Entrepreneurs — Let’s Talk Mental Health (Part 2)
The light at the end of the tunnel
Ransom to Pay
Building a company is hard — mentally, physically and emotionally. In Part 1 of this series, we discussed the potential reasons why almost 72% of entrepreneurs suffer from mental health issues. In Part 2, we are going to discuss when and how to seek help.
The Silent (Serial) Killer
“He is probably just having a bad day.”
“She might be on her period…”
“What an attention seeker.”
Unlike a bad cold or a broken arm, the symptoms of mental illnesses like stress, anxiety and depression are less easily distinguishable, and often brushed off with a casual explanation.
How many of your employees are chronically burnt out? How many are battling clinical depression? Are any of them suffering from anxiety?
These questions might seem difficult to answer — because they are.
Although mental illness can be physical as well, such as a drastic change in weight, or consistently looking tired…it’s not always apparent when someone is coping with a mental health issue. Neglecting symptoms is not only limited to other people viewing the mental illness victim, it is often misinterpreted by the victim him/herself — yet identifying and acknowledging the symptoms are the first steps to getting better.
The Sink to the Bottom
‘’Hitting bottom isn’t always a dramatic crash. Sometimes it’s a slow sink to the bottom.” — Jon Dishotsky, CEO and cofounder of Starcity.
Your body and mind can signal you in subtle ways when something is wrong, often before your conscious mind recognizes them.
Maybe you’ve felt a general sense of malaise, or just not feeling like yourself. Maybe you’re more tired than usual, but you’re not sure why. Maybe there are more acute physical symptoms, like a tightness in your chest or a weight in the pit of your stomach.
It’s a good idea to check in with yourself and other’s from time to time and seek help promptly, before the condition worsens.
Here are some a list (by NO means exhaustive) of symptoms that you should be aware of when deciding whether you should start seeking help:
- Constantly Overwhelmed. You feel like you constantly have too many things to handle, or too many issues to cope with. You feel like you have no time, or cannot get yourself to rest or even breathe.
- Fatigue. This physical symptom often results from or accompanies mental health issues. Fatigue can cause you to sleep more than usual or have trouble getting out of bed in the morning.
- Disproportionate rage, anger, or resentment. Everyone gets angry from time to time. Seeking support to deal with these feelings may be a good idea when they don’t pass, or if your anger is consistently disproportionate relative to the situation, or if they lead you to violence.
- Agoraphobia. People with agoraphobia fear being in places where they might experience panic attacks or feel as if they are trapped. Some people may become unable to leave their houses.
- Anxiety or intrusive thoughts. It’s normal to worry sometimes, but when worrying takes up a significant part of your day, and becomes excessive or intrusive, therapy can help you deal with it.
- Apathy. Losing interest in your hobbies and activities, the world around you, or life in general can indicate mental issues like depression or anxiety.
- Hopelessness. Feeling hopeless, especially after a period of difficulty, isn’t uncommon. But you have this persistent feeling that life is meaningless and hopeless, this might be something to be concerned about.
- Social withdrawal. Everyone needs some time alone to recuperate, especially for people on the introverted side. But if you often feel distressed or afraid, even, being around others, it might be beneficial to seek help to better deal with these feelings.
“One of the most powerful things is to proactively work on your mental wellbeing, rather than waiting for the time when it feels like you need help” — Jess Ratcliffe, Professional Mental and Life Coach.
The good news is, help is all around you. And it doesn’t need to be “professional” per se.
Simply speaking out about it, to a trusted friend or colleague, or find an online support network like 7 Cups of Tea, a peer-to-peer online counseling platform, could be hugely beneficial.
The beautiful thing about seeking help is not only will you realize that your sentiments are shared by A LOT more people than you might have previously thought, you will also gain insights from other people’s mental health journey, and maybe shed light on someone else’s too.
Remember, you are not alone.