My story: Developer with depression

I saw the video from Greg Baugues and it really meant a lot for me.

I have been diagnosed with depression now, and I probably also have bipolar 2 (family, doctors have suggested it, never really believed it) My grandmother had bipolar 1 in a bad way, and I am not like that, so it has been really hard to accept, she committed suicide)

I recognised a lot from the video, I switch jobs every second year, started programming when I was 8, did not finish my master, but also have worked for some top companies, and have done a good job there. I do not want to drag people down with me, so I try my best to hide my condition. I really work best under extreme stress, and with work weeks above 60 hours, since I do not have time to think about anything else than work. I really like startups, I guess since I do not worry so much about risk. I have never cared too much about money, usually I have been able to fix last months overspending when the new salary arrives (it is usually quite high).

I always have had a bit of ups and downs, but I have a lot of experience so I can float on that, and when I am good I actually am smart.

Sometimes I quit the jobs because I feel too smart for the place, sometimes because I feel too stupid, I usually work in really high pressure places, so till about a year ago it was easy for me to find some external factors to blame when I left, unreasonable people at work, injustice and so on, so it has taken me a long time to realize that I actually had a problem.

Last year I took a job that should have been really easy for me, usually my work is a lot harder, and it was really flexible, but it turned out a lot worse, was not able to do simple things, could not go to work, stopped opening mail and paying bills, and I had nothing else to blame than myself. I quit this job a couple of months ago. I owe quite a lot of money now, but it should be manageable.

The cycles between ok and not ok are getting shorter, and the bad periods are worse. I sleep a lot or not at all. I very often have a guilty conscience for the things I should have done.

I did receive help from doctors and family and friends, and I am grateful for it.

After seeing the video I think I will try to get some more help.

PS. I am actually ok now, doing a bit of consultancy stuff, will start to pay back the money I owe, except for a few days this week things are really fantastic (as long as it lasts).


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You’re more braver than I am. But I am trying to copy with mine in a different way(Religon), and I hope it helps me

There are a few things that I can relate to this, the only thing that is different is I can’t quit. If I start a job I have to finish it.
I started in a company in 2007 (customer service, but really my field is computer programming but I didn’t finish), and there was alot going on in this company that I didn’t like after a few years. Just a month ago, the company shutdown. I have mixed feelings, I was sad, happy, didn’t care but still cared. I can’t explain this feeling.

I do think religion can help, I hope it can be an environment for you where you feel safe, and can ask people for help. My parents and siblings have always been there for me, and I know I can tell them stuff (even if it is not fun) and sometimes I do not need to tell them anything for them to understand. It is so easy just to hide away, you need something to pull you out of it.

Since I often take the extremely high risk (startup) jobs, it is easier to hide this since they often go broke/get bought up/change direction, so it is easier to hide my condition, it is also a bit easier to explain to future employees the frequent job changes.

It is actually really hard to change jobs when you are depressed, it is close to impossible to brag about yourself, but for me I have done it so often that I can do it a bit on auto pilot, and I have some great former colleges that I can use to brag for me instead, even with a lot of experience, when I am down I sometimes do really bad interviews, sometimes I just have to take a break from it for a month before starting again.

Checklists help me when I am looking for a job and is down, this are obvious things, but I forget them or dont care, when I am down:

  • buy new cloths
  • have a shave
  • use your friends and contacts (you have more than you know)
  • check that you do not look too tiered (get sleeping aids if necessary)
  • only do one interview a week
  • you need to prepare extra well:
    • read as much as you can about the company
    • be ready to brag about the company and the people there, you must make them feel it is your dream job.
    • prepare answers to all questions you can think of in written form and practice reading them
    • prepare stories about how you handled different situations and what you leaned from them, also in written form, practice reading them and think about how you can weave them into answers to questions
    • do not be afraid to talk about your weaknesses, but try to sound humble in the way you talk about them (for example I sometimes get too focused on my deliveries and in hindsight I have seen that in some situations my team could have benefited by me taking a step back and communicated more with my team, I have started to try to improve on this by switching to test driven development, do pair programming and break down the story points more, I hope this makes it possible for others to follow what I am doing, even if I disappear into the flow.)
    • Be prepared that some companies have processes that lasts up to 6 months

You do not actually need to explain the feeling, I am not able to either. For me the hardest thing was to realize that this is something I actually can do something about, which I am trying to do now. It has taken me 15 years to realize this, so if you come there faster you are better at it them me :slight_smile:

Another tip, if you are not comfortable going to a psychologist yet, or do not find a good one (hard to find for me at least, only met one I think makes sense), I do strongly suggest trying a personal trainer for a couple of months, he can push you to exercise, even if you do not feel like it, you do not have to think about anything when you do it, you feel like you have accomplished something and it is cheaper that a psychologist.

When I was to know that the company was going to shutdown, I had a lot plans in mind. But for some reason, I have this WEIGHT dragging me down from the past and it’s just something that sometimes I cannot cope with.
I KNOW that once I put my foot in the door of some company, that I will put a lot of quality into the work I will do, as I am a very detailed person and I want to show off my work. But the problem with me is the ‘start’ point, which is getting myself ‘out there’. There is no motivation.
It’s like I am the gas, but I am waiting for the fire to ignite me.

Medication can help with the kick start process, I was really uncomfortable with it at first, but in combination with exercise or a good psychologist it works quite well, at least for me. It does not make things perfect, but gets you to a place where tings are not so dark.

I strongly recommend exercise, just walking outside 30 min 3 times a week can be enough.

Since you are looking for answers, you have already come quite far…

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