Hey. First time posting in the community (or a Discourse-based platform for that matter). Bear with me if I got some stuff wrong.
This is a really long post. TL;DR: after a lifetime of depression, I’ve got better and I almost have it but am crumbling weeks before getting my first job.
Well… I’ve been struggling with depression for as long as I remember myself. I grew up in a functional family, more or less (a single mother, her parents and a younger brother) yet I spent my childhood in tears, self-injury and death-wishes: thinking about ending it all at the age of 6 would have warranted attention of a professionals but, alas, we are talking about '90s post-USSR country here – it seems the possibility of a mental illness or a risk of developing one later never ever has crossed anyone’s mind in the family, despite my father being an alcoholic paranoid schizophrenic, later ending his life in the summer of 2002. Very unfortunate.
Yet somehow it got better as I started going to school. Social anxiety, bullying, you name it - despite that, I adapted, eventually made friends, and while still being a social outcast due to my mother being a teacher in the same school, and by the time I started high school, things were bloody excellent - I had great grades, started making friends, won places in nation-wide competitions. I had also graduated from several years of art classes, which will be playing a role later for me. I loved working with technology, yet did not know anything about writing actual code back then, in the summer of 2009.
Soon after is when depression started coming back and hitting me hard - and the most ridiculous thing is, I did not recognize. All the symptoms were there, but I tried to stick to myself and soldier through it – during the next 5 years, I experienced suicide attempts, return of self-injury in more severe forms, loss of social life, loss of grades, transferring schools, being placed on medicine that barely works, gaining lots of weight due to said medicine, landing on a disability at age of 18 and graduating bloody high school two years late with absolute crap grades.
So without going even more into the details, the future was no looking that bright.
Less than a yer ago, however, a miracle happened:an obscure brand of tricyclic AD lifted the depression that has been setting in for 5+ years and made me start to believe I can actually make something out of this. Side-effects were mysterious and horrible; at times I thought the same medicine that made me see light will kill me. I had applied to studying Fine Arts at a university abroad last year, but it eventually hit me that even if I passe the entrance exams, I wouldn’t have prevailed. I had to do something about the disabling exhaustion from life itself.
So I took some steps to work on that. I’ve been seeing a lot of self-growth since since; I’m the best version of myself that I can be right now, or so I think. I can function socially. I moved out for a few months and lived on my own. I traveled abroad by myself. Heck, I even got an online a therapist (via Talkspace) who has been helping me tremendously.
I also finally gave programming a chance. It’s been an exciting but also a confusing journey since then… I’ve been going to local meet-ups, participated in events and gained plenty of experience - and also learned that there is so much I still don’t know well, and how limited my abilities really are.
So after years of imagining myself as a visual artist in my career, I decided to be a web developer.
My idea for a while has been to develop a portfolio for myself - I had some job experience this summer, and it was awful: low pay, uncertain terms and conditions, no vision for the future growth whatsoever. I quit. It seems that there are two thresholds here: how good you must be to land a job at all, and how good you must be to land a job that is worth having.
I want to push myself to squeeze out at least 3-5 decent projects on GitHub, improve the quality of my code in the languages I already know, apply for a good job in web-development, work up from there, and learn as much as possible through whatever means possible all throughout this decade.
…and what’s happening to it.
It’s been a few months and I have a ton of started-but-unfinished projects that I can’t help but feel are too messy for public display - even if Git is used, I can’t bring myself to publish them. Lots of them get deleted. Idea generation has never been a problem, but pathalogic abandonment of projects in favor of the next shiny thing has always been. I feel good for the most part, but depression still is partly present. It probably will be for all of my life, I tell myself.
Maybe I’m too much of a perfectionist. In one of the meet-ups I attend, the person I regard to as my mentor, has said that it’s time to throw the ego out of the process and just publish anything – and to not delete old, horrible stuff but instead produce more quality things in the future: there’s enough space on GitHub for everything. Makes sense.
I came up with the list of the last of things holding me back the other day.
- Short attention span. I can’t watch movies, I can’t watch TV shows, I can barely read books while just 3 years ago it posed no problem. Is it a problem of self-discipline? Or is it something that requires a diagnosis and further treatment? I suck at finishing things.
- Depression still lingers - particularly tiredness and lack of inner drive to push through the plain and boring stuff.
- Non-existent habits: I struggle with regular commitment.
- My sleep schedule is horrible. It seems my body can barely go if it hasn’t got 12 hours of sleep a night.
- Under stress, I seem to self-sabotage my own effort.
- I feel oddly tired.
Now I really need to give my best at landing a job I was invited to apply (I need to learn D3.js for that first, see how it goes, etc.), but I feel empty, tired and stuck. It’s the exact opposite of how I expected myself to be at this point, and the exact opposite of how it should be for me to land that job, which I need.
It’s probably a way too long ramble, and I might still be missing out a detail or two. Can anyone relate? Does anyone have a word of encouragement, constructive criticism or analysis and suggestion? I welcome everything and anything.
Thanks in advance. You people are awesome! <3*
P.S. Especially if you have managed to read this horrible wall of text.