Entrepreneur depression is a concept that has not been given due attention and consideration in the past.
This is because of the preconceived notion that entrepreneurs are super individuals with little or no worries/concerns.
Whereas, that’s not the case.
Depression is a mental state that affects more people than you would typically think.
However, since starting a business causes a kind of strain that falls heavily on the entrepreneur, we can say that entrepreneur depression is a different ball game entirely.
It is essential to speak about issues as dire as this to create awareness in the world we live in today.
Hence, we will talk about entrepreneur depression and other factors concerning it.
What is Depression? Entrepreneur Depression
According to the American Psychiatric Association, depression is a severe medical disorder characterized by negative feelings of sadness, anxiety, and mood swings.
Research has shown a recent increase in people suffering from this disorder.
It turns out that this condition is not often correctly diagnosed in some underdeveloped countries.
It is often misunderstood for laziness or stubbornness.
This is a mental disease that starts from the mind but then manifests in the physical, emotional, and social aspects of a person’s life.
Mental illness is often one of the issues that many tend to avoid.
It is a subject that is often met with resistance when talked about.
The stigma and taboo that surrounds depression, especially in this modern world, are quite alarming.
Studies also show depression to be one of the commonest health conditions globally.
There is news every day of people such as celebrities, everyday people, and even business owners, who have ended their lives, because of depression.
Furthermore, the unnecessary stigma that is associated with it makes the condition harder to manage.
People who know they have it bottle it up inside until it eats deep into them and becomes intense.
However, the good news is that this condition is treatable with medications, a lifestyle change, and a healthy mindset.
Entrepreneur and Depression
Did you know that there is a thin line between creativity and mental illness?
This fact should not be too surprising, seeing that these are both tied to mental activities.
Entrepreneurs are some of the most creative people who launch ideas from practically nothing.
However, with this mental strength also comes a possible risk of depression and anxiety.
Being an entrepreneur, even though it is exciting, can be quite heartrending.
This could result from putting in long hours, sleep deprivation, and spending time away from family.
If you are already prone to depression, entrepreneurship may worsen the situation.
We suspect that this recognized challenge has to do with the demanding nature of entrepreneurship.
The stress and pressure that results from high standards and expectations will take a toll on business owners.
This can manifest both mentally and physically.
An entrepreneur balances so many roles as the anchor of the business.
Moreover, starting a business ushers in lots of hurdles that one will have to overcome.
Research on Entrepreneur Depression
With the possibility of 25% of startups failing in the first year, the pressure to become victorious further intensifies.
However, even though these achievements are often glorified in pop culture, hidden realities are not often represented.
Nobody talks about the loneliness, the demons, the fears, and the anguish that entrepreneurs face each day.
This is not cheap talk because it is no secret that 30% of entrepreneurs have reported dealing with these negative emotions at some point.
This condition is even more worsened as they are not supposed to voice it out.
This is because society has entrenched in our minds that an entrepreneur is supposed to control their feelings: That they should be able to handle the obstacles thrown at them.
The fact that they are also human is wholly ignored.
The evidence of these bottled-up emotions among entrepreneurs reflects in the staggering statistics reported to have dealt with mental illness.
Further investigation and research claim that a whopping 65% of entrepreneurs suffer from depression, but only 30% chose to disclose their feelings.
Thereby establishing that entrepreneur depression is very common.
Now, how do we recognize its symptoms?
Symptoms of Entrepreneur Depression
Even though clinical depression needs a proper diagnosis, there are still some tell-tale signs.
If most entrepreneurs are reluctant about expressing their feelings about depression, how do you identify the symptoms before they become intense?
- Stifled creativity
- Feeling of hollowness
- Contemplation of values
- Lack of interest
- Lack of sleep
- Less productivity
- Going to work late
- The difference in eating habits
- Poor hygiene
- Physical illness
These signs may often be mistaken for stress or tiredness in entrepreneurs.
Sometimes this is right.
However, if these symptoms take too long to subside, it is probably an onset of depression.
Also, note that depression will not go away until treated correctly.
So, ignoring these symptoms will only make things worse and difficult to handle later on.
Causes of Entrepreneur Depression
Entrepreneurs are more susceptible to depression because of the pressures, focus, and efforts demanded to support an enterprise.
By saying this, we do not mean that hard work and focus equals depression.
It turns out that most entrepreneurs only concentrate on the business, neglecting their own needs and bodies.
Nevertheless, here are a few triggers that might cause entrepreneur depression.
Working 82 hours a week may be suitable for the company but not your health.
We know that in business, stress is unavoidable.
This includes all the daily tasks to be attended to, meetings, commending every decision, and the customer demands.
It will be hard to find time to work on yourself.
Sometimes, the reality of work and personal life may even become blurred.
Here are a few causes of stress in entrepreneurship…
- The Clientele
High demands from the clients or even trying to establish a customer base can mess with an entrepreneur’s peace of mind.
They can also suck up resources, production energy, and time.
Whether you are a new business owner or have been an entrepreneur for a long time, financial resources will always be a cause of worry/concern.
Getting funds to solve an issue or even a shortage of company profit can cause an entrepreneur stress.
Sometimes entrepreneurs fail to separate their personal life from business.
This can make them estranged from their loved ones.
This level of neglect can also result in stress.
Inadequate Sleep – Entrepreneur Depression
It is recommended that the human body needs at least 8 hours of sleep.
Well, most entrepreneurs do not often heed this advice.
An entrepreneur puts in hours and hours to perform a task.
This could lead to not getting enough sleep for the mind and body to function effectively.
Not getting enough sleep can cause excessive tiredness and a sickly feeling because the body is not getting the rest it needs.
Every entrepreneur is scared of being seen as unfit to lead the company.
They are scared of falling short of expectations.
This is a positive thing because it can boost productivity in business owners.
However, sometimes it can be toxic to a person’s sanity.
If an entrepreneur fails to meet these expectations, they will start to see themselves as a failure.
This can make them sink into a state of depression.
No one should give you standards to live up to.
Only you know the amount of work you can get done at a particular time.
Unhealthy Mindset – Entrepreneur Depression
Although entrepreneurs should typically have a positive mindset, it will surprise you that many of them do not.
Entrepreneurs often battle with their demons.
There is that stage of doubts, fears, and regrets.
They may start to ask themselves hypothetical questions.
Also, they may even begin to question their values and strengths.
This is the time that they begin to lose faith in their capacity as leaders.
The fear of failure may take hold of them so fiercely that it will be hard to withdraw from it.
After this phase, they may not have the zeal to get up in the morning to face the world.
Depression may also accompany this feeling of inadequacy.
Many entrepreneurs struggle with the choice of making crucial decisions daily.
The fear of making decisions that will not benefit the company’s growth can lead to excessive worry.
This worry can often interfere with daily activity.
It can lead to low concentration levels or a complete halt in making choices for fear of failure.
The thing is that anxiety and depression are so closely related that they are often used interchangeably.
This means that if you suffer from anxiety, depression will not be too far behind.
Solitude – Entrepreneur Depression
Many entrepreneurs may lose touch with the outside world because they have to spend a lot of time away trying to make the company work.
This may make them lose contact with family and friends.
This isolation is not good for mental health because family and friends make individuals feel like they belong to a community and are valued.
How to Overcome Entrepreneur Depression
Now that we know what depression means, its triggers, and the symptoms to look out for, how do we deal with entrepreneur depression?
As an entrepreneur, you should accept that entrepreneurship is a hard nut to crack.
This is evident in the fact that not all new businesses last.
Due to the harrowing journey of creating enterprises that will last, some businesses do not make it to maturity.
The fact about entrepreneurship is that more people will fail than succeed.
This verdict might sound quite bleak, but it is a wake-up call.
Hard work, hope, passion, drive, determination, and all that may be necessary, but it is also important to be ready for the worst.
Doing this will ease any disappointment that may occur in the future.
When you don’t put all your eggs in one basket, you will be able to move forward when the tornado hits.
Do not hinge your existence on something that is determined by probability.
Some entrepreneurs cannot take the strain, so they fall into a state of depression.
Try not to make this mistake.
Create an escape route or realistic backup plans that will alleviate setbacks.
2Align Your Values – Entrepreneur Depression
We all have the things that drive our interests in the goals we want to achieve.
For some entrepreneurs, money is their ultimate gain.
Others want to serve people and contribute to societal growth or do something close to their hearts.
There is nothing wrong with whichever path you choose.
The thing is, if you genuinely love something, there is real and sustained interest in that thing.
You will genuinely want to give it everything you have.
Aligning your values and sticking to them will ensure that any unhealthy pressure does not sway you.
This will give you a set goal to envision constantly.
If your goals lack coordination, it will be as good as not having a vision.
This instability can lead to entrepreneur depression.
Sometimes, the easiest way to put entrepreneur depression at rest is to listen attentively.
Because we spend so much time with ourselves, it is hard to realize that we have changed.
Most times, you may mistake it for a tight schedule, stress, and fatigue.
However, since your loved ones observe from afar, it is much easier for them to pick up on your anger bouts, incompetence, and dying interests.
This is why it is essential to pay attention to other people.
Staying stuck in your head and personal feelings will not lead you anywhere.
To overcome depression, pay attention to the outside world.
Do not disregard opinions no matter how uncomfortable they may sound.
4Demarcate Work from Personal Life – Entrepreneur Depression
Do not let your life be all about Work! Work! Work!
Try to relate to other interests outside work.
This will help you find a balance between business and leisure.
This balance will, in turn, give you sanity and ground your mental space.
Do not let everything that colors your life be linked to something that could collapse at any time.
Take time away from work.
Engage in activities that will peak your interests.
Go out and meet fellow entrepreneurs.
See what they do to relax.
You can even also incorporate creative avenues in the long boring paper works at the office.
This is an effective way of dealing with stress and possibly depression.
Overall, this allows you to escape work stress, recharge, and come back stronger.
5Celebrate Your Successes and Failures – Entrepreneur Depression
Did you know that successes and failures are what validate a business?
Most entrepreneurs just want to accept the successes and do away with the failure.
This is not possible.
You will fail and win sometimes.
Most entrepreneurs beat themselves when they experience series of failures.
From now, begin to appreciate and celebrate all events, whether negative or positive.
Also, do not forget to encourage yourself.
Focus on the task at hand rather than the tasks to be done.
Worry and feeling inadequate can make you severely depressed.
Try your best to live in the moment.
At times, entrepreneurs shower their businesses with so much compassion that they neglect themselves in the process.
The point you are missing is that your life feels and spins the business.
Without your health, the business has no life force.
Also, try to show yourself compassion.
Sit back and enjoy your accomplishments.
Eat, sleep, exercise, travel, and read.
More so, when you make mistakes, don’t be too critical of yourself.
Forgive yourself and move on to the next big thing.
7Go for Regular Checkups – Entrepreneur Depression
Some people wait till they break down before they see the doctor.
If you’re prone to depression, it is essential to check in with the doctor from time to time.
Going for regular check-ups will help you identify the signs earlier and tackle them head-on.
One of the resources used to battle entrepreneur depression is a mentor.
A mentor will walk you on the paths of business.
They can help you set your priorities right.
A mentor will help you overcome whatever challenges you are facing.
This is because they have been through the same thing before.
No one knows it all.
Do not forget to find a mentor who will be as unbiased and honest as possible.
9Own your Choices – Entrepreneur Depression
It is easy to sometimes push the blame on someone.
An entrepreneur doesn’t do that.
You know how hectic running a business will be.
Try as much as possible to take full responsibility for your choices.
This is what is going to help you create a sturdy mind to handle stress.
This will also keep you in a good spot with your team.
Imagine having a team you don’t get along with.
This is going to mess with your peace.
Hence, try to keep things neutral between all and be at peace with the people around you.
10Seek Professional Help
One of the reasons why an entrepreneur, even though he discovers that he is depressed, does not seek help is the fear of criticisms or being judged.
So, most entrepreneurs disregard the distress in their minds.
Please do not do this.
We can promise you that depression is a respecter of no man or social strata.
It can come to anyone at any time.
Hence, be willing to admit that you need help.
The best way to help yourself and be a source of encouragement to other victims is to speak out.
Seek clinical help and emotional support.
You could even study more about it.
No one will judge you for speaking up.
And even if they do, you are helping yourself.
You should personally abolish the taboos and societal intimidation.
Trust the process and get the needed professional help to overcome depression.
Conclusion on Entreprenuer Depression
We have been able to draw a conclusion considering the severity of depression.
This condition, if ignored, will only worsen.
Entrepreneur depression has become quite rampant among business owners.
Nevertheless, the disease can be treated with proper management, an adjustment in business lifestyle, and some medications.
Do not let the stress/challenges of entrepreneurship get to you.
Take time off, get a good night’s sleep, and practice sound work-life balance to keep your mind and body healthy.