I’m happy and I worked for that

I’m starting this entry by simply stating that I’m happy. And it’s not the fireworks or too much excitement – I’m talking about me being calm and in peace. One can say, no wonder, I have all I need – a job, a new life in London ahead of me and at this very second I’m in a plane for some vacation time. So everything is just perfect, right? Well… for now, and not really everything.

Only rare moments in life, are entirely ok. There is almost always something that sucks. For example today is the second month of me not working, so no salary comes into my bank account, no one wants to rent my apartment and my sister is in a hospital. And tomorrow will bring other sad points to the list. How come I am so happy then? I just think it’s irrelevant. My theory is, that happiness is a state rooted more in our core us, than dependent on life circumstances. You can be happy and worried in the same time. You can even be happy and cry because you’re sad. But it’s happiness, that can make you go through all those life obstacles. Otherwise it becomes really difficult. And this is the state I’m in right now, for some time actually. Envious? Don’t be – start being happy yourself.

Easy to say? Far from that actually. As the title of the post says – I worked for that. And it was a hard battle. I went through years of anger, rejecting people, clinical depression, and lots of other shit. How did I get out? How come I can breathe now and just enjoy my life? It wasn’t easy and it took me few years to deal with it.


At the beginning I just didn’t notice how miserable I was. That’s because I was too busy. I was during my studies, just started my second faculty. And it was the love of my life – math. I found a job as a programmer and finally had some social life. More than that – rumor had it, my boyfriend was just about to propose. Everything was perfect, right? Nope… That was actually the middle of the clinical depression. Not because of those factors, of course. Reasons were inside me.

Do you think I noticed that I had a problem? Not at all – too exhausted to realize that. Did I get that I had too much on my plate? Honestly, I was even thinking that I was lazy. I knew other people that dealt with this kind of situations much better than me. So I tried to push it more to the limit, still taking more duties to my shoulders.

There were some signs though that something is wrong. I’m not a therapist so the things I’m about to point out come just from my experience and research I’ve done. But I’ve seen those behaviors so many times in my friends lives, that I just need to highlight them.

If you are miserable for months – this may be a sign of a depression. If you hate yourself and/or other people – this might a be a sign of a depression. If you live day by day without joy – this might be a sign of a depression. If you have picks of enthusiasm just to keep you alive between ages of a bad mood – this might be a sign of a depression. If you’re tired all the time, and want to vomit every morning – this might be a sign of a depression. Finally, if you cry every day, for weeks – this is definitely a depression. And it doesn’t help if you’re exhausted. Because then you won’t have energy to fight those destructive feelings.

Get help

Because I managed to have friends and loving family back then, they noticed that there is something wrong with me. Me on the other hand was refusing to admit it. And when I finally did, I figured I’m that smart and strong, that now, because I know the problem exists, can figure this out just by myself. I’m a problem solver, right? Help is for weak people. I just need to pull myself together and everything will be great again.

Again – depression doesn’t work like that. It’s not logical. It’s not present because you have some difficulties in your life. Hence solving them, won’t make it disappear. It’s an illness that results in adding so many emotion to your life and your thoughts, that it just becomes impossible to figure stuff out. So how to get some distance? Yes – the therapy word now comes in, drugs even. Both are pretty controversial, which is understandable and sad in the same time. People (including me back then) often think that it’s the last option for them, to use when they are desperate, just for crazy people. They prefer to struggle and trying harder than get actual help. They refuse to admit one of the two things – that they are already by the wall or that you don’t have to hit the bottom to want to get better.

I thought the same. So the result was me fighting with my emotions, telling everybody I know about what I’m going through and … no progress. That’s because family and friend are not qualified to heal you. They should be there to support or love you, but not to play a role of psychologists. I still didn’t thought that this kind of help is an option for me, and refused to call a professional. Fortunately one of my friends did it for me.

I still think I’m not a good candidate for therapy. I’m a smartass, I know everything better. I can manipulate the psychologist. I believe in pharmacology more. But it doesn’t mean it didn’t worked that time. It gave me some structure in my life, some project to do. I still remember first moment I felt better. While coming back from one of the sessions, waiting for cars to pass by, so I can cross the street, I finally realized the source of one of my problems. And it felt so stupid to have it as a source. That moment I left it at this crossroad. I hope nobody picked it up.

I finished therapy after half a year. It’s very soon, I realize that. And it didn’t mean I was healed. But as I already said – it wasn’t a proper solution for me. But appeared as a great starting point. Now with clearer mind, distance to myself and to the world, the real work could start. You can read about it next time, but no worries – you already know there will be the happy end.


Also – see the great talk about depression in devs world.

Babs – the sky is the limit

Hello again dear readers. It’s been a while, but a bunch of things happened last month, so I was a bit busy. I’ll cover all of them one by one, but today’s episode is about me falling into a whole new dimension of chilling out and getting this long stick out of my ass. And believe me – this is a battle I was fighting since the day I was born. This blog post tells the story of NOT getting stressed out in a situation when even normal person, not just control freak like me, wouldn’t feel comfortable.

Conference junkie

As some of you may notice – I have this… bad addiction. I love going to conferences, meetups, user groups. Why this is bad, you may ask. Like with everything you overdo, there are some dark sides. This case it was a matter of relationship between me and my employer. You know, they hired me to do specific job – programming. And I have been at so many events this year, that it started to look like this is my main duty there. So we talked and decided that I’d slow down. I think I even promised that there were only two conferences left, after which I’d start actual work. But then … I fell off the wagon and I did another one… and another.

This of course happened while I was still working, so when Paweł asked me then, if I want to join him as a volunteer during NDC Oslo, I was strong and decided this time I’d pass. The deal is, volunteers have accommodation and conference for free while working for 50% of the time. And after I quit my job, this voice sounded in my head (yeah, I hear voices): “You know what, Basia? You’re free now… You don’t have any urgent duties. So why won’t you do this NDC Oslo? You know you want it… :)”


There was one problem though – voice spoke on Saturday and NDC was supposed to start on Monday. Such a short notice is a bit scary, for normal people, but it was a complete nightmare for a person like me, who needs week or two to get used to the fact of the next journey. So… I just asked Paweł and the organizers, if it’s not too late to join the volunteers team. And it wasn’t! In fact they needed people since Wednesday, but the organization meeting was supposed to happen Tuesday evening.

Obstacles appeared elsewhere – because of the conference, hotel was fully occupied. So I didn’t have a place to stay…Sure I could book something, but you know… it’s Norway, and Oslo… and I was without a job, and even if I wasn’t… it’s Norway and Oslo… One thing I thought about, was asking people who were supposed to be there, if anyone can help me. So I tweeted that and expected to have this problem solved till the end of the day. Unfortunately except couple of RTs, all I’ve got, was lots of laughs and jokes :). And some comments that because I’m a girl, there will be no problem for me to find a place to sleep. Far from that, I can say…

But first things first – I can worry about accommodation when I’m in Oslo. My major concert at the moment was finding a way to get there. So I started to search for flights and almost resigned from the whole idea, because of the prices. Usually tickets are ridiculously cheap, but not when you’re trying to book something two days before departure…

And guess what – I also had a talk planned at Women in Technology on Monday. Sure I might cancel that, but it was the first meeting in Kraków and Natalia was working very hard to make it happen. I just couldn’t let her down.

And there was this other thing. Did I mention, that I hate working? And price for being a volunteer was actually doing something productive.

Just chill…

Normally I would be stressed like hell. Normally I would give up the whole trip. There were so many obstacles, timelines, things to arrange… But this time, somehow I wasn’t. I just thought “go with the flow”, “this will be the adventure”, “think about it later” or whatever new age, chilloutish crap you can imagine. Basically I really wanted to go, so nothing could stop me. And to be honest, all of this was just a matter of good organization, and if you get stress out of the equation – everything is achievable.


So, how to get to and from Oslo and not get bankrupt? Oh… I’m so bad at finding right flights, just awful. Fortunately Michał to the rescue! The only ones that wouldn’t ruin me, appeared to be from Gdańsk and to Katowice. Second one wasn’t such a big problem, but first… it’s like 10h journey just to get to the airport. And I needed to be back on Sunday around noon, because my niece had a ballet performance, I promised her to watch.

Heading to Oslo…

Tricky part was to figure out how to get to Gdańsk, so that I can do 2pm Tuesday flight. Plan was then to do WiT talk on Monday 6pm, then grab some aftermeeting’s beer with attendees and at 11:30pm get on a bus that was taking me to Tricity. And you know what? Everything worked out. Even the night spent on a bus. My back hurt only a little and I appeared in Oslo exactly an hour before volunteers meeting was about to start.


So I came to Oslo and headed straight to some friends’ hotel room. I left my stuff there and warned them about my worst sleeping option, which was crushing their floor, if I couldn’t find another place to stay. They were somehow concerned, even tried to think about arranging some blankets, armchairs and so on… Surprisingly I wasn’t, so there was no reason for them to be like that. I couldn’t allow this to ruin my evening. I had worked so hard to get here, I wouldn’t spoil it now.

It was late evening and my situation hadn’t changed. But then, around midnight, I got the message from one of my friends about a spare bed in his room I can take. When my colleagues in the bar heard the news, they didn’t let me go to “some guy’s hotel room”, and offered theirs 🙂 Somehow problem solved itself, and around 1am I even had two sleeping options 🙂

Coming back

While planning getting back to Kraków, I couldn’t gain any information about busses or trains that go to the airport for that early flight I had. From schedules I did stumble on, I found out that the earliest one goes there around 1pm. So the only way I could be on time, was heading to the airport the day before, around midnight, and staying there for the whole night. But that wasn’t my only concern – airport was supposed to be closed for the night and weather forecast announced heavy rain. Tough, I thought, but doable. Again, like Scarlet O’Hara, I decided to think about that tomorrow.

But on Friday I felt a bit uncertain. Was that going to be my last evening in Oslo? So I figured, it’s not such a bad idea to ask people who live there, if I was looking for transportation in right places. And it appeared I wasn’t 🙂 That there are busses dedicated to each flight, also to mine. And it gets even better. On my way to the bus station at 4am on Sunday, I’ve met some guy from Poland, who was heading to the same airport. And he was getting there by a bus driven by a Polish company, that is even cheaper than one from the main station. Finally trip to Kraków from Katowice was really quick, and I was even able to sleep a bit before my niece’s performance.

To summarize…

So… that’s it. I can’t say it was the craziest thing I’ve ever done in my life, but it was pretty close. When I tell that story, or even just pieces of it, I often get in response, that others would be very stressed and that I’m nuts. They ask me how did I pursue it. My answer is – I just really wanted to go there. Seriously – I cannot imagine that I wouldn’t do this conference just because I was afraid of sleeping on a floor, or spending a night outside, or a night in a bus, or not having enough money, or work. It was totally worth it!

My advice to all of you, who still are afraid of doing something without planning every little details, is: just do it! When there is something you really want, there’s always a way to achieve it. Best strategy here is semi passive approach – throw a ball and everything will happen somehow. To be honest I’m not trying to convince you to do it like me. I’m not telling you to go to some foreign country without accommodation option or to easily accept the fact that you’ll spend the night at the airport. I write all of this to show you that even my crazy implementation was possible. And you really, seriously cannot plan everything. You will be just fine, if only you’re able to accept the worst option.

Sure there will be some problems. They even will appear unexpectedly – it’s the nature of them. But we often try so hard to foresee everything and get stressed while figuring it out. And all those troubles are not even present yet. Maybe they never will. There is no need to panic to early. Some of them will just figure itself out. And if there are people you know, who care for you or just like you – you can count on them and they will help you.

From my perspective – I had a time of my life… till next one that was even better 🙂 But this a material for another story.