Rapid Project Failures Due to Deadlines and Severe ADD

Hello friends, please allow me to start by saying I deeply appreciate OSMI, and all of the brave people sharing their experiences here. I feel like this is the first group who might understand my ongoing battles with major depression, severe ADD and my career in tech.

To give a bit of background - I was diagnosed with Inattentive-Type ADD and major depression at age Twenty, though per a clinical psychologist, a neurologist I worked closely with who specialized in attention issues, and a psychiatrist my history until that point clearly indicated it had been serious and untreated throughout school/childhood. I had been referred to said specialists after a range of neurological issues (I would ‘lose time’, etc.); My doctors thought I might have had a brain tumor. As it turns out, brain scans indicated a right frontal lobe deficiency - By all indications, my brain just never fully developed.

I enjoyed my time at a major State University, but I dropped out after three years of truly struggling with my managing my symptoms, while dealing with severe depression. My original degree path was in criminal justice; I had no postsecondary education in computer science, though I had grown up tinkering with the family PC at home and enjoyed it.

Long story short, I ended up leaving school, meeting my future Fiancée, and settling down into any job I could. I started at a pharmacy filling prescriptions; I became a shift manager for the other techs, and worked to try and learn/solve an issue we were having with AS400. I ended up fixing that issue through a lot of elbow grease and grit, and after leaving that job ended up in a different entry-level job at a Corp headquarters call center. Somehow in a few years, I taught myself basic SQL and worked hard to get a few promotions into a technical role. I ended up moving on to another, solely technical role, starting in support and web design. After six years, I was running a large portion of their ETL processes, building POS integrations, etc.

I say all of this because, NONE of this came easily. It was always an uphill battle, against time and my ADD/depression. I never felt good enough, and I never felt like I was making anything for myself.

My Fiancée passed from cancer in 2016 - She had been battling cancer since age 17. We’d shared ten years together. I took a work call at 2am, in the hospital, about four days before she would pass. We had no idea she would pass, but I will never forgive myself for all of the time I spent working when she was still with us.

I moved across country, and after settling down started my current job. I was hired during a serious growth/inflection point, where headcount just wasn’t sufficient and they needed to ramp up quickly. Our senior engineer mentoring me took me aside on the first full project I received, and verbatim said ‘someone may not like you, they really screwed you with this one.’

I work on long arc, highly variable projects with high stakes for the user base. Two years later, I now have a slew of these projects under my belt. None have gone perfectly; Almost none of these projects have even gone particularly well. Yet, I am one of less than five people in a corporation that is tasked with these; Not even other engineers on my paygrade in our team are given these.

I’m not afraid of working hard; The only reason I have some semblance of success has been due to the fact I’ve sacrificed so much time just trying to brute-force solutions, where they couldn’t be easily attained other ways.

But after a really bad month, and a bad project outcome even I didn’t expect, in small parr attributable to my serious issues with attention, I’m really spooked, demoralized and frankly, embarrassed. I managed to execute complex portions of recent projects, while totally rookie things were missed. I’m also trying to juggle a workload that seems to grow by the day (while said mistakes were made, I was juggling at least a half-dozen other things with varying degrees of importance).

I truly adore my boss, and I would never attribute this to them. It’s basically openly acknowledged that things are thrown down the pipe from higher levels, and the expectation is that we just find a way to make it work. However, I’ve had several conversations after mentally breaking down over the past week - I’ve asked them to consider moving someone else into this role, someone without the constant struggle with attention, and without this huge workload. I’m kindly rebuffed each time I make the request, and given an ‘atta’ boy’ answer about how we all have difficulty and work through it, and that they have faith in me.

But, I truly don’t have faith in me anymore. I’ve never had a great degree of faith, but I had enough. But after all of these projects, I’m broken. Additionally, our stack is constantly changing to the point where it seems what was true earlier in the month may not necessarily be true of EOM; Sprint’s start may look very different from sprint’s end. I don’t want to give up - I can at least say I’ve never easily done so just because it was convenient - But, I’m trying to save us all by giving my role to someone better suited for it. I guess, short of leaving altogether (which, though I’ve never enjoyed tech as a career to be honest, it has sustained me well and leaving terrifies me), it just seems I will stay put and nothing will change longterm.

Has anyone encountered this? Where management doesn’t believe the issue exists in the shape you recognize it as?

Welcome @Thoreauvian - I don’t have personal experience with ADD but I do have a lot of experience with treatment-resistant major depression.

It sounds like you’ve been through a lot and also have a high level of self-examination + self-awareness as a result. The situations I’ve been in that are similar to what you’ve described I’ve basically had to depart / extract myself from the situation. Sometimes things aren’t going to change in existing structures and I had to protect my own health. (that being said, I went from tech to still-tech, soo…)

Have you considered switching jobs to something that would potentially build your confidence up from the tasks + structure of the business?