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GOLD! Let's Talk About Entrepreneurial Depression

AgainstAllOdds

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It's a tough topic, but one that should not be taboo to talk about.

If you choose the life of an entrepreneur, there's one thing you need to accept that's not in almost any business book: Your probability of being depressed, stressed, and anxious skyrockets.

"Depression was the highest-reported reported condition, being present in 30% of all entrepreneurs. ADHD (29%) and anxiety problems (27%) followed close by. That’s a dramatically higher percentage than the US population at large, where only about 7% identify as depressed."
You're 4x more likely to be depressed at some point if you choose the "fastlane" path. To get through the dark times, you have to be mentally strong and prepared. You also have to acknowledge that this is something that can happen, and be ready to get help when you need it.

The life of an entrepreneur is not easy. Socially, you're considered an outcast by family members and friends that all have slowlane jobs. Financially, you're continuously on the brink of ruin until you get something going. Ego-wise, you're bouncing between feeling like a god and felling like a bum. I've been there, I know. I'm still there every once in awhile.

It's hard, and something you need to prepare for.

In my life, I'm currently struggling with a best friend that's become an alcoholic - and on the inside it's tearing me apart. He couldn't handle the stress and turned to drinking. As his numbers didn't meet with his time expectations, that led to more drinking and more depression, and more drinking again. He's on a downward spiral and we're doing our best to make help him, making sure he doesn't do anything stupid, but bit by bit he's losing a part of himself each day.

It's incredibly hard to see, but I get it.

I've personally had suicidal thoughts, and know a good number of entrepreneurs that were in a similar boat. Start of 2017 I had a paper net worth over a million at 25. End of 2017, I had my money stolen by a factory, and went broke. When I found out I lost it all, I spent the night drinking a fifth by myself in a Malaysian nightclub wondering if I should end it. The next day I woke up, realized I loved myself, and started questioning why I'd ever think that. So I bought a ticket to a village in Thailand and did Muay Thai every day until I got my mind right. I caught my depression before it could catch me.

This is something that you need to prepare for. For a lot of you ambitious folks, it's something that comes with the territory. Don't believe me?

Here are quotes from a few top entrepreneurs:

“First and foremost, a start-up puts you on an emotional rollercoaster unlike anything you have ever experienced. You flip rapidly from day-to-day — one where you are euphorically convinced you are going to own the world, to a day in which doom seems only weeks away and you feel completely ruined, and back again. Over and over and over. And I’m talking about what happens to stable entrepreneurs. There is so much uncertainty and so much risk around practically everything you are doing. The level of stress that you’re under generally will magnify things incredible highs and unbelievable lows at whiplash speed and huge magnitude.” - Marc Andreesen
“Running a start-up is like chewing glass and staring into the abyss. After a while, you stop staring, but the glass chewing never ends.” - Elon Musk
“Surely there have been times when you’ve been sad. Perhaps a loved one has abandoned you or a plan has gone horribly awry. Your face falls. Perhaps you cry. You feel worthless. You wonder whether it’s worth going on. Everything you think about seems bleak — the things you’ve done, the things you hope to do, the people around you. You want to lie in bed and keep the lights off. Depressed mood is like that, only it doesn’t come for any reason and it doesn’t go for any either. Go outside and get some fresh air or cuddle with a loved one and you don’t feel any better, only more upset at being unable to feel the joy that everyone else seems to feel. Everything gets colored by the sadness.” - Aaron Swartz, the founder of Reddit who later sadly killed himself .
“If you ask a founder how her startup is going, the answer is almost always some version of “Great!”

There is a huge amount of pressure as a founder to never show weakness and to be the cheerleader in all internal and external situations. The world can be falling down around you — and most of the time when you’re running a company, it is — and you have to be the strong, confident, and optimistic. Failing is terrifying, and so is looking stupid.

Founders end up with a lot of weight on their shoulders — their employees and their families, their customers, their investors, etc. Founders usually feel a responsibility to make everyone happy, even though interests are often opposed. And it’s lonely in a way that’s difficult to explain, even with a cofounder (one of the things that works about organizations like Y Combinator is that you have a peer group you can lean on for support).

So a lot of founders end up pretty depressed at one point or another, and they generally don’t talk to anyone about it. Often companies don’t survive these dark times.” - Sam Altman from Y-Combinator
“I have seen CEOs try to cope with the stress by drinking heavily, checking out, and even quitting. In each case, the CEO has a marvellous rationalization why it was OK for him to punk out or quit, but none them will ever be great CEOs. Great CEOs face the pain. They deal with the sleepless nights, the cold sweat, and what my friend the great Alfred Chuang (legendary founder and CEO of BEA Systems) calls “the torture.” Whenever I meet a successful CEO, I ask them how they did it. Mediocre CEOs point to their brilliant strategic moves or their intuitive business sense or a variety of other self-congratulatory explanations. The great CEOs tend to be remarkably consistent in their answers. They all say: “I didn’t quit.” - Ben Horowitz
This is something that a lot of ambitious people go through.

And it's not something you should be ashamed of, if it hits you too. However, it is something that you need to acknowledge exists as a risk, and determine if you have the mental fortitude to jump into entrepreneurship and the fastlane.

You also need a plan to deal with the stress, sadness, and darkness if it comes.

For me, things that really help are:
  • Working out. It's a great stress relief that releases endorphins and helps you feel better little by little.
  • Having friends that are going through or have gone through the same struggle. This forum is amazing with the wealth of entrepreneurial experiences. It's nice to know that you're not alone and not feel as isolated. Meet these people in real life to make it more real.
  • Staying away from substances when I'm sad or stressed. If I'm feeling down, I stay away from anything that can be a crutch. There's very little in life that three nights of sleep can't fix. Stay away from alcohol, drugs, and other substances when you're feeling down. They won't help you, just make matters worse.
  • Things that I'm proud of and can point at. Some of my proudest accomplishments are people that I've helped. When you're feeling good, consider going out and helping others. Consider this your mental insurance policy when you're feeling down. When you're down, just think of the people you've helped, and use that as motivation to go forward.
For yourself, make sure you have your own plan if things go bad. And remember: your mental health is more important than any dollar you make. Your identity isn't money, or how your business is doing. Those are just things that you happen to do.

Any thoughts?
 

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biggeemac

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I was at my wits end last weekend. Anxiety definitely had the upper hand. Finally, my wife and I jumped in the car with the dog and headed to a large state park with nice water falls and rivers. All of my anxiety seemed to melt away. Something about getting out into nature helped me. Needless to say.....I am shopping around for a little weekender RV. I think nature may just be the medicine I need.
 

MTEE1985

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I cannot stress enough: do not internalize it.

Your thoughts will lie to you and can take you down a dangerous path. Find a counselor, a friend, pm somebody on this forum. You are not alone going through it and please don’t try to tackle it alone.
 
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AgainstAllOdds

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I was at my wits end last weekend. Anxiety definitely had the upper hand. Finally, my wife and I jumped in the car with the dog and headed to a large state park with nice water falls and rivers. All of my anxiety seemed to melt away. Something about getting out into nature helped me. Needless to say.....I am shopping around for a little weekender RV. I think nature may just be the medicine I need.
That's a great point.

The Japanese have a word for this "Shinrin-yoku", which means: “forest bathing”.

There's a lot of data that supports being in nature as a form of therapy. Worth trying and incorporating into your regular routine.
 

JunkBoxJoey_JBJ

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It's a tough topic, but one that should not be taboo to talk about...

...And remember: your mental health is more important than any dollar you make. Your identity isn't money, or how your business is doing. Those are just things that you happen to do.

Any thoughts?
Huge point @AgainstAllOdds, great post.

And, as the world turns with screen time on computers and phones becoming more and more prevalent, I think there will be a significant point for some of the population and entrepreneurs to return to things as mentioned by @biggeemac (i.e. nature, camping, family, less phone time, etc). Yoga, food intake and sleep are important for me and I'm not even fully Fastlane (yet) as defined by MJ.

Too bad about your friend, hopefully they can pull through...
 

Bertram

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It's a tough topic, but one that should not be taboo to talk about.

If you choose the life of an entrepreneur, there's one thing you need to accept that's not in almost any business book: Your probability of being depressed, stressed, and anxious skyrockets.



You're 4x more likely to be depressed at some point if you choose the "fastlane" path. To get through the dark times, you have to be mentally strong and prepared. You also have to acknowledge that this is something that can happen, and be ready to get help when you need it.

The life of an entrepreneur is not easy. Socially, you're considered an outcast by family members and friends that all have slowlane jobs. Financially, you're continuously on the brink of ruin until you get something going. Ego-wise, you're bouncing between feeling like a god and felling like a bum. I've been there, I know. I'm still there every once in awhile.

It's hard, and something you need to prepare for.

In my life, I'm currently struggling with a best friend that's become an alcoholic - and on the inside it's tearing me apart. He couldn't handle the stress and turned to drinking. As his numbers didn't meet with his time expectations, that led to more drinking and more depression, and more drinking again. He's on a downward spiral and we're doing our best to make help him, making sure he doesn't do anything stupid, but bit by bit he's losing a part of himself each day.

It's incredibly hard to see, but I get it.

I've personally had suicidal thoughts, and know a good number of entrepreneurs that were in a similar boat. Start of 2017 I had a paper net worth over a million at 25. End of 2017, I had my money stolen by a factory, and went broke. When I found out I lost it all, I spent the night drinking a fifth by myself in a Malaysian nightclub wondering if I should end it. The next day I woke up, realized I loved myself, and started questioning why I'd ever think that. So I bought a ticket to a village in Thailand and did Muay Thai every day until I got my mind right. I caught my depression before it could catch me.

This is something that you need to prepare for. For a lot of you ambitious folks, it's something that comes with the territory. Don't believe me?

Here are quotes from a few top entrepreneurs:











This is something that a lot of ambitious people go through.

And it's not something you should be ashamed of, if it hits you too. However, it is something that you need to acknowledge exists as a risk, and determine if you have the mental fortitude to jump into entrepreneurship and the fastlane.

You also need a plan to deal with the stress, sadness, and darkness if it comes.

For me, things that really help are:
  • Working out. It's a great stress relief that releases endorphins and helps you feel better little by little.
  • Having friends that are going through or have gone through the same struggle. This forum is amazing with the wealth of entrepreneurial experiences. It's nice to know that you're not alone and not feel as isolated. Meet these people in real life to make it more real.
  • Staying away from substances when I'm sad or stressed. If I'm feeling down, I stay away from anything that can be a crutch. There's very little in life that three nights of sleep can't fix. Stay away from alcohol, drugs, and other substances when you're feeling down. They won't help you, just make matters worse.
  • Things that I'm proud of and can point at. Some of my proudest accomplishments are people that I've helped. When you're feeling good, consider going out and helping others. Consider this your mental insurance policy when you're feeling down. When you're down, just think of the people you've helped, and use that as motivation to go forward.
For yourself, make sure you have your own plan if things go bad. And remember: your mental health is more important than any dollar you make. Your identity isn't money, or how your business is doing. Those are just things that you happen to do.

Any thoughts?
Entrepreneurs are the best people around.
This discussion will save some lives, @AgainstAllOdds .
Suicidal depression associated with financial stress is most dangerous to males, especially from the early 30s onwards.
AVOID DRINKING ALONE.
That's the single most triggering situation for acting on suicidal thoughts, gentlemen.
If you feel suicidal for more than six hours, for G-d's sakes go and eat some protein, meat, especially turkey.
Suicide always leaves a mess behind.
Suicide always ruins others' lives.
 
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  • You are much more than your bank account, business, or even slow lane job
  • Good to check in with yourself to ask "what place am I coming from?"
    • Inspiration or desperation?
      • Desperation will eventually burn you out and lead to depression
  • Good to have an identity outside of business - relationships, hobbies
  • I know I tend to get afraid of slacking and veer towards the all or nothing mentality
  • I'm no expert and am still trying to figure it out
 
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Primeperiwinkle

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Thanks for this post. You’re right. People don’t talk about it because who wants to shine a spotlight on the most vulnerable area of their life?

And it IS an identity thing and one of shame and guilt over making wrong mistakes or failing to do the right things. We need to be able to talk about it.. but I can barely tell the closest ppl in my life about this crap.

And who the heck is gonna pay for a therapist when they’re trying to feed their kids?!?

Talking about money sucks but it’s necessary.
 

The-J

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Let's look at it, shall we:

  • You're alone a lot of the time, and when you're not alone, you're with people (employees, clients, etc) who you can't really speak to on a deep level. Super isolating.
  • Most people don't understand what you do or why you do it, making it difficult to talk with old friends and family about it. Even more isolating.
  • Your entrepreneur friends are busy, as you are, leaving you with not a lot of time to speak with them regularly. Extremely isolating.
  • Your rewards don't necessarily correlate to your hard work, especially in the beginning. It can feel like a grind and the grind can depress you.
  • You take risks that most people won't take and the result is unknown.
  • Surprises happen a LOT, some of which can destroy your whole business, that fear is always there
  • When the rewards come in, they're REALLY rewarding (even if they're not nominally great), so the highs are really high but the lows are really low. This is kind of manic-depressive.
  • You do a LOT of waiting. Waiting for product, waiting for payment, waiting for sales, waiting for bills, waiting all the time. The anxiety is serious.
  • When you finally DO succeed on some level, others won't share in your success like you will as they don't know the full story.
A person whose sense of personal utility is based on their moods and feelings of contentment should NEVER start on an entrepreneurial road, at least not without a deep purpose, because the process will destroy them.

However, a person who really believes in what they're doing and who feels a draw to a self-reliant enterprising lifestyle can't do anything else. It's our curse, our cross to bear, more than anything else in the world. More of us should invest in therapy even if there's nothing really wrong.
 

Andy Black

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Good for you bringing this up @AgainstAllOdds.

I too have a friend who was (is?) suffering with alcoholism. He seems to have turned a corner and I hope your friend does too.

I’ve also been to a therapist/counselor recently as I was getting overwhelmed with what life’s thrown at me in the last few years. Overwhelm is not good.

Our mental and emotional health is probably more important than anything else. If we lose the will then everything else goes with it.

I was talking to a friend just yesterday who’s new to working for himself. I explained that it’s hard, that there’s ups and downs as you go along, and that you’ve got to take care of yourself.

I also told him that it doesn’t get easier, but you get stronger. I’ll add the caveat that I don’t mean we have to be “strong” all the time. I urge anyone who’s having problems to speak to someone. Speak to professionals too ... they can help us see the wood for the trees.
 

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Really solid post @AgainstAllOdds - I've personally never suffered from depression but the closest I ever came was at the peak of being miserable in my old 9-5 job before starting my own business.

I've always just been a social drinker but there was one specific night after a really frustrating and stressful day at work when I realized I drank way too much by myself for the specific purpose of using it as a crutch to get through the stress/frustration I was dealing with... that was a scary wake up call.

I'm still relatively new to the entrepreneur lifestyle (started around a year and a half ago doing web design/SEO) but it really is such an emotional roller coaster. In the past 24 hours I received amazing news that my biggest web design contract yet is in a really good place to go through (client agreed on the budget just figuring out specifics + paperwork) and at the same time I got rejected for two potentially huge SEO contracts.

Even though this has been my best month so far for my business, my biggest fear is still running out of money and having to go back to some soul-sucking job like I was doing before. In typical guy fashion, I definitely keep all of the emotional baggage in and rarely speak about it.. something I'm going to work on in the future.
 

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Andy Black

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In the past 24 hours I received amazing news that my biggest web design contract yet is in a really good place to go through (client agreed on the budget just figuring out specifics + paperwork) and at the same time I got rejected for two potentially huge SEO contracts.
I’m not excited until the money’s in my account. And even then I’m not that excited anymore. I almost think excitement isn’t a good thing. A poker pro doesn’t get excited or annoyed when cards do or don’t fall his way (or he shouldn’t anyway). Maybe I’m wrong?
 

luniac

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The life of an entrepreneur is not easy. Socially, you're considered an outcast by family members and friends that all have slowlane jobs. Financially, you're continuously on the brink of ruin until you get something going. Ego-wise, you're bouncing between feeling like a god and felling like a bum. I've been there, I know. I'm still there every once in awhile.
man that's so on point, i feel like you know me personally lol

ill add to the socially, in my case being an outcast may also mean involuntary celibacy as well, which simply sucks.
Cause then I have urges to consume porn, which only makes me feel shittier afterwards.
either that or escorts which cost that precious $$$ which pays the bills and staves off the job.
Its just one more factor that makes the journey tougher mentally.

I swear i've noticed my mood swing back and forth so much i felt bipolar!
I'll never say i was depressed in my life, but definitely had depressive moods.
I definitely was burned out though after my night shift and being in the desert of desertion for 2 years.
That was brutal.

Zhan Zhuang standing meditation has been my secret to not going crazy, it really helps relax me.
I gotta stand for 1 hour straight for it to hit me deep enough.

i think this thread should be marked notable at least.
 
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ChrisV

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Opinion: Everyone (Yes, Everyone) Should Have A Therapist. Especially Those Trying To Pursue An Entrepreneurial Lifestyle.

 

Primeperiwinkle

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And whatever you do let’s not shame ppl who do feel comfortable, if only for a moment, sharing their feelings on a thread because.. ya know.. for all you know.. one of us might be 3k or $200 away from being homeless and isn’t going to get a therapist any time this year no matter how much they “need” one.

Sheesh.

My point is it’s refreshing to know that it’s a crazy up and down cycle for us all, no matter how much ppl are making.

525E92CD-B16C-4FE6-AEB8-9A0ECDEF01D8.jpeg
 

rynor

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Can't tell you how much this hits home. I've been having some pretty depressing thoughts lately, likely causing my reticular activating system to make this post stick out to me hah.

Anyways, you're dead on with how it feels to be an entrepreneur. All of it is completely new to me, having lived by the Script my entire life up until recently. I knew working from home would be isolating, but I never thought it would be this isolating. I try to walk outside, go to the gym, eat healthy, etc. but it does still feel lonely at times.

It's also extremely difficult to describe how I feel to my SO. No matter how much she tries to understand, she simply cannot. But, I don't blame her in the slightest though and understand her positioning.

As others have pointed out, I/we likely need some therapy because it's hard to talk to anyone else (besides other entrepreneurs).
 

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@AgainstAllOdds thank you for writing this and putting it out there on the forum. I touched on it briefly in my thread The Desert of Desertion is real... and I'm in it.

But the Desert of Desertion can quickly turn into straight depression. And honestly, I'm there.

We all know that finances are usually the biggest trigger for this sort of thing, in our world. We're always flirting with the edge of financial collapse. And it gets compounded when it affects "the real world", i.e. your family.

Having a newborn, it really weighs on me.
"If the business collapses, will all of these credit cards come after me personally?"
"Are we going to have to move out of a house into an apartment?"
"Is it fair to her that I'm always thinking about the business, even when I'm home?"

I'd love to say I've found some way to cope and handle the stress and depression, but I haven't. Having a supportive wife, who picks up on my cues helps though. Having friends in the game like @Greg R and the other guys in my mastermind help.

But its something I really need to focus on finding an outlet for. Because the depression leads to lethargy, and lethargy means I don't accomplish things that need to be done.. which only hurts the business and leads to more stress and depression.
 

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@AgainstAllOdds thank you for writing this and putting it out there on the forum. I touched on it briefly in my thread The Desert of Desertion is real... and I'm in it.

But the Desert of Desertion can quickly turn into straight depression. And honestly, I'm there.

We all know that finances are usually the biggest trigger for this sort of thing, in our world. We're always flirting with the edge of financial collapse. And it gets compounded when it affects "the real world", i.e. your family.

Having a newborn, it really weighs on me.
"If the business collapses, will all of these credit cards come after me personally?"
"Are we going to have to move out of a house into an apartment?"
"Is it fair to her that I'm always thinking about the business, even when I'm home?"

I'd love to say I've found some way to cope and handle the stress and depression, but I haven't. Having a supportive wife, who picks up on my cues helps though. Having friends in the game like @Greg R and the other guys in my mastermind help.

But its something I really need to focus on finding an outlet for. Because the depression leads to lethargy, and lethargy means I don't accomplish things that need to be done.. which only hurts the business and leads to more stress and depression.
If it's any consolation (and it won't be, sorry), it gets better.

We finished building our house Oct 2017. We had our kid October 2017. January 2018 the wife went back to work, and they didn't treat her well because she was on maternity leave (passed over for a bonus and a promotion, both of which were overdue).

We made the decision for her to quit that toxic work environment, but we knew our revenue from the business was literally not enough to cover our bills, and we had a couple months of runway until we were either running on debt or getting a "real job."

I worked my butt off to bring in clients, and eventually we got through the finances, but it also means I was working sun-up to sun-down. Didn't see my kid much, couldn't help my wife enough when she needed it, and caused massive stress.

Getting better now, but it's definitely a process, and one that doesn't get solved overnight.
 

Walter Hay

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AVOID DRINKING ALONE.
That's the single most triggering situation for acting on suicidal thoughts, gentlemen.
If you feel suicidal for more than six hours, for G-d's sakes go and eat some protein, meat, especially turkey.
Yes, drinking, and indeed many less understood activities, can trigger suicidal thoughts.
I note that you say "especially turkey." This suggests that you are probably aware that turkey meat contains high levels of the amino acid L-Tryptophan, which is a good anti-depressant for circumstantial depression -- the type that is predominately the kind of depression suffered by entrepreneurs. The problem is that you would have to eat almost a whole turkey to get a therapeutic dose. I will write more on antidepressants later in this post.
Because the depression leads to lethargy, and lethargy means I don't accomplish things that need to be done.. which only hurts the business and leads to more stress and depression.
It becomes a vicious circle, which is why depression should not be ignored.

As a counselor within my church, I have helped a lot of people suffering from either circumstantial depression or clinical depression, with a large number of cases sufferering from Bipolar Disorder.

For circumstantial depression, L-Tryptophan can be very effective with adequate doses, which would generally be 500mg just before bed. Taking more at bedtime can lead to having hallucinations. If depression continues, another 500mg in the morning won't cause hallucinations.

I prefer to recommend 5Hydroxytryptophan, which bypasses the digestive processes and is directly taken up in the brain. Dose is usually 100mg.

When a patient presents with severe, long term, and potentially life-threatening clinical depression, lazy or inept psychiatrists will prescribe SSRI antidepressants without taking the simple precaution of asking a standard set of questions to check whether the patient is suffering from Bipolar Disorder.

The administration of antidepressants for Bipolar sufferers without also prescribing mood levelers such as Lithium (the Gold standard treatment) can result in increasing the severity of their manic behavior. Results can be disastrous.

Sorry about my rant, but I have seen great harm done through carelessness. I suggest that rather than self-medicate, consult a Naturopathic Practitioner who understands mental illnesses, or an Orthomolecular Psychiatrist.

Walter
 

Mattie

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It's a tough topic, but one that should not be taboo to talk about.

If you choose the life of an entrepreneur, there's one thing you need to accept that's not in almost any business book: Your probability of being depressed, stressed, and anxious skyrockets.



You're 4x more likely to be depressed at some point if you choose the "fastlane" path. To get through the dark times, you have to be mentally strong and prepared. You also have to acknowledge that this is something that can happen, and be ready to get help when you need it.

The life of an entrepreneur is not easy. Socially, you're considered an outcast by family members and friends that all have slowlane jobs. Financially, you're continuously on the brink of ruin until you get something going. Ego-wise, you're bouncing between feeling like a god and felling like a bum. I've been there, I know. I'm still there every once in awhile.

It's hard, and something you need to prepare for.

In my life, I'm currently struggling with a best friend that's become an alcoholic - and on the inside it's tearing me apart. He couldn't handle the stress and turned to drinking. As his numbers didn't meet with his time expectations, that led to more drinking and more depression, and more drinking again. He's on a downward spiral and we're doing our best to make help him, making sure he doesn't do anything stupid, but bit by bit he's losing a part of himself each day.

It's incredibly hard to see, but I get it.

I've personally had suicidal thoughts, and know a good number of entrepreneurs that were in a similar boat. Start of 2017 I had a paper net worth over a million at 25. End of 2017, I had my money stolen by a factory, and went broke. When I found out I lost it all, I spent the night drinking a fifth by myself in a Malaysian nightclub wondering if I should end it. The next day I woke up, realized I loved myself, and started questioning why I'd ever think that. So I bought a ticket to a village in Thailand and did Muay Thai every day until I got my mind right. I caught my depression before it could catch me.

This is something that you need to prepare for. For a lot of you ambitious folks, it's something that comes with the territory. Don't believe me?

Here are quotes from a few top entrepreneurs:











This is something that a lot of ambitious people go through.

And it's not something you should be ashamed of, if it hits you too. However, it is something that you need to acknowledge exists as a risk, and determine if you have the mental fortitude to jump into entrepreneurship and the fastlane.

You also need a plan to deal with the stress, sadness, and darkness if it comes.

For me, things that really help are:
  • Working out. It's a great stress relief that releases endorphins and helps you feel better little by little.
  • Having friends that are going through or have gone through the same struggle. This forum is amazing with the wealth of entrepreneurial experiences. It's nice to know that you're not alone and not feel as isolated. Meet these people in real life to make it more real.
  • Staying away from substances when I'm sad or stressed. If I'm feeling down, I stay away from anything that can be a crutch. There's very little in life that three nights of sleep can't fix. Stay away from alcohol, drugs, and other substances when you're feeling down. They won't help you, just make matters worse.
  • Things that I'm proud of and can point at. Some of my proudest accomplishments are people that I've helped. When you're feeling good, consider going out and helping others. Consider this your mental insurance policy when you're feeling down. When you're down, just think of the people you've helped, and use that as motivation to go forward.
For yourself, make sure you have your own plan if things go bad. And remember: your mental health is more important than any dollar you make. Your identity isn't money, or how your business is doing. Those are just things that you happen to do.

Any thoughts?
I think this is the biggest key factor. Find alternative methods and techniques to handle stress, anxiety, and depression. This is something as Entrepreneurs you have to do every day of the year. Not just when you have highs and lows in business. It's a constant work out, and it makes a difference whether you succeed or fail.
 

guy93777

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Any thoughts?
people don't bother to study marketing so this is the law of cause and effect at work

i don't really understand your thread

people think they already know enough about life but life does not have the same opinion.

the pareto principle says that 80 % of people on this forum will go nowhere in the business world

this is not my opinion.
 

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Roli

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It's a tough topic, but one that should not be taboo to talk about.

If you choose the life of an entrepreneur, there's one thing you need to accept that's not in almost any business book: Your probability of being depressed, stressed, and anxious skyrockets.
Well done for broaching this subject, too often in our community there is a just get on with it attitude when it comes to matters of depression and/or anxiety.

I have personally found meditation very helpful, and also some of the tactics in Deep Work really helped me switch off and relax. I now make a conscious effort to shut down at the end of the day. In addition to that making specific time to think over problems (this helps you sleep better and quells anxiety).

So instead of lying awake worrying about conversions, you say to yourself; I will tackle that problem between 10.30 and 11.30 a.m. This has the effect of chilling you out and allowing you to concentrate on something else or simply go to sleep.

As you mention exercise is great, the problem is if you're anxious or depressed you don't feel like exercise. So you just have to keep telling yourself it'll be great and you'll feel like it when you're doing it.

my wife and I jumped in the car with the dog and headed to a large state park with nice water falls and rivers.
I saw a video about some interesting research which proved that negative ions create positive emotions within us. The biggest sources of them are in dense forest and crashing water, so waterfalls, cliffs, etc.

I often go to my local park and just find a quiet spot, take my shoes off so my bare feet are on the grass, and just breathe deeply. This simple little trick can really elevate my mood and make me feel invigorated.

Having a newborn, it really weighs on me.
"If the business collapses, will all of these credit cards come after me personally?"
"Are we going to have to move out of a house into an apartment?"
"Is it fair to her that I'm always thinking about the business, even when I'm home?"
I know the feeling, you just have to concentrate on what's important. Whilst you have fears about providing for your child, you must remember that as long as they are healthy and getting lots of parental love and nurturing, the most important bases are covered. Everything else can be worked on.

Maybe your credit card companies will come after you personally. The worst that can happen is you have to declare bankruptcy and go on a repayment plan. - Your child will still be healthy and loved.

Maybe you will have to move into a smaller place. - Your child will still be healthy and loved.

Perhaps it's not fair to always be thinking about the business. So create shutdown zones in your mind, times whereby you think about nothing but being a loving husband and doting father. As I mentioned above, the Deep Work trick of telling your mind that you will think about certain problems at specific times, will quell your anxiety and make you feel more confident in decision making.

Above all else: - Your child will still be healthy and loved and that is all that matters.

Lastly for anyone reading this, do not think of worrying problems before 7 a.m. This is because your limbic system in your brain, which mainly processes emotion, is almost completely in charge between about 4 and 7. Therefore any problems will seem a lot worse than they actually are, instead get into the habit of designating times after 9 a.m. to think about them.
 

kelvinfernandezm

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I've been depressed for a long time. Ever since I left college for the entrepreneur life.

I'm finally getting out of my depressive state.

I have isolated my self from friends and family. I couldn't cope with their outlook in life. Once I dropped out of college they started treating me differently. They thought I was just been lazy and throwing away everything.

It's hard to explain to most people that I'm looking for a way to escape the financial hamster wheel. I don't want to run on a wheel I want to run on a field.

But looking for that freedom is the depressive and lonely part. Working for someone else is very secured. You have HR backing you up if your boss is trying to get rid of you. You have unions, OSHA and even lawyers to lean on if your job is on the line and you're doing everything right. But as an entrepreneur there's no one to lean on.

Just like the company that stole OPs money. Who does he go to for justice? An employee has many institutions to get justice for unpaid or an abusive workplace. Entrepreneurs have none of that.

And people who have nice comfy jobs see entrepreneurs as lazy. Why? Because for the most part there is nothing to show. First you have to change your mindset, than researching all the aspects of a business etc. There's a lot of learning for those that don't come from business minded families. To outsiders it seems like wasted time.

If anyone reads this and needs a friend or someone to message PM me and I'll set up a discord for entrepreneur's emotional support. That way we always have a place to go to when we're feeling down.
 

Bertram

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Yes, drinking, and indeed many less understood activities, can trigger suicidal thoughts.
I note that you say "especially turkey." This suggests that you are probably aware that turkey meat contains high levels of the amino acid L-Tryptophan, which is a good anti-depressant for circumstantial depression -- the type that is predominately the kind of depression suffered by entrepreneurs. The problem is that you would have to eat almost a whole turkey to get a therapeutic dose. I will write more on antidepressants later in this post.

It becomes a vicious circle, which is why depression should not be ignored.

As a counselor within my church, I have helped a lot of people suffering from either circumstantial depression or clinical depression, with a large number of cases sufferering from Bipolar Disorder.

For circumstantial depression, L-Tryptophan can be very effective with adequate doses, which would generally be 500mg just before bed. Taking more at bedtime can lead to having hallucinations. If depression continues, another 500mg in the morning won't cause hallucinations.

I prefer to recommend 5Hydroxytryptophan, which bypasses the digestive processes and is directly taken up in the brain. Dose is usually 100mg.

When a patient presents with severe, long term, and potentially life-threatening clinical depression, lazy or inept psychiatrists will prescribe SSRI antidepressants without taking the simple precaution of asking a standard set of questions to check whether the patient is suffering from Bipolar Disorder.

The administration of antidepressants for Bipolar sufferers without also prescribing mood levelers such as Lithium (the Gold standard treatment) can result in increasing the severity of their manic behavior. Results can be disastrous.

Sorry about my rant, but I have seen great harm done through carelessness. I suggest that rather than self-medicate, consult a Naturopathic Practitioner who understands mental illnesses, or an Orthomolecular Psychiatrist.

Walter
Having trained and worked in suicide intervention, including prisoners on suicide watch, I agree with your info but you are wrong about turkey and meat protein to offset low mood, including the lows of bipolar disorder.
The power to change mood through diet and behavior needs to be encouraged in every person, not be dependent upon a medical appointment.
This is not the same topic as turning around disease.
It's about turning around suicidal feelings.

Most men who have completed the act of suicide were drinking alone beforehand. NEVER DRINK ALONE.

Most individuals who attempt suicide have been deficient in protein intake for the previous 12-36 hours.

Use this info for others.
 

MTF

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I would also add that the depression because of success can be equally devastating, if perhaps not more, than the depression because of failure.

The biggest problem with this type of depression is that very, very few people will understand a person suffering from it. After all, how can you depressed if you achieved your huge goals and live the life of your dreams?

If you dare to share your struggles with others, often what you'll get at most will be a "look at all those poor people who can barely afford food - they have real problems, you're just a crybaby."

This will only make you feel more guilty that you can't feel happy despite having seemingly all the reasons to do so, and the vicious cycle begins, the abyss sucking you in deeper and deeper as you contemplate how good you have it compared to others and how shitty you feel anyway (been there, done that).

Of course, we can argue that a person who can't afford to feed their family has it worse than a millionaire who lost a sense of purpose in life (First World problems, right?). But if the millionaire suffers from depression or commits suicide because of it (sadly, there are plenty examples of famous wealthy people proving the case), it doesn't make their suffering or death any different - it's still a human being overwhelmed by negative emotions and/or chemical imbalance, regardless of the reasons.

Anyway, I've been on both ends of it (depression from failure and depression from success) and been struggling with this on and off for a couple of years. A few thoughts, mostly for what I'd call "light" depression rather than depression that requires medical assistance:
  • Nothing helps as much as the basics: physical activity, good weather, nature, spending time with cool, positive people, healthy time alone for introverts (and some companionship, too, of course) and quality social time for extroverts (and some time alone, too). I rarely feel depressed during the spring and summer and suffer a lot during the fall and winter (this might be associated with seasonal affective disorder, though). One thing that really helps as for the basics is learning how to enjoy the simplest pleasures. If you struggle with that, go on a prolonged fast (find a fasting friend here) and you'll discover how happy a simple meal can make you. Or just grab a chair, sit somewhere out in the sun, and enjoy its warm rays (think of the Latin American culture and how happy these people are even if they have nothing). It sounds cheesy as hell, but if you can't enjoy the simple stuff, you'll always struggle to maintain a sunny disposition.
  • You can't define yourself by just one role (like that of an entrepreneur). If the only source of fulfillment in your life comes from your business, you're in for an inevitable bout of depression. It's valuable to have a few different hobbies that share at least some of the characteristics of entrepreneurship (like growth, excitement, challenges, competition, companionship, etc.). These hobbies will bring in some positive emotions to counteract the negative emotions brought by your entrepreneurial role. Sports are IMO the best choice as they provide both mental and physical benefits, but it obviously depends on a person. The goal is to have something to look forward to in your daily or weekly routine. This leads me to the third point...
  • Have short-term non-business projects to keep you busy when you're most likely to feel depressed (for example, when you're waiting for something to happen in your business and your hands are tied). Small projects, whether it's DIY stuff, some non-profit work, perhaps a few weeks helping out a family member build a barn or stuff like that help keep your mind busy and ward off negative thoughts. The key word here is "short-term" so that it doesn't feel like a job you can't escape from but just a temporary project with a visible outcome that rewards the struggles.
  • Protect your best hours. One of the most enjoyable hours of the day for me are early mornings because that's when it's quiet and when I'm most productive and focused. I recharge my batteries during these early hours. I've found that if for some reason I can't have a peaceful morning, it's likely that the rest of the day won't be peaceful, either, and this can bring negative thoughts. Whatever your best hours are, try to spend them as you want, not as others force you to.
  • Don't feel guilty. Don't force yourself to fix it. Last but most definitely not least, acknowledge that you feel bad and feel okay not trying to fix it right away. I like to think of it as a period of reflection, often necessary to find a new direction in life. Instead of feeling guilty that you're depressed or trying to find a way to radiate with positivity once again, just accept that you might not be at your best right now and that it's okay.
 
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ZF Lee

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I've personally had suicidal thoughts, and know a good number of entrepreneurs that were in a similar boat. Start of 2017 I had a paper net worth over a million at 25. End of 2017, I had my money stolen by a factory, and went broke. When I found out I lost it all, I spent the night drinking a fifth by myself in a Malaysian nightclub wondering if I should end it.
Wait...it happened in Malaysia....? I'm shocked!

Good grief.

No escrow, partial payment terms, or sitting in their offices ( at least that's what everyone does here in Malaysia when the cash collection gets late)?

ust like the company that stole OPs money. Who does he go to for justice? An employee has many institutions to get justice for unpaid or an abusive workplace. Entrepreneurs have none of that.
For entrepreneurs, I guess maybe civil court or if there's contract breach, go for business courts, if you'd call one?

Or if you join the related industry association, you could make some noise there?
Guess that is where networking plays a role.

But if it really happened in Malaysia, for OP's case, I haven't heard of clear legal provisions specially for expats until I met one expat entrepreneur at a recent Quora meetup. Somehow there's just a 'hidden world' of business around here.

I can understand though that newcomers to Malaysia can sometimes can miss out a few things regarding the legal due diligence.

For circumstantial depression, L-Tryptophan can be very effective with adequate doses, which would generally be 500mg just before bed. Taking more at bedtime can lead to having hallucinations. If depression continues, another 500mg in the morning won't cause hallucinations.

I prefer to recommend 5Hydroxytryptophan, which bypasses the digestive processes and is directly taken up in the brain. Dose is usually 100mg.

When a patient presents with severe, long term, and potentially life-threatening clinical depression, lazy or inept psychiatrists will prescribe SSRI antidepressants without taking the simple precaution of asking a standard set of questions to check whether the patient is suffering from Bipolar Disorder.

The administration of antidepressants for Bipolar sufferers without also prescribing mood levelers such as Lithium (the Gold standard treatment) can result in increasing the severity of their manic behavior. Results can be disastrous.
I have an aunt in New Zealand.
The country is beautiful, but somehow, the doctors give the anti depressants too freely to the patients.

Goes something like this, according to my aunt:

Patient: I got depression.
Doctor: Mmmm here's the pills.


I mean...there's got to be a redline between full-blown depression and just a mild moodiness from a rainy day, right?
But it seems the folks just take the pills whenever they feel the slightest tingle, or so I hear from my aunt.

And apparently the government sponsors much of the meds, so the folks end up hooked on the anti-depressants. Doesn't actually kill them, but if they don't take it regularly, they fall to pieces.

Even worse, the poor folks, especially younger employees in my aunt's workplace (she works part-time as a packer for a grocery store), have began to forgot how to control their minds to handle the sadness properly.
 

eliquid

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You might not need it @AgainstAllOdds , but it may be good to revisit ( and anyone else having some depression ) this thread I made:


.
 

Ecom man

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I always seem to struggle with my mood the most during the summer as it is the time in my business where sales are down, inventory costs go up (ordering for Christmas), and money gets tight. This year I haven’t been near as “down” as previous years and I think it’s because I have another goal I’m working on too (weight loss). Even if my profit numbers aren’t immediately affected by the effort I’m putting into the business my weight loss shows results of how much work I’m putting in on that front.That direct results vs effort has seemed to help my mood and the “summer slump” I go through most every year.
 

Vanderbilt

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I had this lately also in my mind, no business book ist covering this properly. This what OP said is 100% real, if people dont believe this, they never had a business! How to cope with that? Lets say you loose your whole Business and go broke, now you blame yourself wtf you did and all that stuff and everyone was right, family and friends that convinced you for the slowlane. You think you are stupid af and will never recover or be brooke all your life, but there is always one sentence that will strike my mind when shit goes south = whats the alternative?
You have to understand as Entrepreneur that get depressed, its only cuz of false expectations of life and business!? nothing else!!! OP did the right thing, he got again into the present moment with working out and stuff! Never forget, false expectations lead to depression nothing else, next time if you loose a lot of cash it doesn't mean you will not achieve your goals, these end of earth mentality in head is really toxic.

For everyone out there, that is actually depressed cuz things goes south, your are not alone, your are not the first one going trough and not the last one and good things are waiting for you on the other side of depression! What you going trough is more worth than any education. Never met a strong person that had not struggled in their life.


Cheers to all the real entrepreneurs! not bro marketers ;)
 

ChrisV

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Yes, drinking, and indeed many less understood activities, can trigger suicidal thoughts.
I note that you say "especially turkey." This suggests that you are probably aware that turkey meat contains high levels of the amino acid L-Tryptophan, which is a good anti-depressant for circumstantial depression -- the type that is predominately the kind of depression suffered by entrepreneurs. The problem is that you would have to eat almost a whole turkey to get a therapeutic dose. I will write more on antidepressants later in this post.
It becomes a vicious circle, which is why depression should not be ignored.

As a counselor within my church, I have helped a lot of people suffering from either circumstantial depression or clinical depression, with a large number of cases sufferering from Bipolar Disorder.

For circumstantial depression, L-Tryptophan can be very effective with adequate doses, which would generally be 500mg just before bed. Taking more at bedtime can lead to having hallucinations. If depression continues, another 500mg in the morning won't cause hallucinations.
This x1000. Even better is 5-HTP, which bypasses a rate limiting step in converting L-Tryptophan (essentially it works a little better than Tryptophan.

26061


26062

Edit: I'm a dumbass, i just realized you already covered 5-HTP. Serves me right for skimming posts.
 
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