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Let’s Talk About It

Many of us struggle silently with mental health problems and many more are affected by them, either directly or indirectly. It’s {Geek} Mental Help Week1 and we would like to help raise awareness with a couple of articles exploring these issues. – Ed.

Talking about mental health can be awkward and embarrassing, but it really shouldn’t be. Mental health is just an illness, like any other. When we talk about mental health, we do so in hushed terms. We whisper, “Don’t mention it, he or she isn’t ‘all there.’”

I believe this approach — sweeping the problem under the carpet, hiding it from view, or stating, “Let’s not talk about it” — is a problem. Mental health is an issue. It affects our industry, in particular and confronting it head on is important. We need to talk about mental health more openly, and I’m happy to be one of a growing number of people in our industry who are helping to bring this subject out into the open, where it should be.

Mental health is an issue, it shouldn’t be a stigma. If more of us address it, openly, we’ll be able to address some of the problems we face collectively. Our industry is, in many ways, unique in its approach. We share what we learn, pooling our knowledge for the betterment of all. We can apply this approach to greater issues, like health, particularly mental health, and in so doing win the battle of the mind.

A Broken Elbow Link

Four years ago I broke my elbow. I left my house, on the west coast of Ireland, intending to take a short cycle ride and, barely a few minutes from my front door, managed to throw myself over the handlebars, bounce down a steep hill and break my elbow into what felt like a million pieces.

It was a stupid mistake. I wasn’t wearing a helmet — note to self, that’s never a good idea — and when my body, frail as it was, impacted upon the tarmac and gravel, it suffered immense trauma. Covered in cuts and bruises and bleeding profusely, I tried to pick myself up off the ground, only to discover that my left elbow was, I’m sad to say, almost beyond repair.

Fortunately, my wife, Cara (who — it has to be said — has supported me for an inordinate length of time), happened to be following behind me moments later in a car. She pulled in, gathered me up and took me to the hospital. I’m not a hospital person (I have a real phobia of hospitals), so this wasn’t the greatest day of my life, but I was soon taken care of and dispatched to Belfast, where I was admitted to yet another hospital for an operation to fix my broken elbow.

Unfortunately, all of this coincided with my end-of-year student assessments. I work as a senior lecturer at the Belfast School of Art, and my students, after many years of hard work, were just about to graduate. It was a difficult time, but, thanks to the generous support of my colleagues, I was able to assess my students from the relative comfort of a hospital bed, all thanks to technology. (iPhones are just the ticket when you’re assessing students from afar.)

I returned to work a fortnight later, my arm nestled in a sling. I wore that sling like a badge of pride.

A Broken Mind Link

Barely two years later, I would find myself in a hospital again. This time, I awoke in a hospital bed feeling exhausted, disorientated and ashamed. The day before, I had tried to kill myself. I didn’t wear that like a badge of pride. Indeed, outwardly, you wouldn’t have seen any evidence that I had even been in hospital at all.

I suffer from depression.

I find myself all too often overwhelmed by life, questioning the point of it all. I wonder, “Is there an easier way out of this?” The answer, for me at that time, was simple: It’s time to exit.

At that time, with my elbow on the mend, my mind was in a terrible place. I couldn’t see the point of anything; I could only see a way out. Try as I might to rationally address my worries, my mind was cast adrift, and my thoughts were illogical. I had had enough. The rational — or, rather, irrational — solution was to end it all.

I am married and I have two wonderful children. I love my wife, Cara, and my children, Ross and Caitlín, dearly. They mean the world to me. When I look back on that time, I am ashamed of myself. I was ready to leave; I had had enough.

These words are the hardest I’ve written. They are almost impossible to write and to share. How can you state that you were ready to abandon your family? That’s the worst thing anyone could put down on a page.

Anxiety: one of the most prevalent mental health problems in the industry.2
Anxiety: one of the most prevalent mental health problems in the industry. (Image credit: Amen Clinics3)

When I feel great, I feel great. The world is my oyster, and the world is filled with opportunity. I am filled with hope, and I see the boundless possibilities that life offers. When the fog hits me, however, I cannot think rationally. The world is a black place, somewhere I wish to leave. Rationally, of course, I understand the devastation my choice will incur, but my mind is nowhere near working in what we might call a rational manner.

At that point, there is no badge of pride, only a badge of shame.

Managing A Mind Link

My last year has been one of change. I’ve regrouped and focused on trying to live a healthier lifestyle. I’ve also resigned myself to the fact that I cannot be all things to all people. The edges of my day had blurred: 9:00 to 5:00 had become 8:00 to 6:00 and, not long after, 7:00 to 7:00 (and worse). This kind of ever-increasing workload, where the balance between work and life switches, is not uncommon.

I’m sure we’ve all spent evenings or even whole nights just “catching up.” At the risk of stating the obvious, this is extremely unhealthy. We need to wake up, look at ourselves and ask, “Is this what life is really all about?”

Over the last two years, I’ve read a great deal to try to understand how the mind works. That journey has been an interesting one, and I’ve learned a great deal. I’ve found books to be the most helpful. Alain de Botton’s Status Anxiety4 is excellent, as is Viktor Frankl’s incredibly moving Man’s Search for Meaning5. Both are well worth owning.

If you can afford to buy just one book, however, get Steve Peters’ The Chimp Paradox6. Peters’ ideas on mind management are invaluable, and if he can help athletes win Olympic gold medals, then he can most certainly help you.

Books are great — as an educator, you’d expect me to say that — but we in this industry share something greater: a strong sense of community. Unlike in many other industries, we share our knowledge freely. Let’s share our knowledge about more than just design and code. Let’s share it about the issues we face in life.

You Are Not Alone Link

I’m not alone in writing about the issues I’ve faced. A growing number of others have, too, many of whom have been inspired to share their experience as a result of Geek Mental Help Week7. Geek Mental Help Week affords us all an opportunity to address these issues head on. We work in an industry that is relentless. Keeping up with change can be a challenge.

A year ago in my journal, fsck, I wrote8:

I believe, as an industry, we focus all too often on the headlong excitement of endlessly moving forward. That’s fine, but there’s a flip side. Relentless progress brings with it relentless pressure. It can be difficult to keep up, and the pressure to stay on top of everything can at times prove debilitating.

That remains the case.

Our industry is constantly evolving. It’s developing at an unprecedented rate, and it is intimidating at times. New technologies emerge yearly, monthly, weekly, even daily. Maintaining a knowledge base that is fit for purpose is incredibly time-consuming.

Keeping up is hard, and sometimes the stress of trying to stick with the pack (a pack that always seems to be pulling away from you) is frustrating. The older I get, the harder I find it to keep up with the pace of progress.

No one can do everything; we need to remind ourselves of that from time to time. AngularJS, Ember.js, Node.js; Bower, Grunt, Yeoman — I have no idea how any of these things work, and that’s fine. I have a skill set — I’m essentially a creative director and a mentor — and I’ve slowly come to the realization that my skill set is more than adequate.

I hope, as an industry, we can learn to let go a little. A wonderful world exists inside the machines we work with, but — equally — a wonderful world exists outside of those machines. Look up. Step away from the computer. Go for a walk in the park. That’s where you’ll witness what life is really all about.

We are all struggling. Even those who seem to effortlessly accumulate knowledge are struggling (though they might not admit it). Together, we can confront the challenges we face, as we do so many other challenges. Let’s not forget that.

(al, ml)

Footnotes Link

  1. 1 http://geekmentalhelp.com/
  2. 2 https://www.smashingmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/anxiety.jpg
  3. 3 http://www.amenclinics.com
  4. 4 http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/0141014865/monographic-21
  5. 5 http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/1844132390/monographic-21
  6. 6 http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/009193558X/monographic-21
  7. 7 http://stuffandnonsense.co.uk/blog/about/announcing-geek-mental-help-week
  8. 8 http://fsck.monographic.org/fsck.php
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Christopher Murphy is a writer, designer and educator based in Belfast. Creative Review described him as, “a William Morris for the digital age,” an epithet he aspires to fulfil daily. He is the organiser of Break, a new design conference that, "questions the edges of design," and has just established a new Interaction Design programme at the Belfast School of Art.

  1. 1

    Its nicely written… Sometimes I have similar feelings, that life is not just about work.

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  2. 2

    Thanks and good luck.

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  3. 3

    Nice read Christopher. You really cannot be all things to all people but its often too easy to try. I’m going for a walk in the park.

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  4. 4

    Agreed with you Chris. I am a Web Developer (Focusing on front end). I am really tired of forcing myself for chasing new coding tech daily such as AngularJS, Ember.js, Node.js and etc. I like the sentence “You are not alone”.

    Working out at the gym have became one of the most effective way to stress release for me.

    Thanks for sharing!!!

    Dennis C.

    7
  5. 5

    As part of looking for answers, do research on the MTHFR (methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase ) mutation. It’s prevalent in the Irish population (my grandmother was full Irish and I can trace it back to her) and causes what you describe. A person with MTHFR has difficulty processing Vit B (Folic acid, B12, etc) into something useful and basically needs to supplement with the methylated forms of these vitamins. I’ve noticed a HUGE difference since making the vitamin switch.

    Dr. Ben Lynch (ND) and Dr. Nancy Mullan (MD) have excellent information on MTHFR on their websites/blogs. And so that I only add one link, here’s a basic description: http://info.nihadc.com/integrative-health-blog/bid/70946/Methylation-101-What-it-Means-for-Your-Health .

    I hope this helps with some of the answers. It’s a relatively new discovery and not all doctors are aware of it, but it makes an amazing difference once addressed.

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  6. 6

    I am very thankful that you took the time to write this article. I’m sure a lot of us have all skimmed the front page of something like net.tutsplus.com, realized 80% of the articles were on topics that we had not personally delved into yet, and felt like complete and utter failures in our industry for not “keeping up”. Thanks for saying this out loud, and good luck to you.

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  7. 7

    “I am married and I have two wonderful children. I love my wife, Cara, and my children, Ross and Caitlín, dearly. They mean the world to me.”

    Don’t take what I am about to say too harshly, but it must be said. Apparently, your family did NOT mean the world to you. If they did, then all your efforts would be centered on them and you would not have time to think about yourself.

    One of the most important parts of finding a solution to a problem is admitting the truth of things. Leave politics or the-right-thing-to-say in the garbage.

    My workers are often amazed at the fact that I never get sick or never lose focus. I tell them because I need to be here for them.

    My boss asks me why I am always so awake or active. I tell her that I have to leave her business in a better way than before I got there.

    The point I am trying to make is often we focus on ourselves in a selfish manner in most things we do. When those things fail to produce, we lose value in ourselves. This is a selfish approach to life.

    If life is hard for you, a person with a job and family, then imagine how life must be for a homeless person. Can you truly imagine that?

    Not to affiliate, but one of the commandments is to Love Thy Neighbor. A lot of folks simply do not get the point of this directive. See, when you love someone else, then you focus on him, care about her, VALUE his or her life…above yours.

    The hidden benefit is while you are caring for the well-being of another person, you are learning, teaching, and instilling within yourself lessons for improving your condition…without realizing it.

    All of a sudden, the efforts you make in life become clearer because your focus is on the betterment of another. “All of a sudden, web accessibility makes sense because I want the folks with limited abilities, my senior relatives, and the people I love to enjoy their lives more.”

    Jonas Salk gave away his cure for Polio for free. Tim Berners-Lee gave away his web for free. Look how many lives have become enriched because of it.

    Depression is real. Depression is anger turned on oneself. Why are you angry? Usually because you have failed to achieve something you value only for yourself…whatever that something may be.

    Often, placing the lives of others above your own (your family), seeing if your brilliance can come up with a way to improve their lives leaves you no room for self-degradation. They need YOU. You may not find value in yourself, but they will find and have value in you.

    I take suicide attempts very seriously for two reasons. One, because we have over 6.5 billion people on Mother Terra. Two, I am absolutely sure there are a lot of folks who could use your mind, your physical strength, your humor, and your give-a-doggone to make their lives better.

    Go to a hospital and sit and talk to a patient whose family has not visited. I guarantee you will make a friend. Find a homeless person on the street and just start up a conversation. I guarantee you will make a friend. Go to a children school and share your knowledge and experience. I guarantee that, for some of them, they will remember your generosity for the rest of their lives.

    The final point I want to make is when you are feeling depressed, which is anger turned inward, then help another human, which changes depression to love turned outward. You will feel better.

    -90
    • 8

      Your ignorance about depression is unfortunate. Depression has nothing to do with anger turned inward, and it’s most certainly not something a person suffering from the condition can simply will away with puppy dogs and raimbows.

      32
    • 9

      Wow, your lack of empathy is unreal. You know very little about Depression. But it’s ok, we can’t all be informed of everything. But do me a favor when you have some time – Google it. Causes for depression are very complex and no one knows exactly what causes it. Some of the factors could be biological, chemicals in the brain, hormones, etc. In any case, if you don’t have it, it makes it easier to judge, no?

      I personally do not suffer from depression, however, I do have a sister who does. My attitude was exactly like yours – offered advice on how she could “manage” it. But through the years the only thing that did was to drive us apart. It wasn’t until I just listened to her and stopped providing my so-called solutions that we were able to reconnect again. It is through her and many of my other friends who are suffering with depression that I learned more about it. Sometimes a simple “I’m sorry for what you’re going through”, or “I’m here for you”…and maybe even a hug is ALL that one needs to say or do.

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    • 10

      THIS is why so many of us suffer too many years trying to hide or control our mental illnesses on our own. It’s flippant to suggest that we are selfish and should just turn outward. In fact, it’s damn right insulting.

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    • 11

      I believe you are trying to help, HEAT; however, you obviously do not understand clinical depression at all and I urge you to please, please, PLEASE educate yourself before you *ever* say something like this again because, well-intentioned though you may be, your comments are the WORST thing you can possibly say to someone with actual clinical depression. When it comes to clinical depression, the brain chemistry is altered. This is not a matter of will-power or getting out or looking on the bright side. It would be like telling someone with a broken arm to just get out and exercise in the fresh air to cure it. Please: Educate yourself before you do some real damage with your well-meaning bumbling.

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    • 12

      That just not true. I was never selfish helped where i can. I wondered why i have that depression all the time then luckly some doctor found out it was a thyroid dysfunction. So infact my hormones went to the wrong level and that caused my depression.

      8
    • 13

      And even with the Christian tack. I mean really. How presumptuous. As if those words might have value outside of one religion.

      7
    • 14

      What a truely awful comment. The author has shown true bravery writing this post. My husband suffers from depression and I know he couldn’t love myself and our kids more. But, during a depressive episode He is not capable of rational logic thoughts and actions, the impenetrable fog descends and he is truely alone with his demons

      12
    • 15

      You have no idea what depression even is. Anger turned in on itself? WTF.

      Depression is a lack of chemicals that your body needs for a sense of well being. “Feeling Depressed” is not the same thing as suffering from depression.

      And talk about being selfish. Who was your little speech really for?

      In short, this is one of the worst comments I’ve ever read on SM.

      9
    • 16

      Christopher Murphy

      November 5, 2014 5:31 pm

      @H.E.A.T. I’m not really sure how to respond to this, suffice to say we are coming from two very different places.

      Depression is an illness, as many people point out in this comment thread. It’s simplistic – and, frankly, wrong – to suggest that, “helping another human,” will magically cure everything. That’s not the way it works.

      As you’ll see from my short biography, above, I work as an educator, teaching at the Belfast School of Art. I am helping other humans every single day. My students mean the world to me and, I’m sure if they were reading this comment thread, would acknowledge that fact. I am passionate and committed and want the absolute best for them. Helping them, however, does not magically cure things when I am feeling unwell.

      Without wanting to appear patronising, I’d suggest you educate yourself a little more about depression, its causes and symptoms.It’s a complicated topic and there is a great deal of interesting reading around the topic.

      I wish you well for the future. Politely we’ll just have to agree to disagree on this subject.

      15
      • 17

        Thank you, for your article. I suffer from ADD and depression and I’m getting into the graphic design field. Any words of advice would be appreciated.

        0
    • 18

      Michael O'Reilly

      November 8, 2014 1:00 am

      You have somehow convinced yourself that you know what you are talking about. However you really haven’t a clue.

      0
  8. 19

    Great message, thanks for sharing. I can’t imagine it is easy retelling your dark times to the world.

    I would highly recommend some form of exercise to help strengthen your mind, I don’t know the science behind it but often taking up a sport or even running/workout will put you in a much better headspace.

    For me personally combat sports (training not competing) have been amazing. I find that it is amazing for your self-confidence and after going through multiple rounds of extremely physically and mentally gruelling training it seems that other areas of life can’t really phase me anymore.

    4
  9. 20

    Mental health issues are no laughing matter. In the past I have worked side by side with two people at two different jobs that made my life a miserable living hell. One was a paranoid schizophrenic (who relapsed every other month). The other suffered from bipolar disorder. Just one year under their management was enough to affect me for years to come.

    If you suffer from mental disorders, please do yourself and the coworkers next to you a favor. Get Help. No one can help you unless you’re willing to help yourself first.

    -6
  10. 21

    Brian Compton

    October 29, 2014 9:55 pm

    I welcome any conversation that seeks to remove the stigma from mental illness – and, as a person with Asperger’s Syndrome/Autism – neuro-diversity.

    My personal experience with trying to gut out my problems and just focus on other people earlier this year landed me in a mental hospital, cost me my job of 10+ years, and led to some serious legal problems brought on by my bad coping mechanisms. I was so busy trying to be “normal” and not be labeled, that neglected to get the care I needed and didn’t dare share the depths of the darkness with even those closest to me. My stay in the hospital led to a diagnosis of bipolar disorder in addition to the known ADHD and Asperger’s. It took losing everything for me to admit that I needed help. Now at 41, I am slowly putting my life back together but it would have been so much easier if dealing with mental health was as widely accepted and easily accessible as tending to a broken bone.

    Thank you for bravely sharing your story.

    11
  11. 22

    Bravo!

    It surely needed courage to write all that but it reflects what a lot if persons are going through, more or less.

    Can’t but emphasize this. Glad that I found a nicely written article like that while looking through the tweets where a lot of them are just telling me “you are not up to date”.

    Take care!

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  12. 23

    Here’s my problem. I suffer alone because I am ashamed and extremely embarrassed that I can’t just kick my problems to the curb and get on with life. I have spent three quarters of my life finding my safe zone and doing everything I can to stay within it. Problem is, because of my own actions and those around me, that safe zone is shrinking. I’m limited in the type of medical help I can access and I know what I have is not enough. But what I need would cost more and… it would be too much not just in money, but in accepting that my problems are bigger than my loved ones want to think they are. Yet, they can easily accept that I’m lazy and not trying hard enough. I don’t like that I am so limited. I don’t like that I am not achieving much of anything with my life. Not just because of those around me saying I’m wasting my wonderful mind and abilities. I know I am worth something, but I can’t fight my way out of this darkness to show it.

    Twenty years ago I thought I was on course to beat it. I was looking forward to one day finding myself in a position where I could attend classes and learn everything I needed academically to help others. It was foolish, youthful optimism. Now, I just float aimlessly through my days, breathing. Just breathing and preparing myself for the next day. If this is all self pity, so be it. I’ve tried being strong. I’ve tried hiding it from everyone around me- I still do. Not one friend (that I still have) knows what I’m going through. It’s easier to have them think whatever else they may think.

    I want out. Not by suicide, but out of this mess I live in and I really don’t know how to do that. My meds just keep me from hitting absolute bottom. Therapy is once a month for 45 mins. I get so stressed and anxious between appointments that each appointment is spent unraveling just enough… and then time is up and I wait another month.

    6
    • 24

      I was feeling the same way as you, Jeff. Committing myself for three days to a secure mental health facility was tremendously helpful and brought me a sense of peace that I’ve never had as an adult. I went in with three goals: 1) take a time out from life, 2) admit I had a problem and get help, and 3) come with a plan to live life to its fullest. This may not be the answer for you, just sharing my experience. Good luck, Jeff.

      6
  13. 25

    Oh, I get it: either conform to the logic of everyone else or suffer the wrath of those who are always depressed without a fix. Got it.

    Depression based on physical or biological conditions is no longer depression, but a medical problem.

    The form of depression being discussed here is emotional in nature: a value-less state of being. Get it? Got it? Good.

    You can jump on me and my comment (of course, poorly read and understood) all you want. I could care less. This is part of the problem. Let’s talk about it…only if your viewpoint agree with ours.

    No real path to correction, unless I offer some form of drugs or many hours of expensive therapy, right?

    Look, if it makes you feel better about yourself to attack my message, then go for it. At least you’re not depressed at the moment and my comment has supplied some measure of comfort. Goal accomplished.

    I cannot be upset because I knew how politically-correct minds would read and misunderstand my comment due to its lack of ingratiating tone.

    Look into yourselves. Ask yourself why you responded to my comment with such animosity. Get at the truth. I bet you will get the point.

    If not, then attack away because, on the Internet, I am Superman.

    -48
    • 26

      Your martyr approach is rejected. You seem to have a high need to be right. No one is going to win one those pissing matches you so it’s best to just leave you here in your bubble.

      There is hope, however. You wrote “I could care less”, which means you do care, at least a little. We appreciate you. http://youtu.be/8Gv0H-vPoDc

      9
    • 27

      I just said your story is not true so it is not by all means wrong. It’s just your way you approach everything. I totally accept the fact that not being selfish is a solution in some cases. But in the recent years i learned that most of the depressions are caused by altered body chemicals. For my case and some of my colleagues born around the mid 80th in Europe it was caused by a small amount of chernobyl fallout, i think with a precondition. For many reasons it’s just missing sport or just as you say selfish always beeing the victim in their own minds.

      1
    • 28

      You are an awful person.

      4
    • 29

      Christopher Murphy

      November 5, 2014 5:54 pm

      Further to my other reply, above, I think you’re misreading others’ reactions. No one is asking anyone to ‘conform to logic’, indeed – when we discuss this topic – there’s often very little logic to hand. I also don’t think anyone is feeling better by ‘attacking’ you (indeed, there is no attacking going on, simply spirited debate). It’s equally inaccurate – and a little lazy – to accuse those responding to you who do not share your opinion of being ‘politically-correct’.

      It worries me, that in both your comments you make sweeping assertions that are factually incorrect, based on nothing more than your strongly held opinion. I am not a doctor and neither are you, unless I’m mistaken, as such I don’t think either of us is in a position to offer self-help advice of the kind you proffer.

      Your dichotomy – between depression based on physical or biological conditions; and depression that is ’emotional in nature’ – is ludicrous. There is no dichotomy, these are often two sides of the same coin.

      My depression, as explored in the article, was of course emotional, but, equally a consequence of physical and biological factors.

      As I wrote in the article, I have regrouped and am focusing on living a healthier lifestyle. Those physical changes have helped, certainly, but there are still good days and bad days.

      No one is asking you to ingratiate yourself with anyone, perhaps you should take a little of your own medicine and, as you suggest in your first comment, care for the well-being of another person. A sympathetic ear and a willingness to listen would be a good start.

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  14. 30

    Without any doubt—I would say that this is one of the GREATEST articles that anyone would find on the web—especially there will not be any validity period of time for the facts that you have highlighted in this. I am a professional who works in a company related to middle-ware domain, and I happen to deal with such a pressure frequently. Once of course I collapsed early in the morning due to lack of sleep and may be the mental pressure lead me going fatigue as well.

    There are so many times that I seriously think about the same thing that you have mentioned in the article, and I thought that I might be the only person who thought so. I am happy to see that there are so many professionals who has thought seriously about the same matter, and I totally agree with your statement “When the fog hits me, however, I cannot think rationally”. Because, I noticed that—without a reason—I felt angry with my wife, when she keeps asking me questions, once we returned to home after work. We are being married for just one year, but I wanted to stay and think alone without being disturbed by her care. Fortunately, I had read and learnt about “Abhi-dharma”, the most difficult study in Buddhism which only describes about the mind, the parts of mind, the nature of each part of the mind etc. It doesn’t have any religious or ritual thing in it, it only consists of a comprehensive study about the mind. So, I knew that I am having a hard time in controlling my mind, due to this pressure and I wanted to start reading the remainder; but I didn’t have enough time since I was too busy with work. But I understood that I am driving myself into the dark. What I really did was, I explained my situation to her and asked her not to be upset in such moments, because—whatever I say or do in such moments—I know that it is my fault but not hers. So it worked for me; and things went well. In the current situation also, I am having the same load of work; and I could make some progress; but I seriously believe that Software professionals are really in, and deal with the hazard. The new comers may laugh and see this as a joke—but when you really get into the industry that you have to deal with the demand—you feel the pressure and lose the balance and control… frankly, software is an industry where you could earn well, but something drives both your physical and mental health to a very critical situation.

    Therefore; I truly appreciate that your initiative to discuss on this topic in public—and I really believe that this suppose to be an area that should be developed around the industry; similar to the studies we do around UX, Typography, Digital marketing and such other concepts.

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    • 31

      Laura Montgomery

      October 31, 2014 11:00 am

      I can relate here. I have a very understanding partner who, after only needing to explain to her once, realises that if I’m pushing her away or being vile with my words, that it’s because I’m hurting inside and need her help. Sometimes that is just to sit silently with me, sometimes it’s a hug, eventually it’s talking about whatever is wrong. When I come out of the dark hole I’ve found myself in, I feel so grateful to have such a caring and understanding partner.

      4
  15. 32

    Laura Montgomery

    October 31, 2014 10:53 am

    Read this article yesterday and been thinking about it ever since. Thanks so much Chris for your bravery in writing this truly personal article. As someone who also has dark days, I could relate to it so well, and can appreciate just how difficult it would have been to expose yourself this way by writing about your struggle with depression. Thank you for being brave and making it just that little bit easier for the rest of us.

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    Bravo indeed! Thank you so much for bravely sharing your story. And thank you to Smashing Magazine for promoting public discussion of mental health.

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    Excellent post. There is no framework, code, or script for the Human Condition. We are all these perfectly imperfect beings trying to navigate the waters of our own lives. Thank you Smashing Magazine and thank you Christopher for sharing.

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    Christopher Murphy

    November 5, 2014 5:14 pm

    @All, Apologies for the lengthy delay in replying, I’ve been knee deep in teaching at the Belfast School of Art. I just wanted to extend a heartfelt to everyone for the very kind comments, they really meant a great deal to me, thank you!

    I hope this wee reply finds everyone feeling tip top. ;-) XO

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    Thanks so much for your article Christopher. It really means so much to read of someone having a similar experiences that so many of us have.

    For me, I discovered that talking about what was happening internally was very helpful with getting through those bad patches. Talking to family and close friends in a real and frank way was very beneficial to me – For one thing, I found out that people are far less judgmental and far more caring and supportive than I previously thought. And I think one of the reasons for that is thanks to the efforts of people like yourself.

    Articles like yours, published in places like this, reduces the awful stigma of depression and shows us that we are in fact ‘not alone’. Well done.

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    Thank you so much for posting this. I also happen to have these dark days and they tend to happen at random moments.

    There are times when I don’t have any problems at all, my life is in a good balance, but I just feel incredibly empty and hopeless and it confuses me so much. It’s like being drowned in a bottomless pit with an overwhelming weight on your shoulders. It’s exhausting, and more so when you’re dealing with it by yourself. And no it’s not hormones as I’ve checked multiple times. It is a real problem and it shouldn’t be pushed to the side. I’m just really thankful that now I have a great husband who’s willing to listen and put up with the mess that I become whenever it happens. It don’t like feeling this way (who would?) but I’ve come to accept that it can’t be cured magically in a day of soaking in the sun and helping people out or reading/learning those self-help articles (believe me, I’ve tried all those things and more). It takes time and a whole lot of care to get out of that pit and keep yourself from being pulled in again.

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