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Playing: 6: Depression with Kurt and Amberley



Amberley Romo
Kurt Kemple

6: Depression with Kurt and Amberley

March 19, 2020

In this episode, Kurt and Amberley dive into this podcast's hiatus, depression and their recent personal experiences with it and how it affected their lives. They also discuss the things that helped pull them out of it.


Kurt (00:07): Hey everyone, welcome to full stack health, the podcast exploring mental and physical health in the industry. I'm Kurt

Amberley (00:15): and I'm Amberley and we are still here. We, uh, if you had heard the podcast before we took a little bit of an unplanned hiatus, uh, starting a couple months. Was it like four months ago?

Kurt (00:31): Yeah, I honestly don't even know. Yeah, it's been at least four months.

Amberley (00:36): Yeah. We did not plan to take a break. Um, but a break happened and uh, this is going to be a little bit different from if you've heard any of the previous episodes. This is going to be a little bit of a different format. We're pretty much just going to chat about the hiatus because it really aligns with the, the topics and the things that we're trying to talk about here, um, on the podcast. Um, and this is going to be a lot less sort of planned and polished, I guess is the right word than others. But, um, and I think we're both nervous about it because it's more just sharing stuff about us, but we think people will recognize a lot in it. And relate to it and we felt like it could be useful to share about it.

Kurt (01:38): Yeah. And just to clarify and jump on top of that a little bit. Uh, essentially, uh, the topic that we're talking about today is depression. Uh, both of us had a pretty, um, I guess you would say like severe or a long depressive episode, like through like a good last quarter of the year and into the start of this year as well for me especially. Uh, and yeah, it was a pretty rough, so, you know, we thought it would be good to talk about kind of how we got to where we were, how we got back here to where we are now recording again, which feels good. Uh, we had to put it off a couple of times and, and, uh, finally we were like, Nope, let's just get this done.

Amberley (02:21): Mhm... And it just feels good to talk to you again. Like Kurt and I started this just because we were friends and with, you know, some shared interests and you know, part of what depression does is, you know, you can disconnect and pull back from people. And like Kurt and I didn't talk for several months, like we just sort of pulled back into ourselves.

Kurt (02:46): Yeah. When I get depressed I isolate. Um, it's like, it's one of the main symptoms for me. I do it so hard. Um, luckily this time I was able to kind of, uh, not have it too far into the family. I was like able to kind of keep things together on the home front. Um, but friends work, uh, everything else pretty much suffered.

Amberley (03:11): Yeah. Pretty much. Same with me. And I feel really lucky that, you know, you had a stable good sort of family life situation that that was possible. Yeah. My, my partner is very supportive. Um, he's never dealt with depression. Uh, but he, it's pretty much the reaction I would want. He's like, I don't understand it. I don't know what's going on, but like, I love you and I want to help you. However I can. So he, you know, he didn't blame me for, you know, pulling back or doing, you know, not doing as much. I don't know. So it's good that we both had good, like family situations that weren't adding to that.

Kurt (04:01): Yeah. Yeah. On my side, my wife Donna, she's stepped up, you know, 100%. She does deal with depression as well. Um, sometimes, and actually it was rough there for a little while. There were times we were both feeling pretty, uh, depressed and man, it was tough to kind of keep that together for the kids, but we managed to get through it. Um, and yeah. You know, cause we have each other's backs. That's, that's what's important.

Amberley (04:26): Okay. So do we want to step back and sort of talk about this from like a time perspective of like what led up to and how things started happening last fall?

Kurt (04:40): Yeah. So like, I guess we insert a record scratch here, right? Like, like it all started six months ago. That was perfect. But yeah, that was perfect. Yeah. You know, it's a skill of mine B box sometimes. Um, but, uh, yeah, let's do that. Let's go. You want to, you want to dive in first and just kind of talk about what led up to your depression and then I'll, I'll follow suit. Does that sound good?

Amberley (05:08): Yeah, that sounds good. Um, so have a long history with depression with like a lot of other people do. And um, but I guess the clear, the clearest way to like see the difference is like I did a and of your thread about like everything I accomplished last year at the end of the year. And uh, pretty much everything I had listed was from like the beginning, like January up until like August. And then after that it's just like blank. Um, which coincidentally is when we stopped releasing the podcast. And there's no two plus two equals four for what causes a depressive episode or what, you know, all the factors that lead in into that. But for me is a lot of, I've never worked for like a super small early stage startup before. Um, and Gatsby is the earliest stage startup I've ever worked with. And, you know, it's an amazing group of people who care a ton and have the best of intentions and are trying to do things, you know, with love and care. Um, but it's still startup and it's still a company and things happen and things get complicated. And so there was a period of time where a lot of change and things happen that I had a really hard time coming to terms with.

Amberley (06:54): Um, and we talked a little bit earlier, like, when depression starts to take over, I start to like cocoon and hibernate and sort of like turn off interaction with the outside world. And I don't want to be social and I don't want to reach out to people as much, not want to leave my house as much and I, I lose my structure for exercise and eating well. And you know, I stopped caring about wanting to do any of those things. Um, and all of that feeds into a cycle that builds to having some really intense momentum and gets really, really hard to break. And, um, yeah, a whole lot of things came together to the point where, you know, I almost felt paralyzed. Like I couldn't function. I was staring at my computer just like trying to get things done and trying to get anything done. And just one of the things that happens to me is bog brain where like, I mean, think like a foggy day where you can't see where you're dry, trying to drive like a hundred feet in front of you.

Amberley (08:13): It's just like my brain just feels like that. Like the simplest things that should be easy to get done are impossible. Um, you know, the less I could get done in the last, especially in like a remote company and like shutting down and not talking to people as much, especially when you're remote, like I feel like the effect of that is really magnified. Um, and yeah, I just struggled. I, uh, stopped producing a lot. I stopped with this podcast. I stopped sending this newsletter that I had started. I stopped, I had started creating lessons with egghead. I stopped doing that. I stopped tweeting. I like, I pretty much just shut down. Um, and now when did we get in touch again? Probably towards the end of the year.

Kurt (09:18): Yeah. Towards the end of the year. And then it kinda just sat on hiatus and we started, uh, chatting again in like the beginning of the year. Then we started getting serious about, you know, actually getting another episode down. It was like really the beginning of the year we started a F a foot back, you know, start working our way back out.

Amberley (09:36): Yeah. And it's, I mean, it's true of a lot of things, but it's so much easier to just lean into the decline than to like sort of fight your way back. Um, but I'm feeling a lot better and a lot of different things are helping with that. Um, I've, you know, I see someone, uh, I see a psychiatrist to help with that I have for several years. Um, so medication is still a part of my life and it was before that, this episode happened last fall. It just happens. Um, but things that are helping are like specifically with work, there's a lot of changes and things that are improving and like trajectory. And I'm starting to, you know, get used to what it means to work in a startup culture where things change as fast as they do. And you know, so different things are just sort of progressing, are coming together and feeling really good about that.

Amberley (10:44): Um, and you know, you just take small steps to try to re rebuild that and sort of at that point where both of us very, we talked before we started recording, it would've been very easy for both of us to just say, Hmm, I am nervous about this. I don't feel like doing this today. But it's just one more thing that we're just, it's one more notch in the, I'm doing this and I'm progressing and I'm getting there and starting to build a mental on the other way. It's amazing how difficult it is to explain

Kurt (11:23): it is tough and it's really, it comes down to that word you just said, which is momentum, right? And so the momentum is either pulling you out or it's pushing you further back down. And it really comes down to like the tiniest little actions that most people just take for granted as like a simple choice that they have to make. But when you're in the face of depression, that simple choice becomes like, I don't know, it's like trying to snatch like the jam off of like the, the stone, you know, like w like off the podium or whatever without, you know, a giant stone trying to run you over. It's like almost like a life, like...

Amberley (11:58): I have no idea what you're talking about...

Kurt (11:59): Oh, it's Indiana Jones reference. I'm sorry. So like he has like snatch a jam and try and put something else on the plate like before a sets off the trap. And he doesn't do it in a giant, a stone like comes, like tumbling down the path and he has to run.

Amberley (12:15): Totally unrelated fact about me is I have a huge movie knowledge gap. Moving on.

Kurt (12:21): Yeah, well unrelated in fact about me, I'm just old. And so I make a Indiana Jones references to movies that most people, uh, I associate with of diversity. And so, uh, that's funny. Um, but yeah, so basically what I'm getting at is like, you know, when you were talking about the paralysis, you just get to a point where like you're scared to make a decision or to do anything, like let alone having fog brain and not even sure where to focus, but you know, it's just, anything could just push you further and further down. And once that momentum starts, it gets really hard. So I guess I'll rewind and like kind of talk about what led me, um, to be so depressed at the end of the year.

Kurt (13:09): It was a multitude of things. Um, it really, ever since like, I left MLS, like, uh, I've been also trying to like kind of figure out what it is I want to do. Uh, you know, moving forward with my career. I really, I know that I really like, like helping people, um, like mentoring, uh, working closely with others, you know, like pairing and shadowing other departments and like, you know, working closely with design teams and stuff. Um, I really liked just like work. Um, I dunno, it's like help figure out how to solve problems. Anyway. Started out doing jobs that weren't really kind of like matching that value. Um, and then I had a lot of just like a lot of work stress. Um, towards the second half of the year I just kind of had some things that I was pretty excited about, not kind of pan out and it just like starts to beat you up a little bit.

Kurt (14:03): Um, and then I got sick, uh, as well. So I have rheumatoid arthritis and I have to take a medication to help keep it at Bay. Like it can't heal, so that's something that will ever get fixed. But as long as I take medication, it won't progress. Like it won't get worse. Um, and a medication that I was taking started to have really negative effects on my kidneys. Uh, so I was going through this time where I was like getting blood work every single week, doctor's visits every single week. Uh, I'm trying to keep, like work up to speed and maintain work life balance and you know, be there for family. I got some young kids and you know, they have a bunch of activities that they need to get to and all this stuff was just kinda like leading up to more and more stress and just kind of pushing me further and further into, I kind of felt like I couldn't swim a keep my head above water anymore.

Kurt (14:56): And uh, yeah, it really started to get like to its peak around October cause I couldn't travel anymore. I had to like cancel all the events I had scheduled. So I was like trying to find other ways to be productive at work. Um, and so yeah, it just felt like I was kinda like, just like treading water, like just below the surface, you know, and just like not quite able to keep my head above the water. Like, I'd get up there and take a quick breath and then back down. I would go struggle around and then there'd be like a moment of reprieve and everything would be okay for a minute. And then, uh, yeah, just spent most days like paralyzed in front of my computer. Like, what do I do? I don't even know what to do right now. Uh, so yeah, it was definitely a real struggle.

Kurt (15:39): Uh, and that's kinda like how I got there. And then, yeah. Uh, you know, as much like you, uh, momentum just started to move the other way, like, uh, started for me it was like new year's. Uh, really it was like using that new year's resolution kind of momentum to start working on like smaller things, just like do little things, um, that were positive and that I needed to do. And like I, yes, I had big things that needed to get done and like some of them are, were behind, but I was like, I can't, I can't think or focus on that. I just got to start building this momentum. And, uh, yeah. So I started to do and now here I am somewhat out of it. Still still not all the way there. Um, but yeah, doing, doing a lot better.

Amberley (16:28): I don't know about you but the part, the specifically because I mean this is a podcast about tech and the tech industry. Um, and I, well I've also been thinking recently about how like culture has shifted to we find, I'm not saying this is a good thing, but our self worth and sort of our is more tied into our jobs now. Um, and so for me, one of the most agonizing parts of that is like the whole, I'm, I'm here, like I'm sitting in front of my computer, I'm at a keyboard, the thing is right in front of me and I can't get things from my brain to my fingers to the screen, but the screen is like right there. Um, and that's the, that's the most frustrating part to me because I probably shouldn't, you know, when you're struggling, struggling with that, so, so much there other things before that you have to, that you have to address before you can get to the point where you're creating value again. Um, and specifically in terms of like producing things for work or your company or whatever. Um, but that part is so agonizing for me cause I'm like, it's right there. It's right in front of me and I just, when I feel like I'm not generating any value or I'm not like opening a PR or something, it just makes it, it makes it so much worse.

Kurt (18:06): Yeah. It feels like a, like when you're dreaming and like you're like running from someone but you run super slow or like you're trying to fight them off, but like, you know, you have spaghetti arms. Um, it's just like, yeah, that feeling of like not just paralyzed. It's wild.

Amberley (18:23): Yeah. Or just like the effort not translating proportionally. You know, where you're like, uh, I don't know. I feel like this, I feel like this whole thing is going to be just full of how fast metaphors of us trying to like find a way to communicate. Yeah. Yeah. But like digging a hole. Yeah. Digging a hole and you keep digging and like you never get any deeper or you know, like you keep putting all this effort into trying to go somewhere. Almost like I guess. Huh. This is low hanging fruit. Hamster on a wheel. Right? Like you keep running and running and running and the faster you run or the harder you work, you're still in the same place. And so then you feel like we'll find, I trying isn't getting me anywhere. I'd just, I'm just not going to try. I'm just stuck. Yeah,

Kurt (19:22): Yeah, yeah. I'll just sit here and stare for a while. Maybe. I'll see. For me like I, it's interesting cause I isolate from real life relationships, but I actually seek solace in social media because it's a distraction. Like, I get so bothered and so anxious when I'm staring at, you know, like a blog post I'm writing or something and I'm like, I'm just going to see what's going on on Twitter. I'm just going to hop on there real quick and take a look. And it's like, you know what I mean? Cause now I don't have, I, it's like almost like a drug really. I don't have to focus on work for a couple of minutes. I get reprieve. I can just, you know, uh "Oh, I'm just, you know, going to take a break and I'll come back to it."

Amberley (20:06): Yeah, that's like Netflix or something for me if I'm not on Twitter. Like Twitter is like a tech thing for me. Like it's just, it's a way to connect with other people in the tech industry and all of that. Um, so for me, I use Twitter for tech and I love, well not always, but generally I love connecting with the people that I'm connected with on Twitter, in the tech industry. And so when I'm not on Twitter, like if you haven't seen me tweet in a while, that means that I'm disconnected with work and with web development, you know, with anything like that. And something that I thought of while you were talking. I don't know what made me think of it, but another thing I wanted to say was like, I feel like this is especially difficult on the team that I'm on because like all of the people that I work with on the Gatsby team are amazing.

Amberley (21:08): Like I've worked with incredible people before, but like I'm constantly impressed by all of the people on our team. And so when I'm was like paralyzed and unable to produce anything and feeling really, really shitty, it made it like a thousand times worse because I'm surrounded by like superstars and I don't mean superstars in the sense of like idolizing someone, but just like people that I really respect who are like prolific and compassionate and seem to, you know, be producing it unimaginable speed. And in comparison you almost get to the point where it's just like, I don't belong here. Like I, so that contributed a lot for me too. It's just like I started feeling like undeserving and it just continues to feed into itself.

Kurt (22:15): Uh, it's amazing how depression makes you feel so alone. But when you talk about it with other people who experienced depression, like they experienced basically the exact same thing. Uh, I also, uh, work with, uh, some folks who are just like blow my mind. Uh, yeah. Both with like how intelligent they are and just, you know, uh, how good they are and like you said, how much they produce and like how well they do it. And yeah. You start to feel like an impostor, right? Imposter syndrome, you have a little drop there. Um, but yeah. Yeah. And so that tax on that adds to depression. Uh, sometimes imposter syndrome creates depression. Sometimes depression creates imposter syndrome. Uh, for me. Uh, but yeah, definitely was feeling like I don't belong doing what I'm doing. I'm not doing this well enough, you know, why can't I get anything done? Um, yeah. It's very, very unnerving. Yeah. Yeah. Sorry. And also it just makes you feel bad, like, or does for me because now I'm like, well, I'm not pulling him out weight. And it makes me feel like guilty and embarrassed. Right. And like that tacks onto it too. And it's like, well, just do something like, you know, you need to help them out. Like, you know, and yeah, it's not fun.

Amberley (23:35): And even now trying to put it into words, it still feels, so, it's like, I feel like we're, we're only able to describe like the surface of it. So unless I know, like if you're drawn to this podcast, you probably have experienced this, so you probably understand, but it's so hard to explain to people who, you know, maybe haven't dealt with it personally as much. Um, it's, it's really hard to explain.

Kurt (24:09): Yeah. And I think, yeah, it's definitely not, it's totally not, and it's just, but you start to think that as it's like literally part of the depression, you know? And it's, it's like a double whammy. So I also deal with addiction and addiction is the same way. It's like a possible to explain, um, unless somebody else also deals with the same issues. Um, and I don't think we have to explain it per se. I'm just trying to really explain. Yeah. Like, yeah, I guess I am trying to explain how I felt. Um, but yeah, I think just some hints as to like what it does to you is useful. Right. Even if you don't experience it, just, um, I think people know, even if they don't get depressed, there has been times when they probably felt paralyzed to do something or, you know, they were like, maybe you were afraid a, the first time you dove into the pool or something and very hesitant. Now imagine that, but you never actually dove into the pool and you just stood there every single day at the edge of the pool wanting to dive in, knowing you should and that it's totally fine, but you're not going to write like, you know, it's, here I go, another metaphor. We should, huh. Uh, we'll donate $1, we'll donate a dollar for every time we, we, uh, say another metaphor.

Amberley (25:32): So many metaphors.

Kurt (25:34): Yeah.

Amberley (25:35): I do wonder cause both of us work remotely. Um, and do you wonder how much that does or doesn't like what part that plays in it?

Kurt (25:48): I think it plays a big part for myself. Um, because of the isolation when you're remote, it's so easy. I shut that door and then if I don't talk to anyone on the internet, I don't talk to anyone. Right. Like you know.

Amberley (26:01): I love how I can hear that you looked at the door.

Kurt (26:02): I did look at the door. Trippy!

Amberley (26:05): You were like, "THAT door."

Kurt (26:07): Yeah, the one I'm staring at. Yeah. Yeah. Troublesome door. Um, but yeah, exactly right. I close off the whole world, uh, and just sit here. But you know, I, I feel like if people don't understand at this point from what we've described, kind of like what it takes to kind of get you there and kind of how you feel, um, you know, uh, there were probably just not cut out to, to try and explain anymore. I actually want to start talking about it. If you're cool how we got out of it.

Amberley (26:44): Yeah. I wish I had more to say about that. You can go first if you want, but yeah, I'm happy to move toward talking about that.

Kurt (26:52): Yeah. Um, yeah, so it's just like, I, you know, I did say I use the new year's resolution kind of motivation and that was part of it. Um, but there were some other things that I was doing, you know, like it gets weird once you become aware that you have depression and you start to realize like when you're depressed or not, sometimes you don't really know. Sometimes it hits you way later and you're like, Oh, wow. Like, I'm really depressed. I've been behaving like, like I'm really depressed. And sometimes like, you know, it's coming and you could try to stop it. Sometimes you can, sometimes you can't. Uh, it's all about that momentum. But anyway, I do like a lot of certain things.

Kurt (27:31): Um, that helped me one, at least maybe make it not so bad. So mitigate like the full level of damage, uh, like I could have gotten away worse. And then, uh, yeah, so I guess like, I'll just start with that. So like one thing that I've been doing, um, regularly has been exercise and I feel like that helped me. Uh, I, for somehow I managed to kind of keep my focus on that. And, uh, the way I did it was actually signed up for like a CrossFit competition cause I was like, well, like if I, and it was a team, so like I had a team member, it's like, well, I like, I gotta try to at least like, you know, train for this. So it kind of forced me to exercise regularly. Um, and then I was trying to be productive and things like I was paralyzed with work, so I said, what else can I do?

Kurt (28:26): You know? And so I started like doing things I hadn't done a long time. Like I was, uh, uh, did some photography and like edited photos and Photoshop and like made some videos, um, and worked with like video editing and stuff that I hadn't done in forever. And that kind of helps me a little bit too. So then when the new year's came in, like I had it feeling like, okay, it's the new year. It's time to hit reset, you know, um, uh, I want to like start fresh. I was able to kind of like build off of those things and just start slowly mixing in work things like emails and setting up some conference sponsorships and little things and then just kinda use that momentum to keep like climbing out and work on bigger and bigger stuff. But I'm not like totally there yet. I'm still partly paralyzed. I have some like big things that I need to get done and they're in front of me and I'm so close and I'm actually working on one right now. Well not like this minute, but I was before we started talking. Um, and so yeah, so it's there, it's progress, but I really feel like those things helped me out and of course the support that I have at home. Very lucky to have that. That really helped a lot too.

Kurt (29:40): Yeah. Anything you can think of that like either like a moment, you know, that helped you start climbing out or did it just like gradually happen?

Amberley (29:50): So I actually can, I sort of my between like being anxious about this conversation, my thoughts are a little scattered, but um, yeah, there was a moment. Um, and I don't want to, I don't want to make it sound like all of this is about work cause it wasn't, um, but one thing that happened is, I mean our team grew so much last year and we had some really some really awesome people join and someone who joined, I had a conversation with toward the end of the year and I was still like mired in like thinking about all the stuff that had happened that I had a problem with or that I couldn't come to terms with. And something that hadn't occurred to me before was like the team that was around when some of the stuff that bothered me happened like is completely different now or it was completely different in December. Like there's the whole thing about how teams are, what is it like teams are immutable or something. Like you add a new person, it's a completely different team. Yeah. So we'd had like,

Amberley (31:08): I don't know, 10, 20 people join. I don't know. Um, and so the things that, well when I started it was, it was less than 15 and now we're over 50. Um, so that was a huge growth in the last year. But specifically like in the last few months of the year we had a lot of people join. And so the stuff that was bothering me, it was like I was never going to get closure on a lot of the stuff that happened cause it was just a fundamentally different team than it was when some of that stuff happened. Um, and like it, there, it would, it's not constructive. Right. Like me, I, I had a choice to either like continue to let it bother me as much as it was or just be like this is a completely different team and I'm never going to get like the closure I want on it so I can just let it go.

Amberley (32:07): And I had someone basically just be like, yeah, all of that happened. And they weren't that at the, they weren't on the team at the time it happened, but they were like, yeah, that happened and we're going to do better and we're working really hard to, you know, make stuff like that not happen again. Um, and so someone, you know, acknowledging that it was real. Uh, and yeah, it's something in me, it just like, let me let it go and I could just be like, okay, this is, I'm basically just treating this like a new team and a new experience and I can just move on from there. So I had this moment where I was just like, okay, I can just decide to like let go of some of the stuff that I was mired in. Uh, and that was sort of the moment that I started climbing back from it.

Amberley (33:04): And yeah, I've had to make very intentional moves to like, I started going to the gym again. I had stopped pretty much just like stopped exercising and just like, okay, all you have to do is go to the elliptical and watch an episode of TV on the elliptical. You don't have to go a particular speed, you don't have to, like, you don't have to do anything specific, you just have to go. And so I started going again. Um, and then this morning, fun fact, I, when was it that we worked together? When did we meet? It was end of 2018. No, it was definitely 2018. Right? Oh yeah. It was like August 20. Eighteens. Yeah. Yeah. So, um, at the time I had done CrossFit before and uh, Kurt and I sort of like bonded over health and stuff, which will shock no one. And I, I introduced Kurt to CrossFit, like Kurt asked me about CrossFit.

Amberley (34:14): Um, and that was how he ended up doing CrossFit. And so I had a hiatus from CrossFit and just this morning there's a, there's a gym. I still can't call it a box and I'll never call it a box. There's a gym there, gyms, the other gyms. Um, there's one just down the road for me. And, um, I went in this morning and met with the head coach and signed up and in a a mo-, you know how you have those moments where you're like, okay, this was meant to be, my favorite coach from my gym in Dallas, uh, from back in 2017 had just joined that gym. Like I saw his name on, uh, I saw his name on a thing. I was like, he's here. They were like, Oh yeah, he just like, you know, started like not too long ago. I was like, okay, you know, there are just some moments where it's like I'm doing the right things. I'm making the right moves. And particularly specifically getting back to CrossFit, like I feel like that structure will be something that I will really benefit from right now.

Kurt (35:33): I think the intensity of those workouts often make me like in my head go, well, this is silly. Like I just want to stop, you know? But when you, when you finish it, when it's done, there's that serotonin release because you really did just accomplish something that was extremely difficult. Um, and you push through, you know, again, I th I feel like that helped me a lot. Um, when I was depressed I helped me from getting way worse. Like, uh, it was already bad enough episode but this had the potential to be like one of my worst ones in a long time.

Amberley (36:07): Mhm. Yeah, so little steps like that I'm feel really positively about the trajectory of this year and just sort of rebuilding brick by brick and y'know, keep moving.

Kurt (36:25): Yeah. And it's something that I didn't do that I should have. Um, I should have like, uh, got out and seen a therapist. Finding a therapist is hard enough and when you're already depressed it's really bad. So now that I'm starting to feel better, I'm going to start reaching out again. It's really hard for me. I have such a hard time like finding someone I can talk to.

Amberley (36:49): It is so, so, so hard. My last, like very serious episode was in the sort of the end of 2017 and I hadn't seen like a medical professional about my depression in several years cause it hadn't been like interfering with my day to day life. And in 2017 it really, really affected my functioning. So I finally started seeing someone again and at the time I lived in Dallas and it's so hard to find someone and I really loved the person that I started working with. I still go back to Dallas from Austin to see her rather than finding them finding someone new and it sounds, it sounds kind of silly, but like I would rather go to dat, like overlap a trip to see my family or something. Then like go through the process of finding someone new.

Kurt (37:46): Yeah. It's uh, it's the worst thing ever. So uncomfortable, you know? Oh yeah. It's hard. Yeah. It's really difficult. But I need to do it and that's the thing, like it's hard, but I need to go ahead and do it.

Amberley (38:01): Yeah. And so that's the thing that you can do when you're back on an upswing, right. Where it's going to be hard, but I'm going to do it. It's the "but I'm going to do it" that you can't do when you're in like the thick of it.

Kurt (38:13): Yeah. Yeah. It's that momentum. Right? It's like, then it's like I want to do it but I can't. Yeah. I just can't do that right now. But yeah, I'm trying to use that momentum and do these hard things. These things I really don't want to do while I'm feeling confident and, and feeling good cause then hopefully I can prevent the next time, you know, or at least mitigate it some. It's like it's always a gamble. Yeah.

Amberley (38:38): It's so funny thinking about like quote unquote next time, like it's so funny, you know, you go go through it several times and deal with it for years and years and years and then like w when it happens again, you're still, you still don't have a playbook for it. You know, like you have things you can try, but it's like a whole new game again.

Kurt (39:05): Yeah. It's really interesting. Yeah. And you just try things that worked before and maybe they will, maybe they won't, you know, like, I don't know if I would've been able to kick myself out if the new year hadn't come around. Silly as that sounds. I'm one of those big new year's resolutions people and I tend to do them and like stick them out. Um, and uh, yeah. And it just worked. It's crazy.

Amberley (39:26): I also want to acknowledge, I feel really lucky that I have, um, like these, they're just not just because that minimizes it, but that they're like episodes that I, you know, I can go a year without having like a severe episode. Um, there are people who just like day in and day out, struggle to manage it. And so I just want to acknowledge that there's that.

Kurt (39:56): Yeah, totally. And yeah, I've been lucky. Um, I, I feel like I've had more episodes in the last two years than I've had in quite some time, which is interesting. And so here's another thing. Uh, it's interesting because also in a lot of aspects of my life is better than it's ever been, but yet I've been more depressed. And it's like some people, like, especially, you know, like people who haven't dealt with depression from the outside, they're like, what do you mean you're depressed? Like, look at your life, you know? And it is, it's a good life. I'm very blessed, very privileged. Uh, but, uh, yeah, it doesn't matter. Like what the current, like I've had times where I've been at my lowest, like, technically, like financially, right. And like from a life success standpoint, but I was also my happiest, you know, they're not always correlated.

Kurt (40:50): Um, and yeah, so it's just interesting. And I think some of that sometimes for me has to do with, uh, addiction and, and my fear of success and how I grew up, you know? Um, so like when things are going well, I feel like it's too good. It's not right. It's not my life. Something's gonna happen. Um, and so like, that's always in the back of my mind. And that can also push me into depression too. So I, I think it's just like me trying to come to grips some with like, okay, this is like if you keep doing the right things, this is your life now. Like you did it, relax, you know, don't, don't throw your, uh, um, like self under the bus. Don't self sabotage because I self sabotage a lot.

Amberley (41:36): Mhm. Yeah, just first of all, I want to for sure co-sign, like I'm extremely blessed and extremely privileged, privileged and you know, same thing. The, the guilt that that produces, of like, you know, I have all of these things that have the trimmings of like my life together and then, you know, you have something that we haven't acknowledged is like the chemical aspect of this. And like, I feel like some of that, a lot of that has become a more de-stigmatized at this point. But like after getting off of medication as like a teenager, I was started just like never again. Like, I can, I can do this, I can handle this. And so I put off the idea of getting on medication again for too long. Um, and in 2017 I got to the point where I wasn't able to function at all and I saw that doctor again and she, I don't want to say medication can like fix everything, but I want to acknowledge the chemical chemical component because like, my dad really didn't understand depression.

Amberley (42:55): You're just like, just don't do that, you know? Um, and he sort of saw, he watched this happened to me where I sort of like disappeared. Um, and then I got treatment and started seeing someone and got back on the medication. And then like the way he says it, like he saw the light come back on in my eyes. Um, so I don't, I'm not, not trying to say like medication can like fix everything, but, um, do you want to acknowledge? I do want to acknowledge the chemical component for some people. Like I just, my brain chemicals hate me sometimes.

Kurt (43:36): Yeah. Yeah, for sure. I, I, for me, I think a decent amount of it too has to deal with the damage that I've done to my brain in my earlier days due to like drug abuse. Uh, uh, you know, a lot of, um, ecstasy, which, um, just basically makes you pump serotonin, but then it becomes much harder to produce serotonin. Uh, and you can get some of that back but not all of it. So that doesn't help.

Amberley (44:03): Yeah, I didn't know that actually. Yeah.

Kurt (44:07): Yeah. That's essentially what MDMA does. Um.

Amberley (44:11): Well, I know that it does that but I didn't know like the long term, uh,

Kurt (44:16): Yeah, and you have to do a lot, so it's actually safe, they're starting to use it. Yeah... I didn't mean it to sound like that, but I just meant like they use MDMA now actually in therapy and other, um, uh, other, uh, scientific uses. So I don't want to like just say MDMA is bad. I want everyone to understand that it was the great abuse of MDMA and just the amount of it that I was putting into my body.

Amberley (44:45): This feels like an opportune time also to just restate that neither of us are medical professionals and we're not offering advice or anything. We're just like saying words about things that have happened to us. Um, so, yup.

Kurt (45:01): Yup. We just want to catch you all up on, on, you know, what's been happening with us. And we're not trying to say if you're depressed you should do A, B or C cause I don't know what you should do cause it's clearly I'm not good at this. Uh,

Amberley (45:16): And that's, and that's not why we have this podcast either. We worried that created this podcast. It would be like a, we're the experts on this and so we're going to talk about this. It's more that like both of us are just super conscious of it and super thoughtful about it. Like in the sense that we think about it a lot. Um, so...

Kurt (45:37): Yeah, it's a big part of our lives, right? And uh, you always want to talk about things that are a part of your life and you know, other people also, uh, for me, and uh, we talked about this too, it's just, it's good to put this out there because there's going to be people who are listening who experienced these same things and, and one of those metaphors is going to be like, Oh, or maybe even all of them. Like, yes, I know exactly what you're talking about. And it's just good to hear that other people experience that as well.

Amberley (46:09): Yeah. And it does still feel kind of scary to say these things into the microphone and know that people are gonna... I mean, it's a small, it's a small podcast, but anyone who wants to, anyone who wants to listen to us talk about this, you know, I can hear about it. And I think both of us feel like we have an obligation to help normalize some of this, which drives a lot of, which drives us to share some of this. So we hope that talking about it and specifically in the area, I mean everybody, but specifically in the tech industry, um, hope that it just talking about it helps.

Kurt (47:01): Yeah. Yeah. You know, and for me it's scary, but it's also kind of cathartic. Um, afterwards I always tend to feel better and I've just found that by voicing these things and saying them out loud, you know, helping me keep it in the forefront of my mind, it helps me fight it better. So,

Amberley (47:22): Oh my God, I just had this so funny. I was your, one of your medium posts, like a medium post of yours that I read before we even met before I knew I was going to like meet you and work with you and be your friend, which I'm so lucky for that. But I'm thinking about that medium, this medium post that I read that you wrote. Um, you had the whole record scratch thing in there. Oh yeah. I just had this like, I dunno, I don't think it's technically not view, but I connected the whole record scratching.

Kurt (47:58): I guess I gotta I gotta pick up a new way of, of jumping into the past. Right. I'm abusing the record scratch.

Amberley (48:04): No, I think this is, I think this is your legacy now. I'll take it. So yeah, if you know you listened to this podcast before or if you're new to this, I'm like, um, we're happy to be back. We're still gonna try to figure it out and we're still here.

Kurt (48:30): Yeah, we're still here. We're looking to do more episodes. It's not, um, done with by any means. It's a project that both of us love. Uh, and yeah, so we plan to be doing more and uh, hopefully you'll be hearing from us again pretty soon.

Amberley (48:45): Yeah. And we're not, uh, getting back to monthly is what we've talked about being the most reasonable for us. And we said this I think at the very beginning and one of the probably the first light launch episode or whatever, but we don't want this to be about us. So this is the first episode that we've mostly just talked about ourselves, but we feel like we had a good reason for that. But for the most part we want to like highlight other community members and still bring in professionals in different fields that are related to whatever topic that we're talking about. Um, so this is kind of a, a weird one off where we felt like this would be useful, but for the most part we want to like highlight and lift up other people and just like chime in with our experiences where relevant and where helpful. But you know, we don't want this to be about us.

Kurt (49:41): No. Yeah, it's mostly about lifting up others, especially like about, uh, getting, I love getting the industry professionals in, um, because it's information that, you know, you don't get access to a lot unless you like specifically go digging for it. And then just highlighting like cool things that are going on. Um, like anxiety tech. I loved having the organizers of anxiety tech on, uh, it was great.

Amberley (50:08): Thank you Jamund and Kari again.

New Speaker (50:08): Yes, yes. Thank you so much because it just, uh, you know, you're lifting up kind of people who are trying to make a difference in this space. Um, so it's, it's good. It makes me feel good.

Amberley (50:22): Yeah. So we look forward to doing that again and we're happy to be back.

Kurt (50:24): Yeah, absolutely. Yes, we are.

Amberley (50:27): So if you're still with us through that, thank you for spending some time with us and we, we look forward to bringing you some other interesting conversations again soon.

Kurt (50:40): Yeah. And we appreciate you. Thank you for listening, uh, and, uh, be well.

Amberley (50:45): Be well.