I think people in tech tend to underappreciate the benefits of being able to just do the job and enjoy a (comparatively) lesser-stressful life with enviable benefits. Programming is creative endeavour too, but, no one is asked to build a product that succeeds in the market; that's the job of management.
Being a writer, or a musician, on the other hand, entails a perennial anxiety over the success of whatever you're doing. How will you ever know if your next thing will be liked or not? How will you know if you should continue working on your project when it starts to feel like an incoherent mess?
I have moments of self-doubt too but I am confident that I won't suddenly cease to be a decent programmer who gets things done. For many creative people who do it full time, it means fighting the monster every day.
Even if people say they don't like your creation, it doesn't matter as long as you like it. Nobody cares about your sleeping position, and if somebody criticizes it (unless it's a doctor), you already know their opinion doesn't matter because 1) evolution works by listening to our feelings 2) you can't know the absolute truth about anything 3) there are many diverse opinions out there. It applies to creativity as well.
Only time and long term execution will tell if what you do matters (and to be honest, it does not matter anyway). But ultimately your cannot apprehend your work and the expectations of people. People are not able to tell you what they want, so it's not worth it to listen to them. I like to think creativity works in the realm of evolution and natural selection. It's impossible to predict what will work or not.
Take your work seriously, but don't take your art seriously. Do the best you can, experiment, test your limits, but at the end of the day, have perspective. Even if you reach the highest level of your craft, you're still just you. If you spend time developing yourself, trust your instincts and creativity, and you're a brutal self-editor, you should put out work representative of where you're at as a person/artist. To my understanding, that's all you can do.
Except startup owners and many others. Even in many large companies an unsuccessful product can lead to teams being let go or reassigned to do boring work. Also, stack ranking...
> Being a writer, or a musician ... perennial anxiety
That's the tradeoff for doing a really creative job. I love the creativity of development but nobody will read our code in public in 500 years from now.
> I won't suddenly cease to be a decent programmer
Burnout happens to do that.
Really? Maybe in really large companies, but even then, management just decide what product to build. It's still the engineers that build it.
I'm sure most musicians don't care about that. It's big media that thinks this way, and coincidentally produces mostly stuff that real music-lovers find crap.
Re-arranging crappy piano scores so they fit a scratch band they've been asked to work with, figuring out how to stretch the tiny school budget into buying a less awful keyboard...
If they do have time and energy to put into 'green field' music production, there may be some stress over whether or not it's liked, but realistically they're mostly doing it because the concept of the album inspires them so they can't sleep at night because the melody is stuck in their head.
This bothers me. It's correlated but the following analysis assumes at least partly that being a writer is one possible factor for depression. Very common mistake most HNers are probably aware of.
For a science writer to read papers so wrongly is rather ironic.
And why shouldn't it be a possible factor? Correlation doesn't tell that it has to be a factor but neither the opposite.
He's a writer and is experiencing the difficulties of his work and how it
effects his emotional well being. It shouldn't then really surprise that
he sees a strong connection between his work as a writer and the
depressions he has. That doesn't mean he's telling an objective truth
about a writer's life, but he's telling a subjective "truth" of his
life as a writer, and sometimes these subjective "truths" can tell
you quite a bit about life.
Sometimes the HN crowd can get quite a bit annoying with its scientific
thinking, because it's not always the appropiate method, and sometimes
a single person can tell you more about a certain aspect of the world
then any kind of scientific study.
I'm certainly not arguing against the scientific method, but to
apply it in a reasonable way.
No matter how obvious something feels, you can't know it's truth value. Humans can have auditory, visual and conceptual delusions that are completely convincing and completely opposite of what other humans experience.
The only conclusion you can draw from this essay is it's actually how the author says he thinks he feels. This may be a good starting hypothesis for a more rigorous study, but it says very little about life in general.
Accounts like this also tell you what's possible. It might and probably won't be true for everyone, but nobody is unique enough that it won't be encountered again.
So even if it's just one author telling you about his internal world I'd say there is a little more to learn from this.
That's a very religious attitude you have about the scientific method. ;-)
Might we say that, based on our tests so far, the scientific method has produced reasonable results for explaining shared reality? (Defining truth is a different matter entirely.)
But you said it yourself, we can never know the absolute truth value.
I say let go of what life truly means, and enjoy the process of iteratively improving your own perspective. Humans always seek closure though - that's religion for me (!)
It may or may not be proper thinking - without executing the remaining steps to test a theory, we can't know.
therapy is more useful than drugs, even if drugs are needed eventually.
but I think this follow the US school of thought, where therapy is just one session required for liability before you're sent to a psych who will prescribe a pill regimen on the very first session. unbelievable.
> reads like a medication pamphlet
That means that you're in the not particularly large fraction of people that the pills work well for. Good for you.
For the rest of us, well, the pills can be a hell of side-effects, tolerance, and rebound ... and that's if they have any primary positive effect at all.
what happens with your case, is that you do not care about side effects. or even welcome them. just like most depressed people in bad marriages welcome the lower sex drive, or stressed people at work welcome the drone like sleepless life. And you will not even know you are living like that until you go to a good therapist, which seem to be very rare in the US.
all that said, I sincerely whish you get well and eventually go without the meds. And I am happy you did seek out help. That's the rigth spirit. Just do not shrug off therapy. Do take the time to work with a few different ones during a year, even if you honestly believe the meds cured you 100%
> what happens with your case
> not particularly large fraction
Pages 38 to 45 probably most useful, especially pages 40 onwards.
(Personally, I think meds are useful, and I think good quality talking therapies are useful, and I think people should have access to both, and access to a range of psycho-social interventions.)
Is it your opinion based on... ?
 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2582668/ , https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/cross-check/are-antidep... , https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4592645/
to begin with, I could refer you to the study the article is about. it correlates a social setting with high occurrence of depression. then it proceeds to promote the solution with medication. when the obvious solution is changing the social setting! that is the definition of the 80s joke "prozac for bad hair day"
Work must never be an issue, or we might have to treat workers well. Society and societal structures must never be an issue, or we might have to care about each other on a more than skin-deep level and drop this whole "we are all independent beings who are completely unaffected by external factors" madness.
At least some part of mental healthcare is essentially a system designed to help people cope with a society which does horrific things to them, and then gaslights them into believing it's their fault for not coping with it.
I don't understand why you say that.
Are you saying therapy make people feel guilty of their own self?
It depends, coping with the imperfection of society is also something to work on. Accepting its flaws lets you walk around it. Sometimes it's not the individual who is the problem, but it doesn't mean he should not accept how the society is flawed.
Mental healthcare and therapy have an individualistic approach because that's what they do, how else? To change society you would need politics, and that's another matter entirely.
I often say that mental illness doesn't really exist, because as long as we don't understand the brain there is no "normal" behavior. But as the same time you can't deny that society has its norms.
That's the point - it's not another matter entirely. If society is damaging people's mental health, it's entirely unethical to look the other way and pretend it's each individual's problem. If mental healthcare professionals want to ensure the wellbeing of their patients, they need to be fighting alongside us for widespread societal change, and they need to fight against the myth of poor mental health being an individual anomaly.
But getting to that point requires an understanding that mental health isn't individualistic in the first place, which is not what we're told, and it's not what our doctors are taught. What we have right now is, a lot of the time, treating symptoms and providing coping mechanisms instead of treating the causes. Imagine a doctor did that with a broken leg - refused to touch it, but instead provided you painkillers and explained how to plan routes around the city with lots of seats you can sit in when the pain gets too much.
Mental health is a difficult subject.
Imagine the problem it can be to treat homosexual as equals in the political scene, it will be another story to have consideration for the mentally ill.
The more we become a society of people with knowledge rather than social norms and morals, the more we will be able to progress.
I also really believe that group therapy should be the future of therapy...
Maybe you should have a conversation with a psychologist or a therapist and talk about those things. A possibility is also that patients need to be told that nothing is their fault. It can take a lot of time to defuse the person's belief that a he/she is not "defective". There is no shame in going to therapy, it's all about talking, because that the most concrete thing you can do with a brain.
>Maybe individual people have this attitude, but it is certainly not a tenet of medical/psychological practice.
This is indeed evidenced by the big pharma "chemical imbalance" sales pitch, as it implies your brain is a self-enclosed system
2. I had a breakdown years ago. Looking back it was just a massive Panic Attack. What really surprised me is I woke up the next morning feeling o.k., then out of the blue--life crushing anxiety. Anxiety so bad I just physically shook, and was always in tears. This went on for years.
3. After a week into the anxiety, I saw a Ph.D in psychology. I spent all my savings on these sessions. The result--not a bit of help. Now, they will claim that twice a week for 9 months is "not giving it enough time", but at a $100 a session it was just a waste of money.
4. I was finally referred to a Psychiatrist. He put me on all the antidepressants. None worked. He put me on a long half life benzodiazepine, and with a bottle of wine I was kinda functional.
5. My point is try Psychology/Psychiatry. Remember it's more of an art, than a science. I didn't realize this when I was in my twenties. Over the years, I have seem the spark dwindle from my Psychiatrist's eyes. I think if he had a do over, he would have picked a different speciality.
6. If I had a do over, I would have skipped it all. I did eventually stop drinking, but for years it was the only drug that worked, besides having to beg for low doses of benzodiazepines. I'm now trying to get off benzos, but figure why, at this point in my life. It's still a bitch getting any controlled drug from most doctors.
7. I can say this. So many of you will just get better with Time, but it might take awhile. (The "Professionals" conviently leave this out. There are some studies praising time verse therapy/drugs, but they are buried, and were small studies. I my case, it felt like I wounded my brain that night of the huge anxiety attack, and it would take years to heal. The experts told me most people do get better in a few weeks. I didn't. The depression arose because my life went from great to just lucky to get to sleep. Exercise did help eventually. At first, it didn't at all. I needed alcohol. I didn't want to blow out my liver in my twenties, so I only drank when I absolutely needed it. Don't overload that liver.
8. I once had a talk to a resident Psychiatrist. At first, he was a a cheerleader for his decision to specialize in psychiatry. After some debate, and honest reflection, he admitted to me all the modalities/drugs work a tiny bit in some patients, and the profession has a way to go.
9. I do know this, patients whom have been on a drug for a period of a few years shouldn't have to go into those prearranged sessions, just to refill a script. If the drug does not require blood monitoring, the patient should get refills. I know so many people who self medicated with alcohol, because our American system of treating mental illness sucks.
10. Time. I know, who has time. I need to function tomorrow. You have my heart.
They could also be thinking of Anatomy of an Epidemic where long term results of people on drugs are worse than those off. Specifically that there's never been such a finding for CBT having a long term negative impact.
(Disclaimer: I'm not a medical specialist just a sufferer and reader)
You do not say how, what, or why your religion has done to help you and you make a broad sweeping statement that some thing (a god) will magically solve mental illness. If anything this sort of crap will prolong suffering, and or exacerbate the problems associated with mental illness because it's not a solution or treatment.
Tangentially (off topic), I'd argue you were never truly an atheist if you could be "converted." There is no turning back, I won't one day believe in Santa Claus again.
I think personally in the west atheism is more akin to victorian christianity..it's just a baseline belief "cultured" people hold, and generally is held without thinking much about the consequences as people go about their daily lives.
Then a stranger asked, "Why do you worry so with your counting? Do you ever expect to find the right number? Just use a tab, my friend, and the number will always be One."
In that moment, the programmer was enlightened.
But in their previous days, was this programmer not a true Believer of Spaces?
Even more tangentially :), someone who does not believe in the existence of a god is an agnostic. An atheist is someone who believes that god does not exist (which is just as unproven as the opposite claim that god does exist).
I think the church can offer a sense of community that many people are seeking or lack, but this is just an outrageous claim. If "god" was the answer to mental illness, and this fact was definitive, there would be no mental illness left.
Our faith, in short, requires that we live for others. That's hard to do, and most of us are not good at it. My brother errs. I'm sorry for that.