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Yesterday was a damn awful day. We're less than four weeks to alpha and there is a mountain of work left to do. I assume that situation is the same at any other game studio. So I desperately trying to get on with my scheduled tasks, but I'm getting no chance as so many problems with stuff I'd finished ages ago are being brought to me. It got to the point where I felt like no single item that I've worked on in my eight months is still in the project in a working state. I went back to feeling exactly like I felt when I got ill; including waking up in the dead of the night half panicking about work and half panicking about the need to get back to sleep so I can deal with the next day. It frustrates me how one bad day (granted one of the worst I've had here) can put me straight back in that place.

Of course when I got ill last time everything seemed so crazy that I wasn't keeping up my journal so no-one knows what I'm on about. Back in February I had a run of three, maybe four weeks where I'd struggle to get any sleep. Exactly as last night I'd get to sleep initially, but at various points I'd wake up and find it very hard to get back to sleep panicking about work and the sleep deprivation I'd have to deal with the next day.

Eventually it got to the point where my partner demanded that I take a couple of days off and see a doctor. So reluctantly I did as I was told - reluctant as there was a Milestone coming up (isn't there always) but as you'll see that attitude was just another symptom. The doctor diagnosed me with depression caused by stress. This seemed completely illogical to me; after all I'd just got the perfect job, doing exactly what I'd always wanted to do. But it was pointed out - partly by the doctor and partly by my partner - that there would be stress inherent in any new job and it would be worse as I had so much to live up to having landed the ideal job. On top of that there was the stress of moving house, moving to a new place I didn't know and moving away from my group of friends. Also the stress from a close relative dying a month or so before.

Work was stressful at the time due to the dead lines and it being relatively new to me. Remember it is my first programming job and there was little direction from senior staff. There still isn't - I can't help feeling it would be nice once in a while for someone to take a quick look over your code to see if its up to standard, or point out things that aren't right, or could be done better - but thats perhaps another rant. The bottom line is that I knew this job would be stressful at times, I've had stressful jobs in the past and I thought I could handle it. So the fact that it had made me ill caused me some concern; was I somehow less able to do the job than everyone else in the studio? However, I suppose that it is too difficult to resolve whether stress from work caused me to be ill, or whether the other stressful things had caused me to be ill which had in turn caused me to be less able to deal with the stress at work.

It's been suggested to me that its a shame I didn't keep up my journal at the time, as at the very least I could look back to see how things were improving. So I guess having thought I'd put it behind me yet finding that a bad day yesterday can knock me back again has prompted me to write down how I feel and fill in what went before so hopefully I can look back at this and see that things are improving again.
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Ouch... I'm sorry to hear about your difficulties.

Yeah, Stress is definitely one of those things were situation dictates. I remember growing up to age 18, (now 24), never feeling stress. Never even thought about it. Then, I joined the Marines, and I started to understand what stress was really like. After I got out and now trying to finish up school, I'm stressed lately about not knowing enough programming to get into the industry.

Stress is a forever ending feeling that has to be adapted to. Understand the situation you are in, realize your limits and while you try to push those limits, there is nothing saying that you can’t say, "Okay, this may be a far stretch and there is no way I can finish this, but I'm still going to put 110% into it".

Yeah, I completely understand where your coming from in regards to nobody -ever- looking over your shoulder.

I was put in charge of warehouse operations in the Marines. All of a sudden, this 19 year old kid was responsible for more than 20 million dollars worth of assets, coming and going on a daily basis. In my year and a half working that warehouse, I had a senior come in to ask how I was doing, once. That’s about it.

In some ways, it’s nice that you don't have that burden of people always looking over your shoulder and micro-controling you. Though, in others, you just want some sort of acknowledgement that, "Okay, yeah, I am doing things exactly how they are supposed to be (or close enough)."

Anyway. The 4 years in the Marines was tough for a guy like me that just wanted to be a programmer. The best way that I adapted was to vent/talk about what was going on with other people around me. I highly recommend just plopping down on this journal to let loose once in awhile. ;) It'll help. Or hell, I'm a pretty care free spirited type of person, throw me an instant message and let loose. I enjoy a new buddy every once in awhile and I’m always for keeping people Motivated.

Best,
-Dave
AIM(aim marine) YAHOO(ildave) MSN(dlmcgraw at ksu dot edu)

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