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Mental Health for PHP SW User Group

167e3044ed845338afdf5cc3446f5b17?s=47 Tom Robertshaw
November 09, 2016

Mental Health for PHP SW User Group

It's easier in the world of today, especially as developers, to push ourselves too hard. Our community, like many, has seen an increasing number of stories about burnout and illnesses such as anxiety and depression. During this talk, Tom is going to share a little of his own story and the methods of managing it that he has found useful.


Tom Robertshaw

November 09, 2016


  1. Mental Health PHPSW Tom Robertshaw @bobbyshaw

  2. I’m normal-ish - Grew up in Maidstone, Kent - Computer

    Science at Bath - Started a small agency. - I’ve struggled with burnout and depression.
  3. Awareness - Lucky that liberal tech community is ahead of

    the curve - I wanted to share on my experiences - Ultimately, seek professional help.
  4. My Past - Experienced multiple bouts of depression - Life

    has led me to a place where I take on too much. - This leads to burnout
  5. Healthy Adult - It’s important to have a forgiving, empathetic,

    balanced internal voice - I think I am better at doing that for other people than myself.
  6. Road to Recovery - Long term, gradual process. - Habits

    and some foundations will likely need change. - Just like in our profession, hypotheses need testing.
  7. Support - Every one of us has a family member

    or friend that experiences a form of depression - Everyone is fighting a battle you don’t know about. - Patience, relentless love and support
  8. Medication - Short-term solution - Address chemical imbalance - Many

    drugs out there, I’ve only had one.
  9. Therapy - NHS Group Sessions - Private therapy - Long

    term solution - Hard decision for someone to make to invest in themselves
  10. Journalling - Most mornings, I write out what’s consuming my

    thoughts - Great way to cage the monkey mind - Avoid the fallacy that thinking about something is me preparing for it.
  11. Healthy Lifestyle - Eat regular meals - Shower, shave and

    get out of PJs even on days off. - Have an exercise routine.
  12. Socialise - Can be one of the more difficult things

    to sign up for. - Making sure you spend time catching up with a friend at least once a week evening/weekend.
  13. Timebox “Productiveness” - 6pm work cut-off. - Limit the number

    of hours I commit evenings and weekends on side-projects, events, etc. - I’m an introvert so I need the space to recover.
  14. Experience Flow - Flow is when you lose yourself in

    a task for hours - Project managers don’t experience this. - Studies concur this is great for happiness.
  15. My Journey - Continual improvement process. - Supporters: - Patience

    and forgiveness! - Experiencers: - It’s shit and it’s hard, but one foot in front of the other. - Please take care of yourself, you matter a lot.