Some brief context
I’m a web developer for a technology consultancy. I haven’t been officially diagnosed with ADHD yet, but I’ve recently realized all the symptoms have been there since I was a teenager. I have been diagnosed with major and chronic depression and anxiety, which get triggered on a regular basis by my job. I get frustrated and then a brick wall gets built up in my head and I go into an emotional and mental tailspin of anxiety, low self esteem, depression, etc.
Some days I love my job
- Computers and technology have always been easy for me to learn. I’m self taught (after a few years in college, unable to stick with a major or even a single college for that matter), and it naturally evolved into my livelihood.
- I love technology (particularly open source) and I love the endless possibilities it provides.
- I’m introverted so I love hiding behind my computer and communicating with writing.
- I can hyper-focus when it comes to researching, setting up new tools, finding ways to streamline/improve processes, etc.
- I can learn new things very quickly (but if they’re not put into practice right away I forget about them a week later, and even if it’s something I do use often the fundamentals always get forgotten).
- I’m really good at figuring out how things work by digging into source code, seeing what some tweaks do, trial and error, etc. and I think that’s the only reason I got to where I am now.
Some days I want to throw my computer out the window, quit my job, and go live off the grid in a forest
I’m struggling with certain parts of my job because of my issues, and it’s holding me back from moving up in my company.
- I often get stuck on seemingly stupid things and spin my wheels for days, hijacked by anxiety, every day feeling worse and worse because I can’t figure it out, and every day more reluctant to ask for help because I waited so long and it’s such a fundamentally stupid thing to be stuck on. Things I should have mastered by now after doing this for 10 years.
- Boring tasks, forget about it. Tasks that don’t interest me get procrastinated for as long as possible. Not good in a consultancy environment.
- Meetings, I’m tuned out 50% of the time (not good in Agile workflow where there are a gazillion meetings.) I’ve been told I’m very attentive to people and I have no idea where they got that idea. I’m good at faking it, I guess?
- Nothing makes my brain “work” once when I’m frustrated, stuck on something or forced to work on a task that doesn’t interest me.
- Time estimation is crucial in a consultancy, and after 1.5 yrs at my job I still feel like I’m just picking a random number out of the air. I’ve tried tools that are supposed to help with this but I have yet to build any consistency.
- I thought working in an Agile environment would be good because of sprints, etc. but it doesn’t seem to matter. I appreciate the division of projects into small chunks, but those small chunks can still totally trip me up.
- I have a list a mile long of new things I want to learn but can never sustain focus to follow through with any tutorials or sandbox projects.
- The ADD symptom about being “able to multitask and manage multiple projects”, that’s not me at all. If I’m working on more than 1 project I get stressed, confused, overwhelmed, forgetful, panicked, etc.
- Deadlines… this concept doesn’t even compute in my head where time is an anomaly. Only when something is down to the last couple days do I grasp the concept, and then stay up til 3am meeting it.
- I love the diversity and rapid evolution of the web development world but also hate it at the same time. I get freaked out by the ever-growing list of things we have to know. 10 years ago if you knew HTML and CSS you were golden, now job descriptions say “must know HTML, Sass, Drupal, WordPress, .NET, jQuery, Angular, Apache, nginx, Grunt, Gulp, Ruby, Node, Vagrant, Bower, Puppet, Yeoman, and every web technology that ever existed”. I get frustrated very easily when I can’t understand something, so an endless list of things to learn and understand leads to endless frustration. I feel more incompetent every day because it’s impossible to wrap my head around this ever growing list of requirements. I can’t even remember the fundamentals of the technologies I use every day, let alone add more to the mix.
- Some days I leave work feeling so proud I figured out a problem that was stumping me for days, but there are just as many days I cry in the bathroom and leave work after not producing or committing any code, feeling like a stupid failure who has accomplished nothing.
I’ve tried to fix things myself
- Focus apps that minimize distractions. Yes, they hide things I shouldn’t be looking at, but they don’t magically make me interested and able to focus on the tasks I need to be working on.
- Pomodoro method and related apps: great in theory, but don’t work for me, maybe because time doesn’t exist in my head so what use is a countdown timer.
- Working from home: just as distracting. Dogs barking, household things that need to be done, etc.
- Recommended supplements: B-complex, Omega 3, etc. They maybe help a little but not nearly enough to consider it a viable solution.
This turned into a mess of a rant, sorry, I’m writing this while on Valium. Just wanted to put this out there while it was fresh in my head. If you’ve actually read all this, thank you. Any tips/advice would be greatly appreciated.