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Discussion on: Depression & Anxiety in programming

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Rebecca G

I had a talk with my boss about this pretty recently, since I've been struggling with depression and panic attacks for the last couple years and only recently got help. My biggest tip is to go to therapy, take your meds, and go easy on yourself. It's really easy to see depression as a personal failing, when it's a medical problem the same way the flu or a broken leg is - it's not something you can just push through without hurting yourself more in the process!

When I feel overwhelmed, I take a second or a minute or an hour and just breathe. Sometimes that's enough, and I can put things in perspective and not break down. Sometimes it's not and I end up crying in the bathroom, and that's a good time to reset and reach out and say "I'm having trouble with this and I need some help, do you have 10 minutes to talk through X?" Asking my coworkers for help is hard, but they have a neutral perspective that is invaluable, and generally that's enough to reset my brain and let me focus on my work again.

Another thing that can help is changing what you're working on - I wasn't feeling good about my engineering work so I switched to the QE team, where I'm learning an entirely new skillset and still working on problems I care about. A change in surroundings can make a big difference!