Depression killing my passion for code

I’m afraid that the brain fog and lack of motivation/energy is interfering with my career…

It’s very hard to work when not only code stops making sense to you and forcing yourself to get something accomplished is a task in itself, but also when you’ve lost the mojo. I think I’ve lost the mojo. I’m terrified that this depression I’ve been experiencing the past year or so is slowly killing that passion I had for coding once. Now realistically, I don’t expect coding as a profession to be fun all the time. But even so, there was a thrill in starting a new project, in learning something new, and a sense of victory when solving a problem.

I don’t feel that anymore. In fact, I don’t feel very much these days. I’m afraid of what that means for my career so I am feeling a little lost. I’m going the natural route and using diet/supplement changes to try to help. I feel like I’m slower when coding than I was before depression set in. Get frustrated easier. Bored. And sometimes even get panic attacks while under stress due to code.

Here’s what I’m doing/taking supplement/diet wise:

I just don’t feel like doing much of anything. But I also need to pay the bills so - irony… Anyone have any advice? How to bring the mojo back? How to feel like I’m in the right career again?

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Do something for a local charity that your passionate about locally.Myself personaly have noticed a lot of charities in my area have crappy websites. I volunteer my time to make a site and have some portfolio work as well and you are helping a cause you believe in. My area is getting involved in the STEM movement finally. (Something I have tried to start for years). I am trying to be apart of that in ways that I can.

Hmm I think getting involved in the community helps as I’ve been hanging out on support forums and recently volunteered to help at a workshop. I don’t think I’m capable of writing code outside of work as code itself has become a major point of stress and anxiety for me. The thought of building something on the side overwhelms me - what do I build? And then finding the motivation to see it through.

I think I’m possibly sick of the kind of dev I am. Or it’s burnout? I’m a front-end dev and I’m really tired of building websites. My job gives me tedious tasks, I’m not challenged, and the space between large projects where I’m actually busy/productive is just way too long. I have way too much down time at work and I just don’t feel like I’m growing or if there’s a point anymore.

If there’s any developer interest left in me, I think it’s mostly in WordPress, PHP, and I’ve been trying to get into Python. If anything, I know there’s a WordCamp coming up here in August - at least I can look forward to that?

I experienced something similar late last year and earlier this year, and it’s only something I overcame over the summer. Here are some of the things that helped me get back on track. I’m not sure how much of this will help you, or how much applies to your particular situation, but I hope it helps:

  • I took a break. I finished a job the last week of April and didn’t start a new one until the third week of May. This gave me a solid three weeks where I did little technical work. I hung out with friends, read a lot, packed up apartment for a move, tried to spend as much time as possible outside enjoying the early summer sun.
  • I moved into a new environment. My summer gig is temporarily and in another state. I moved into a new apartment, lived with new people, had different work times and environment. This took away all the previous triggers for my depression and bad thoughts and gave me a clean slate to start from.
  • I had an interesting project with a clear deadline. I’m working on a research project in an area that interests me. When I got started I had a very clear goal — rewrite a big chunk of the project and put together a demo for an event in three weeks time. I could go in to work on something interesting, and work towards a clear, short-term goal with quick feedback.
  • I focused on work and not much else. Previously I tried to juggle doing a good job at work with maintaining a relationship with keeping a clean apartment and losing weight and trying to eat well. As a result, I had a dozen balls in the air, and I dropped all of them which in turn kicked off a vicious downward spiral. For the three weeks, I focused mostly on work. I went in between 9 and 10am and left around 6pm. I lived in an AirBNB, with a wonderful couple and basically did whatever they did in terms of food and activities. The only exception to this was making sure I ate regular (fairly healthy) meals and having breakfast everyday. I made sure I was fueled and that I focused on my work all day.
  • I didn’t take work home. Previously I had gotten it into my head that I could work whenever I wanted because I didn’t have a strict 9-to-5. In reality, I ended up half-working a lot at not very effective levels, and I was always thinking about work instead of taking a break. This time around, I worked from morning to evening, and tried not to slack off apart from lunch and the occasional coffee break. On the flip side, once I left work, I didn’t think about work after I left work and until I came in again the next day.

As a result of all this, I feel like I’ve been reset — I’ve taken a break from my previous job and used the change of scenery and work to build better work habits and focus on the things that really matter to me right now. Hope this helps.

My 2c. I’m not necessarily good at following my own advice, but here are some suggestions
in case any hit home.

Are you good at teaching? You may be unmotivated by what you are currently doing , but you may still have valuable skills to offer. There seems to be a lot of code academies being set up to teach people how to code. Here in the UK there is a CodeClub that teaches school kids how to code, and in the last week I read about a new academy set up which uses mentors from industry on a volunteer basis. There may be something similar in your area.

Volunteering may not fix the problem with finding the motivation when building your own code, but is another string to your bow, and gives you different perspective on your skills.

One way to mitigate the stress of deciding what to build when learning a new skill is to do a course on Coursera or Udacity in the area you are interested in. Something that stretches your skills in just the right way so as to challenge you and reinvigorate your interest in coding.

Yes its totally possible to learn a new skill outside of those kinds of environments just from information on the Internet, and I guess thats the default way to acquire new information but I find that when my motivation is suffering the combination of a syllabus, deadlines and the course community gives me the motivation to acquire a new skills without feeling I have to create something awesome.


Hi guys!

Thanks for all the suggestions.

I do find that I like to teach which is one of the reasons I blog a lot of code. I have volunteered here and there, but opportunities don’t always happen often enough or when I’m free.

I am finding that learning something new is helping. I had started a new project recently and felt that joy come back but then I was laid off and yeah… so much for that joy haha. I find that a break can be useful too but I can’t help feeling like the more time I take away from coding, the more my skills just deteriorate.

I’m still kind of wavering on the passion part here. Will let you know when I find something that works for me. Thanks.

Hello there! I agree with the suggestion of Rachie. Getting involved in the community service and helping the needy people help to kill the problems like stress and anxiety. One of my friends have shared his incredible experience after returning from voyage humanitaire from Africa and also suggested me to participate as a volunteer to participate in the humanitarian aid programs to kill the problems like depression.

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