Ask HN: Help (no life thread)

By burnerAddress - a day ago

Showing first level comment(s)

It sounds like you're depressed. Apathy or lack of interest in things is a common trait of depression.

Start cooking again, get back into exercising. They may seem pointless to you right now, but their purpose is twofold:

1) Your mental health is connected to your physical health. Maintaining good physical health is a way to bootstrap your mental health.

2) Doing so will constitute a series of small wins. Small wins serve as a sense of accomplishment that tend to self-reinforce, which will only motivate you further.

Beyond that, try to pinpoint the source of your unhappiness and take measures to negate it such that you're happy. The reason I say "negate" and not "fix" is because reality sometimes doesn't allow you to immediately fix things, only to negate them.

Going by your post, it seems you have a lot of dissatisfaction with your career and are possibly experiencing burnout, or perhaps simply boredom.

Some people view work as a means to an end and compartment it as such, with all the suck it entails. Others seek fulfillment in part via their work, and as such let work have a high impact upon their emotional well-being. There's no right or wrong answer here as to what approach is better, only what's better for you given your current constraints and situation.

Start being social again, find a hobby you enjoy, anything really to break the cycle you're in. Small wins build upon each other.

If you square away your personal life, you'll be in a much better position to introspect and improve your professional life. The converse might be true, but you definitely have far more control over the former.

rl3 - a day ago

I think you associate life with work too much. You should probably take a vacation, and get a hard look at yourself what you want to achieve in life.

The way I understand it is you want to be recognized for the work you put in, but shit happens. You want stuff done, but others don't see the same way. You might just not be seeing things from their perspective. You seem to have a very opinionated view of what your life should be. Maybe these opinionated views stem from what others, (friends family coworkers, society etc) expect.

What are your expectations? I wouldn't be surprised if you are having an identity crisis right now either or some form of delusions of grandeur. A company at the end of the day is just a company. Its not your sole identity and being.

If you walk in a room full of random people, and the first thing you introduce about yourself is how you work for XYZ company and only talk about all the great things at XYZ, then this is a pretty good indicator. Think FORD (Family, occupation, recreation, dreams). You only seem to be talking about occupation nothing else, thats 1/4 of what defines you

Related article I wrote in this hackernews post about lack of motivation

and knowledge worth knowing

Kagerjay - a day ago

There is already a ton of good advice on this thread, so I will try to avoid sounding like a broken record. But something that really stood out to me is you not leaving your flat. I think by just staying in your apartment during all your free time is really hurting you. I found that even if I take a 15 to 20 minute walk outside, I will usually feel happier and refreshed. Give it a try! Good luck!

banterfoil - a day ago

Everybody is saying start cooking again and start exercising and what not. Those things are important, clearly you know they are but these people don't understand how difficult it can be to do that, its actually pretty insensitive having been there myself. But if you are actually capable of doing those things then definitely do them.

One thing that is non-negotiable though is sleep, keep it consistent and try really hard to let yourself wake without an alarm.

What worked for me was detaching from work for 4 weeks or so and just be a human being whose self worth isn't tied to work. I would make sure I get out of the house, even if that meant browsing reddit at a coffee shop, or just walking around, really bad idea to take time off and spend it all in the house.

After that, getting a therapist was a tremendous benefit. Getting a professional outsider, who can not ruin your life (by sharing the gory details of whats going through your head with others) feels really good. Sometimes you can be locked in a fog where you just spiral down and can't see why. Having someone there who can look at it objectively, without that fog, and can deliver some insights while both of you try to figure out what is wrong.

A lot of times in mid 20s mental health issues will reveal themselves. I think the best way to go about that is see a therapist who actually believes in medicine being helpful (some therapists will advise their patients to avoid drugs but if thats the only thing beyond extreme will power that will fix the issue, do it). They will get to know you over a long period of time and eventually may suggest you see a psychiatrist. Psychiatrists usually don't spend that much time finding a diagnosis in my experience, its just a description of feeling, he trusts what you are feeling and slowly try a medication according to the symptoms.

Finding a therapist is probably the best way I was able to get out of my funk. Without her guidance I would've just been wallowing until I finally take drastic measures.

reversecs - a day ago

As a person who recently felt the same way as you, what helped me was recognizing that there's nothing "wrong" with you and you shouldn't feel that it is your fault.

I don't mean to sound presumptuous, but I'm going to make a few assumptions...

You sound highly ambitious and you want to achieve more, but maybe you feel the world isn't letting you achieve your full potential. You might feel lost or unsure what to do next. And this prolonged state of unsureness and your experience with your bosses has demoralized you. And now, you just don't want to do anything.

If this is what you're feeling, I want you to know that this feeling is more common than you think and most people don't talk about it. The way to solve this is to not overthink this and surround yourself around positive peers (perhaps even ideally non-tech peers) to get away from our usual comfort zone and to give you a chance to breathe the fresh air of the world outside and enjoy the green trees. Remember to take everything one step at a time. Here's a relevant motivating story from Arnold Schwarzenegger from yesterday.

You sound like you need a short break away from your usual routine to give you a chance to clear your mind. You're in Berlin. Maybe take a spontaneous solo trip to Netherlands, Belgium, France, Italy, or Switzerland for a week. Perhaps stay at a Youth hostel, meet cool people, and explore around. That should give you a chance to breathe.

Once you have a clearer mind, make a roadmap of what you find meaningful in life and slowly work towards that goal, even part time if necessary. I promise you you'll find your way.

Hope this helps. :)

teayc - a day ago

Seek out a clinical psychologist or better. Not a therapist who will just offer you emotional support, no. I'm talking about someone who can diagnose you with different mental conditions. Because, as someone who has had depression in the past as a byproduct of my ADHD, the way you're speaking in your post makes me suspect you may have one or more conditions that are outside of your control.

dabockster - 17 hours ago

Exact same thing happened to me. Also a developer, also struggled in Germany, always wanted more and needed a challenge.

Let me tell you how things progressed for me going downhill from where you are now. The boredom transformed into depression. The depression into anxiety. The anxiety into constant panic attacks. I was not able to leave the house and go to the office. I was under the constant impression death was around the corner, I was having pain all over my body. I struggled like that for 2 years.

I ended up in a hospital twice, they were constantly telling me nothing's wrong with me. And then I knew something has to change.

I packed my stuff and left. Started seeing a professional and after maybe two months I was back on my feet. She helped me get rid of the panic and anxiety.

Still afraid to get back to work, I took another year and just did whatever the hell I wanted. Traveled a lot, slept like crazy, spent time with friends. Even did a bit of work, but only on my projects, and always being careful of how hard I push myself.

Fast forward 3 years. I am back on track with my life and career. I am freelancig now, working on my own stuff, and consulting.

What I learned in the last years:

A job is not something worth killing yourself over. Yes, some people do a 9-5 mediocre job, but I can't change them.

Divide the work/personal life with a thick line. Find a good balance between the two.

Stop trying to make millions with my next big startup, and just have fun going forward. Things will happen on their own.

Connect with people like me.

Be really really pragmatic when it comes to my job. Avoid bringing in emotions and avoid pushing too hard.

That being said, take care of yourself. Don't let it go downhill, the sooner you fix it the better. There's a fix for you, no worries, just have to find it

Remember one thing: You can't do the same thing over and over again and expect different results.

vlladin - a day ago

Maybe you are just a spoiled european kid. (I just want to grab your attention).

Jokes aside, I'm from Berlin as well and share the same problem. We want to build interesting stuff, and the market doesn't have enough money to feed all that innovation.

I'm on the 9-5 job route for a while, until I can set up my own shop. Just as starting a company, growing it, selling etc. Life got many phases that we need to learn to accept it. We need to put a real effort to become good at 9-5, then become good as well as an entrepreneur mindset. Those are two completely different things and we need to learn to work on those things.

You seem to struggle to maintain things when they "become boring", and that is very important to run your own company as well.

Maybe contact me. Maybe I find what you make interesting and we can build something together, I dunno. E-mail is on profile. I can probably say what are your problems, what are the solutions, but it's up to you to do it. That's the problem. That's even the problem that I have with myself. We need to work on those things.

Anyways, to wrap up, you need to dedicate some effort in order to handle the bullshit. When the bullshit hits you, you need to work with it. If you let it go, it will eventually take you down. You need to work on those things.

thiago_fm - a day ago

When you find a solution to your work related problems, please let me know. I have the same problem (am also from germany). I just want to "automate all the things", I don't care what it is: software deployment, infrastructure, proprietary business processes. I always get sick when i have to do things more than one time if it doesn't need to be "that" way. But from my experience one of the three things can / will happen:

1. you work in a big company the processes are so static and haven't been touched for decades. Every change is seen as a risk and therefore dismissed.

2. you work in a SME that actually is in need of someone that can automate different processes but the time will come when everything is done and you only get to work from time to time and get bored.

3. you work in a small company / startup and your skills are needed but it lacks of work life balance, job stability and sometimes a competitive salary.

As of now I'm (again) looking for a new job but have little to no hope that I'll find exactly what I'm looking for.

denvrede - a day ago

Many have correctly commented on the possibly depressive state, so I won't. But I'd like to react to some keywords in your message. I don't know either how this life thing works, it would be more my frustration speaking, I definitely haven't followed this advice when your age.

Difficulty can be easily found in any company anywhere, no need to look hard. It is doing the same even better and faster.

If asking the boss for more work doesn't work, why not to ask your colleagues? You are high-performing -- get spare time from regular job, identify the people who contributes the most to the success of the business, go see them and be open, tell them you want to help but don't know how.

Your message sounds to me like getting closer to your colleagues might not be your thing -- then find by yourself what cries for improvement that would benefit the maximum of people, and start working on it alone. Hopefully people will notice and will let you know.

Last thing -- if you are ambitious as you say, then changing companies frequently is good, but only up to some point. Past that point (I would say, 30-something), to be able to evolve you need to grind down to the core of the activity of a company, be that from the business or from technical standpoint, and that takes lots of time and lots of trust from other people. The trust takes many years to come.

I think we evolve only in the eyes of people around us (we already are what we are), so working alone / keeping to oneself / frequently moving on undermines this evolution.

In short -- plan for long effort, have patience, don't be afraid if things don't look today like they should, and try to get more from people around you -- help, fun, recognition, empathy, whatever.

minipci1321 - a day ago