Depression is such a bitch.
I know, I know. Watch my language.
But currently as I’m writing this it’s 2:00AM on a Saturday and I’m not at my best.
I’ve been battling clinical depression and eating disorders for a couple years now. I’m in recovery mode for my EDs, and my depression is (usually) manageable. Tonight, sadly, that is not the case.
This is one of the first nights in a very long time where I feel this hopeless. That doesn’t really fit with my brand, I know, but let’s not forget that this is still a very valid part of my life. These are demons I fight daily and in the moment they’re winning this round.
Usually this is where I’d delete my social media and disappear for a bit, but seeing how I’m trying to run this business and I assist in two other businesses I just can’t do that.
For some reason, no one ever talks about the problems entrepreneurs with mental health issues face. We talk about the general ups and downs that the average entrepreneur goes through on a daily basis, but for some of us those “downs” are really really down and its not always in our control.
Being a self help/empowerment blogger and coach, I see the “Choose Happiness” propaganda floating around a lot and I want to gag (bad pun) whenever I see it.
When I was deep in my depression, someone once told me that I could change it all if I wanted to. They said I was choosing to be sad and depressed.
I have a general question to people who spew that line constantly:
Do you really think I would choose this for myself?
Depression is a bitch. No, I’m not going to sugar coat it. Depression isn’t something I can will away. I can’t wake up one morning and magically decide that I’m no longer going to be depressed and that it was all a rouse. It’s quite the opposite actually. It’s an actual valid part of my life ( I can’t stress that enough ) and as an entrepreneur it’s the biggest pain in the ass you could face.
I don’t know about you, but these are some of the issues I personally face being an entrepreneur who is trying to conquer an ED, her depression, and her anxiety issues.
1. The Want to Disappear but the Need to Stay
When you’re working a job for someone else, you can call in and just say “Hey! I’m not feeling well. I need to stay out today.” and have it count as sick leave. Working for yourself is great, butjust because you’re doing that it doesn’t mean you don’t have those days anymore.
There are days when I need to call out sick, but being a one woman show if I disappear nothing happens. Coaching Brittany says that is no excuse, and that if your mental health needs a day, you need to take a damn day. Workaholic Brittany feels guilty and worse if she does that.
There are days where I want to just poof off of social media for a bit and seclude myself away, but I just can’t do that at the moment without my business taking a hit.
2. Do as I Say, Not as I Do
This is more specific to those in the coaching, mentoring, and consulting industries.
It’s really hard to talk about the magic of life when you physically can’t get out of bed. I don’t rescind the times I’ve said I’m still explicitly happy with life on my worst days lately. It’s true. But sometimes I start to feel like a fraud.
I’m human. I’m still going through the six and I don’t always have my woes with me. Deep down I know what I’m saying is true and honest and I believe what I’m saying, but I still can’t help but feel fake at times. I can’t help but feel as if I’m the wrong person for this job when the mood hits.
3. Appearance is Everything
When you have a brand built on positivity, innovation, dreaming, and creativity, you have to keep up with it. You need to post the happy posts, the adventures, the weird moments, and the visions of the future.
That’s all extremely real and that’s all completely true to who I am, but in the darker moments like where I am right now it becomes a bit exhausting. I believe everything I’m saying, but there’s a slight disconnect. To fall back on a metaphor, it’s as if there’s a plug for an outlet and it’s not completely plugged all the way in. The lights are flickerin
g on and off enough to make you think it’s functioning so you don’t ask questions, but in all reality it’s very unstable.
You have to constantly keep a certain appearance up and you have to constantly showcase a certain side of yourself. I honestly think this is why so many celebrities have mental issues. They sit there and they boast about certain aspects of their lives because appearance is everything. In doing so they lose sight of themselves and next thing you know they’re making some huge post saying they’re disappearing for a bit or they just vanish only to come back years later with some tell tale interview.
4. One is the Loneliest Number that will Ever Be
Okay it’s not really a pity party. Instead it’s really that moment where you know you need to talk and you need to vent but you don’t know who to go to.
When you embrace entrepreneurship, you embrace the fact that you may lose some friends along the way or things may get strained with them. When you have depression, sometimes all you want is to talk to someone — anyone at all who will listen to your ramblings, feelings, emotions, and mumbled “sorries”.
In that moment, who do you go to? You know you need to step out and talk to someone but even after you call you struggle with even getting your words out and simply putting yourself out there. You don’t want to seem weak. You don’t want to seem as if you’re a sad pile of melancholy…stuff or whatever and you can’t handle yourself.
In paranoia of that, you back down. You don’t call anyone and you instead turn to music or maybe your favorite show on Netflix. For me, it’s The Office.
We don’t have as many people to go to, and when we combine those two issues the list gets even smaller.
5. Am I Truly Succeeding?
On the good days, it feels like we do SO much. We’ve gotten so much done and we’re accomplishing everything our hearts set out to accomplish. But on the bad days?
On the bad days you sit there panicky because you don’t feel like you’ve accomplished anything. You feel like none of the work you’re doing is amounting to anything and you feel like everything you’re doing is a waste.
You start looking at your peers and what they’re accomplishing and what you’re not. All of a sudden every little win you celebrated fades into the background and success isn’t as relative as it should be.
Interesting enough, those are the only moments you sincerely question if you’re doing the right thing.
Having depression and trying to launch your brand or business is not easy. You either feel completely motivated and empowered or you feel drained, tired, and hopeless. Very rarely are we in a gray area where we feel bad but we still are being extremely productive.
We need to take more time to ourselves. We take care of our physical bodies when we’re sick, so we need to do that with our mental health as well by taking time out for self care and self love.
It’s hard being both depressed and an entrepreneur, but it’s rewarding and I love it. I’m depressed, but I’m still happy and in love with life and I know I am. I’m still living out my happily ever after because I’m living a life where I control my days, my hours, and I get to inspire and motivate others to kick ass. Although as we all already know, sometimes there’s trouble in paradise.
Speak up about your mental issues. You’re not alone and there are a bunch of business people out there who have to fight these emotions daily just like you. And hey, if I’m wrong at least know I understand your pain. At least you have me, and you’ll always have me.
Let’s Make Magic Happen,