As I wrote in a previous post, I was diagnosed with depression a few months ago. I started medication and I've been doing so much better.
So this morning's onslaught was a shock.
I was working remotely when I started feeling unbelievably sad, depressed, emotional, angry. I told my colleagues I wasn't feeling well, left the meeting and moments later I was huddled on the floor of my room crying.
Anyone who has experienced serotonin imbalance (depression) knows this feeling: sadness but with the rational brain saying, "Why? This doesn't make sense."
In that moment of being crouched on the floor crying, a thought came to me: "What's the bravest thing you can do right now?"
What I wanted to do was to curl up in a ball on the floor and cry myself to sleep.
What I decided to do was splash cold water on my eyes and go downstairs and talk to my wonderful landlord.
Because the worst part of depression might be the fear of being seen in that state. It's so easy to hide away, but hiding continues the cycle of sadness and isolation.
The bravest thing I could do was to walk downstairs with my eyes all puffy and swollen and say, "Depression just hit me like a truck and I've been crying." And then have a perfectly normal and lovely conversation about the Cambridge Beer Festival.
Then I had to write a note to my team about what was going on, and also what triggered it: the fact that yesterday's work experience was exhausting, frustrating, and unproductive for me. So this is another learning experience: working with part of a team, and standing up for what I know I need to be productive and happy (turns out a whole day of 5-person programming is not necessarily the ideal way to function).
Several hours later, I am exhausted but I am victorious. I wrote some good code with my pair. I reached out to friends for help. I didn't spend the day curled up in tears (although if that's the best I could have managed, that would be ok too).
I leave you with this quote from Extreme Programming Explained by Kent Beck :
"People develop software. This simple, inescapable fact invalidates most of the available methodological advice. Often, software development doesn't meet human needs, acknowledge human frailty, and leverage human strength. Acting like software isn't written by people exacts a high cost on participants, their humanity ground away by an inhumane process that doesn't acknowledge their needs. This isn't good for business either, with the costs and disruption of high turnover and missed opportunities for creative action."
Or, as I like to think of it, "people > code".
I am an Irish-American violinist living in Cambridge, UK. I perform with the Philharmonia, the Orchestra of the Age of the Enlightenment, and many other top groups, and am also the Business Developer for Encore Music and am on the Makers Academy course for programming.