Entrepreneurs face a series of challenges when working on their business.  Matter of fact, starting out, entrepreneurs wear a few hats at a time and that in itself can be difficult and cause a significant amount of stress. Starting a business is hard work and can be disappointing at times. However, being an entrepreneur is something that I’ve always wanted to do. With that said, I am going to give you the real story of entrepreneurs and depression.

What is Depression?

As you may know, clinical depression (also known as major depressive disorder) is a serious mental illness that affects your thoughts and how you act. Depression causes feelings of sadness. It also causes the loss of wanting to do things that were once considered enjoyable. Major depression can also produce both behavioral and physical symptoms. Some additional symptoms are changes in appetite, sleep, and energy levels.  It can also affect self-esteem and your behavior day in and day out. Thoughts of suicide is also a factor.

With all of this going on, can you imagine for a moment factoring in the ability to start a business? There’s a price to pay when you’re doing your best to start a business.  Finding ways to be creative while in the struggle can be extremely daunting.  I know this because I’m going through it.

There are days when the battle is on and poppin.  It’s more to fight against the symptoms trying to take over your day than to work on the needs of your business. The struggle is very real.

“Your confidence, competence, and belief will sustain you through the fear, uncertainty and doubt you will face. Knowing with everything you are, that you can do it.”
~ Sarah Gerdes, The Overlooked Expert

There’s so much at stake for entrepreneurs.  We’ve poured in money that we didn’t have, time that we could have spent with our friends and loved ones.  Chasing the dream is our priority.  But, when things start going downhill and fast, we start having thoughts of failure.  It doesn’t help that we slide into a deep funk for an extended period of time avoiding interacting with other people at all costs.

Miraculously, we keep pushing forward.  Hoping, wishing, and praying that this will truly work this time.  We don’t share our feelings or talk to anyone.  No one can possibly understand what we’re going through.  That leads to being alone… a lot.

Entrepreneurs and Depression

Entrepreneurs and depression are far more common than you think.  You’re not going to find a depressed entrepreneur with a flashing sign on their forehead advertising their current depressed status.  Depression among entrepreneurs is a huge problem.  It’s also not talked about much.  It’s time for that to change. The stigmas toward depression have to end.

It’s important to remember that we’re all human.  We will make mistakes and we will at one time or another, fail.  The key is to not wallow in that failure.  Remember that failure is an opportunity and presents opportunities to learn from our failure.

“Success doesn’t teach as many lessons as failure” ~ Jay Samit

Depression among entrepreneurs is high.  Since it isn’t talked about much, not a lot of people realize this fact.  The black hole that is over our heads day in and day out is real.  It’s hard to contend with.  We want so much to succeed.  It becomes a hard pill to swallow when failure is on the horizon.  Sometimes, we’re just having a bad day and when depression strikes, that alone is hard to overcome.

Building a business is extremely hard.  There are days when I sit here hour after hour working on the same thing that I started with that morning.  I wondered what was wrong with me.  Because I battled that same issue, I started to feel really bad that I couldn’t finish it yet.  Then out of nowhere, my depression started to kick in.  It hit so fast that I couldn’t process what was happening.  All I could do was cry.   I felt like I was failing.

Maintaining a Work/Life Balance

Entrepreneurs struggle with maintaining a work and life balance.  We’re focused on building a thriving business that we forget to take time out and relax.  That needs to change.  If we’re not taking care of ourselves, what good are we going to be to continue building a business?  We don’t want to give up control or allow anyone else to help us.  We think we’re strong enough to take care of everything ourselves.  So. Not. True.

We must be willing to work relaxing times into our schedule.  We all could use a break.  Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day.  What makes you think your business can be fully functional in a day?

Next time that you’re working out your schedule for the week, block out some time for rest and relaxation.  You need to start treating yourself right. If you don’t, what makes you think you’ll be good for anyone or anything else.  You will have problems as time goes by.  Stop and take the time to relax now before you’re forced to relax later.

Make the Change

We as entrepreneurs must make the change to take better care of ourselves.  Our business is important.  However, so is our mental state.  Think about what you can do today to start making changes to keep your sanity intact? Eat better, exercise, spend quality time with our loved ones and friends.   There are so many things we could do.  The question is when will we start doing them?

Maybe you’re not seeing a counselor and you want to add that to your goal list.  Talking to someone is really helpful.  You’re not keeping all of that stuff inside of you.  By talking to someone, you’ve chosen to release all that is making you miserable inside.

Entrepreneurs and depression don’t get talked about as much as it should.  I guess some think that there really are no depressed entrepreneurs.  The stigma surrounding that must change.  We must have the conversation.  Suicide among entrepreneurs is increasing.

If you’re entrepreneur reading this today, do what you need to do to take better care of yourself.  Maintain a sense of balance in your life.  Things won’t always be easy, but they will be bearable.

Until Next Time….