Depression amongst Entrepreneurs

In recent months, there has been a lot of chatter about depression amongst entrepreneurs. According to an article published by Business Insider, only 7% of the general population reports suffering from depression, while a whopping 30% of startup founders say they suffer from its symptoms.

Launching a biz is a deeply personal journey and it can be tough to separate your own identity from the company you’re trying to create.

I have been dealing with a mental disorder known as “bipolar 2” for as long as I can remember. While the highs and lows aren’t as severe as traditional bipolar effects, the results of this ailment can be devastating.

There have been times when I couldn’t get out of bed for days, crippled with ruminating thoughts about failure, how I was unlovable, and how I was totally worthless. The mania portion is exhausting, and sent me on a spiral of impulse purchases and long nights lying awake with racing thoughts. While many folks feel like they could conquer anything during a period of mania, it leaves you both mentally and physically exhausted by the time it’s through.

My own business, one that I have spent years trying to cultivate, slowly circled the drain when I was too sick to leave the sanctuary of my bedroom. It was hard enough trying to articulate my unrelenting sadness to a psychiatrist let alone a handful of clients who simply wanted their copy emailed to them in a timely manner. I was overcome with a fear of failure so prevalent it brought me to my knees.

One thing that is so, so important when it comes to depression is that you shouldn’t be afraid to ask for help. Entrepreneurs are super independent and often think that they can do it all. But when it comes to mental disorders, it’s critical that you find not only a reputable doctor that you can trust, but a solid support system of professional peers and friends who can be there when you falter.

It’s also imperative to separate yourself from your biz. While it is an extremely personal endeavor, you need to have clear, concise lines from where your startup ends and you begin. Taking professional criticism or setbacks personally can devastate.

Have you guys ever dealt with depression? How’d you overcome it?

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