I’ve been writing code since I was in third grade; I remember one summer going to my cousin’s house and seeing their PC AT boot into ROM BASIC and exploring that, going through a couple computer books they had and typing the program listings in. I’ve always been fascinated by computers.
I’m currently seeing a psychiatrist, as I’ve had recurring thoughts of wanting to end it all, quite unbidden, a few months ago, and I’ve lost my appetite for coding. I’ve had the same thoughts since I was in high school, and I almost went through with it — I wrote a suicide note and hid it under the drawer of my desk in my bedroom, planned where I would do the deed, and was about to go through with it had the note not been discovered by my dad. Previously, whenever I lost the drive to write code, I would blame stress and burnout, but looking back, maybe it was depression after all.
I had been able to deal with my lows somehow, but I guess the recent toll of helping manage a small development shop has hit me. My psychiatrist prescribed me Sertraline (Zoloft, but I’m taking a generic), and it’s been helping. I haven’t had any really bad thoughts. Previously, my sleep schedule would be erratic — I’d sleep really really late, not being able to get to sleep until 2, 3, or 4 am, and then I’d sleep for 12 to 14 hours. Sometimes I’d sleep really early, only to wake up at 12 noon the next day. My colleagues would joke that I worked in a different time zone. Now, I’ve been able to get to bed at 11pm at the latest and wake up by 7am. I’ve been able to stick to a good work schedule, and have been (relatively) productive.
However, maybe the meds are making me think more clearly (so to speak), but I’ve noticed that my attention is shot to bits. After talking to a couple of close friends, they’ve told me that I’ve always been a little unfocused. I’ve been able to hold my attention while coding, usually, and I’ve always thought it normal that I could do so. I thought, maybe I just need to be interested in what I’m doing to focus; maybe I should learn how to do the shitty uninteresting jobs in an interesting way. I kept procrastinating, even back in high school, especially if the task at hand was “boring” (of course, some things were tedious but interesting for me, and I wouldn’t classify those tasks as “boring”). I dropped out of college because I focused too much on my (more interesting, to me) extracurriculars instead of my classes, and I ended up missing the required grade average by a smidgen, and looking back in retrospect, that might just have been a sign that there was something wrong other than motivation.
I’m thinking of telling my psychiatrist this on my next visit, but I fear that I may just be a hypochondriac — maybe I don’t have ADD, and I’m just too aware of the symptoms that I want it to be ADD.