I have no idea what to do (long story)

Hey everyone,

I am 16 years old and live in the United Kingdom. I recently saw a video on Vimeo of a person called Greg Baugues giving a speech about his experiences in life and developers with depression. I’d like to share my life with you guys so that you can help me sort my life out because I direly need it.

At the age of 11 I had my very first computer, some single core Intel processor with 2GB ram which was slow as hell but did the job. A few months after having it I began learning PHP, HTML and SQL so I could get my head around how websites worked and so that I could create my own web applications. A year later, 12, I ventured into my very first project. I could not bring myself to complete it, I got a week into it and gave up and I had no idea why. I ended up releasing it some forum which is now closed and people were saying “Your lines of code we absolutely trash and you should be ashamed of yourself.” along with “You completely ripped off my project and renamed it!”.

Another year after that, 13 years old now, I got into a physical fight with a guy who I beat in Tennis 4 times in a row. After that I felt like I was getting angrier and I was told by some of my friends that I had changed and they wanted nothing to do with me because of me changing. I couldn’t even tell the difference, I was just being “Me”. So after those experiences I just stayed inside and spent many years learning more about computers and web development, mainly web development.

Skip ahead to me being 16, which I currently am, just about to start College tomorrow. Ever since I was 13 I have been staying up very late, sometimes not even sleeping and taking cans upon cans of energy drinks to just stay awake because I feel like I must learn more and more. I struggle to concentrate on anything else unless it’s gaming and writing codes. Currently I know PHP, CSS, HTML, SQL and C# so you can tell that I’ve been staying inside an awful lot. I don’t even tell anyone, in real life, that I know this because I find it embarrassing for some reason. I hate making conversations with people in real life and whenever I do I just want to get back to my computer and do what I do best. I only like to converse with people online because I feel like it’s easier and people are much more understanding. I find it very difficult to trust people and don’t share a lot, I’m making this an exception because I really need the help to sort out my life. I also get told by teachers I can’t sleep in class and my science teacher worried about me the one time and phoned my Mum to ask her about it and my Mum didn’t even know I stayed up all night. Whenever someone asks me if I’m OK I always say “Yeah I’m fine” because I hate sharing how I feel.

My family keeps saying to me that I need to get my life together and that I can’t stay inside all my life, which I know but I just don’t feel comfortable anywhere else other than sitting in front of a games console or computer. I used to think about suicide pretty much every day but I know that I could never bring myself to do it, I wake up in the mornings not wanting to get up and complete the day and it takes me 2 hours or me just being EXTREMELY tired to actually fall asleep, even when I am extremely tired it will still take me about 30 minutes.

I just want to get my life on track and sort all this out but yet I want to continue doing web development because I enjoy it quite a lot. I just need some advice, I also am very scared about telling my Mum because she’s a massive worrier and will always think the worst about a situation.

Any advice on this? :frowning:

Sorry for any fuck-ups, posting this at 6:15am and being tired is horrible when typing.

Hi Ashley,

1st. You’re not alone.

Lot’s of people feel like you do when they’re growing up. It’s perfectly normal. Being a teenager is tough, but it doesn’t last forever. You soon learn that as long as you stay focused and keep moving forward, it just gets easier, a little bit every day. A lot of people dread getting older, but I’ve come to relish it. Every day you get to know yourself a little better, you’re confidence grows, and shit just gets easier… Trust me. I was a wreck when I was your age. It gets easier…


I know what it’s like to feel like you need to push yourself harder and learn more to get ahead, but depriving yourself of sleep is not the way. Quality time beats ALL the time, every time. People don’t work at their best when they’re tired. Learning and cognitive abilities are impaired. If you’re going to be a kick-ass programmer, you need to get yourself into condition. Think of yourself as an athlete. You’ll perform at your best and be more productive when you’re well rested. Not to mention, you’ll feel a whole lot better and the rest of your life won’t be left to suffer. You’ll also be a lot more pleasant to be around.

3rd. Stop drinking that crap.

If you’re stressed or feeling anxious or depressed then drinking caffeinated drinks (including Coke, Dr Pepper, too much coffee etc.) will only make you feel worse… A lot worse. Trust me, your diet directly affects how you feel. Eat well and you’ll feel well. You’ll work better and be more effective at what you do. Fizzy drinks should be a treat and energy drinks should be a last resort for a big push on exam night or whatever, but definitely not all the time.

4th. Socialise.

You’re about to go to College. There will be plenty of opportunities to make friends and meet other people just like you. Look for clubs to join, weather it’s the Linux user club, programmers meet up, entrepreneur club, whatever. If there isn’t one, start one… It’s so much easier to get along with people when you have things in common, and trust me, there are lots of people just like you out there. This may involve pushing yourself out of your comfort zone from time to time, but JUST DO IT. Every time you push yourself to get out there, you will adapt, you will learn, your confidence will grow and soon it will be easy and you’ll wonder what you were ever worried about.

5th. Don’t worry so much.

It sounds like you care about what you want to do, and if you do, you’ll be great at it. Most of the bad programmers are ass-holes who just want to make money. If you care about your craft and never stop learning, you’ll be a great programmer. You’ll get the chance to go to meet ups, talks and conferences and meet great people. You can follow the money and work for big business, or join a startup and change the world. It’s up to you.

In summary.

Respect yourself, respect your craft. Eat well, sleep well and make the effort to be happy.

Oh, and as a final note, not worth putting in the list. Just ignore douche bags. They’re everywhere and not worth it. If you let them wind you up, then they’ve won. You’ll learn to deal with them in your own way as you go.

Thanks a bunch Mike, gave me some great tips and I will try my best to do all those things :smile:

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