Beginning in my early undergraduate years, I worked toward a research career in programming languages. I reached a pinnacle of early success, but then imploded, in part due to a variety of mental health issues that had slowly taken root. In this talk, I explore some of the most important lessons I’ve learned since then about human psychology, and in particular the vital role of feelings. I provide some general ways of understanding the machinery of our emotional minds, and ground that understanding in issues that will be familiar to many: perfectionism, procrastination, overwork and poor boundaries. My hope is to raise awareness and curiosity, to help others learn important lessons much sooner in their lives and careers.