What does Depression look like for Entrepreneurs?

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What happens when your business depends on you being a motivated driving force, but you don't feel that motivation?
When the fact that you are your own boss and have to kick yourself in the butt isn't working because you just plain don't feel like it?
When your long-term success depends on you focusing on a long term project that is hard but you are having a hard time seeing that far down the road?
When you need to be focusing on the hard projects that don't have a short-term positive impact but you would rather tackle the quick-fix items on your list that have negligible long-term value but give you that short-term feeling of accomplishment?
Or even just drop the task list and play a video game with its constant feeling of accomplishing something but really accomplishing nothing?
What do you do when no one is going to tell you to get out of bed in the morning and get to work and you just don't feel like it?
When you used to thrive on 6 hours of sleep a night and woke up brimming with potential ideas and thrilled with a new day but now you seem to need at least 8 hours and wake up frustrated with all the undone stuff you put off yesterday and still need to do today.
You've stopped yearning to fill your mind with good information from books and lectures and instead want to occupy your mind with trivialities and movies.

At some point, you realize you just might be struggling with depression.

Depression... I can't be struggling with depression. I'm the eternal optimist, I'm the self-motivated one, I'm the one who not only keeps myself motivated but motivates those around me, I'm the one everyone looks too to make sure everything is okay, I'm the leader, the driver, the one others look to for direction and inspiration.

I can't possibly be depressed... can I?

Isn't depression is something experienced by those sad souls who have no ambition in life and just go to work and come home and sit on the couch in front of the TV and live for the weekend or those who don't even have a job or direction in life? That's not me... how can I be depressed?

No one would ever look at me and say, "there goes someone who is depressed", they point to me as a motivated high-achiever. I remember a story where someone working with a successful litigator came to the realization that this lawyer was drunk a large portion of the time and when he questioned him about it, the lawyer called himself a high-functioning drunk. I think I am a high-functioning depressed business owner.

I know that Depression is something that a large portion of the population struggle with, some have struggle with it for periods lasting months or years and others struggle with it at some level their entire life. But that can't be me, right? Depression is for other people and if I am to be brutally honest in the back of my very judgmental mind, depression is an excuse used by those weak people unable to pull themselves up by their own bootstraps. How could I be struggling with depression?

Yet the more I want to deny it, the more it looks and acts like depression, then maybe it really is depression.

So where do I go from here... I mean, this is kind of embarrassing, this isn't me, I'm not supposed to be this person. Yet I can see myself making bad decisions, not big ones or even noticeable ones, yet, but bad decisions all the same and I'm starting to see one bad decision leading to another and another in a cascading effect that may not be apparent on the surface just yet but if left unchecked will lead to larger, more impactful decisions. Yet the strange phenomena of the personal embarrassment and guilt feelings of watching myself make bad choices causes me to feel even worse, cycling me further down the path.

Never having struggled with alcoholism myself, I have still learned so much by talking to those people who are in AA alcoholics anonymous. the principles behind that organization are so sound and so in tune with our fallen nature as people, our need of God and our potential as image bearers and children of God. the First step is admitting that you are an alcoholic made famous by the statement "Hi, I'm _______ and I am an alcoholic"

Part of what gives depression its power is the shame -- and the need to conceal those feelings to give off the aura that everything is awesome, business is great and I'm doing fantastic.

Well, here goes: "Hi, I'm Seth, and I'm depressed."

1 comment:

  1. Dude. I'll walk that walk with you. Gen X men are experiencing massive struggle, even those who are natural leaders and innovators in business. We've been poorly mentored and by a self-absorbed group walking ahead of us leaving many feeling like the rug we were promised was pulled right out from under us and a difficult expectation of being Super Dad at the same time. We need to be talking about this and sharing our own journey of emergence before more of us blow up their families or worse seeking greener grass or a quick exit from pain.


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