October is usually a month where I tend to over-work when it comes to my blog, since it was October of 2012 when I officially started the site; this is usually fine. However, the October of 2017 was different when compared to the prior years. Not because I didn't want to work on things for the site, but because I decided it was time to become healthier. Instead of spending time working on new content or researching new ideas, I decided to instead focus that energy on improving myself, if even a little bit.

I don't want this post to go on to long, but I just wanted to dump a few of my thoughts out there.

Bad Habits

Throughout the month of October, I worked very hard on eliminating one of my worst habits: drinking nothing but carbonated beverages (I don't want to name any specific drink, but you can all probably guess the green beverage of choice of most programmers). This was very hard. Going from drinking soda (or pop, depending on region), to drinking nothing but water is a difficult, but not impossible, change. The first few weeks were tough; it would be a lie to say it was "easy". However, after those first few weeks, things became much easier and I do not find myself craving soda (or pop) anymore. On average, I drink less a day, and I feel more energized when I wake up; almost more importantly, I fall asleep much easier each night; I don't wake up as much throughout the night.

The better sleep alone was well worth it; not to mention the improved dental health.

Mental Health

This is always a touchy subject; this is a tough subject for me to write about. Most days I would wake up with negative thoughts, or would find some reason that the day was going to be "bad". It took some courage, but I did end up talking to some health care professionals, and was diagnosed with clinical depression; as a result I was put on medication to help with the symptoms. After being prescribed medication, each day has been easier. My thoughts are definitely clearer; I feel happier; I do not have as much unnecessary self-doubt (it is important to understand that the level of medication determined by my health-care professional and I does not eliminate beneficial anxiety, since that is an important factor of every-day life).

I think what is difficult about this topic is the process of actually talking with your health care professional. You should not feel ashamed about your mental state; delaying that conversation or treatment is just depriving yourself of a happier, healthier life-style.

If you are facing mental health issues, I cannot say for certain what causes them or what will make them better. All I can say is that you are not alone. The path to a happier life really cannot begin until you recognize that you, as an individual, recognize you have a problem and are willing to discuss it with someone else. Some of you reading this will undoubtedly react with thoughts similar to "no-one will understand", or "I don't want to explain everything to someone else". Maybe someone else won't understand; you don't have to explain everything to everyone. The important thing is that a healthier life can be accomplished in small-steps; you can't start the process without some sort of conversation with your health-care professional. Do not feel ashamed.

At this point in time, I do not feel comfortable discussing the matter in any further detail, but do know I am happier; more motivated than ever to deliver great output non only for the site, but for my full-time job as well.

Conclusion

I know this post might have been "over-hyped" and a little short, but this is all I feel comfortable sharing at the moment. If you have specific questions, feel fee to ask them in the comments; I will answer them to the best of my ability. If you take anything away from this post it should be that, if you feel you are unusually unhappy, or have thing you might have a mental health issue, do not hesitate to have that conversation with a health care professional. No matter how uncomfortable you might feel, your health care provider has been trained, or has an understanding of what you might be facing; they can help; and, if they cannot directly help they should be able to point you in the right direction.

Thank you for taking the time to read this, albeit, short post; here's to many great posts in the future! I am planning on releasing numerous posts throughout November and December; if you are excited to read them, make sure to share the site with your friends and colleagues!