WWDC 2021 – Day 5

Writing this a bit late, but Day 5 was the best day so far for me. Why? Because I applied for a SwiftUI lab session and was lucky enough to get one! But before we get to that…

I’m a person that struggles a lot with anxiety. Mostly around social situations, my anxiety has been a darkness in my life for as long as I can remember. I have learned to live with it, even when that “living with it” is to shut myself away from the world as much as possible. If you’re wondering if the recent pandemic was a “good thing” for me, then to some extent it was amazing. Let me clarify that though; it made me realise just how bad my anxiety was when the vast majority of it was suddenly removed. When I thought lockdown was going to be eased I realised how scared I was of seemingly everything and I realised it was again time to seek help. I won’t go into the details of that, but if I say CBT then you’ll get the idea.

Fast-forward to now, to WWDC week, to me being able to do some things that a year ago I wouldn’t have realistically considered. Attending group chats and SwiftUI Lounge sessions. All virtual, yes, but still very much a victory for me. And this all culminated in me not only applying for a lab slot – applying in itself was a big thing – but actually being one of the lucky people to get one.

On Friday night at 21:30 UK time I logged on to the WebEx call and was joined by two fantastic Apple engineers who worked on the SwiftUI team. As part of the application I had submitted my questions, and Matt summarised the first one to ensure he understood what I wanted to know and the conversation began – it was awesome! They listened to me and answered everything with real clarity, expertise, and patience. They reassured me that the road I was going down was the correct one, offered suggestions for when that road may not be suitable, and offered up a couple of diversions for me to checkout ways to improve my code and use of SwiftUI. It was brilliant and I was absolutely buzzing afterwards.

Now, this may not sound like such a big deal, but to me it was. The questions I asked were things that I have been too anxious and scared to ask of the community, because I am inherently fearful of looking stupid. That can lead to a decline in my mental health and me stopping doing the things I love. Anyone who has suffered with depression and anxiety will know what I am talking about. The irony here is that instead of asking random people on the Internet for help, I ended up asked literally the most knowledgeable SwiftUI people on the planet – if anyone could make me feel stupid… Of course, they didn’t do that. They communicated with me so clearly and kindly that I was left feeling more motivated than I have for a long time.

This, then, was my highlight of WWDC. I have loved WWDC this week. Being part of it all feels right to me. My mental health has prevented me from accomplishing so much, and yet I am still here battling away and more determined than ever to release my app and once again be an iOS app developer.

Thank you to everyone at Apple for all the work in bringing us WWDC and bringing us all the new toys. Maybe one day soon I will add my own new toy to the App Store – I certainly now feel like it’s possible.

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