New to code, not to depression


#1

So I have been familiar with depression for over a decade and recently I got out of a bad (platonic) roommate situation and tried to start my life fresh. I decided to join a programming bootcamp with a good track record and most of the time I really enjoy it.

However, despite doing well in the program I have no confidence in my skills and I can’t network for the life of me. The bootcamp set me up with an amazing mentor who I can’t get myself to talk to and every time they let us know about networking opportunities I panic and don’t attend. Though I don’t have high expectations in my ability to actually talk to anyone if I did manage to drag myself to something.

I’ve been getting the vibe that dev life is not for people who struggle with depression due to constant pressure and discomfort.

While part of me loves what I’ve been doing I have also wanted to kill myself more in these past few weeks than I have in the past year. I don’t know how I can get over the hurdles and what will be on the other side for me if I ever do manage.

I was thrilled to find this community and I am open to any advice people may want to throw my way. Thanks!


#2

Welcome! Glad you’re enjoying programming. I would say that many if not most programmers have a certain amount of depression/anxiety. I dont know of too many ideal jobs for depressed individuals. If you find some, let me know. Im new to code myself. Its good money and has good career opportunity, but maybe my favourite part is being able to go sometimes several hours without human interaction. My advice would be to get some medication if you havent already, and learn how to fake it. It’s shit advice, sure, but its honestly practical. That’s why I am where I am. Put on a smile and talk about how much of a team player you are and whatnot. HR people love that. Chin up!


#3

First of all, good for you for getting out of a bad room-mate situation and starting off on a new path. That takes courage.

It’s hard to have confidence in your skills. I don’t know how much I have in my own a lot of the time. Sort of the slippery slope of a subjective skill set (& how there’s often no ‘right’ way to do something but many different routes)

I attended a bootcamp last year and one of the things I eventually had to realize was that even though they had a system set up to support me in many different ways (a ‘buddy’, networking, etc.) - my socializing style doesn’t necessarily fit into that mold. I don’t thrive in ‘meet-up’ situations but small, one-on-one conversations. I won’t introduce myself out of the blue to a new person but if a friend introduces me, I am a lot more at ease.

My point is, I think it’s about harnessing the ways that you ARE an effective communicator and not worrying that you aren’t falling into the pattern of what some might expect of you. & you’re not alone in struggling with these issues amongst the tech community.

It does sound like lately you’ve been experiencing a lot more extremes. Have you thought about reaching out to a professional to explore options? (CBT, talk therapy, medication, etc.)


#4

Thanks, Allison, I really needed that reminder to reframe my situation. Sometimes it’s really easy to get bogged down in what’s not going well that I forget I can accomplish the same goal from a different angle. When you pointed out how you approach networking, it occurred to me that I have been networking, just not in a way the people at the bootcamp can see because I’ve been doing it through friends.

I appreciate the advice to explore options, and I have, but whenever things get bad for me, I end up more comfortable talking to strangers over the internet, so I do that in addition to what I already have set up. It may not be the most effective/logical solution but it really helps me and I’m really grateful to have found this community.


#5

I would strongly suggest you see a mental health professional. I think it’s possible to be a professional developer while having depression, but you do need to get proper treatment and adopt strategies to help manage it. If you’re worried about networking, but still want to develop skills and get some recognition, try writing some useful tools or libraries, releasing them as open source and then writing blog posts about them. I’ve found that a lot of introverted people can be strong writers because writing gives them the time and space to organize their thoughts before releasing them into the outside world. That way you can get your work out there and known, without having to start with face-to-face interactions.