There is a mental health crisis in entrepreneurship
There are so many fearsome nightmares that entrepreneurs never talk about for various reasons.
When we are considering entrepreneurship, we rarely consider the psychological price. We all know building a company isn’t easy but are we really honest about how brutal it gets along the way?
I have shared my fears and like others, it almost felt less of a burden then but when you are alone, you realize you are sinking deeper and deeper into a dark hole and you are all alone. I can’t even count the number of times this year I knew I was close to the edge. The pressure got worse. I have let people in to help me out but the two have left me walking on eggshells and at a more confused state than I was because there’s no worse nightmare than when you know it’s not all good, asking for help and getting a cold shoulder after a short while. This has triggered anxiety and self-sabotage but then when you are in need of help especially someone to hold your hand when shit is real and they PULL THE PLUG, where does that leave you? How do you reset? How do you tell yourself that it is not you and maybe you were meant to figure out things on your own? Do you feel sad? Do you ask them “What happened?” “Are you okay?” Are we okay? If they were people you’d started considering as friends. Or because you have no money you have no access to them or power to ask such questions? Are you allowed to feel like you were a bother? How do you pick yourself up and move on?
It’s shocking that I have had more sleepless nights, staring at the ceiling in the dark more than I have had nights that I slept this year. “I’m tired” has almost been my signature response when asked how I am more this year and my mind has done a couple of racing sprints wondering when things will turn.
Is it okay if I said it’s been a year of constant anxiety? I have seen how it has almost had a way with my confidence because I have felt like every time I build up something or make a connection or get the support I thought I needed to move forward, something happens to take it away.
It feels like I have been on the edge all year and I reached out to the wrong people. I don’t want to sound entitled but my feelings are valid and that feeling of maybe I reached out to the wrong people or they weren’t really genuine is not easy to let go of.
As an entrepreneur juggling many roles and facing countless setbacks- all while struggling to make profits has been one traumatic experience.
We don’t even talk about how lonely entrepreneurship really is. I can’t recall the last time anyone asked how business makes me feel. Maybe I wanted or still do want someone to ask me that. Will it make it any better? I have no idea.
It’s said that when it comes to fighting off depression, relationships with friends and family can be powerful weapons. That hasn’t seemed to have worked for me this year. Instead, I have avoided burdening some, and those I was comfortable reaching out to left me feeling like a burden and wondering if I was forcing friendships or conversations,or connections. It’s been a struggle showing up with a ‘mask’ or okay face for coffee when I knew my mental state was in shambles because I needed to please them, after all they were helping me. To the extreme I have felt like I was given an ultimatum that “if you don’t show up” with no platform or safe space to say, “I can’t meet people today”. The most unfortunate thing is that such people never bother to ask if you are okay to show up but such is life right?
I am not sure what my current relationship with asking for help is at the moment but it’s nothing close to a healthy relationship. Could be toxic or crowded with the negative side of “what if”. My hope is that I can deal with that and ask for help next year and trust that it won’t be short lived.
About the friendships I feel were forced this year after I asked for business support, that is one tough question. Torn between are you okay?, asking what happened?, what did I do? or not do? Or just ghosting and accepting things at times just happen. Of course I was hurt and upset but I hold no grudge.
Moving forward, I would like to have the ability to re-frame failure and loss as it will help maintain good mental health.
This has been a reflective couple of weeks and I have decided that I will not be hard on myself or tell myself that I failed, the business didn’t deliver as expected but instead I will look at it from a different perspective that I am on a constant process of trial and error and I will not exaggerated the experience. I will not beat myself up for not maintaining the friends I really wanted to retain.
Lastly, I want to be open about my feelings. I won’t mask my emotions. I am not looking for sympathy or an apology. I am simply sharing my truth.
If I approached you for help when I was at my worst and you pulled the plug along the way, it left me in a bad state and I have overly thought about what I did wrong and most times felt like I was a bother. If I contributed to change in behavior or triggered the end to the support, I apologize.
I wish people would communicate that they won’t support you anymore than just turning cold and leaving you walking on eggshells and making you feel desperate.
I hold no grudges. I however would not want to make new friends or connections that leave me in such a state next year. How to prevent that remains unclear.
I don’t know how your year has been as an entrepreneur. I’d like to know.
Take time to reflect as this will be a good place to start the healing journey and know how to pay the psychological price that comes with entrepreneurship.