Open the Pod Bay Doors

In 2001: A Space Odyssey, there's an extended sequence where HAL, the artificial intelligence on the spaceship, is malfunctioning and is making some really terrible decisions, and arguably the worst part is that everyone involved in the story understands that HAL is malfunctioning. As a reader (or viewer, if we're discussing the film instead), you really start to feel a sense of dread, watching the crew members and Mission Control attempt to remedy the situation even as HAL continues getting worse.

That is what it can feel like when your brain isn't exactly neurotypical. The analogy feels pretty accurate no matter what your specific mental environment is like: anxiety, depression, ADHD, autism spectrum...The list goes on and on. Sometimes, you can even watch your brain doing strange things as surely as if you were an external observer, imploring your brain to please open the pod bay doors.

So the next time you see a kid who needs to flap her hands in public or your friend needs to check that his garage door really is down, try to react with kindness. Ultimately, all of our brains can react in atypical ways from time to time. We all have our unique quirks that make us who we are, and that's something to be celebrated, not something to talk about in hushed tones.
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