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How One Senior Developer Bounced Back From a Mental Breakdown (S5E19)

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If you’re feeling overwhelmed at work, you’re far from alone. As one survey shows, the majority of workers in America feel stressed on any given day. Overworking yourself can quickly lead to burnout and even full-blown a mental breakdown.

Seph CordovanoSenior developer Seph Cordovano has dealt with this firsthand, and decided that being open about mental struggles is crucial for removing stigma and connecting people with help. In today’s episode, he’s sharing his story and advice for coping with stress. Listen below.

Disclosure: I’m a proud affiliate for some of the resources mentioned in this article. If you buy a product through my links on this page, I may get a small commission for referring you. Thanks!


Key Takeaways

1. When you’re overwhelmed with stress, actively make your mental health a priority

Caring for mental health is a very individual thing, so it looks different for different people. It might be attending therapy, forcing yourself to make time for hobbies or socialization, or simply removing yourself from the source of stress.

overwhelmed with stress

For Seph’s situation, that last option proved healing. “I finally got to the point where for three days I didn't sleep or didn't eat and just couldn't couldn't get my mind to stop racing and having these really dark thoughts,” he says. “So it was either check into a hospital because I had lost control of my own mental state, or remove myself and go home. And so that's what I did. I think removing myself from that situation was one of the better things I could have done. Just kind of set the stress aside and focus on starting to get better.”

2. Everyone struggles, regardless of what they share on social media

“We live in this Instagram culture where you show your best, hide the rest,” Seph explains. “And I just started realizing that I was feeling all these stresses and nobody else was talking about it. As I started speaking about it, more and more people, including other big developers at big companies, were commending me and saying ‘I felt this too’ or ‘I went through this recently.’ Some of these people kind of were my saving grace because this was uncharted territory. ”


3. If you work in an isolated environment, make it a point to get out

“I think working from home for as long as I did was a huge contributing factor to everything that happened when all the stress hit at once,” Seph says. “Because I was not only working from home, but I was working a lot. I just kind of let my support system break down. You don't realize, but that forced interaction that you get from going to a job plays a big part in your day. I would go days without even leaving my apartment. And that's extremely unhealthy.”

work from home

4. A to-do list can help you stay mentally organized and on track

If you feel stressed or overwhelmed to the point where you feel that you’re losing control, Seph has a simple tip to help. “I would say the biggest thing that I learned is like having a to-do list of what I need to do with my day makes the biggest difference,” he says. “That was one of the things that helped me the most to get back on track. I started journaling, writing down questions I have for the day, my ambitions for the day. It helped me stay focused and get back on track.”

to-do list

5. Going through a hard time doesn’t make you a failure

Reminding yourself that you’re only human is so important when you’re beating yourself up over not being perfect. “If you're going through a bad season, or you're going through a moment of weakness, that doesn't make you weak,” Seph says. “And that doesn't make you a failure, just because you've gone through those things. The most successful people have failed the most.”

going through hard time

Links and mentions from the episode:

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