Waking up every morning with dread

I have been studying/coding diligently fpr 4 years now, and I am really not that great or talented at it.

It is taking me an extremely long amount of time to pick up anything new. I am lagging I feel.

I am just not that talented at this, being honest.

I wake up every morning with this dread feeling, like “wtf are you doing, and why are you still doing this?”

It is an awful feeling.

I have just been feeling a bit down these past few days.

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Thanks for the openness & insight.

Take a moment to remember where you first started:

  • Why did you start?
  • What precisely were you striving for? (some people are simply running from)
  • What isn’t working that you already tried?

These aren’t just rhetorical. I’d like to read your response!

Would you trust a doctor who wrote you a prescription without inspecting you? (okay, that one was rhetorical)

I frequently have to reflect, before I notice where I got off course:

“is this helping me get what I want?”



I started because I had a web app idea in mind, and I had to learn programming to implement it. Plus, I thought I could succeed in web dev withoiut any formal education like a degree.

I sought out entrepreneurship and opportunity.

The critical thinking when developing web apps and especially it being so time consuming is frustrating, especially when you code for days, weeks, and even months and decide what I have done could be better and is garbage.


Are you sure it isn’t just your perfectionism pushing you too hard? Do you ever try to take some time away so that you can look at your work in a new light?

From my experience, things are always way tougher to face when your perfectionism is ruling your life. I began to hate cooking, dancing and myself when everything just wasn’t perfect.

I am not saying this is your problem, but perhaps you are a perfectionist and maybe you just need to learn how to relax. Maybe you’ll see everything differently if you take a break.

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That is what I think I will do…take a break for a few days.

The problem to is revisiting code later after you have laid it down for a while. Trying to pick up where I left off and reading the code is difficult.


When you say:

  • “really not that great or talented at it”
  • “extremely long amount of time to pick upanything new”
  • “lagging I feel”
  • “just not that talented at this”
  • “could be better and is garbage”

I’m immediately asking myself: who’re you comparing yourself to?

People give a lot of lip service to “imposter syndrome” on forums like these, but that’s only helping with the first step of solving the problem: putting a label on it so you can recognize the problem.

Don’t get me wrong here: any developer of any experience will identify with the same feelings at times depending on who they’re working with (e.g. just moved to a faster-pace company).

How do we actually go about addressing this?

Your reality is entirely distorted by your perspective. You don’t feel in your gut what you haven’t experienced in your personal experience. If we can get to work on your environment and reframe your perspective, we can fundamentally rewire your reality.

What does that look like in my experience?

suffering from imposter syndrome is less about your abilities and more about who you compare yourself to.

People who feel like imposters usually compare up, instead of across or down.

When you’re starting out, you’re simply comparing yourself to those who’ve gone before you and accomplished in some regard. You’re chasing them so, by definition, you are far from them. Spending 100% of your time in a headspace where you are the weakest really takes it’s toll over time, a death by a thousand cuts.

Malcolm Gladwell has noted the same behavior in elite institutions where outcomes are largely dictated by one’s perceived status relative to peers. I added a link that starts at timestamp 7:05 where he notes this:

I offered to help address your biggest concern, but since this is all you’ve left me …that’s what I’ll do!

The best investment of your time would be to better distribute your time amongst peers. In theory, you should invest your time:

  • 33% with mentors, teachers, & peers “above” you that inspire you
  • 33% with peers that you feel shoulder-to-shoulder with
  • 33% with peers & students that you feel you have knowledge to contribute

Like any retirement portfolio, since you’re emotional experiencing problems with your current allocation (in this case, time …not money). Then I encourage you to skew the balance more heavily towards the latter two.

How counter-intuitive is that?
Super counter-intuitive if you ask me!

That’s right: I’m suggesting that you should take some time off to teach those just getting started out here on freeCodeCamp!

Once you’ve had enough of an emotional break, I encourage you to do a better job this time around of surrounding yourself with peers “closer to your level” however you want to define that.


Oh and this time: make it fun! Find peers that you genuinely enjoy the journey with instead of competing against. It’s self-defeating if you hold on to a scarcity mindset about “the limited supply of jobs” in our industry. As harsh as it may be to hear, I’m immensely grateful to be in an industry that didn’t recently grind to a halt like most others.

Things may not be “like they were,” but that doesn’t mean people/employers stop buying: they just started buying differently …so be on the look out for those new opportunities!


Good for you! I wish you the best of luck!

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You don’t need a degree to learn to program.

Also most people look at the code they wrote last week and it takes a while for it to make sense, that’s just the way the human brain works unfortunately.

It gets difficult when one jumps about with technology and never really gets anywhere with any of them. In this situation its easy to think that a problem can be solved with a library or worst still jumping to another language. It’s not just programming that suffers from this grass is greener thought though.

Also starting by running or climbing a mountain is a hard way to start. Projects at learning stage should be small and completable with easy goals. You need to finish them for the mental reward to help you complete the next one so help yourself by not making them impossible.

I don’t believe in talent, I believe in hard work. Even a hard worker can beat a talented one. Maybe, you compare your work to someone’s who has more experience than you. Or you compare your personal project to a teamwork projects with seniors in it.

Speaking of Malcolm Gladwell, he talked about 10.000 hours rules to start to be an expert like Bill Gates or The Beatles is more make sense for me. Seems you’ve passed your 10.000 hours by now, so you might be a good one now compare to the beginners, you just don’t realize that.

Talented or not talented just a label for someone who is quicker than the others. You can reach the same result with what the talented do if you want to. Keep fighting!

Waking up with existential dread is par for the course for most people these days, for obvious reasons. It’s going to put stress on your learning process too, you’re not alone.