Projects, Distractions and Constructive Learning

I’m an IT person by trade, originally a programmer then later a focus in system administration. I’ve read several articles that IT as a profession (probably due in part to high stress levels) is known to have a severe issue with mental health and depression in particular.

At my best typically when solving problems so one of the coping mechanisms I’ve tried to adopt has been forcing myself to run through projects and self-paced training. I’ve often worked on things called Intel NUCs, little compact mini-PCs that have allowed me to train on the newest versions of Windows and test/practice installations of applications and things I need for work. It can be costly, but then again so are classes and training courses. (Example of what I work on:

The most difficult thing I’ve found with anhedonia and depression has been lack of motivation. Knowing I have a problem to solve and that the training benefits me work-wise has helped to keep me on track. Finding things that allow you to sink your teeth into them and not allowing yourself to fall further into depression is probably one of the biggest challenges that I’ve come to understand. There’s certainly mornings where I don’t want to get moving at all, where the bed feels like it’s where I should be all day. One day at a time I try to force myself not to give in to those instincts, I seek a problem and learning how to work through it gives me that small bit of reward I need to move onto the next day. If you’re finding yourself dragging, work both in and out of your comfort zone until you find something that has that perfect degree of reward that you can turn it into a habit.

Projects and Distractions

Being able to focus on positive things during severe depressive episodes is a critical thing.  For me besides my artistic projects which were more therapeutic focused I also tried to spend time working on various technology oriented projects (this blog and a revamp of my neglected for years website).

One of the last projects I worked on was very much off the wall. Building VMware ESXi systems and a Hyper-V testbed system out of Intel NUCs.  In my youth I probably would have tinkered with a car, or lesser scale an RC car but these days it’s things that can overlap with my work. Perhaps owing to the same mindset that causes my depression to get me into a negative loop, I’ll typically bulldog problems in projects until I can find solutions.

VMware Homeserver – ESXi on 6th Gen Intel NUC

There’s several great resources.  While my generation of NUCs are all 5th Generation, it sounds like the newer devices can be made to work with ESXi as well and there’s an interesting community that use them for the same purpose as I was, test labs and home servers.