Struggling with depression while learning to code at 32

Hello,
As I posted some time ago I struggle with depression and learning to code.I had some months off code;unfortunately because of my lack of motivation and depression.Now I am back.I really really want this because I feel it keeps my mind busy from depression feelings.But the lack of confidence and motivation is keeping me from pursuing this dream of learning to code.Any insights,ideas, motivations, resources, happy stories?People struggling like me? Maybe we can motivate each other.

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Hello, fellow struggling soon to be awesome developer! What exactly keeps you away from learning/ coding stuff? I was lost like a fat kid in the candy shop first time i tried to learn to code and to change my situation. I still work that same ol’ job but only difference now is that i’'m more confident and focused than ever to achieve my goal: become a good developer and change my career. How i did that? Answer is, faith in me and my abilities. I am 35 with 2 little kids in final year of electrical engineering and full time, dull AF job(IT support, sys and network administration) and strong desire to change.
Actually, i really like the job, but the people and toxic environment is a killer switch for me.
First time i failed because i simply didnt know what am i doing with all of this overwhelming information:
HTML, CSS were ok but man…JS hit me like drunk Russian hits furniture and i gave it a little “rest” for a couple of monts. I assured myself that coding isnt for me, that im not “born” for this and ALL the other stuff insecure people would say to defend their decision to quit.
After some really ugly monts at current job, it just cameto me. I decided and started to mess with code again. I slowed down a little, asked myself what resources i will use to learn and followed that path.
FreecodeCamp + one book on the topic(Jon Ducket on JS and my favorite, Eloquent JS, its free online) is what i follow and i feel great while i learn. Also, actually doing stuff as you learn is way more better for self-confidence and getting that “ahaaaaaa i got it!” moments. Ask yourself do you really want to be where are you now in x years? No time to feel blue, just dive in, take it slow until you understand it and youll do just fine.
I am currently on basic JS part on freecodecamp and i have no intention to quit again. We CAN and WILL do this. Come with me, if you wanna code!(Arnie voice)

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Thanks a lot for sharing your story and your words!

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Few inputs from my side

  1. To come out of depression start exercise and meditation

I found Calm App free youtube series Day 1 - 31 very very helpful

  1. Find a meetup in your city and pair up with somebody to learn coding

  2. Do weekly community service.

These will surely help you to be great developer

Cheers,
Vikram

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Hi Elineea,

Struggling with depression is overwhelming - don’t forget to be kind to yourself and if you’re not doing so already, I really recommend getting some kind of treatment or support - it should make everything in your life feel a little bit easier! I have moments where I feel overwhelmed and like I’m getting nowhere and I’ve found that looking back on my pushes to github or all of the challenges I’ve done here is really motivating for me.

Is there anything in particular you’re struggling with?

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I struggle to keep my motivation,and I also know its kind of late at 32 and nobody seems to hire junior developers here in my country, at least not very often.

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Hi Elineea,

What got you interested in coding?

I became fascinated by the creative pleasure of altering element colours in customisable message boards. I also had some fun with things like Geocities which shows my age. It took me a while to decide to go a lot further with coding, and I am now at 35, part way through level 3 of a degree in Computing and IT looking to work as a web developer. I am finding FCC very helpful for structuring my technical training. However, sitting for long periods can turn me into a bit of a zombie so I try to make sure I take a walk and do a manageable workout most days to keep the blood circulating and muscles healthy. Sometimes if I have a bad day I focus on healthy activities to get myself ready for a more productive day the next day.

If you are concerned about the state of the industry, have you looked into joining a user group? If you haven’t, you could meet industry people from your area and gain from their insights. Meetup.com can be helpful for finding usergroups in general. I am aware usergroups for PHP exist as I used to attend one. Plus there are some FCC related groups.

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You speak English, so you can find your first job somewhere outside of your country. Never give up! You can do it. Simply work on your web dev skills…

By the way, here’s the post about 300 developers who got their first tech job in their 30s, 40s, and 50s. Maybe that’s what you need: https://www.freecodecamp.org/news/stories-from-300-developers-who-got-their-first-tech-job-in-their-30s-40s-and-50s-64306eb6bb27/?utm_source=mybridge&utm_medium=blog&utm_campaign=read_more

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Get angry at your depression. And you have good reason to be for everything it’s done to keep you from reaching your goals. The anger will chase it away.

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@Elineea Something that’s helped me, I started using habit tracking/time tracking apps. If it becomes a habit, it doesn’t matter how you feel, you’ll just do it anyway out of habit. Worked for me anyway. There are days I really don’t want to work on projects, but the habits are such that I’d have to make a special effort not to work.
The time tracking aspect is related, but more to help you see what you’re actually doing all day. If what you see is not what you want, you can leverage your habits to make it so.
I’d advise start small, make it a daily habit, and slowly increase the time each week or month or whatever. Just work on something every day and you’ll see progress.

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you have been suggested to become Christian…
research shows that a strong faith is needed, but the faith that you can do it

to expand - like the AA groups - find a group where you can go periodically, to talk about coding and your progresses and learn new things, there you can develop the belief that you can do it
do you have meetups, conferences, work-groups, clubs, study groups, anything near you? go there

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Make it a habit. I have very dark thoughts too. Coding with the goal of getting a new job is the only long term goal I have. Its the only way I accomplish anything or have a sense of success. Maybe you can relate.

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Hi Elineea,

I really want to write something that motivates you but there’s is so much I don’t know. Could you share more about what happens when you feel demotivated? Is it outside of coding or the coding itself?

I wonder if at times you are being under and overstimulated . The first series of challenges are pretty easy but quite repetitive and then you get to the first projects and they are suddenly a lot harder. You may feel overwhelmed by all the details you have to implement and when you’re depressed such a project can become a high mountain to climb. In that case I think you need feedback, so that you know where you are in the process. Wherever you are, finished or not. Send us a link.

Personally, I get bored very quickly and algorithms stimulate me. Is that what happens to you? Do you forget about the rest when you are coding? If so, keep coding and keep posting. You’ll get there all right.

But, if that is not the case, well, is coding really your thing?

I have struggled with a deep lack of self confidence my whole life. As a child, teachers told me I could write and I was going to become a great writer. Art. Literature you know. A few people still insist I am creative and why don’t I write? I tried. I really did but the truth is, I don’t like writing. I attributed my lack of motivation to a lack of self-confidence and feedback and who knows, that may still be true because I was also quite unhappy. (though I doubt I had a clinical depression) I had some some sort of unnamed mood disorder. After years of searching I found medication that stabilised me for a while. Then I partly relapsed and I was never really happy. Fulfilled you know.

Until one fine day when I accidentally discovered coding. It turned into a near obsession almost immediately. The first time I solved an algorithm on FCC and ‘you did it!’ popped up I felt I could fly. Motivation is no longer a problem and I wish I had discovered coding 20 years earlier but then I could also not have discovered it at all, so I’m grateful.

So what’s going on? Investigate this deeply and DO NOT WASTE TIME when your talent may lie somewhere else. Maybe you will become a great writer. I don’t know.

But if you really want this then stay on this forum and keep posting how you’re doing. Despair is a big part of the journey as most people will testify. I have gone through long and deep valleys of despair when I got stuck and this forum helped me out more than once.

Take good care of yourself,
Karin

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No it is not that late. Lots of people change jobs and start coding later in life.
Do you know Temple Grandin? She is a highly successful and severly autistic woman that designs equipment to handle cattle.
A woman, autistic in a macho world. She says she succeeded by selling her work instead of her person. Coding is the same kind of world. Male but you can show off a portfolio and sell your work.
It Temple can do it, so can you. Google her on youtube. She’s my hero and whenever I feel like I’m a victim I think of her.

Greets,
Karin

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I never experienced depression. I’ve had some pretty sad moments and bouts of melancholy, though it never has hit me like actual depression (knock on wood it doesn’t happen)

Though what I’ve learnt was that chasing after cures for dwindling motivation always ends up being a wild goose chase. Sure, you might come across a medium article or youtube video about a person pivoting to development and having their life turn around into this colorful, happy chapter of their life, but you’ll spend hours on end until it hits you.

What I find that helps me is not bothering with trying to wind up my motivation and keep it at a high level but instilling the drive to keep on going.

What I mean by drive is doing something consistently regardless what my mood and disposition for it. If I can sit down on a coding project that I’ve been cracking on for a month after a grueling day at work, or after a crappy moment in my life (breakup with girlfriend, surprise bill, an argument with a friend) then I have a strong drive.

Drive is when you don’t have to think about it. You just do it because of intrinsic factors. There’s no ticking off an activity from your to-do list.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s a hard thing to come by. Sometimes you get lucky and, this may sound masochistic, you enjoy the headaches that come with solving software problems. Other times, it’s a struggle bear and you must become an unrelenting, stubborn fool that embraces the definition of insanity. You struggle long enough that doing that thing doesn’t even require conscious thought. It’s part of your life routine just like brushing your teeth or tying your shoes.

And confidence? I find that confidence is measured in the amount rejections you received in your entire lifetime. The intensity of said rejection is negated, only the quantity is counted. And if you don’t believe me you can look at the current president of the United States.

Are you dreaming to learn to code or are you dreaming to become a software developer and have all the perks that come along with it?

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Hi there. I completely understand struggling with depression. I’ve done that for about 30 years. It never fully goes away, but it can get better. I wrote something at Quora about how to get better, if you’re interested: https://qr.ae/TWrB4I

I’ve had periods in which I couldn’t gather the energy to keep learning, but I keep coming back and doing a little more.

Good luck to you!

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