How to learn programming while depressed

I’m trying to learn programming in an intensive course that requires me to give more than I think I can. I’d like to succeed, but it’s not looking very likely. I don’t have any prior technical experience, and thought becoming a developer would be a great fit for me personally and professionally–I don’t know that this is not true, but I don’t feel like I am able to give it my best shot. Focusing for eight or ten hours a day just isn’t going to work, yet I see no alternative for myself. I want to enjoy what I’m doing.

I’m in my mid-20s and have had depression for a number of years. I’ve already spent several years treading water professionally, so I feel I’ve wasted some of my prime working years. I am worried that I will fail in this and have a jagged scar psychologically because I couldn’t pull it together when I had a golden opportunity and was doing the most interesting thing I’ve ever tried.

If anyone learning programming has felt similarly, you’re not the only one.

Hi there. I’m 39 and have experienced similar feelings. I don’t know if this is useful but what I would say is that if you suffer from severe depression you have to go easier on yourself and lower your expectations about what is possible.

I am a largely self-taught developer and have gone through agonising crises about whether I am good enough or measure up to the very best. The fact is that if you are intelligent and are motivated to learn programming, then you will get good enough to be productive and marketable to somebody, somewhere. This year, I hope to move from contracting in a big city to have more of a portfolio career. I’m doing one or two hours a day on side projects and just taking things slowly. This seems to be working and rather than beating myself up about not putting in 8-10 hour days and ending up doing nothing at all, I am making progress, however small.

Is there any way you can record the audio / video of the course you are attending? If there is a way of learning at a slower pace, explore that possibility.

Thanks, I appreciate your response. I’ll keep what you’ve written in mind. I’m hoping I can get more audio/visual recordings on a regular basis. I think you’re right that I’ll just have to lower my expectations for the time being and just manage what I can. Thanks.

Learning skills while depressed can be especially difficult, because there are so many normal and even necessary failures that occur in the process.

You’re absolutely right. It’s hard for me to learn things right now, even fairly basic things. I’m not sure how I’m going to manage. I don’t know that I will. I apprecitae your input.

you end up having to persistently remind yourself that your failures are part of the learning, they are temporary rather than a reflection of anything innate about yourself. depression makes that very kind of thinking more difficult than usual.