I’m a developer, and the community scares me…

First off, I’ve chosen to remain anonymous for posting this, for two reasons:

  1. I don’t want extended family and/or workmates to see this
  2. As much as we’d like to think otherwise, depression and anxiety still has a stigma about it, and yes, I am still too afraid to be publicly open and have my name associated with it.

A while ago, I read Scott Hanselman’s blog post ‘Dark Matter Developers’. It resonated with me because in a way that is me. Even though I read Hacker News and /r/programming daily as the first thing I do when I get to work, I’m still invisible to the developer community.

It’s not that I don’t want to be a part of the community at all, in fact, I wish I could get in there because a lot of you seem like wonderful and intelligent people, the problem comes down to my stupid broken brain.

For years now, my brain has convinced me that I should keep out of peoples way as I am a nuisance who is ruining everyone elses’ good time, or that I should just keep my mouth shut because no one wants to hear you speak. It gets worse on days where I’m more depressed than usual and can end up with me spending an entire day not making eye contact or even saying a word to anyone.

I’d like to think I’m a decent developer, I’ve been working in the industry for 3 years now, I’ve built somewhat successful Android, iOS apps as well as websites, I try every day to keep on top of latest trends in the industry and am always learning and trying to be better. I’ve tried a few times to give back to the community in terms of open source contributions but my brain reminds me that I’m worthless and I end up giving up and slinking back into the dark matter.

I’ve tried to get involved in meetups too, the problem is, I live in a small town with no real developer community which means I have to travel over an hour to get to the next biggest town where these communities are, which is a long way to go for an anxiety attack. Luckily, I did manage to find a meetup down in my home town, however, what I thought was a general web developer meetup ended up being a ‘Wordpress and cool themes’ meetup, not that there is anything wrong with that at all, but it isn’t what I was looking for.

I’ve tried so many times to go out and get involved in the community, to push past my stupid brain and stupid limitations, and sometimes I get close. Events like hackathons and conferences help so close to my house I could roll out of bed 10 minutes before they start and still get there on time can get me to the point where my mouse is literally hovering over the purchase button for the tickets before I convince myself that my mere presence will ruin everything for everyone else.

I never wanted to write a ‘poor-me’ piece. I guess I just wanted to scream into the digital void and hope maybe someone would hear me.