Open Sourcing Mental Illness
My name is Ed Finkler. I’ve been a web developer since 1997. I’ve participated in open source for most of that time. And I've suffered from depression and anxiety my whole life.
In June of 2012 I spoke about my lifelong struggle with mental illness on the Development Hell podcast. The response was overwhelming:
"I have never been able to put into words how I feel as well as you all did."
"It really sucks to have a brain that wants to continually sabotage you and keeps you from reaching your potential. Just know there are millions, and I do mean millions of people, that understand what you go through."
"Listening to the latest @dev_hell is really making me think about how I treat people. You never know what someone else is going through."
That’s just three of many, many public and private messages I received. I was inspired, and energized, and I wanted to do more.
Finally, I decided I just need to keep talking about this. So this year I’m going to propose a talk called “Open Sourcing Mental Illness” to a number of technical conferences. You can read my proposal for Open Source Bridge here.
The idea of traveling a lot this year makes me nervous, but if I can help them know they’re not alone, it’s worth it.
If I can help people understand what it’s like for people who struggle with this, it’s worth it.
In my community, the Open Source community, I think I can help. So I’m going to try.
Why I’m asking you for money
Many Open Source conferences can't pay for speakers' travel and lodging. It would be challenging to pay for this out of my own pocket. So I’m asking for financial support to cover these expenses so that I can present the talk at these conferences.
Additionally, funds to pay for equipment and time to record the talk would be helpful. I intend to release audio and video of the talk as soon as possible, but having more funds for this will result in a better end product.
I’ve put together a spreadsheet to track my estimated expenses:
I’ll be flying out of the Indianapolis airport, so flight expenses are based on that origin. I will drive to nearby locations (like Chicago), so US IRS mileage costs are used for those.
Currently I’m setting the funding goal at $3,000 US ($2,790 net after fees), which would cover the travel costs of which I’m currently aware, with a little left over for audio/video production time and equipment purchases.
Current speaking plans
- php|tek • May 14-17 • Chicago
- Open Source Bridge • June 18-21 • Portland, OR
- Lone Star PHP • June 28-29 • Dallas, TX
- OSCON • July 22-26 • Portland, OR
- Distill • August 8-9 • San Francisco, CA
What happens if you get more money?
More money would allow me to speak at more events, particularly smaller events that can’t pay for speakers to travel. This would include nearby user groups for open source technologies.
If for some reason I get way more money than I expected, I would explore donating the excess to an approprite mental health/outreach organization.
Other ways to help
If you can’t contribute monetarily, the best thing you can do is to raise awareness. Tell your friends about this campaign. Get the word out!