A quick post about depression and software development
Some things that have helped me deal with my mental health and my job
I have depression. Sorry if you know me personally and you have to find out about it via a blog post, but as you can imagine it isn't the most fun thing for me to talk about and it isn't the easiest thing to bring up in conversation. In fact if you know me very well you will likely appreciate how little I enjoy most conversation that doesn't interest me (and my mental health doesn't particularly interest me).
I am not going to go into too many details, because again, boring, but I did want to share some resources that have helped me at various times.
- This comic on depression - This is one of the best descriptions of depression you are likely to find anywhere.
- This video on depression - This explains depression very well.
- Darkwater – A great description by Matt Gemmell
I also wanted to talk about how I have found it effects my software development.
- I am incredibly critical of my work, and have self-diagnosed myself with having Impostor Syndrome, this general means that I have entire projects that I have created and then deleted because it is not good enough and I am constantly paranoid that any team I am part of see me as the dummy of the group.
- I sometimes can't bring myself to perform work outside of my 9 - 5, I have emails that sometimes sit for days because I can't physically bring myself to write the one line reply that is needed, yet other tasks I could take on without a bother. I am sure this is pretty frustrating for people that can't see work happening on their project but see me working on other stuff.
- I don't enjoy coding for large periods of the time, I need to force myself to remember it is the illness that is stopping me from enjoying anything and not the coding (when I am 'up' I enjoy the hell out of it).
- When I am 'up' I feel like I could take on anything, and as a result I will often over-commit to stuff, the challenge is to say no.
Finally, and it should go without saying - if you think you might be depressed, go to your doctor. One trip and I was put on drugs that have been incredibly positive.