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This morning I was diagnosed with depression and given medication. My initial reason for visiting the doctor, is because I'm very tired and can't seem to generate the elan to do stuff.

As an example, I (used to) love getting to grips with new programming languages, enjoy all the set up installation and learning the nuances of the code. It used to be a point of personal pride that it didn't take much to ramp up my Continuing Professional Development. My employer isn't really that interested in my skill set and I discovered that I was employed as my skill set matched a tick list of needs when there are no tangible projects for me to work on (all are vapourware as the business continues to re-align itself). Thus I have no tangible work todo on a day-to-day basis (I am being appallingly managed as a resource).

Now most evenings, I would be writing code and getting things done, now I procrastinate massively. My definition of procrastination is: not doing an activity by doing indifferent trivial tasks (eg vegging out in-front of NCIS) in-order to put of the more important, difficult, challenging task.

So my question, whether its procrastination or depression is this a permanent change in my well-being? and if not; how does one go about reversing the situation, so that I can consider myself to be productive again.

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4 Answers 4

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This is an interesting question and something I've noticed myself as well. It's difficult to say whether it's the company you work for which is sapping your drive, or your own ability to adapt to a new type of situation.

I personally have struggled with a very similar situation to yourself. And while I don't program all the time at the moment, I find that when I do get the opportunity, usually in the evenings, I procrastinate by doing the smaller tasks first. Whilst this makes be feel slightly better, it's kind of like have fast-food. In other words, it fills me up, but isn't particularly wholesome.

While I don't have an easy (or simple) solution, it might be worth sitting down and figuring our your overall goals in life in some kind of five year plan. Work backwards from there to get down to the details and your daily goals. Then you can look at individual tasks more pragmatically as things that are genuinely important or just something which will keep things ticking along. If you always go with the genuinely important task then I believe you'll always feel better in the long run as you are attaining your goals.

Good luck and let us know how it goes.

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Thank's in many respects your right. A goal orientated achievable plan is what I need to get me out of this malaise. A de-motivating workplace, coupled with an innate ability to procrastinate and no real/tangible targets in which to sharpen and hone my development is now the real kicker. In effect I reading your answer as "design my own motivation, ensure it is goal orientated and achievable, plan it and put it into effect. –  Ourjamie Mar 5 '13 at 11:22

If you are clinincally depressed, the procrastination is one of the symptoms. Depression medicine usually takes about a month to kick in and it may take several tries to get the right medicine for you.

If it helps you, I have been clinically depressed for more than 40 years and I am one of our highest performers and most productive database developers where I work. There are a lot of successful people who fight depression on a daily basis.

Your depression may be clinical or it may be more situational. At any rate, I would look for a job that will better use your talents as clearly that one is contributing to your problem.

However, if you are clinically depressed, you may not be able to get up the energy to look until the meds kick in. Don't beat yourself up if this is the case. Depression is an illness and you need to treat it the same way you would treat another serious illness. You wouldn't be mad at yourself for not being able to run a marathon if you were in a wheelchair would you? You have a taken the first step to improving your situation, now take the time to let the fix start working.

You need to do some reading up on depression and how to live with it. It is not an easy thing to live with and you need to be awware of what you can expect and how it will affect you. Personally I find that using it as an excuse to not do things tends to make it worse. Lots of people have diseases that affect their abilities to do things. The most successful of them do the things anyway. It is just harder than it is for some other people.

Once the meds kick in (it's almost impossible to get out of it by yourself when you have reached such a low that you need the meds), then the things that tend to help (at least for me) are exercise and meditation. A practice of gratitute also helps refocus on what is good in your life rather tha nthe depressive tendency to dwell on the bad.

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Your response is interesting, I've started a six month plan to improve my understanding of Functional Programing Languages (I'm going to compare and contrast F#. Erlang and Javascript). I fired up the job sites last night and got out and looked at dusting off my CV. I'll have to extracte myself from my job (3 months notice -they'll make me stick to it). Thank you for your words above is food for though,l as it looks like I may not be Clinically Depressed, just suffering from boredom and malaise. –  Ourjamie Mar 6 '13 at 11:36
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As usual we might mention that if you are clinically depressed, then by definition you are ready for a doctor's care. And if you suspect you are clinically depressed, you are ready to ask a doctor to assess you. –  minopret Mar 18 '13 at 7:50
    
@minopret, I did not bring that up becasue he said he was on medication. –  HLGEM Mar 18 '13 at 14:05

I would check out the booked "Learned Optimism" by Dr. Martin Seligman. Many of his works deal with learning to be optimistic and increasing resiliency. Another good read is "The Happiness Advantage" by Shawn Achor; there are several good ideas, derived from research that shows how adopting small positive behavior changes can lead to positive perspective changes.

Hope that helps.

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Procrastination can be changed by implementation intentions and willpower. Willpower is finite. To develop willpower, you need to save it. This means that you shouldn't strain to eat healthy all day and then try to learn programming. It will be difficult. Rather, use implementation intentions and mental contrasting to defeat procrastination. Imagine that you finished learning your programming languages. Imagine how good you feel. Then imagine the actual obstacles that prevent you from realizing the goal (e.g. NCIS). Then use an implementation intention to create positive energization ("If I feel like watching NCIS then I will immediately go and program"). This will greatly reduce procrastination.

If you feel depressed, usually you are ruminating (thinking about the same thing over and over). What you need to do is think quickly and variably. This will induce an elevated state and positive mood like hypomania. A good exercise for doing this is thinking about words as follows: ("apple", "elephant", "tiger",etc...). So each word begins with the last letter of the last word.

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Nvm here. Its cool –  idiotguypoop Mar 8 '13 at 3:05

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