I think after the 3rd year of being a software developer, I thought about quitting software development every day. The luster of being in tech extinguished around the time my mom passed away in 2019.
I'd been having more bad days than good days. And I realized that I had been working just to show my mom I was a functioning adult, and hey, "don't worry about me, look how great I'm doing". My mom always worried about how I'd support myself and be independent. Her worrying was my driving force to strive for better, for more, for responsibility that was complex to the layperson. Every work-related milestone or achievement I attained, I told her about it and she'd beam with pride. I don't feel those beams or rays of sunshine anymore.
And now that she's not here, there is no one to show that I'm taking care of myself. People have tried to find a replacement, like, "do it for you dad!". My dad, bless his soul, does not care the same way as my mom did. He will be proud of me even if I choose to stay at home and stare at the ceiling.
I already know that I have to let go of the need to work for my mom. I already know I need to work for me. In my first therapy session I figured out what I needed to do to "get better" and "find clarity". I just continue to go to therapy in hopes I find another way. But all signs point to the solution that was there from the beginning.
I know what I need to do, and I just have to "do it". But I don't want to. Something inside me believes there is no point of working anymore, because the one person whose pride mattered to me the most is not around and I'll never feel it again.
I push myself every day to just get through the day. I look forward to sleep because I'm not actively thinking and feeling. Every day is filled with feelings of shame – how could I think about leaving a "perfect" career with good pay, physically safe working conditions, and really good teammates?
People have suggested that I try to focus on the "bigger picture". The users of the product I work on. Remind myself that I'm making a difference in all these faceless, nameless people who interact with the things I craft. But even that does not do the trick.
When I took care of my mom in the last few months of her life, something in my brain wiring must've changed. No matter how much I did to keep her pain-free, she ended up getting weaker and worse. And I think that experience is something I'm associating in everything I do. What's the point? What's the point of doing so much and seeing nothing good come out of it? But what is that "good" feeling I'm trying to attain? I've established so many times that the "good" I am after has ceased to exist.
I know this is not healthy. I know that this is a big heap of sadness that knows no bounds. I know I have to find my new "why" – one that isn't tied to my mom and one that isn't depending on her giving me validation. It's just... hard. And I cannot believe it's been almost 3 years and I am still running around in circles.