Dealing With Major Depression

Hello everyone,

This topic is a difficult one for me, as it leaves me open to scrutiny. However, I don’t see many talking about it in the community, so I wished to share my experience in hopes that it will help others. I want to talk about depression. No, not the kind you have when you’re having a bad day, or the kind that lasts for a little while after a death in the family, or even the kind after your favorite sports team loses a big game and you become sad for a few days. I’m talking about major, or clinical, depression.

I’ve figured out from experience, and from others, how to be happy even in the most difficult of circumstances. I know just about every professional tactic there is out there, and have tried them all, so this isn’t a case of me not knowing how to ‘find my happy’. Major depression, at least in my case, is caused by something completely out of my control. In my case, it was caused by low levels of serotonin in my brain. For those who don’t know, serotonin is a chemical your brain uses to regulate your mood. In other words, you could nickname it your ‘happy’ chemical.

Having a lower-than-normal level of this chemical can cause many side affects, many of which can affect your professional life. Examples of these would be: inability to focus, indecisiveness, fatigue or loss of energy and diminished interest or pleasure in activities. All of these symptoms could greatly diminish our ability to live a good and happy life, and also perform good quality work. Also, this is a fairly common thing that people experience, with around 7% being affected by it constantly, and 20-25% being affected by it at some point in their life.

I’d found out about this after I’d started experiencing times where I simply could not focus at all. I would try to read words on my screen, but my mind was not processing what I was reading with any sort of efficiency. I was tired constantly, even when I exercised, slept well and had a good diet. I was anxious about many things, which took my mind off my work. My passion and drive were diminishing quickly, and I was finding it difficult to do anything. People noticed these things, and started to avoid me, because few would want to talk to an unhappy person. I even stopped going to almost all user groups, as I just didn’t have the drive to do it.

After some consideration, I went to my physician and told them about my symptoms. I came to find out all these facts above, and also found out that this can be hereditary, or caused by major trauma. I have people on both sides of my family that deal with major depression, and I have gone through quite a few stressful life events, so this could’ve cropped up from either. In any case, they had many treatment options available, which I happily accepted. Now, I’m able to focus, feel much less tired, am generally in a more cheerful mood, have my passion and drive back, have been going to user groups again, people have stopped avoiding me, I feel nearly no anxiety, and my wife is much happier for all of it :).

If you’ve experienced these symptoms, please go see your physician. If you don’t have one, ask me and I’ll recommend one. It’s not worth it to deal with those symptoms.

Please pass this along if you know anyone that’s dealing with this, in hopes that it will help them along.

Thanks for reading!

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One More Year

Hello everyone,

Yesterday, I officially became one year older.

Looking back on the previous 10 years, I see how much has changed in my life. Around this time 10 years ago, I was on summer break from high school, applying for my first job at a local pizza shop. After awhile, I’d end up managing that place, and figured I could make a career out of it. I graduated high school, then left the pizza shop (didn’t pay me enough) for another place (paid me more) where I was a microfilm camera operator. However, the company would end up laying me off 6 months later. Before the lay-off, a friend convinced me to go to church, where I found God, and met my wife.

At that time in my life, I wanted to be an auto mechanic. Not because I liked it all that much, but because I was capable of doing it, and was tired of seeing people getting ripped off. While going to college for that, I had some odd jobs, ranging from warehouse work to store clerk. Jen and I decided to get married when I was 19 and she was 18, and then had our first child pretty close to our first anniversary. Many thought we were crazy and that it wouldn’t last (note: We recently celebrated our 6th anniversary).

put that in your pipe and smoke it

After that, life got pretty difficult. From living in a bad neighborhood where people got shot right outside our apartment, to our cars being totaled or broken down, to switching jobs a lot, it was pretty crazy for awhile. At one of those jobs, I’d injured my back so badly I had to undergo a spinal fusion. Considering it’d be hard to be a mechanic with a bad back, I decided to quit pursuing that. I’ve always been a nerd, so I figured I should be a tech support guy. So, I went to a tech school while off work on injury leave and learned how to be a systems administrator.

I found a job in this field, and had a good time. Jen and I used the pay increase to buy a decent house at a decent price and settled down for good (hopefully).

While I was doing some scripting work at this new job, I found out about Columbus Code Camp… And the rest you can find out from previous posts 🙂

I told all this as a hopeful encouragement for anyone who feels like they’re not doing what they love, or that their life is too hectic. Keep pushing. Keep fighting. Ignore the haters. Also, ignore your own excuses. I could’ve laid around sulking after my injury (which I did do for awhile), but I got up and did what I needed to get where I wanted to go. Yes, I do have student loan debt. Yes, I did end up changing careers for the 4th time anyway. However, I’m getting where I want to be, and that’s what really matters.

Personal and Professional Changes Galore!

Hello All!

It’s been a little while since I last posted here. There have been many changes going on in my life, which took priority over this blog. However, this blog is still quite important to me, so I’ll kick off 2014 with this new post in hopes that I’ll keep posting as the year goes on.

First and foremost, my wife and I had our second child and first daughter, Mya, on January 30th. Helping out with this has taken a good amount of time and energy away from this blog, but I refused to let it stop me from growing and honing my skills as a developer. In the time of my wife’s pregnancy, I was still attending Code And Coffee at Stauf’s on Thursday mornings (show up if you’re able; 6:30-whenever everyone leaves), published a Windows Phone app and performed updates on said app (still in progress, but here’s the link: http://www.windowsphone.com/en-us/store/app/c-bus/b9c16419-fcf4-4875-8c53-e0002f527f77), and studying via Channel9 and Pluralsight.

During that time as well, I was going through some changes professionally. I can’t remember if I made this apparent before, but I actually have been working as a System/Network/Backup Administrator and tech support specialist. Since I’ve become so enamored with software development, I decided to push in that direction at Fireproof. I worked on a few apps and created some good solutions for them, but it was apparent that we did not share the same vision. So, I decided to move on and pursue a career as a full-time software developer. Thankfully, I was given a position at where I thought was the best fit for me: Improving Enterprises in Columbus. My first day is February 10th, and I’m very excited to get started!

Last but not least, more personal stuff. I’m not sure if others have as many family issues as I do, but sometimes I feel like I could turn fixing those into a full-time job :P. My spiritual growth has also slowed quite a bit due to making things more of a priority. Instead of saving me time, this actually hurt me more, as my convictions and once-strong faith were tested and wavered often in times where I felt like I was too busy to even breathe. This was once something that I would study for multiple hours each week, but up until the last month, I’ve barely put in an hour a month of reading or praying or even just thinking about it. This may seem trivial to my non-Christian friends, but my faith has been what I’ve founded my life upon since high school. To ignore it and not maintain it would be like seeing the foundation of your house crumbling and just walking by as if everything was fine. Thankfully, I’m getting back in the swing of things and feeling quite content, even though there’s still some pretty stressful things still going on.

Well, that’s about it. I don’t want to bore anyone with too many details, so I’ll leave it at that.

I’m considering posting on Windows Phone development here in the next few weeks, and possibly showing how I went about creating my app. I’ll also sprinkle in some other things I’m working on as they come up. As always, thanks for reading!