The Relationship Between Coding and My Mental Health

If there is one thing you’ll probably know about me, it is that I love writing code. I do it for my job and I do it for leisure. It’s fair to say that I’ll take any opportunity I can get to get stuck into a coding problem. If you’ve read just a few of my blog posts you’ll know that this is true.

There is also another thing you almost certainly didn’t know about me as I keep it fairly quiet. I suffer with depression. Why? Well, having suffered with depression for many years, I’ve come to realise that a large part of this is due to how I view the world. I won’t go into too much detail here, but it basically comes down to control.

Far too often I get frustrated with the way the world operates. The world is not black and white. It often operates in a way that may appear illogical. For example, people who make irrational decisions which may appear unusual to me.

I realise that as I’m writing this you may get the impression that I’m arrogant and think that everyone else is stupid. This is not the case at all.

How exactly does this relate to coding? I am aware that society does not function the way I like it to and there’s not much I can do about that. For this reason, coding has become my go-to therapy when I get frustrated.

I’ve never really given this much thought until recently but, the act of solving problems with code can act as an outlet for my frustrations. It acts as a small stress release as I try to navigate how the world (and when I mean the world, I mean people) behaves.

If you’re reading this, and you’re an experienced programmer, you may be familiar with that EUREKA moment when you finally get that piece of code, that you spent days trying to fix, working as expected.

Is this the same for you?

There’s something about the process of getting my head down and thinking about how exactly I’m going to solve a problem one step at a time. I guess it’s the true computer scientist in me coming out. I feel that my natural instinct is to find solutions to complex problems.

For those of you who are struggling, go code something up. Learn something new. Find a problem to solve!

Finally, this goes without saying but, if you’re really struggling and can’t cope, go and seek professional help! This is just advice which has worked for me but not necessarily for others.