An honest story of one man’s journey with depression. He’s a software programmer, like me, so I can empathize pretty deeply with the way that he thinks.
Was having a brief but impactful conversation with a colleague about mental illness and he mentioned something that forced me to quickly (and hopefully kindly) interrupt:
My wife is an incredible partner, wife, and very, very patient friend. Some of the daily challenges that I have are around things that most neurotypicals do not think twice about.
For instance, my wife has helped create dress combinations for me since we’ve been married which has helped me look my best.
I kind of love this:
He is self-aware, self-accepting, caring, with a strong ability to analyze and speak about his condition with others. He understands how he is different, and he has created a coping mechanism for himself that enables him to function in society and pursue his interests in the arts as an escape when it all becomes too much for him.
Spoiler alert… it’s mental health, something that I document on this blog a bit.
Specifically, depression is still, unfortunately, taboo but I think things are changing. Folks like Brad Feld and Jerry Colonna and others like Rand Fishkin are going on record with being not only diagnosed with it but who are actively sharing their stories.
I can’t remember where I saw this, but, I had saved this locally because I liked it so much:
OSMI is an incredible organization dedicated to raising awareness, creating education, and providing resources to support mental wellness in the technology world.
Started by Ed Finkler (popularly known as Funkatron) who started sharing his personal experiences as a developer and his struggles with mental illness.
Mental illness is more than just an occasional nuisance… it can destroy the very best things in our lives. Nothing is outside its reach and grasp.
This vignette about Paul Alexander hits very close to home:
The Japanese have been practicing the discipline of mindfulness for ages but it’s only become in vogue here in the states in the last few years. I know that it was a large topic of conversation in my last company in and around the staff and I’ve even attended workshops here in San Francisco on it exclusively.
But what hasn’t quite happened yet is the full integration of it in our entire lives:
This artist turns the struggle of depression into something beautiful through his art, an imaginary world where a small man is traveling through a long-forgotten jungle and encountering his fears, manifested as giant animals with glowing eyes.
Many of these spoke to me very deeply and clearly; I know what this is like.