- Dan DiGangi
Recently Sarah Shook and I connected over a Twitter Space idea she organized looking at mental health in the software industry. It's something I've dealt with in the past and to the present. I know I'm not alone so I had to take part.
Unfortunately Twitter doesn't have non-hacky ways to embed Spaces. You can find Sarah's original tweet here about the episode and the Twitter Space here. The MP3 recording is in my public G-Drive here.
Thanks for inviting me on Sarah and to the listeners who joined to share their stories and asked questions. Appreciate you all.
The Story Behind & Personal Mental Health Battles
It's 3am. I can't sleep for the life of me and happen to stumble across a tweet from someone I don't follow named Sarah Shook. She asked if anyone was interested in being part of a Twitter Spaces podcast of sorts focused on mental health in the software industry.
Absolutely. I'm in.
A few open and honest DMs later we planned an episode together. Sarah and I discussed my journey as a software engineer and manager through my various mental health battles. I'm clinically diagnosed with bipolar 2, generalized anxiety, and ADHD. My bipolar has trended towards depression the past few years but early on it was significantly more manic.
Most people have no idea if they know me or have seen me online somewhere it's a thing.
Why? I don't externalize on others.
My personality is a mask of sorts unintentionally. I have feelings and struggles like everyone else but positivity and energy flows out of me endlessly. This tends to create that mask that I am perfectly fine. The balance here is being open about the struggles while letting my personality style do its' thing. Positive environments can be just as viral as negative ones. That's part of what I want to promote.
That doesn't mean I don't go to trusted friends and family for support though! But you have to realize that talking to someone for support versus laying your emotional stress on them to make yourself feel better is far from the same thing.
In fact, a trusted mentor said I was making a career mistake being open about all of this. It was the first time I've reconsidered being public. My gut told me that I'd be doing a disservice to myself and others to not share.
Why? Mental health carries stigma in tech. It is severely underrecognized and undervalued relative to physical health.
We can't begin to break this together and create open, safe, and trusting environments for vulnerability without others taking the first steps. This is how you create signals that it is ok to talk about these things. I sincerely admire Sarah for starting this Space. It takes real courage to open conversations around mental health. It only takes a few people and small steps to inflict positive change.
Did you know that just about 30% of Americans have been diagnosed with depression as of 2023??
You know what they say - awareness is half the battle. If even one person is positively effected listening in I think Sarah would agree we hit our goal here.
Related: Wrote a blurb in this post about a depression spell related to my layoff and future I've just started to get past.
p.s. I refuse to call it X 🤣