Fighting Depression in the Tech Industry

Fighting Depression in the Tech Industry

Money isn’t everything.

Let me explain. I never thought I’d reach where I’m at because I genuinely believe that, salary-wise, all I’d ever make was $120k a year. That’s if I get lucky.

I had already accepted that I’d remain stuck at a $90k salary for the rest of my life. I was making around 70k per year before I was laid off, and fortunately, about ten months later, since I accepted the fact, I started earning more than triple that amount. Insane right?

After my significant increase in income, I then started thinking that I could even increase my current salary by double if I keep my current pace. Then, I started noticing that I kept wanting more.

Right now, please read the following words and let them sink in.

Don't let money determine your happiness.

I often mention that “Money is not everything,” it's not the end all be all. Letting money determine your happiness is terrifying. In the end, earning $500k a year won’t be a guarantee for your happiness.

There was a moment I had that I tweeted about my major depressive order. I tweeted about how I’ve been fighting it for the past six years and that I’ve never been happier than where I am in my life today.

Even then, when depression hits, it hits hard.

I have had depression for a while and, before I knew that I had it, it was terrible for me. In the past, I never shared it with anyone. I was always so angry, and I didn’t like being around people.

I didn’t know why I was easily angry or why I was annoyed with everything and everyone. During that time, a lot of negative thoughts would come into my head. It was to the point where I didn’t want to exist anymore.

The most brutal battle I faced as a web developer is regarding the stigma surrounding depression.

There is a stigma surrounding depression in the tech industry that many people aren’t aware of or don’t understand. Inside the tech industry, workers surround themselves with silence about their mental health.

And everyone is okay with it.

When I mean everyone, I don’t mean everyone. I mean the people who aren’t aware or don’t fully understand what’s happening behind the scenes.

There are moments where I am super productive for four to five months, and there are also moments where I can’t control my depression. I had days where I woke up late, around 3:30 pm, and I would stay in bed.

I remember staring at the ceiling for what seemed like forever. I have no motivation. Even when there was a huge deadline for that day, I just called in sick. The consequences did not matter. I did not care. It's scary to think about.

Most people would think that that’s just being lazy, but it’s not. That is the reality for people like me who fight major depression daily.

Others will say that you have everything you’d ever needed, like a roof over your head or the clothes on your back. But the truth is, depression isn’t about that. Depression does not care about that. When it happens comes, it comes hard.

Depression is real, and it’s terrifying to think that many people in the tech industry don’t even realize they have it.

Think about it. These people sit in isolation for hours on end with no one to talk to about anything. They have feelings of anger and frustration with everyone and everything, and they don’t know why they feel that way.

People are dying because they don’t know what’s happening.

My most brutal battle as a web developer is fighting my depression. I can fight it as long and as hard as I want to, but I know that I can’t fight it alone. That’s why I went looking for help: therapy and treatment.

Please listen to what I’m about to say right now, whether it’s you or a friend that you’ve noticed. If you’re struggling right now, you can get help. You are not alone. There are tons of people out there who are ready and willing to help you.

You can see a therapist, and they’re not as expensive as psychiatrists or psychologists. If you’re having second thoughts or you’re hesitating, you can start by talking to someone.

It all starts with getting help and finding someone willing to listen.

This incredible journey that I’ve been on the past few years is humbling. If you told me that I’d be here where I am now, I wouldn’t hesitate to call you crazy. Yet, here I am.

I was struggling for so long. I still am, but here I am now. I'm alive and happier than ever. It all starts with first accepting that you may have it & then finding the help you need.

Chris Sean
Developer Relations Engineer | New Relic

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