Troubleshooting The Troubleshooter

Today is World Mental Health Day. My name is Tom Bridge, and I suffer from periodic depression. It’s not a formal diagnosis, it’s just something that I’ve known about myself going back to, I think, junior high school. I worked through all of this stuff on my own, mostly. In college, I saw a therapist, who gave me a lot of tools for managing my seasonal affection.

Over the last few winters, it’s gotten worse, and being around me in the winter has been difficult for my family and for my colleagues and for my friends. I finally started to seek professional attention for this issue about 18 months ago, and things have gotten a bit better. I’ve found a medication that my body seems to like (after finding one it really did not like) and I’m hopeful that this winter isn’t like the last few!

I gave a lightning talk at X World this year about mental health, because I want to destigmatize this disease that is stunningly common. Our society often treats mental illness like a moral failing, when it’s not that at all. Mental illness is like cancer, or like any other chronic condition that you have to fight through. Depression is real, I have it, and sometimes it makes life terrifically difficult in ways that are hard to describe and cope with.

So, all my sysadmin friends, and all my real life friends, it’s important to take time to troubleshoot your own troubleshooting self. Your brain may not respond to sudo the way that your computers do, and your life may not order itself around obvious log files and audit trails. Brains are more nuanced. But just like having trouble with anything in your IT world, you’ve got resources to call on.

And if you don’t, look me up, and we’ll help find you some together.

Long as I’ve got a job, you’ve got a job. Let’s get through this together.