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Michaela Light 0:01
Welcome back to the show. I'm here with Jeff Kunkel and we are going to talk about cold fusion mental helpers, or how to stay sane during crises, which, when we're recording this, there's a major lockdown crona economic depression, wacko crisis going on on there's definitely a lot of people who are having some issues. So we wanted to help out with that. So welcome, Jeff. Hello.
And nice background you have there for those watching on video into the box 2020. And you know, we'll talk a bit more about that, because I know you gave a talk there. And But meanwhile, why don't we just remind listeners who you are? Who are you in a nutshell.
Jeff Kunkel 0:51
I'm Jeff conkel. I'm a 33 year old ColdFusion developer I've been developing for about six years.
I work on a small ecommerce company a in house team.
One thing I I'd like to contribute to the ColdFusion community and I feel like
my expertise is higher in having mental like dealing with mental health, and it is in cold fusion at the moment. So that's kind of where I've been focusing.
Michaela Light 1:24
So you've experienced some of these issues yourself in the past?
Jeff Kunkel 1:28
Yes, absolutely. I've been diagnosed with anxiety and depression and with a mild case of obsessive compulsive disorder. So it's
Michaela Light 1:38
a mild case of access to to organize your shoe closet once a year.
Jeff Kunkel 1:45
It's, it's there was there's this, it was funny because the the counselor I was talking to about it, they had a survey to take but it was a survey from a a it was a college study, but it very much felt like a BuzzFeed quiz to see if you have OCD. But I felt like right in the middle of their scale. And it's I tend to it's more like if plans go off. I tend to get more anxious, or but in less the rituals, it's more just like when my schedule gets thrown. It really will bother me more than a lot of someone would.
Michaela Light 2:33
Yeah. So if you are editing ColdFusion code and the indenting is awful, the capitalizations inconsistent doesn't worry you at all.
Jeff Kunkel 2:41
Ah, I will take the time to change it. But it doesn't stress me like physically, like I will, I will make it how I like it. But it if I'm in a hurry if something has to be a hot fix, I can look past it. But
Michaela Light 3:01
I think most CF developers have some OCD because yeah, programming you have to pay attention to all those details. And I've always found, I mean, I understand the formatting of codes irrelevant as far as the computer running it goes. But it often seems that messy code goes with hidden bugs. And yeah, sometimes when I clean up how the code looks, suddenly the bugs stare me in the face when they were a little hidden. Sort of like the dust bunnies stare me in the face when I organize my shoe drawer. Okay, we're talking about mental health in the ColdFusion community. Why? Why are we talking about it today? Why now?
Jeff Kunkel 3:45
it's always a good time to talk about mental health but right now is particularly relevant with the the lockdowns for Coronavirus and the economic depression. Like normally we're looking at about 20% of Americans having mental health issues right now. 20% Yeah,
Michaela Light 4:14
that means if you had 100 people in your company, 20 of them on average in a year have a mental illness. Yes. Yeah. But that's that's in the past before things went crazy. What is it now?
Jeff Kunkel 4:31
It's getting it's approaching 60%. So one in thrown or two and three right now. And it's reporting about 30% depression 30% of PTSD. Just it's like,
Michaela Light 4:48
what's up camera? Steve, for those who don't know the acronym,
Jeff Kunkel 4:51
post traumatic stress disorder. It is a way that
Michaela Light 4:55
Yeah, what is it tell us
Jeff Kunkel 4:56
it's an incredibly stressful time right now. So much is on Certain, and a lot of people think of PTSD as something that happens, like very far after it can. It can happen like, days weeks, like, because when we're dealing with something like this, which is a very long time period it can. You can have PTSD before it's over. Like, huh.
Michaela Light 5:21
So this is during chromatics stress disorder or whatever the thing
Jeff Kunkel 5:26
Yeah, yeah. Yeah.
Michaela Light 5:29
Um, PTSD is something people get from being abused or raped or being in a war is another common thing or being fired from a job is another common cause of it, or being forced death in the family was, it's
Jeff Kunkel 5:47
most often associated with like, a big, sudden, traumatic experience, but you can you can pet suffer symptoms with things that are just very stressful over a period of time also.
Michaela Light 6:05
So yeah, definitely this Coronavirus thing, the economic changes that will lock down restrictions, the protests, all of that, the political chaos. Well, that's just normal, I guess. It
Jeff Kunkel 6:19
feels like a nowadays.
Michaela Light 6:20
Yeah. And I think the thing with any of these mental illnesses, definitely with PTSD is if you had it once in the past, it's sort of like, if you break an arm, and then you stress it again, at the gym, you can injure it again. And same with PTSD. If you had a bad experience, you were doing just fine. And then this comes along, it could, you know, tip you over the edge, so to speak.
Jeff Kunkel 6:44
Yeah, absolutely. So
Michaela Light 6:47
who should be paying attention to this episode? Because some people may be brushing off and saying, No, I'm just interested in technical stuff, you know, let's mental health stuff. I don't want to have to think about it. But well, why is it important for every listener?
Jeff Kunkel 7:00
We're looking to talk to people experiencing mental health issues, which is roughly 60% right now, but also people who interact and know people who are experiencing mental health issues. So odds are if you know, more than two people, right now, statistically, one of like, two out of three people are experiencing some sort of mental distress right now. So odds are, if you will fall in the second category, if you're not feeling it yourself.
Just someone who is interacting, so.
Michaela Light 7:42
So it could be people listening selves have some mental health issues. Even if they don't realize it before hearing this episode, they might just be thinking they're stressed or whatever. But we'll talk about how to recognize it later. Or it could be people you work with co workers teammates. Yeah. And anyone else who this is important to who is in the ColdFusion community?
How about CIOs, VPS, of tech managers, team leaders, project managers, maybe someone in your team is not doing too well. And it might be good to know the signs to spot so your team doesn't fall apart? Yeah, that would be pretty serious consequences. We're gonna talk about some extremely serious consequences later in the episode.
Jeff Kunkel 8:35
Yeah, that was the initial
impetus for writing. The talk was coming from a work standpoint, but like a lot of this will translate to personal relationships as well or just organizations like a church group or a volunteer system. The it'll all work out but it was definitely originally tailored to working as part of a team with subordinates and peers. Yeah, and how to be there for your fellow for your teammates for your
Unknown Speaker 9:17
Michaela Light 9:19
I think that's very important because you know, this can affect people's performance in a team it can affect whether they even stay at the company. Yeah, how you respond to this and ultimately might lead to whether they stay on the planet or not. Yeah, so anyway, let's not get too heavy will lead to the heavy part for later but maybe we should just go a step back a moment. I What, what in your view is mental illness and
Jeff Kunkel 9:51
mental illness is a I believe this is a
summary of The APA definitions,
Michaela Light 10:02
the APA, the American Psychological Association, alright, the big cheese's of mental health. And yes,
Jeff Kunkel 10:13
mental illness can be categorized as a significant change in thinking, emotion, and or behavior. Basically, a shift in how you normally perceive the world and
react to the world, essentially.
And it can
cause it can cause distress, distress, and problems functioning in social life, work environments, family environments, and not necessarily all of them. Sometimes one or the other. And sometimes all I know, I personally tend to have more stress and mental health issues with work and social but with family, I tend to mellow out. So it can if you're like, Well, when I get home, I'm fine. You might still be experiencing some of this.
Michaela Light 11:13
So basically, not happy not functioning well in their life.
Unknown Speaker 11:19
Michaela Light 11:22
And the problem is, because it's a mental thing, sometimes it's hard, you know, if we broke our leg, it would be so obvious to me and my teammates and my manager. Yeah, we wouldn't be questioning it. But because it's inside the mind, people can cover it up. People might have somewhat quirky personalities in, you know, developer community,
Jeff Kunkel 11:42
it's the mental illness is just that illness. Like if, if you broke your leg, if you had a cold, you, you take something you do something even sometimes with a cold, if you have like a milder form, it might just be taking a couple days rest, but then you have up to the breaking your leg the serious, like, we need to really do something about this. So it's it's like, it's like any other illness or injury. It's needs to
Michaela Light 12:14
Absolutely. You know, we wouldn't, I don't think anyone listening if someone in their office, you know, broke their leg in their office or at home and was hobbling around without crutches or thing they wouldn't, you know, want to help out. Yeah, and similarly, if someone broke their own leg, they wouldn't even dream of not getting attention. But when it comes to mental illness, that's very common that people don't recognize the problem, or don't want to seek help because of various factors that we'll talk about later in the episode. But maybe we should just, you know, talk a little about a lot of different kinds of mental illness. What are the different kinds Jeff?
Jeff Kunkel 12:55
Um, the, the top two I really focus on in the talk are anxiety and depression. Um, but we also have bipolar affective disorder, schizophrenia and dementia in here, because these are the top five reported mental illnesses in the United States at the moment, um,
Michaela Light 13:16
depression APA has some book with with hundreds of different sub varieties, these things but what exactly is depression? Because we hear that word banded around so many people take antidepressants?
Jeff Kunkel 13:29
Yeah, depression is
it is a feeling of hopelessness, a out apathy is often is not necessarily the same as depression, but it often is paired with it, where you just can't care about things and you feel a numbness. Depression also has a lot of self. Self, not necessarily self harming thoughts, although that does come with it, but a lot of self hatred. Like, if you do something you perceive as bad or a mistake, you will have an internal monologue of just that. You're terrible. You're the worst. That is very common with depression.
Michaela Light 14:18
It's almost like that self talk a lot, not locks the sad feelings in place.
Jeff Kunkel 14:22
Yes, it is very self perpetuating, though.
Michaela Light 14:27
It's bit like recursive programming. Really? Yeah.
Jeff Kunkel 14:30
Yeah. Get yourself in an infinite depression loop.
Michaela Light 14:35
Yeah. And then it's hard to get out of it, you know, which is what we'll talk about how to get out of these things. So what about anxiety because I, you know, it's not just being worried or it's,
Jeff Kunkel 14:47
it is, but it's more than that. Um, it's often paired with depression, but you can have it by itself. And it's a like, it's a pervasive worry, a paranoia is a good term.
one thing with anxiety is a lot of it is on things that it's perfectly reasonable to worry about. Like, right now, health is a big worry for a lot of people. And that's a reasonable thing to be worried about. But if it's the only thing you're thinking of, if you can't relieve it at all, if you can go read a book, or you know, kind of tune out it and it's constant, it can really start to affect you. And that's when we're starting to look at like, I have anxiety rather than I'm anxious or I'm worried.
Michaela Light 15:40
Right? So the same with depression just being sad, because yeah, you know, your cat died and you were sad for a day or two or whatever. That's very different from feeling sad every single day when you wake up until you go to bed and think you're bad for being feeling sad. And the same thing with anxiety if you if you worry about the truck about to run you down as you walk across the street that's different from being anxious about every you know, are there germs on everything? Or will my car break? Or is my boss about to fire me? You know, without any really rational reason for the anxiety?
Jeff Kunkel 16:18
Yeah, I know, when I was first diagnosed with anxiety, my biggest triggers were bills, but finances it if something like one of our vehicles broke down, I would really spiral and like that's perfectly reasonable. Everyone needs to worry about paying their bills. But it was to the point where it was I was getting so worried that I wasn't like performing well at work, which would make me more worried that I would be fired and not have a way to pay for it. Just hit it. You can really, if you don't step back and take care of it, you can you can almost be a self fulfilling prophecy, you worry so much that you cause what you're worrying about. Hmm.
Michaela Light 17:03
Yeah, that would make sense. And that that OCD. You mentioned earlier obsessive compulsive disorder, that is related to anxiety or
Jeff Kunkel 17:13
it definitely is a cause. Or
tend to they tend to go together.
I know when things when I don't have all my ducks in a row, I'm definitely feel a little more anxious than when then otherwise. It's something you can learn to live with. And when you start to recognize your patterns with obsessive compulsive disorder, you can be like, Oh, you know, I'm just, I'm being triggered by this. I need to either step away or just be like, okay, I right now, I need not worry about that. It's not the most important thing.
Michaela Light 17:53
Yeah, and I think there's also I forget what that saying is about, you know, not there are some things we can take action on some things we can't and things we can't you just have to accept. And there's no point in worrying about stuff. And this Coronavirus is a perfect example of on an individual level, there's probably not too much we can do to Yeah, change that. You can take care of yourself, your family, the people in your house, but other than that, you just
Jeff Kunkel 18:23
you know, trust that other people are going to take care of themselves too.
Michaela Light 18:29
Yeah, I do a little work out. Okay, eventually. Right. Well, let's talk about some of the causes of these mental illnesses. Yeah.
Jeff Kunkel 18:43
Some of the biggest causes are, well, the number one is stress.
Just it's, it's
very generic stress. But that's, you know, it's if you put stress on a machine or a limb, it will break. It's it's stress. It's, it's easy to separate the stress as in like bending or breaking something versus stress, the mental stress but it they're very, very similar. If you put yourself under stress long enough, you you can experience issues, and and very much physical issues as well like exhaustion, and these these mental health issues. And I know, a lot of us just you know, we have stress we have, we have crunch time at work, we have a bug that a piece of code that's been working for five years suddenly isn't, you know, we all have those, and it's not so much avoiding stress as learning to kind of mitigate it to To accept it, and then put it behind you as quickly as possible. Another thing is isolation, which is a big thing right now.
Michaela Light 20:13
It's working from home. Yeah, stay at home.
Jeff Kunkel 20:18
Yeah, it's a it. Humans are meant to interact with each other, it's, I think we're still very much the same. The same animals that were living in the, you know, in tribes a couple hundred years ago, it's very much we came up with the, you know, you saw everyone you knew every day. And now it's, we all know, the hundreds to thousands of people. So you can't really do that. But it's just getting some sort of interaction. And like right now, it's going to be a lot of zoom calls, FaceTime, things like that. But once we're in out the other side of this, it's a good idea to go out and you know, get some face to face time with people
Michaela Light 21:10
would be good. And why so humans are social animals and isolation causes mental problems and that's true of experiments they've done on monkeys where they isolate monkeys, they don't get hugs or touch and they go nuts Sorry, it's common, what else is a cause of mental illness
Jeff Kunkel 21:37
a another one is poor nutrition and
Michaela Light 21:42
never seen a co fusion program or has poor nutrition What were you thinking of them ever kind of nutrition would be poor.
Jeff Kunkel 21:49
Um, a lot of it can be I know particularly in this will pair with the next one, which is lack of sunlight is a vitamin intake, um, with a lot of our mental health issues are chemical imbalances. So when you have when you aren't getting the required chemicals into your system, it can mess up your receptors. I know. I personally I was severely deficient in vitamin D when I was at my most depressed and it's, that one really affects your serotonin receptors, which is how you feel happy. So the fact that I wasn't eating enough vitamin D and getting enough sunlight was literally numbing my ability to feel happy. So it's something that uh it's something that is really important also, just eating well will help you physically feel better. And it's one of those like, feeling better will help you feel better it's it sounds kind of like well duh, but if you take care of yourself in in this way it will help you feel better in mentally also.
Michaela Light 23:09
I think it does two things is the chemical thing in the brain but there's also the act of self love that if I think I deserve to eat good food or get sunshine or whatever the other things are you know it kind of is opposite to you know, those negative spiral self thoughts you were talking about?
Jeff Kunkel 23:31
Michaela Light 23:35
What what other other things are causes of mental
Jeff Kunkel 23:39
another big one and this is this is where the the list starts to sound like I'm your mom, like you need to need to get sunshine but sleep and exercise like it's you need to it while mental health is described as like purely a mental thing it's there are physical causes of it and getting sleep and exercise keeping your body in decent shape will will really help I know one of the one of the best things for depression itself is exercise. Um, I don't I don't have this this the numbers on me offhand, but it's it's not necessarily better than certain medications, but it will it it's, you won't find anyone discouraging it. It's like this will help. Like you might need additional helpers but like their hands down, if you get into a habit of exercising and sleeping right. It will improve your mood overall. And then, also, there is the overindulgence which is it's one of those, a lot of
Michaela Light 24:54
nice word what does that mean overindulgence.
Jeff Kunkel 24:57
I'm not going to tell you It's wrong to drink, smoke whatnot, you you all went to middle school health class, you know, you know the situation. But access of the of the mind altering chemicals will well alter your mind to a point. It's easy to self medicate, because you can just go to the grocery store and pick up a six pack. Yeah, I don't have to see a doctor, I don't have to listen to anybody else. I can just go do that. But and maybe if you're just feeling stress, that's fine. But if it's a pervasive thing, if you always go to that, and you're feeling it every day, it can start to compound on itself. And it's just like, I won't tell you what to do. I'm not your mom. But if if you're feeling these things, these symptoms, and you're indulging, often, there could be a correlation. It's just something to kind of keep in the back of your mind. Like this might be a cause or if not a cause it's it might not be helping as much as it feels like it is in the moment.
Michaela Light 26:19
Well, I think a few things there, first of all, was the chemical effect of whatever you're over indulging in, whether that's alcohol or marijuana or other drugs, or prescription drugs, or, or sugar for that matter. That's another common overindulgence that some people used to deal with mental illness. Anyway, there's chemical effects on the brain. And I've read a book whose name escapes me right now. But it had, they did MRIs of people's brains who've been on cocaine, or alcohol or nicotine, or whatever the drug was. And they actually were different. And in some of the cases, some of these drugs were like Swiss cheese holes of non firing neurons in the brain. So it can cause you know, a shift in in how the neurons firing there. And then secondly, there's just the the addictive behavior, which kind of ties into the OCD stuff, I'm sure everyone has had or does have some addiction or another, whether it's one of those, you know, carrying physical chemical things, or it's online shopping, or watching porn or playing video games, or, you know, social media clicking on you know, whatever.
Jeff Kunkel 27:33
I think that that's one that will be in a couple decades, we'll be looking back on I think the social media.
Unknown Speaker 27:42
Jeff Kunkel 27:43
the one that it's still it's like, it's been around for a while, but still so new that we just don't know how it's affecting us, like
Michaela Light 27:51
you think won't be a time in the future where you go to get your social media in the last run, ID to check your age.
Jeff Kunkel 27:59
Man, you know, you, I wouldn't be surprised. I doubt it'll go that way. But there could be like, we're already seeing time limits being not enforced but encouraged for social media and certain things. And I think that could be something where it's almost it, almost like it's socially not acceptable to drink all day, every day, it'll start to be socially unacceptable to be on social media all day every day, like, because it really can affect you, especially during times like this when it's constant, negative news, cons constant stressors, it really is. I know, I personally had to set Twitter aside because I would be checking just the trending hashtags. And it was never good news. Like the last three months, it has not been good news for three months. So it's one of those just like it's got to leave a B.
Michaela Light 29:03
Now that's interesting because that's a piece of Twitter I never have ever checked and have no inclination to check I just look at what friends have posted and I have been friends with a lot of CFOs and I just keep up with CF news and yeah, I think a cool a better waiting. But these platforms do have deliberately you know, addictive pieces to them. And I think just the general point on how do you know it's an addiction is do you feel good after you've indulge in it? And with social media, I know I usually after more than half an hour of it. I feel crappy. When I used to drink alcohol the next day when I had a hangover I felt crappy. You know when I ate too when I used to eat sugar I gave sugar up last year for partly mood reasons, you know, but also to lose weight so I could fit in cuter clothes.
Jeff Kunkel 29:57
more power to you there. I definitely I had cut out and Most sugar before the stay at home, and I've definitely fallen off the wagon a little now. And it's one of the like, I'm personally going to kind of be doing a reset on that. Start very soon, just like I gotta get what I have out of the house and then not get anymore like,
Michaela Light 30:21
So anyway, with all these addictions, if you feel bad after the activity, or the next day, that's an indication that there's some addictive stuff going on there. And often they used to cut you know, like you said, self medicating, also covering stuff up coping strategy. So on dealing with Boredoms, another one, you know, a lot of people have great difficulty dealing with boredom. And so they will check Twitter or drink a beer or smoke a joint or whatever the thing is, because often with boredom, the anxiety or depression thoughts percolate up. Anyway,
Jeff Kunkel 31:02
yeah. And it now now's a great time to decide you're going to learn to knit or something because it takes the similar thing. Yes. It's very mechanical. But then you have
Michaela Light 31:16
done Yes, it's productive or programming, you know, a whole nother potentially productive activity. So what what should we look for, you know, probably in other people to see if there it is having mental illness.
Jeff Kunkel 31:34
It's far easier to spot in other people I know.
Michaela Light 31:39
It might be bad code, right, Jeff? easy to spot bad code. And really, these mental things if you think of the brain as a programming system, you know, it's bugs in the system. Yeah, pools, you know, stuff. And it's easier to spot other people's bugs and there's your own.
Jeff Kunkel 31:57
Yeah, my, my teammates will tell you that for bug things that that you can look for, is someone has become more withdrawn than they usually are, like someone who's normally boisterous, very participatory, will start to kind of sit back and just listen or not listen, even just kind of close off.
Michaela Light 32:25
And if they're in person, their eyes glazed over. Yeah, literally.
Jeff Kunkel 32:31
Yeah. And also, on the opposite hand, US can be outbursts, someone who's normally very calm, very quiet, could suddenly be screaming angry, or it's not always anger, it could be crying, sobbing, or someone who like never jokes around suddenly being you know, very distracting during a meeting. Oh, like constantly bringing attention to themselves. Another thing to look for are cries for help, which this this was the big thing that I had, when I was first getting into the the diagnosis
Michaela Light 33:13
Jeff Kunkel 33:14
dark dark humor. Like I would make you like, Oh, you know, just, I'll just, you know, take take myself out. And I talked about it a lot. To the point where I was joking, I was joking. But in hindsight, I know that I want to kind of have somebody to talk to me about it. And definitely at the time, if you would have been like, Are you okay, I would say the double thumbs up? Yes. Um, so it That one's tough, because there are people who just have a dark sense of humor, and they're fine. But it is definitely if we're if we're just kind of making bullet points of things to look for that's that's definitely one of them.
another one is a poor attendance and performance. This particularly is with coworkers or subordinates. You will, you'll find your they could suddenly be taking PTO a lot like more more often than normal, or their, their code their their output is significantly lower quality. Really, but the biggest thing is somebody acting very different than they usually do. Like all of these are like they've shifted. And it might be some it might be over time. That it all depends on how it's hitting them. And also with the the poor attendance you can, a lot of these will come with a
Unknown Speaker 34:55
Jeff Kunkel 34:56
illness almost like a exhaustion
soreness like you can.
And it's like, it's not like your depression is making you sore, but it's probably encouraging behavior.
That is. So it's, it's,
they often are paired together. But there's not necessarily a one to one correlation on that
Michaela Light 35:20
is actually research that shows strong correlation between physical illness and mental illness and the whole mind body health movement shows the two are strongly connected together. So yeah. And it works both ways. You know, when people have depression or anxiety, it can turn up, you know, anxiety, they often have, you know, stomach pains or ulcers or or constipated or diarrhea. Those are all common things. You know, another common association is backache, you know, but it works the other way, if you if you injure yourself physically have a physical disease, it often makes you feel like crap. So, then you get mental illness.
Jeff Kunkel 36:02
I've known a handful different careers I've had, I've had a co worker that will have get a back injury, and they'll end up laid up for weeks at a time and almost always, mental health pops up my head up there. Because just someone who's especially when I was working in more active jobs, like I was a movie theater attendant, we're always up and we're walking around, and we're moving things and then the coworker had a back injury. And well, it was more back injury flared up, because it was from a previous job. But they they were really feeling depressed during the time that they couldn't move, like someone who's used to every day, being up and around, it can really,
really put you down.
Michaela Light 36:57
And then there might be other changes in their behavior, you know, maybe they aren't eating or they're eating a lot more. And this is more in a family situation or a marriage, you might notice those things, but they might have changed in their sex behavior. They don't want it at all, or they wanted it every day, five times a day, or
Jeff Kunkel 37:16
Yeah, yeah, sex drive is often
associated with changes in extra.
Michaela Light 37:23
Yeah. Oh, they might be using more drugs than normal. Yeah. All things to look out for and situation. You know, I didn't say this earlier. But when you were talking about the causes of mental illness, it sounded like the stereotypical ColdFusion developer stressed, work alone. They don't eat good. They're always eating Twinkies or whatever. They don't leave. They never get sunlight. They're in front of the computer the whole time. And they like working at night and sleeping in the day. Ideally, if their boss would let him get away with it. They don't they pull all nighters, and they don't get enough sleep, they never exercise. And then they overindulge in, you know, this time, the other, you know, mainly things like sugar and Coke is that more polite way, but you know, a lot of people do drink alcohol or smoke a lot.
Jeff Kunkel 38:15
Yeah, it's a developer is
is a very primed a career. For a lot of these, like you get, like you said it checks every box. And it's one of those that a lot of it, you're not going to be able to prevent, like stress is part of the job. But again, it's taking, taking time. One thing that can help a lot is setting boundaries for yourself. It's like, hey, I need this weekend. No working on the weekend, no working after 5pm whatever is, you know, convenient for
your situation, your team.
Yeah, that's it's it's one thing I love and dread about giving this talk at a tech conferences. It is it's like the portrait of everyone sitting in the room is the list of causes of mental health issues.
Michaela Light 39:23
I mean, just a dark dramatize this. I think everyone recognizes that people who were in the military and have gone into some war are serious risk for mental illness. Yeah, and PTSD or suicide or whatever. But we don't think of people going into a ColdFusion programming career as being a serious risk of mental illness and perhaps we should,
Jeff Kunkel 39:46
yeah. Yeah, a lot of
Michaela Light 39:50
and it doesn't mean it's inevitable that people are going to have these things. It just means we need to be more aware because then there's more risk. So risky profession, you know,
Jeff Kunkel 40:00
Yeah, there is like a kind of a societal feeling that in order to have mental health issues, you have to have literally been put through some truly traumatic experiences. But a lot of it is like the slow grind this like the, the slow wearing away can cause this as well. And I think just as we talk about it more people open up with their personal experiences be like, Oh, well, if if they are feeling that, then maybe what I what I'm feeling isn't so strange, because like we were talking earlier with up to 60% of people reporting mental illnesses right now that 60% with with two things, clinical depression or PTSD.
Michaela Light 40:56
But the other 40% right now probably have some low level anxiety or Yeah, apathy or whatever going on, you know, there's usually there's a, what he call it a scale or a spectrum of depression, for example, you know, can go from listlessness to like, you know, suicidal thoughts. So, anyway, sorry, yeah,
Jeff Kunkel 41:19
yeah. So it's, it's just, it's, it's very common, especially now. And it's easy to feel like, well, I'm some sort of some sort of weirdo, I'm the only one who feels like this. The numbers would like to speak contrary to that, like, a lot of people, if not experiencing very serious symptoms of this are experienced at least minor right now. Like, I don't, I don't personally know anyone that I interact with on a daily basis that doesn't have at least some mild level of anxiety right now. It's just a very,
it's a truck. We're going through trying times. And
Michaela Light 42:06
I think some people have said, it's, it's analogous to World War Two without the war part of violence. But as far as the mental health aspect and disruption to society is, you know, and also on the good side, people pulling together and helping people out.
Unknown Speaker 42:21
Michaela Light 42:25
So, wait, you know, if we think someone on our team is having these issues, how can we help?
Jeff Kunkel 42:34
Okay. One, I think probably one of the best ones is to just be a resource for your team be someone that they're comfortable coming to you like, if they're comfortable coming to you for code issues for policy issues. It they'll be more primed to talk about personal issues. And so just being a resource for for your teammates is helpful.
Michaela Light 43:13
In the case of a manager, does that mean like an open door kind of
Jeff Kunkel 43:18
envy? I know
Michaela Light 43:20
when you have offices,
Jeff Kunkel 43:22
yeah, I know, where where I currently work. We have weekly check ins, one on one, which is nice. And that's just a nice policy in general. But it's great to have a like, I know, in on Tuesday, I want to have a closed door meeting with my supervisor. So if there's something that's eating at me, I definitely have a safe window that I'm going to be there anyway. Um, so just if not having an open door having like said, Hey, we're gonna we're gonna talk for a half hour for an hour, once a week. Um, and I
Michaela Light 44:05
I know some people who do agile they have stand up Yes. And one of the things is they do a brief you know, 32nd check in just so the team knows how other you know if another team member is having a bad day, they at least know about it and the person's got to share that hey, that's what's going on.
Jeff Kunkel 44:22
Yeah, those are just encouraging. Communication, it within your team communication good it's a good idea to have communication in your team but encouraging like just like talking about how you're feeling talking about just like what did you do last night just you know, don't spend a whole lot of time on it but just having daily check ins are really excellent for opening people up.
feeling more comfortable with each other.
Um, another thing if you if you personally have experienced with a mental health issues, relating those to your teammates to someone who might be struggling, can really help. I know, that was what really got me to seek professional help was finding people who were feeling exactly the same way I was, and I, I'd be able to be, they'd be like, Oh, you know, are you feeling this? I'd be like, yes, exactly, I thought I thought that was unique and just kind of normalizing it, just Hey, you know, you feel like this. Yeah, I know that I feel like that every day, like every other day, just kind of
being Ja Rule,
making it more of a relatable experience. Um, and then like, actually genuinely caring, like, how they're doing, it's one of those yeses, because it affects output and the the company, but like, just having a, a. and empathy is empathy or sympathy, depending on whether you actually have experienced it before. To to your coworker can really help just like to be there and
open to them that way.
Um, one thing, just having, maybe, once we're all allowed to go outside, again, having a group outing, like go do mini golf, some something, you know, low pressure, just to kind of camaraderie, because it could be an isolation thing, especially if you have a newer employee who moved in from out of out of town, they might not be doing much after work outside of work hours. So just having groups think having group activities or inviting them to, it's not for everybody, but inviting them to a church function or something like that, like that is a big source of community, and camaraderie for a lot of people.
Another thing is to make reasonable accommodations. Most of most of most developers have a lot of a lot of flexibility with their schedule, but just making sure that if they're looking to seek professional help, that they can work that into their hours, that it isn't a detriment to them in the company, that they're looking to help themselves. Or if you're in a saved like an open office, and it gets really noisy, allowing them to either move to somewhere if if you have if you have another location available, because not not every company does, or just, you know, let them bring in a set of noise cancelling headphones like, and again, like this is general advice. I know a lot of a lot of developers kind of already are in a situation where they can do those things. But it's just one of those like, Well, you know, if a certain part of the work environment is making them feel uncomfortable or exacerbating their mental health issue, just allowing them to alleviate it and then recommending they seek professional help. I know one one of the big things is that I didn't realize was you can just go to a primary care physician, a lot of them are have a low to meet mid level training in mental health nowadays, and can prescribe mental health medicines right there in the office like I have not had to I did not have to go to a psychologist to get my medications I was just able to go same guy go to for bad or bad flu or stomach issues. He was able to help me out with the the mental health
maybe you're more comfortable with a therapist or psychologist, you a good place to start is your insurance we'll probably have a list of covered professionals within their plan. I often on the website, sometimes it's a phone number to call. Um, and then there's often a for each state, they have a website for the board of licensed professionals. So maybe it's they're not in your directly in your insurance, but if you find someone close to you close to where you live, it could be more financially beneficial. Either way, um, Another Another way is if you know someone who has sought therapy counseling, psychology, just like, how did you how did you get hooked up with your doctor and just kind of keeping a Rolodex of this is, you know, this is just some areas I can help point people. Um, and we do have a few links that we'll be including in the notes that can help you out. There's a trauma and healing calm psychology today. And
Unknown Speaker 50:37
Jeff Kunkel 50:40
the finding therapy on the MH, national mha, national site
Michaela Light 50:47
who will put those on the show notes at Tara tech.com. Now, those are all ways you can help people on your team. How, what are things to avoid doing? Because I think a lot of people don't know how to deal with me, they kind of make it worse.
Jeff Kunkel 51:07
Yes. Um, so a lot of these will sound like common sense, but just take it for me, it happens it pops up blaming someone just being like, why are you feeling like this, you know, just be happy, that's not gonna help. Or, you know, stop worrying. It's definitely a tough, tough love, there's a lot of tough love mentality out there. And while you know, walk it off, can help with side stage or muscle cramp. It does not it doesn't tend to pair well with mental issues it can most often exacerbate them. Another is panic, just be like, Oh my gosh, this is you know, we need to, we need to get you have you committed, we need to just like calm down. It's not it's often more mild than that. And especially someone with anxiety, if you like raise your anxiety level, it'll, you'll start building off of each other and it can really spiral out diagnose, you probably, we we can make educated guesses on how people are feeling but the minute you're like, you have this problem. It's it's very finger pointing, as I'm talking with my hands here. And it can it can be put off, they people can be felt like they're being analyzed kind of coldly if you're like, you know, I think you have this need to do that. Just kind of more empathizing and just like talking and how you're feeling and not clinical terms. As far as this goes leave the the clinical terms for the professionals, we're looking to help, we're not looking to like solve, it's a, it's a fine line, because you want their issue ultimately to be solved. But more often than not, it's going to have to come from them to do the solving. And there's also another thing that we should avoid is excuse poor performance. And that sounds counter to something we said earlier where you need to be accommodating. You do. But if you if you're accommodating, and you've really put yourself out there to help them and they're not making an effort to improve. It's, it's a it's a it's a job, like you signed a contract when you started. It's a to like, when we're not in crazy chronic depression times, it's 20% of people are that people make it they work, they work with this. A lot of people have like a lot of these mental issues, they don't just go away. It's just something you kind of
learn to adapt to. And
if you've if you've made every effort to help someone to guide them towards a professional, it might be time. Hopefully you have an HR department or someone above you that you can like begin to then go down that road. But it might be to the point where you are the person who has to decide, and it's never going to be easy. That is going to be particularly difficult, but
it's You can't
You can't let the team fail. Because someone wasn't willing to help themselves.
the nothing to do make light joke. It's this stuff because a lot of people with mental health issues I know myself included, will make jokes, I will make light of it. And that's that's a good way to kind of blow off some of the tension that comes with with mental mental health issues. But the minute you start joking about them being like, oh, Jeff, he's crazy. It can. It can really just.
Michaela Light 55:51
Yeah, maybe this that crazy words. Not a good word to use. No. Loaded?
Jeff Kunkel 55:57
Yeah, there's a Yeah.
And that that, like words like crazy, it even ones that sound silly and fun, bonkers things like that, that can just there's a lot of shame associated with those words, and you just want to avoid them. Like just joke about something else. It's just, maybe maybe the person is fine with it. But if not, it's a big risk to take honestly, if if you think someone is suffering to joke about it is yeah, maybe maybe it helps them blow off steam. But if it doesn't, it's really mean, essentially.
Michaela Light 56:36
And that doesn't mean it's okay to make jokes that are not about their mental illness, and how to try and help them. You know,
Jeff Kunkel 56:42
yeah. helps a lot. Just joking, but like, maybe don't try not to make them the butt of the joke.
Michaela Light 56:54
So what are some pitfalls with, you know, trying to help people out?
Jeff Kunkel 57:01
there's a reason there's some stigma around this, because it's not easy. Like if if you if you've decided that you're going to try to be someone people can go to, with mental health issues, or your company there, it's gonna, it's something you're taking upon yourself, it's definitely their difficulties. And namely, one, some people don't want help, they, they either are aware of their issues and are trying to deal with it on their own. And would like to keep that private, or there that denial is a is a very big thing in mental health. And they might, they might be less likely to come to you. If if they're in denial, and you kind of like broach the subject. It's, it's ideally, you've created an environment where they can come to you or something like this, but it might be you, you want to you want to tread very lightly if you're, if you're bringing it up first, just like things like how are you you know, talk to me about the you seem a little down, don't be like, I think you're depressed. Because that coming right out of the gate, you can really,
you can really
push people away. Um,
it can also be very uncomfortable, like, some people like a lot of us have mental health issues, because of just kind of the daily grind, things like that. But especially with things like Post Traumatic Stress, Stress Disorder, it you might be biting off a little more than you can chew some people's you need to be ready for like some, some real horror stories sometimes and maybe just to be comforting, and then kind of move them towards professionals earlier and when it gets to that situation. Because, like, yeah, it can get dark, like a lot of this, especially with depression can get very dark anxiety a little less. So that's more more your your worries, but depression can be depressing. What do you know?
Michaela Light 59:21
I think anxieties can be anxiety making if someone talks extensively about their anxieties, it can be catchy. Yeah,
Jeff Kunkel 59:29
yeah, and it's just, there's a lot of uncomfortableness around mental health. Just having a mental health issue is uncomfortable. It's like inherently uncomfortable. It's what your emotions not behaving the way you're used to. They're supposed to
and then to
so there's a couple All this, having it and talking about it, and just being with someone who's experiencing it they can they people with mental health issues people experiencing stress can be a cause of stress. It's, it's very tough. Like
Michaela Light 1:00:24
Well, I think just in general, a lot of people are not good discussing emotions in general, whether they're, you know, dark ones or light ones, you know. So, you know, that EQ, emotional intelligence is something that a fair chunk of developers, you know, by, by default, have pretty low EQ. And you know, a lot of us work on improving than anyone who wants to shift their career into working with clients more or project management or team leading or other hire errors management definitely needs to work on their emotional intelligence, and how well they communicate and how well they can deal with these things. And, and being okay with being uncomfortable as part of that. Yeah. Any other pitfalls? Um, because we're gonna talk about the elephant in the room.
Jeff Kunkel 1:01:21
Yeah, yeah. Right, before we hit that, just, um, if you've reached out and, and someone is kind of
forcing the issue can definitely make it worse. Like, if you're like, Hey, no, talk to me about this, they're not going to, like, it's, it is a slow process, it is baby steps all the way. And you have to accept that it's not going to, like not everyone is ready to be helped. And maybe, maybe they ended up having to leave. Maybe they'll that will be an impetus for them to seek help. But it's is great to want to help and to be willing to help. But you have to be ready for someone to not want it.
Michaela Light 1:02:16
I think for me, the word that comes to mind is graceful, you know offer help in a graceful way be okay if they don't want it. And and then at least you've made the effort. And if the elephant comes into the room, you know, you did the best you could. Yeah. And the may never be totally right answer. It's not like programming computers. It's dealing with other humans. Yeah, and often isn't the right on so. So anyway, let's pull the curtain back on this elephant that's in the room. Yeah. What is the elephant?
Jeff Kunkel 1:02:50
Suicide if you if you talk about mental health, it's it's gonna come up. Um, suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States and the second in 30 year olds, men, male and female. It's Wow. Yeah, on average, there are 129 suicides in the United States per day. So it's, it's a lot and
a lot of people a lot of
it's tough. It's always I always get a little tripped over my words with this because it's, you want to understand that this is some a part of a mental illness it and the the, the we're talking about with depression, the the thought spirals, and it can guess, get so bad that you end up with these suicidal suicide, thoughts of suicide is what it's often referred to, when you're talking to a professional, it's just they're not necessarily.
It's just something that is pervasive
in your mind, and
sad, it's very sad it but unfortunately, just until there's a entire societal shift into everyone talking about their feelings and being open with this, it's going to happen it's you will more than likely know someone or know someone who knows someone that has committed suicide, then the longer you're in the career on the planet, you'll run into it. It's just an unfortunate fact that this is going to be something that pretty much everyone will be affected by
Michaela Light 1:04:59
and Not just someone going postal in the post office is great in any office or family.
Jeff Kunkel 1:05:05
Yeah. And there are often like, some people will talk about it, some people will talk about a lot. And that's a lot of the, the cries for help. But I there been people in my life preferably peripherally, who gave no warning signs, I would have put them among the few that had no mental health issues, but they just were very good at hiding it. And, or denying it, and then suddenly they're gone. And it's you can't you can't blame yourself after, after the fact. Like, this isn't something you did. If you had, if you had been nicer, if you had, you know, reached out sooner, do you have no way of knowing if the if it would have still panned out this way and for your, for your own mental health and those in the mental health of the surrounding you, you just have to unfortunately, accept the fact and mourn, like be said, is you don't have to be like, Well, whatever, it's, you know, it's definitely something to take time and process. But if you if you put it up too much of it on yourself, it can lead to personal mental health issues. And just to be there and be supportive, because odds are if you're part of a team, it's it's there's going to be ripples. Because of this because of suicide, you'll often meet you probably need to be talking to the people in your team about it and just you know, trauma.
Michaela Light 1:06:51
Yes, yes, that is a major cause of trauma being near someone who dies. Well, however, they die, whether they have a terrible accident at work, or a car accident, or they commit suicide, or they're murdered. Um, and also, you know, I think that suicide number 129 129 a day, 40,000 a year, that's on previous year's data, I believe the rate has increased. And I did find statistics that said between 1999 and 2014, the suicide rate increased 24%. I don't know what it's done since 2014. But I imagine with all the stresses this year, it's probably go up. And I'm just I'll just throw it the other statistics I found I'll put the link to the site I found him in but as well as 40,000 actual successful suicides, the 1.4 million attempted suicides. And then there were additional self injuries, which I don't know if that's cutting or some other, you know, attempting to relieve the pain. And I think suicide I mean, I've never committed suicide No, I don't intend to but I have had suicidal thoughts, wants to my life. I didn't like them. I decided that wasn't what I was going to do. But you can get into that loop you're talking about in depression, where it's you kind of in this recursive loop and it's hard to see any other way out. But I think some of the suicides a pain relief, you know, they can't see any way to escape. And yeah, this seems to be a way to stop the pain they're feeling
Unknown Speaker 1:08:30
Jeff Kunkel 1:08:33
a lot of a lot of the things we've talked about are preventing suicide, just normalizing the, the talking about your feelings, the mental health issues, just having someone appear that knows how you feel can really help the feeling the feelings of pain, the feelings of being alone, if you know someone that is finding a way to cope outside of suicide, it gives a very much as a light at the end of the tunnel type situation. It's just like, oh, there's multiple ways to deal with this. It isn't. It can be an mental health issues can be very isolating, you can feel very, very alone. And that that will exacerbate the thoughts of suicide, unfortunately.
Michaela Light 1:09:30
Yeah, it's um, those stress, you know, those causes of mental illness we talked about earlier, can do that. So yeah, if you if you're concerned someone on your team or you yourself, you know, is suicidal, you really do want to do an intervention. Because it's so final, you know, I mean, if someone's depressed and they get therapy or do whatever they do to get better, you know, least they had a bad patch in their life, but they got they got better, but was once they've committed suicide is not really a lot you can do. Yeah. And suicide attempts are not good for people, people either mental health, because there's a lot of lack of self well worth after someone's tried to commit suicide and suicide and they couldn't even succeed at committing suicide. Right? Yeah. And then physically often the means depends on what mechanism they use to try and kill themselves. But taking drugs, for example, often cause really bad physical side effects.
Jeff Kunkel 1:10:31
Yeah, you can end up with a
an additional permanent issue that is just going to make it harder to get over get over the initial
Unknown Speaker 1:10:44
Michaela Light 1:10:46
Yeah. And, you know, I just want to say that suicide count may not include people who, I don't know what quite the right phrase is. But constructive. accidents are killing so they have a car accident, and yeah, probably was suicide, or, or what do they call that suicide by cop shooting you is another frequent thing, which is terrible. Yeah, not just for the person who dies, but it's terrible for the cop who shot them because they have to go through they get trauma, they have to go through it, they have to go off work, they have to go through all kinds of counseling, they have to prove that Eric was justified. And it really, you know, that's a profession that has a very high mental health issue and a high suicide rate itself, partly because of the stress and partly because of the access to firearms. So
Jeff Kunkel 1:11:37
yeah, and we talked about overindulgence, sometimes just stopping, limiting yourself can be a form of suicide, if you just party yourself into a suicide. It's a common way to go, unfortunately.
Michaela Light 1:11:56
Yeah. Now I did an interview on the podcast with Jorge rays about suicide. So I'll put a link to that episode in there, where he talks in more detail about it, he had a terrible experience where he taught a ColdFusion training class. Everyone was happy. It was this guy in the class who, you know, seemed totally normal. The Monday after the class killed himself. And no, very sad situation. Anyway, he gave a lot of resources and help and thoughts on that. Yeah, but let's all take a deep breath. Ah, let go that heavy elephant in the room. Let's turn to self care. Right? How can we prevent this? in ourselves?
Jeff Kunkel 1:12:43
Yeah. It's, uh, the biggest thing is, practice what you preach all of this advice that we've given you to give to other people? Do it's, it's, and I know, I'm not I'm not perfect. I'm very much do as I say, not as I do. But I'm getting better. Like, I'm definitely sleeping more than I used to, I'm eating better.
Michaela Light 1:13:08
Well, maybe not the last couple weeks. But how does one know if if one has slept enough?
Unknown Speaker 1:13:16
Jeff Kunkel 1:13:19
you really can go by the standards of the, you know, seven, eight hours, but like, it's something everyone needs to find it for them for themselves. Because there are definitely people who can who can go on less some people who need more. I think it's a it's kind of it's tough, because it's it's almost a gut feeling thing. Like if you have a an exhaustion during the day, just a if you're feeling yourself be foggy, like a lot of these can just be mental health symptoms themselves. But so that's one of the reasons if you get yourself enough sleep and have clarity there. It can help you get through
some of the other things, it's
it's, it's it's tough to quantify, but it's definitely I think as you as you get older as you get to know your body, you get a good feeling for when when you've slept enough, but it's you'll know I mean, one they falling asleep, like I know, there was a period in time where I worked on instead of a chair, one of the the exercise balls, because I was falling asleep in my chair. If you fall asleep, exercise ball, you end up on the floor. But that was that I needed to maybe sleep more.
Michaela Light 1:14:42
I think part of the problem is America is chronically sleep deprived, and it's a badge of honor among that many people to say I only got so many hours sleep last night.
Jeff Kunkel 1:14:53
Yeah, so there's a
Michaela Light 1:14:55
lot there. I think many people don't even know what it feels like to have had a good night. I sleep.
Jeff Kunkel 1:15:01
That's very true. And a lot in the entrepreneurial, the tech, the Silicon Valley types. were like, I slept two hours and got this much done today it's like, yes, but how long until that, that catches up to you, you can really bring yourself out
Unknown Speaker 1:15:19
Jeff Kunkel 1:15:20
lead do a lot of what we've talked about today.
Michaela Light 1:15:25
I'd also add the amount of sleep I need, varies by the day, if I had a stressful day, or I'm feeling a bit sick, or what I call pre sick, yeah, you know, I don't have a cold, but I feel like I might be coming down with something. If I want to avoid getting sick or avoid having mental health issues. I go to bed earlier. Yes. And also, I know this is a bit controversial, but my view is every hour of sleep before midnight is worth twice the hours after midnight. And I can't totally explain that. But there's a deeper quality of sleep that occurs once the sun is up in the morning. I know for me, I tend to have, you know, less deep sleep.
Jeff Kunkel 1:16:09
I know it's a what is the term circadian rhythms like a we evolved to, you know, it gets dark, you go to sleep? Like it's very much our bodies are still built that way, way before electricity, things like that. So it's I don't know, well, but it's one of those, like, if you kind of go with the flow of the day, that like naturally with and it's a lot of the blue light after Yeah, yeah, that kind of stuff like
Michaela Light 1:16:45
a light after dark. I mean, that's why I'm wearing these, these are not prescription glasses, these are, you know, they just yellow sunglasses in some way here. This is people on video, I've got you know, these are my nighttime, blue blocking glasses, they're red. And they really make a difference. I used to have difficulty going to sleep, I go lie down in bed, and my mind would be going round them around. Since I've been using these in after dark. You know, when I use computer, phone or whatever. It's a lot easier.
Jeff Kunkel 1:17:15
A lot of a lot of devices have added a like a a, I believe Apple calls at night night shift where they'll shift the tones on your screens to cut the blue back. So it's it's something that people are becoming more and more aware of.
Michaela Light 1:17:32
Yeah, I have that feature turned on on all my devices. I will tell you the classes are two or three times more effective than that setting. Because he knows. And it's not just the cups. It's not just the screens. It's the fluorescent lights or LED lights that we have the days they give off a lot of blue light. So and TVs Of course not I watch anymore, but yeah, anyway, sorry. You were saying other self care things for sleep tangent. And I will just before I come off that for people who are sleep deprived, the one place where people often to places people often do get enough sleep one is when they're on vacation. And they just think how great you feel when you're you're away on vacation, assuming you're not like getting totally plastered with alcohol or whatever. Right? But, you know, if you're able to get good sleep and you're not worried more heavy, and the other time is when they're sick. You know, ironically, yeah, obviously I don't usually feel great. You're getting all the sleep when you're sick.
Jeff Kunkel 1:18:37
I know what you spend all day in bed and then the next day you're like it's a miracle I feel better sometimes it's you do feel you're not sick anymore, but you've also gotten sleep like
Michaela Light 1:18:53
what I've also mentioned self care, yeah.
Jeff Kunkel 1:18:57
The eating or eating right, we've talked quite a bit about just be aware of what you're eating it's it's very easy to kind of mindlessly eat and do something else. I know I like to separate myself from work like I had a bad habit of eating at my desk and you tend to eat things that are quick and easy and a lot of those tend to not be so great for you. But like nowadays, I will go and I will take the time I will make a I'm vegetarians, I'll make a big salad. Now just go and kind of just do that. And that tends to help keep me honest, as far as eating good food is if I am focusing on the eating itself. Um, another thing is sunlight. We talked about the vitamins, getting, getting your nutrition, getting sunlight, even just taking a multivitamin can help. Like I personally, I'll take a mental Vitamin and then a additional D vitamin. And it's, it does help I feel better all at all when I'm taking those daily than when I'm not. And then also accept help from others like it, one of the biggest things, if you want to be helpful to other people is recognized that you might need help. It's because all of these things, denial being pushing people away for this, you may very well be doing it yourself. It's I know I did, it's one of the some of the biggest hurdles I had to get over, in my journey to seeking help was just kind of like being open to it.
Michaela Light 1:20:46
So let's talk about the thing that's going on a lot right now, which is new for a lot of people, which is working from home. Because that can lead to a lot of mental illness, if you're not prepared for it and not used to being isolated. Or the opposite of being isolated. Maybe you're stuck with your spouse and your kids. Yeah, more as of the day than you care to be, you know, you know, that sounds a bit mean, but like, you know, you get stressful.
Jeff Kunkel 1:21:16
Yeah, we're animals of habit. Like, if you're, if you're used to, like I spend this amount of time with these people, I spend this amount of time with these people, since that's thrown off, it can it can really mess up your, your, your, just your mood, your stress levels. Um, so one thing, and these are things that you a lot of people have been floating out there, but I like to put them in this talk just because it's very relevant right now. But um, when you're working from home, treat it like you're going to work gig Get up, have your breakfast shower, get dressed, it can help keep you in some of the schedules, you're used to, if at all possible, have a separate work area. I know a lot of us are like remoting in like with LogMeIn or something like that. So like, the computer we relax on we might play a game on is the same computer we're working on. And that can just the mixing of relaxation and work can start to stress you out when you're trying to relax or relaxing too much when you're trying to work. So it's a big ask for some people to be able to move like either move their machine. The laptops are very, very convenient for this if you can, like take it to another part of the house. And assuming you have another part of the house that all of us are so lucky.
Michaela Light 1:22:49
that can happen if you have a garden work for half an hour in the garden can be great. Oh, yeah. Or a park if you're allowed to do that.
Jeff Kunkel 1:22:58
Yeah, yeah, depending on where you are.
Michaela Light 1:23:02
I mean, I've worked from from home for the last 10 years and I'm quite happy just being wherever I am. But I know a lot of other people who do this and they love God, they you they can't do it now but they just like going to coffee shops or go outside. Like you're saying have a place where you go do work.
Jeff Kunkel 1:23:21
There are definitely some more unique challenges to working at home currently. than, than generally. Another thing is limit distractions. That's a lot of us are home with family and just talking to them off the clock and just be like hey, I am working it's like this, we're going to need to kind of keep setting we talked about setting boundaries earlier is it's very pertinent to this I'm fortunate in that my my partner is also in the tech field and I have my my daughter is 10 so she she wants attention but she understands that we need to separate and I will I'll do like 510 minute breaks every hour just touch base because you know it helps them to to have connection especially with schooling being online right now. But it just like try to come and do it when you're off the clock have the conversation because if they if they come in and they're distracting you and suddenly you blow up at them like go away that it's it's not going to be great for the the mental health of the house. So it's just try to get out ahead of as many of these foreseeable issues as you can. And and one thing you still have FaceTime with
colleagues, like a lot of us are doing zoom and
Google meat and things like that it's becoming very prevalent. And I just, and I found myself on days where I'm feeling a little lower, I'll be tempted to just like, not do video or just let you know, just kind of do it as a phone call. And the
Michaela Light 1:25:21
I always know when I'm on a group call with regular mean, several masterminds, where we get together every week, you know, and talk about how to grow a business, what have you. And I can usually tell unless they have bad internet reception, and that's why they've got their video off. Right? If they're feeling a bit down, there's a tendency to not show the video.
Jeff Kunkel 1:25:41
Yeah. And that's, I think, just, we can't right now be face to face to people, but it does help it creates the connection, the, the, a shared empathy toward one another to just see the people see how their face reacts when, when they're thinking about things when they're talking about things. Um, another thing, allow yourself to not be great at working from home like this is it's a process and we're in it for the long haul. And just like, don't be like, well, I wore pajamas yesterday. That's it, I'll just wear them every day. Just be like, give yourself a break. It's fine. It's hard. It doesn't sound hard, but it definitely can be.
Michaela Light 1:26:28
So I think it's a skill, you know, being able to work well from home is a skill and the people, you know, I think a lot of people I know who were working in offices, their dream was to be able to work from home and not have to commute. And I have to deal with that office politics and other stuff. Not have to wear a suit and tie. Oh, yeah, what have you. And yet when it turns up, it's like, oh, this isn't as easy as I thought it would be. Yeah, very focused and productive and not get depressed, or what have you. So I think, yeah.
Jeff Kunkel 1:27:03
But it's not easy to get work done at home.
Michaela Light 1:27:06
Yeah. And it, I think it's a good skill to have, and I think it's something companies are going to be looking for that can you work productively, and, and stay mentally healthy working from home? And a good thing to look for in hiring people these days?
Jeff Kunkel 1:27:25
Yeah, I'm seeing a lot of headlines about companies are saving money not having to have office spaces right now. So this might, the telecommuting position,
will probably be more common activists.
Michaela Light 1:27:39
Well, and I know, we know, we do an annual State of the Union cold fusion survey. And a lot of people have said, you know, one of their challenges surfaces is, you know, getting a cold fusion job. Well, if you can work from home, you've just, you know, 100 times the number of opportunities you can work on because you're not stuck limited to your on city. So I think if you know, actually eliminate that problem completely, in my view, assuming both sides, the employee and the employer are both cool with working at home and are good at it. Because the flip side of being a good employee, or contractor working from home is you need a good boss, who's good at working with people, because so many bosses want to see, you know, backsides on seats. And they're only looking at the ads in the office, not really looking at the results. Whereas when people work from home, you've got a lot of results. Yeah, I'm coming back to that earlier point about you talked about communication with mental illness, just in general with programming communication is so important and working from home. darba. Lisa,
Unknown Speaker 1:28:49
Jeff Kunkel 1:28:51
Yeah, it's, uh, I know, we had, there was there's a lot of back and forth. In my current work situation with, well, if they're not in their tears, how do I know they're working, they're just gonna, you know, they're just gonna waste the time. And we fortunately, had just moved. We're about six months into agile and using JIRA. So we're like, well, if the little boxes are going across the board, you know, that work is getting done like, and we had operated a lot with, when it's done, it's done when we were in the office, but now we're starting to set deadlines and stick to them. And that that helps. It's like Well Did, did they get the things done by the time they said they would, and that it can help alleviate the it's, it's a lack of it is a lack of trust, but it comes from a, like a reasonable standpoint, like they just they want to know that the the money they're spending on their employees is being spent well. And it's just kind of, you have to develop the trust between you and and your supervisor and just like you know, I will work good Not Not everyone does.
Michaela Light 1:30:04
And they didn't when they were in an office either. They just disguise it.
Jeff Kunkel 1:30:07
Yeah. It is way easier to it's very easy to hide that you're not working in an office when all they're looking for is if you're there.
Michaela Light 1:30:17
Yeah. I think to me, the word that comes to me is proactive, proactive communication, proactive measurement of results, you know, proactive dealing with problems instead of letting them fester. Because you can't just walk by someone's cubicle and chat about it. You got to bring it up. Yep. So cool. Well, I have a rant I want to add, was there anything else you wanted to do before I go on my rant box,
Jeff Kunkel 1:30:48
go for it.
Michaela Light 1:30:50
I just think this, you know, way you said 20% of Americans in normal times, have mental illness every year. Right now, it's way more than that. But why are we accepting that as as a nation, and I think it's as bad in many other Western nations. And I think it's great to like help people and to help them go to professionals and get help. But I don't think we're all asking ourselves to Sati Why is it? Why is our brothers and sisters and mothers and fathers and sons and daughters have mental illness, there's something wrong in our society that so many people are sick, if 2010 people were breaking their legs every effing year, we'd be like, Hey, you know, there's the sidewalks are screwy or whatever the thing is, but yeah, of course, we don't want to talk about mental health. We kind of brush it under the carpet, we take drugs, we have addictions, we cover it up, we and we don't address it. And I'll just put out my own theory here. I think the you know, the rat race, so to speak, you know, well, people don't, you know, they work too hard and spend too much don't look after the health. And it all goes around in a circle. And that's supposed to be normal. Yeah, Umayyad, that you, you don't look after your mental health. I think that's part of the cause. And it's supported by our government, our schools, our most corporations, that they feed into this. So I, this is just me, it's my own view. So, but I think it affects the ColdFusion community, you know, I own people have committed suicide, I've known people who've been depressed or anxious. So I myself have had anxiety or OCD. And I've had mild depression. Oh,
Jeff Kunkel 1:32:53
Michaela Light 1:32:55
seen it in my staff.
Jeff Kunkel 1:32:59
There needs to be a
a massive shift in how
we all treat ourselves and to each other. It's going to be it's going to be one person at a time. Unfortunately, it's we're not it's probably not going to come from the top down.
Michaela Light 1:33:22
because the people know the mighty a special tweet from our fearless leader. Yeah, changes everything, but is pretty right. It probably required everyone Yeah.
Jeff Kunkel 1:33:34
Yeah, it's, uh, well, we can hold up hope for that. But it's probably going to be more productive to just one on one, do your best and help each other out. But everybody bring each other out.
Michaela Light 1:33:46
I think if everyone listening to this episode, took some small steps to on their own mental health or helping out others or recognizing it. And if, if it's within your power to shift some small part of of how your work operates, you know, then, or share this episode, if that's, you know, another way to do it or some of the resources that can slowly shift this thing, but it's a deep society. You know, to give a metaphor, a programming floor and the way society is set up. You know, if American society was a cold fusion server, I would say that it hasn't had an upgrade on the cold fusion or the OS for years. The code itself, the programming that people are put through at school is flawed and has bugs in it. The machine doesn't have enough, you know, Ram or hard disk space and it's kind of pushing the limits on the whole computer. Is overclocked to the point where it's burnt out. And it needs a reset, like you said, and it needs some tuning and refactoring in the code if not total rewrite. Yeah, what we think a normal a healthy society is, and maybe that's something positive that's coming out of this these changes this year. Ironically enough, yeah. Is is 2020. And in eyeglasses, 2020 is clear vision. And yeah, maybe we're getting a little clearer vision about some of the stuff is not the way we want to be.
Jeff Kunkel 1:35:40
There's definitely you could definitely consider this a hard reboot on a lot of our processes, like,
Unknown Speaker 1:35:49
Michaela Light 1:35:54
All right. got off my box. got that off my chest. Thank you for sharing that.
Jeff Kunkel 1:36:00
Yeah, no, absolutely.
Michaela Light 1:36:04
I, and I try to do what I can in my own company. And to not follow that programming. If the rat race. Yeah, I know, other people do that in their companies or in their teams, you know, as best they can. So or in their families, you know, it's not nice people do this.
Jeff Kunkel 1:36:24
Yeah. In the last few years of talk about mental health and things like that at ColdFusion conferences a lot more. A lot of people will come up to me and just be engaged in the topic. And that's, that's great. That's excellent. And some of it is like, Oh, I never, you know, Never thought I'd hear something like this at a tech conference. And some of it is like, I'm, you know, I think about this all the time, you know, so it's just getting it out there. Getting it public is great. And I just I love, I love talking about it, it doesn't sound like a fun thing to talk about. But it can be cathartic, just to kind of exercise it out, just like just to find fellow human beings that have experienced this stuff.
Michaela Light 1:37:11
Well, part of its being okay, talking about this stuff, part of its having a language to talk about it with, just imagine if you were trying to work on coding something, and you didn't have a way to describe variables or the different kinds of variables or database fields, and you had to kind of fumble around and add on top of that you were ashamed to even talk about programming. How would you ever solve bugs or get anything done? Yeah, you wouldn't have healthy programs. And the same thing with mental health if we don't bring it out into the open if we don't have some language, talk about it. Don't have some frameworks, like you were saying regular check ins or, you know, whatever things are, then how can we expect this morass of rat race crap to ever get cleaned up? Because it is like crap out of the rat, the big rats of the rat race? The pooping? Yeah. Mental health of the center. All right, let's give a disclaimer. I know you've you wanted to say this earlier, but I
Jeff Kunkel 1:38:13
just, I'm not a doctor. This is not adultery, either. And
Michaela Light 1:38:17
I don't play one on TV.
Jeff Kunkel 1:38:20
Yeah, it's just a these are things that I've personally found helpful. And things that I've seen in, in articles and whatnot that I've implemented in my daily life. If you if you're truly stealing, but you have mental health issues, seeker professional, it's and we talked about that earlier.
not the end all be all on this stuff. This is just how I get through how I tried to help.
Unknown Speaker 1:38:55
Michaela Light 1:38:56
Um, so let's wrap up the episode. Let's talk about cold fusion about why are you proud to use cold fusion? Jeff?
Jeff Kunkel 1:39:04
It's, I think the the thing that I'm most proud about with cold fusion is the community around it. It, it was my first development language, like I learned some HTML and CSS through a graphic design degree, but very little computing. And it was I was immediately accepted. And people were excited to talk to someone who didn't know much about ColdFusion. So it's, it's an excellent language to learn, especially if you only know CSS and HTML because you can, you can start with tags. Often we're moving away from that, but it's, it's very easy to get up and go to just you know, get a Lucy server up and running and play. Where I did learn some some PHP in my time at school and just I, it didn't click the way ColdFusion did for me, I was I was making, you know, production software. In my first at the end of my first month at the the company that I started learning cultivation for. It's just it's, it's, I love the people who work in it, and I love working with it. It's I definitely, I have to recommend it. And when people ask,
Michaela Light 1:40:35
right now, some people say ColdFusion itself is depressed and suicidal and about to die. And I don't believe that I think it's a very alive and vibrant and modern language when you do it the right way. But the question to you is, what what would it take to make ColdFusion even more alive this year?
Jeff Kunkel 1:40:55
This year, I think.
And I don't have a lot of experience organizing things like this, but just like an outreach, something,
something to get
you, you know, baby developers, just to get it out there. Because I know, I didn't know about ColdFusion until I was interviewing for a job that coated with it. And I think it's something I would have come across later. But just to kind of put it out there as something for people to start with. And it's things like
meetups there, and whatnot, just to
get younger developers in and just show to show people that it's so easy, because like, the the community and the code itself does a great job with it. But it's the the getting it to the people to see those things. I think that would be very helpful.
Michaela Light 1:42:03
I would just I think ColdFusion use groups great in this time of lockdown. Pretty, I think all of them are letting people join their group meeting from anywhere in the world. Yeah. I also will mention conferences like into the box that we'll talk about in a moment. Absolutely, then Adobe does these webinar weeks are great to go to. And then I'll also mention the Learn CF in a weak website, which even if you already know, cold fusion, you know, they just refreshed that and added in some new features from 2018. Right? Cold Fusion. So they're all good resources. But speaking of into the box, tell us what you enjoyed about into the box this year,
Jeff Kunkel 1:42:44
into the box this year, they're there, they had this really interesting software, where you were virtually in the conference, which was really interesting. I definitely prefer seeing people but it gave a reasonable facsimile of the experience, even though we're all stuck in our houses right now. So but just because
Michaela Light 1:43:06
you could meet other people's avatars and chat with them, or have a little video chat or whatever, yeah. And you could go visit and you went to the room to hear the particular track that you went to, and so on.
Jeff Kunkel 1:43:19
Yeah, there is a way to just be like, hey, let's go meet in the cafeteria or let it lead to language that was very similar to being at a conference, it helps them feel like you're actually there. And it's always like the information that's there is excellent. And the fact that they record everything is great, because I will often find myself going back and searching through the talks that I bit that I have in previous into the boxes and be like, I think we're gonna we're gonna implement continuous integration this year. Let me go watch everything on continuous integration over and over again, it's like because I tend to repeat, repeat information helps it sink in for me.
Michaela Light 1:44:08
It's a great point. And they also had a Slack channel for the conference. Yes, as part of the box team, slack group, or whatever it's called. I'm not a slack. Genius, but so that that was handy. And that's a continuing resource that's open to anyone whether you went to the conference or not. Right. And also, if you didn't make it to the conference, they have the recordings for sale. I think right now they're $9 95 cents for all the recordings, which is an incredible deal. Yes, absolutely. end of June. So I'll put the into the box conference link in there. I'll also add a link to the other podcasts we did together. Oh my god, general anxiety disorder, which sort of relates to the anxiety portion of this talk. But if people want to find you online, what's the best way or ways to do that? I'm I'm most active.
Jeff Kunkel 1:44:59
On Twitter, it's it. I don't have a professional Twitter handle yet. So it's still a nerd tastic 916 86.
There is, is,
if it's tough to remember that there will be a link for it in the show notes. But I'm very open to conversation on there and slack also, I mean, the ColdFusion, slack and the order slack. You can find me in there
Michaela Light 1:45:26
with that strange number in your name. Yeah,
Jeff Kunkel 1:45:29
Yeah, it's, it's a username for back in high school, but
Michaela Light 1:45:35
cool. Well, that's great. So thanks so much for coming on the show, Jeff. And may you have you and all listeners have wonderful mental health. And we will put all the show notes together at the Tara tech site and look to see you on the podcast another time. Yeah.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai