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Comment by jaison on Snapshot of a career choice 10 years ago · 2021-09-26T03:42:19.170Z · EA · GW

I just wanted to say that I always enjoy your posts, Julia :) . It's so nice to hear people honestly talk about the mental struggles of discovering your limits and how much you can sustainably give to this world - so many of us still struggle with this. All the best!

Comment by jaison on [Podcast] Having a successful career with anxiety, depression, and imposter syndrome · 2021-05-31T23:33:32.604Z · EA · GW

I'm so grateful to Howie for sharing this. In these last few years of figuring out who I am/how I could be of "some actual use" - I spent months caught in the depths of an existential depression. 

As an EA, you tell yourself that all the risks and personal sacrifices you make are fine, because if they pay off, they'll be so helpful for a world in dire need. But our brains certainly didn't evolve to be exclusively logical - and every inevitable failure is just more fuel for that part of your head that loves to wake you up at 3am to tell you that you're a "worthless f-----g idiot."[1]

For me, it got bad enough where I turned into a hermit. The walls of my childhood bedroom basically became the borders encompassing my world. I was reading all day, even when I didn't want to, just to try to make sense of human life. My brain was all over the place. I learned a lot more about suicide methods than I'm proud to admit.

But that was a while ago. These days, with the help of a wonderful psychologist[3] and a daily dose of vitamin Z[4], I'm happy to say I'm doing MUCH better. Not perfect of course, but reasonably happy.

Just getting to hear about someone else going through similar things was incredibly validating and comforting. Thank you so much, Howie.

[1] wow, thanks for letting me know![2] Can I go back to sleep now?[3]
[2] (yet again)
[3] (no? great!)
[3] who I sort of developed a secret crush on for about a year - so yeah, that was funny. 
[4] I always loved those commercials with the little Zoloft sadness rock when I was a kid - had no idea that little guy was going to turn out to be me.