I got a dev job after battling with mental health

I got a dev job after battling with mental health
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#1

I started my first job in engineering last week, and am writing to recap my journey, and to say thank you to the FCC community and Quincy. This community gave me a path to follow when I lost the only path I knew of. A bit of background.

I come from a modest family in Peru. During my senior year of high school, I received news that I was moving to the USA. Here I got into a prestigious college studying CS, but struggled with clinical anxiety, a disease I was diagnosed with as a kid. I needed to psych myself up in the mirror to be able to go to classes. I trembled my entire way there, and was unable to order food. This was no shyness, and in no way a part of my character.

I kept pushing, through. But my emotional health kept declining, until I wasn’t able to leave my room anymore. Agoraphobia is a weird word I had only used before in a trivia quiz, but back then was my daily reality. It would make it impossible for me to go outside, even when I was starving.

I had to drop out, but I wouldn’t. I grew up with a deeply ingrained idea of what constituted a viable career path (school -> college -> work) and wouldn’t consider anything but. I stayed like this for over two years.

When I finally left college, spent, guilty and disoriented, I started looking for another path. I decided to spend a year learning what I needed to find a job as a Full Stack Developer. Following the curriculum of FCC, I learned Node, got comfortable in JS, and built multiple sites with React. Around two months ago I started applying to jobs.

My anxiety took years of trying medications and countless, countless hours of therapy, but I finally got it controlled. It has gone from an excruciating disabling disease, to a mild annoyance at house parties. I cannot stress the role of psychotherapy for this enough.

It took me years and thousands of hours of boring hard work to get a job. But it would be foolish of me to ignore the immense privilege of moving in the states, and of having a stable loving family to support me while studying.

I hope this gives a drop of hope to someone right now going through similar circumstances. These are diseases in the same way diabetes is, and no amount of willpower will allow you to push through reality. Get help, let go of your prejudices, take care of yourself. And then get to work.


How to land that first role / gig?
#2

Cool, glad it worked out for you.

From where in Peru do you come? My wife is from Tacna.


#3

That’s fantastic! As someone who has also struggled with anxiety and depression, I know how hard it can be to pull yourself out of that hole. Here’s to continued health and success. :beers:


#4

Thank you so much for sharing this… !!! Raelly proud of you for taking care of yourself and being able to do something that will secure your future too. Sharing your story means a lot…very encouraging. Congrats on your new job!!


#5

Thanks for sharing your experiences with us and good luck in your new job. I hope you’ll stay an active member of our community and continue to share your perspective.


#6

Thanks for sharing your story with us, Anthony. I think this will give strength to the millions of people out there who are battling anxiety and other mental health issues.

It sounds like you have taken nothing for granted, and done everything in your power to propel your career forward. I admire your attitude and your willpower.

Congratulations on your new developer job!


#7

Your life story is an example of a hard work and determination for everyone of us to learn from!
Thank you so much, Anthony, for sharing your story here! Good luck with your new endeavors!


#8

Hey neighbor… that’s really great you accomplished your goals; that’s impressive… good job!


#9

Congrats!! Just sent you a LinkedIn invite, so nice to hear from another Peruvian!!


#10

Thank you for sharing, a very good example of never give up.


#11

Thanks for sharing your story. Im from Peru too, living in USA, learning web development. Your story is inspiring and full of determination. Congratulations on your new job! :v:t4:


#12

Congratulations, that’s a beautiful story. I’m glad it worked out for you.
May I ask how you got a Visa for USA? That always was a dream of mine.


#13

Man, you’re awesome.
I have a recurring depression with depression periods of 4-5 month. I started coding about two months ago. Depression state should’ve come two months ago. But it didn’t. I’m perfectly fine, thanks to coding, among other things.


#14

Thank you for sharing and congrats on the job :slightly_smiling_face: As someone who has struggled with anxiety it is really motivating to hear your story. Best of luck!


#15

Your story inspires hope and desire in me,thanks for sharing and may your health continue to improve.I found this community some few months back and i can say now that am on my way too…someday it would be me sharing.Thank you FCC…thank you everyone!!!


#16

My story of depression and other things is depressing, so won’t share it, but you are an example as am I, things can be accomplished, education and jobs aquired and life continued. Mental exercise, coding and other things is one of my distractions.


#17

How do you engage in mental exercise? Like meditation, reading, writing? Any tips?


#18

I do write, picked it up a number of years ago. From technical(Problem/App analysis/instruction) to whatever I’m doing or is on my mind to life-story stuff. Organizies my mind and may help to keep me going forward. Plus getting buried in a code or math problem is bliss.


#19

When I was going through a period of hard time, I discovered two things that can keep me going, that can give me a sense of purpose:

  1. Exercise. Namely jogging. It was a life changing event. A simple jog every day can bright up your mood so much. It was like magic.

  2. Coding. The beauty of it was that you can see the result appearing in front of you bit by bit. And it tells you that you are moving forward, no matter how slowly, that you are making progress.

These 2 habits of mine are the ones that keep me going these few years. And I am really glad that others have found the ways to move forward in life too.


#20

Thank you, for this drop of hope. To make a long story short, my twin sister and I were repeatedly traumatized as children, and now are damaged. Nightmares, anxiety, C-PTSD, the whole 9 yards. Whenever I’d suppress it to be mentally healthy I’d manifest extreme physical symptoms-- like not being able to eat or keep food down to the point I lost over 80 lbs in only a few months, something doctors said shouldn’t have been possible. I wouldn’t sleep for days at a time. I couldn’t keep going to classes in college, I was in a perpetual fog. I dropped out, still unaware of what was wrong and unable to remember most of my childhood. In the last few years, it’s all started coming back, and it’s been really hard to deal with. In the interim, I had a job building aerospace parts, but the resins began to melt my skin. I was let go, scrambling for money, and landed a temporary gig delivery driving, and then a second job at an IT firm. Before I was paid out from it, I lost everything but my home–no electricity, no water, no heat, no phone, no car insurance. I started getting paid from them, and thought I was alright. Then I got pulled over for no insurance 3 days before my first payday. That hurt, but I thought it was all taken care of after I’d paid it all off. I was wrong. I was pulled over again because the DMV had apparently revoked my registration and license, but hadn’t told me. Then I lost both of my jobs and went downward into a dark, dark spiral.

I have 4 days left of housing and $300 to my name. I’m going to move across the country back in with my grandparents. I feel like an abysmal failure and have been suicidal most of this summer. FreeCodeCamp has acted like a free therapy for me–I can sit down, create something, focus on thinking algorithmically. I still have trouble sleeping, but now when it’s 2 AM and I can’t sleep, I’ll have an “a-Ha!” moment, and go back to the apartment complex common area with my laptop to code out whatever solution had popped into my head.

I just finished the javascript that built the functionality of the Pomodoro clock this morning. I now only have 2 projects left, tic-tac-toe and Simon, and I’ll have my front end certificate. I’ve got a feeling of accomplishment because I’ve been finishing projects that you can’t just google the answer to. When I started looking into how to build a clock, almost everything I saw said to declare the current date and set a countdown for a future one, so I made it a point to not use Date(). I followed the axiom “Never repeat yourself” when I built the calculator and used javascript to generate almost the entire thing, condensing 30-50 lines of code to less than 7 more than once. I like seeing that I can create all of the javascript functionality of a project, as well as using javascript to build the HTML, using far less code than other projects.

2 more projects, and I’ll have completed the Front End Developer course. I’m just trying to get the projects built, and make them work to get the certificate. The projects don’t look the best right now (if you look at my codepen, the Weather viewer is what almost everything looks like when I’m writing it-- black background, white text), but they hit all of the user stories and functional points. Once I have my certificate I plan on going back, fleshing them out with more functionality, some extra bells and whistles to make them pretty, and I’ll use that as my portfolio. I actually feel like I might have a future again, for the first time in years, like I may actually have a decent life at some point soon instead of perpetual wage slavery.

Once I’ve gotten my full-stack certificate I’d like to work with FCC and write more lessons- flesh some stuff out, explain it better, make new lessons on things I remember struggling with (like regular expressions and anonymous functions).

Without FCC I don’t know where I’d be right now.