How do you deal with depression as an entrepreneur?

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I have previously written about my own struggles with depression and the particular struggles that entrepreneurs have with depression based on my experience of coaching many of them. but once you realize that you might actually struggle with depression yourself then what next?

So how do you actually go about dealing with it? Let me try to give you some practical ideas, but first a few caveats:

I am far from an expert in the area of depression, I have read a total of one book on the subject and while enlightening, it was short on how to deal with it.

Second, and I am really struggling with how to explain this without coming across as arrogant or elitist but these ideas aren't meant to be a solution for everyone-- this isn't a "one size fits all" approach in dealing with depression. I am writing this to entrepreneurs, people who don't just passively take what life gives them but actively goes out and creates what life didn't hand them, People who not only can see something that doesn't exist, but can then mold the world around them to match that idea. people who don't whine and complain but make things happen, people who have a history of self-motivation, of moving men and mountains. I don't say all that just to flatter you, but to acknowledge that you look at life differently than most, you're one of the crazy ones, the dreamers that Apple talks about in its commercial, the ones who think different. this is written for you.

Admit to yourself and others that you are depressed.
There have been times in my life where this one thing has turned the corner on different times of struggling with depressed thinking. I will tell you that mine hasn't been a continual struggle with depression, but more dealing with periods-- be they weeks or months or years-- when I spiraled downward in my thinking and decisions and had to acknowledge the fact that I was actually struggling with depressed thinking and needed to turn my thinking around. Admittedly, I wasn't so far down the path that I could just stop myself in my tracks and realize I was on the wrong path mentally and find the right path again. so really for anyone seriously struggling, this is only a first step but for me sometimes this one step has change the trajectory of my thinking and was the key for moving past my feelings of depression.

Realize you are believing some lies and keep track of the lies that you believe.
This may sound strange when I say "lies that you believe" because it doesn't make sense that if you know something is a lie that you would continue believing it, right? Well, maybe I am the weird one here, because if you asked me I could at any time give you a list of some of the lies that I currently believe. Because "believe" is more than just a mental thing, it's an emotional thing that moves us, motivates us, determines how we act and react in this crazy illogical thing we call life. I believe things about the way others think about me that there is no way I can know whether they are true or not and when I think about I am pretty sure they are false but that doesn't stop me from responding to them based on the lies that I keep telling myself.

No one else could tell you what those lies are in your life, but I can guarantee you that you have them and that you respond to the world around you based on your belief in those lies, some of them you may not yet realize are lies but I am pretty sure that if you think about it, you will be able to point out assumptions that you are basing your life on that you can't definitely tell are true no matter how strongly you feel them and in some cases if you are honest with yourself you can tell that they are most likely false. yet you still believe them and your self-talk is constantly reinforcing this lie causing you to live them out.

What are these lies in your life? List and track them as they enter into your mental conversation. If you are anything like me, you won't be able to immediately change the way you respond to the world based on this, but over time keeping track of the lies we tell ourselves can go a long way toward changing our thinking and through changing our thinking, changing the way we respond to the world.

Change what's going into your head:
Old Programmers maxim, if the output is different than what you expect, check your inputs.
If you don't like the what's coming out of your head and your life, then check on what's going into it.

What's going into your head?
What are you reading?
What are you listening to?
What are you watching?

What's going into your body?
What are you eating?
What are you drinking?
What kind of sleep are you getting?

You can't change all these things at once, I doubt you have the consciousness, willpower and stamina to change all these things at once but if I know you at all I know you have the ability to chose one or two of these inputs and live consciously enough to deliberately change them for the better. Take a look at the inputs in your life and decide which of them need to change.

Radically change things, change your perspective, change your environment.
In the movie Dead Poet's Society, Robin Williams' character got his students to do the strange thing of standing on their desks in order to just gain a new perspective of the role that they were in.
Move your office - either temporarily or permanently - go work at a coffee shop
Clean your office - I call this clearing the decks for action, remove every scrap of paper, knickknack or not absolutely essential item off of any surface in your office or work area. even if it just gets piled into a drawer
Mess with your routine - take a vacation, take a trip, go to work early, leave work early, go for a walk, go for a swim, allow yourself to take a nap, I don't know what but change something, your currently in a mental rut so change your routine

Will changing your environment change your thinking? Not necessarily. But sometimes it is just what is needed in order for you to start to see things differently

Bring someone else into the picture:
AA knows that in order to make significant change you need to involve someone else in your life as someone to be transparent with, to help when your struggling and to hold you accountable. Find someone with an outside perspective, someone who is willing to tell you the truth and who you can be truthful and transparent with.

Look I know you can beat this, you know you can beat this but that doesn't mean you don't need any help whether that be being honest with yourself, self awareness of your thinking, changing the inputs in your life or just plain changing things or involving other people,  This may not be all that you need but it's my attempt to give you a starting point to deal with it.


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