Purge ’21

It’s become tradition for me to redesign and/or rebuild this website at least once a year, dazzled by sparkly new technology or fed up with some feature that doesn’t work. This time it’s both, with some mental health issues on top.


To get the technobabble out of the way: I‘ve ditched the previous Gatsby + GraphQL frontend and written a new one using SvelteKit + GROQ, which has been the best webdev experience in years.

There.

Now, about mental health and design mistakes, what caused this latest purge was the Projects section. It’s still there, but I had to think about how to use it.

A while ago, after years of therapy, I was diagnosed with cyclothymic disorder. It’s basically (but not really) “bipolar extra-lite”, where I keep cycling between moderate depression and slight mania, with normal periods in between.

My hypomanic phases last for a few weeks, in which I enjoy a boost of energy, increased productivity and, somehow, get by just fine with half the amount of sleep. The downside is obsessing over some kind of project, which distracts me from everything else; work, family, you name it. I get inconsiderate and impatient with anyone and anything that keeps me from gettin’ things done on these projects, which can be hard on family and friends. Then there’s the impulse shopping, paranoia (in rare cases), and often an inflated sense of my own ability.

This website itself is a recurring obsession, to the point where I can track my mental health by looking at the frequency of GitHub commits. During one of the previous redesigns, I included a Project taxonomy for keeping tabs on my creative side projects. What I failed to recognize (being hypomanic at the time) was that a side project is a telltale sign of this hypomania. A few weeks into it, my ballooning ego has to deflate again, belching away all enthusiasm and leaving me to realize I’ve started on something too involved for me to able to finish at all.

That explains the ghost projects that floated around, pestering me about never updating them, whispering to everybody: “hey, check out this loser who can never finish a project”. Stupid ghosts.

So naturally I tore the whole damned place down, dug up the stuff worth keeping, and now my website is ghost free! Still going through the wreckage to take another look at the stuff that was cool in spite of being presented in an embarrassing way.

The project pages are still around, because it’s a handy place to keep my master thesis essay, but I’ve gotten better at recognizing my Energizer weeks and will be a bit more careful about declaring something a project before it’s done, or at least after I’m sure I’ll keep plugging at it after my brain’s cooled down a bit.