Feeling Lost and Sad

I am new and was am happy that a forum like this exists ; many have mental health issues but not everyone is in IT ; so maybe this will help me…

So, I have been coding for 30 years. Started out as a hobby / passion for the first 10 ; from 14 to 24 ; then started Game programming in Assembly (yep, you read that right lol). Then after that company was bought and downsized I went back to school and got an actual diploma in the field I always worked in. So was self taught forever. I have been in the web world for about 15 years now. I started out liking it and up until about 5 years ago I excelled at it. It only took me 1 year to go from junior developer to the team lead where I work now. Then my adhd and anxiety started kicking in worse than ever ; maybe it was the severe apnea plus the meds that were the catalyst for my downward spiral but here I am. I loath going into work now. I am always behind ; I cannot focus on anything except for server and security tasks that interest me now. I hate where the web is at now. I am a php / web / sql developer and those skills are just not that important it seems anymore. People stuck on frameworks, JavaScript and media. Then to boot everyone stuck on this horrid agile path which I really have no love for ; company used to make money until they bought into that BS even though I fought the change and now all I said would happen… has… anyways; don’t want to vent angrily on these things as I am sure others have the opposite feelings on the new coding world.

I am still the product lead on the largest products (lost team lead and mgmt 2 years ago fighting with senior mgmt) but really struggling getting to work each day. I barely get anything done each day and end up in meetings getting yelled at constantly. The newest product is filled with Ajax and responsive web aspects… god F’ing help me lol!

I take Vyvance and Viibryd and these things aren’t helping me anymore. I don’t think changing dose or types matter at this point. So I am really struggling with how I am going to get myself out of this spiral ; find a love for coding again and get my life back in order. I have a young daughter to provide for and can’t just quit yet I have daily night terrors filled with anxiety each day will be my last as I am useless programmer taking up air better used for someone else…

Really not sure what i can do now. I need to have some miraculous turnaround and wake up a different person with hope and ability to do this job again or I need to figure out another path for myself. I also feel like my brain power is getting less and less each day. I can barely solve simple problems now ; 5 years ago I slayed every problem in front of me and all staff turned to me for help daily as I knew more than them in most coding areas… now I am an idiot / imbecile. My psychiatrist doesn’t accept this self evaluation ; just adjusts meds and has some other thing to try the next month. I do try them and want to be better… do better… but it’s not working! Nothing is!

Anyone able to relate? Any suggestions on what I may want to try?

Yeah I can relate to a lot. I just made a post on here about my situation, don’t know if you saw it.

Game programming in assembly sounds awesome! Takes me back to when my own love of programming started to awaken, also in my teenage years.

Also not loving agile. I recall when the shift started to come with Extreme Programming etc. The company where I was at took in consultants to start working more process-oriented. At the time I thought it was for the better, but some of the craft was lost in that change. I enjoyed being left alone for longer times coming up with things that then surprised people (mostly positively :-)). Being checked on every day on daily standups doesn’t do it for me…I think detail-oriented managers won in that one.

Spot on with wanting to wake up and suddenly love coding again. At my last job many days I couldn’t produce a single line of code. Makes for a vicious circle, because next day I wanted to work twice as hard to make up for the lost time - but then not producing again! Watching the other people in the department hacking away didn’t help.

I wish I had some magic cure I could share with you, but have yet to find one. I’ve been out of a job for 5 months after finally quitting the last one, when I felt too improductive to go on. Maybe the time off has given me a slight slight increase in motivation, not sure yet (I might need even more time). I applied for some jobs at UpWork to get started on something, but think the hourly rate I set (that was low compared to what I’ve had before), was even too high to get something there. I did get a surge in productivity when one company there had requested a sample application, and did code efficiently for almost a full day to be able to hand in that application.

I think being able to solve problems is tightly coupled to motivation (not a big surprise maybe…:-)), even more so than actual brain power. Maybe the set of problems you are put to solve in your current company do not motivate you anymore?

Hi Peter,

Thanks for your reply and time! I have read your post and a bunch of other recent ones so can definitely see I am not alone. Sorry to hear you had to quit your last job. I am trying to not let things come to that or getting fired but time is running out for me here unless I can make a quick and miraculous change soon.

Sucks you are having to try and get work from online coding sites ; they are saturated with people from foreign countries where cost of living is much less so to compete you have to work for near nothing to compete. So my hat is off to you for even trying to get some wins here.

As from problems and motivation. Motivation s a definite issue with me. I don’t know if the changes in the industry led to me to turn out this way or if the meds I have been on for these years have wrecked my brain and with things feeling so much harder I am up against a defeated negative mindset. And as we know ; negativity is a poison best served cold!

A good example right now ; task in front of me ; hook up this modal (I hate modals!) to validate and submit a new plan. Old web ; just a page ; post back ; write php code to validate and throw an exception is it doesnt work ; fill out form with old values. Simple 1 page scope ; now with Laravel, bootstrap and Ajax… modal is a view in a project nearly empty yet consisting of thousands of files already to support the framework. Gotta post the data using Ajax and validate using the client and server side validation ; Need to return json with header code and handle that promise in Callback. Gotta find all the models, controllers and JS files in play to do such a simple task. Then worry about putting page in a busy state giving feedback stuff working away ; toastr messages to alert what has happened ; on success refresh data table. Like OMFG! A 10 minute job is now 1 hour of anxiety.

And this is progress? lol ; I donno ; maybe I am getting too old for this sh!t. Simple is a thing of the past for sure. Oh, and the 6000 JS libraries you have to include today to make a simple thing work… damn!

Sorry, venting again… :frowning:

No problem, good to see this forum a bit more active. I’m surprised not more people discuss these things - especially in the SW community.

I didn’t quit only due to the job situation. I suspect I suffer from burnout and wanted to see if time off from programming could heal it somewhat. Hard to tell what causes what when you’re stuck in a situation. I’m not entirely happy with the outcome, as it didn’t change too much for me…I still will go back to what I consider beforehand to be a dead-end job for me, only to pay the bills.

The online sites thing was mainly a way to try to get motivated to code again. Not a long-term solution (unless I could live extremely frugally). As I suffer from social anxiety I also wanted to see if I would work better not having to deal with people on a daily basis. For some reason most employers here want you on-site 5x8.

When it comes to my motivation I think the drop is partly due to not changing out of bad jobs soon enough (thanks again social anxiety…). I always felt motivated at first at new places, to have it drop around the half-year mark. That’s why I thought being a consultant taking shorter assignments would work. But the part of having to sell yourself is not working for me really. Also, consultants seem to have to take on messy code bases quite often.

I hear you about the change in framework complexity. Change for the sake of change itself very often. Also seems harder to automate stuff these days, so that hour could be taken down to 10 mins again.

I’ve often thought that there were greener pastures out there, maybe in the world of game and/or app development but I have yet to find them. There’s also the paradox of me wanting to make it on my own, or at least work in solitude, but then needing people around me to not make my thoughts wander to dark places.

Do you work on any side projects?

I haven’t been to work in 2 days now. I am so overwhelmed, depressed and burned out I couldn’t even get out of bed. I gotta go back in tomorrow as I can’t keep doing this. I am out of sick time so all these days off are with no pay now. I am definitely in the midst of some breakdown and it is getting worse; not better.

I don’t have any side projects going. I can’t even get the projects done I am assigned now so definitely should avoid side projects until I can get my life together.

Hi @compco,

I can relate to a lot of what you have said. In some ways I feel worse than you because I have some of the same feelings as you have and I am just 6 years into my professional programming career while you’ve had quite a wonderful runs for a couple of decades at least.

I’m at a job where manager’s think I’m valuable, but I don’t feel I can live up to their expectations. Unable to change jobs since I’m not interested in my current domain and want to work in a new domain where I have no professional experience, only academic knowledge. Even if I do manage to get an interview, my anxiety messes it all up.

I too went on leave the last week feeling completely burned out and depressed just as I was supposed to start coding on a new project that I have absolutely no interest in.

Hey @compco, I’m really interested to hear what happened after you posted this. Did you get any help? It sounds like it was time to call the psychiatrist/therapist and tell them to figure something out. If you’re skipping work, that’s a serious situation that they need to know about. But I’d imagine by now there’s more to the story, so I’m wondering how you got through it.

I hear you on the new web libraries and sudden popularity of JavaScript. JS libraries may power sites like this one, but it sure didn’t make my life any easier. It’s like we’ve all been swept up into the Node.js current and stopped thinking about what we were actually trying to build. Agile seems to be like that too, at least the way in most organizations implement it. People found a good idea and then took it way too far.

I’m not new to programming, but I’m definitely new to Javascript. Boy, the language has real problems, and the absurdly fractured ecosystem is bizarre.

Thanks for checking in. I did make some good progress in the help department. I realized that my hopelessness was coming in waves and almost were always followed by extreme highs afterwards where I had no cares in the world. I never put 2 and 2 together before but this is a classic sign of bipolar. I told my doctor about my recent down and up plus many other times and she made an easy diagnosis. I was put on a pill called Abilify and have made progress in being balanced. I had about 5 days in a row of impressive focus and content. Today wasn’t as good and some old habits and feelings emerged lke anxiety and anger over simple things. Not sure if my dose isnt high enough to cancel out the lows yet or if it was just a bad day like everyone gets from time to time.

I was also waiting to hear back about an IT support job I interviewed for and was in final 3 today. I was on edge from that suspense. I got the call and sadly was not successful. I was pretty down and upset over that. But I think that was normal feelings ; who wouldn’t be sad and hurt about losing out to someone else for a job they really worked hard for.

So overall I am doing better and for 5 days was on top of the world. I do feel like I may be slumping again sadly. I also feel a bit sick too so maybe it’s that contributing. I see the doctor next week for my monthly followup so will have some good parts to tell which is better than usual and if things even out tomorrow as I hope they will then maybe little negative to share. Fingers and toes crossed!

I guess looking back at the 5 days of awesome I had ; I also was working 16h each day. Bed at 4am and back at it. I guess really thinking about that… doesnt seem too normal actually; i know that isnt a good word but you need some median to compare against. Maybe I was just in one of my manic states and with new meds it kept me out of the low and controlled the high better. Not really sure. Maybe I was just excited about feeling productive and useful again I was just riding the wins too hard.