask. Always feel free to start up a conversation, please. Don't think if I'm not talking to you, that I'm not interested in it. If I don't want to talk, don't worry, I'll let you know.


  1. For example, it could mean developing a few really close connections that are specifically okay with hearing so much about what's going on, or it could mean being more resilient to the feelings, or some other internal adaptation. Who knows. Maybe it's some combination, even.