Help others by sharing your experiences in mental health
Last year I went into a process of mental breakdown. Life changes, social anxiety, and too many projects and work to do made me fall into a depression and anxiety problems. This is normal, isn't something to be ashamed of, everybody has its own circumstances and may fall as well in the same situation, the key it's to know how to tackle it.
Months ago I started to take control of the issue, be conscious about it, and try to understand the causes in order to fix it. Aside from professional treatment (you always have to start with professional advise), I wondered if there would be more people sharing their experiences with mental health, and I began to search on the internet.
A big part of my mental breakdown was due to the industry I belong: the software industry. We all know that the software industry can be (and in fact it is) really toxic: you need to be always at the edge of the industry, with tons of side projects, a full green-tiled Github profile, sending C4P to all conferences so you can be the new IT influencer and stay relevant... too much pressure.
Don't get me wrong, I'm the first who enjoys doing my side-projects, and I love to learn new technologies and share my knowledge, but when the industry demands you to work as hard as you can, even compromising your own health just to be considered, it's when all the problems start to grow.
So, searching for other peoples experiences about mental health issues in the software industry, I realized that there's not enough visibility, and I think that's a problem we need to change. Mental health and neurodiversity it's a real thing we can't hide, and we must start to combat the stigma and discrimination that surrounds mental illness.
You don't realize how much can help you to lean on the experiences of other people. On my way to my recover, I've created a list of resources about mental health in the software industry in which I'm collecting and making visible to others all the resources that helped me. You can take a look at the list here.
If I have to choose one resource of the list to start with, maybe I'll choose this James Meickle' talk about mental health and neurodiversity in engineering:
Other things which can help on a daily basis
Besides reading those resources to enrich myself and learn from others, there're little things I do on a daily basis that help me on my recovery process, and it maybe help you too:
- Eat healthily and exercise more: a good physical health have a direct impact in your mental health.
- Enjoy and celebrate small accomplishments: sometimes we don't value the little things we achieve every day (solving a bug, making a new small feature...), and it's exactly those small steps that we should enjoy to the fullest.
- Be kind with each other: help yourself by helping and caring others, it will make you feel happier.
- Rest properly: not only having a good sleep but putting yourself away from anything that causes you mental stress.
- Stay hydrated: not, seriously, hydrate yourself properly.
Start taking care of yourself, there's no side-project, software conference or company more important than your mental health.