Depression – How The Entrepreneur Should Deal With Depression

Depression is one of the things I constantly struggle with.

A lot of papers and articles have been written about the issue; explanations and rationalizations, opinions, and thoughts have been shared. Recently, it has become standard to consider depression as a kind of mental illness and not a mood. While I have my opinions about that, the reality is depression is real and, especially on this side of the world, we’re ill-equipped to deal with it.

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Enough of it comes from just observing life and watching things go on, but a lot of it also comes from doubts. Thoughts like ‘will I ever make it?’ ‘I’m not getting any younger; do I continue to pursue this dream or just give up?’

And I know I’m not alone.

Especially for startups and new entrepreneurs, for whom the road ahead is still pretty much vague, being beset with doubts and fears is almost normal. It’s like routine. And while I’m sure we all know to ignore the doubts, to feed our faith and starve our fear, depression can be an energy vampire. And trust me, there’s more than enough reason to be depressed.

So how do you keep the energy levels up while navigating the road to success?

Recognize an onset of depression

In other words, I’ve learnt to identify the signs. It’s like malaria, you can tell when it’s coming. Recognizing the signs early on helps in early aversion. You can take steps to avert it.

Identify your triggers

It could be music, a conversation with a particular person, or memories tied to unsavory events. Knowing what is responsible for your mood changes puts you in more control of your space. If, for example, a conversation is heading towards dangerous grounds, you can stop it or drive it in another direction entirely.

Don’t stay in there for too long

With depression, the desire to stay isolated is strong. You want to shun all human contact and interaction. In fact, conversations will feel like energy-zappers while depression is really what is draining you. The thing to do is to snap out of it as soon as is possible. Change the track, end the conversation, go for a walk – whatever you need to do to regain equilibrium is allowed, as long as it does not mean harm to another person.

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Pay attention

Being observant leads to awareness, and being aware puts you in more control. The problem is, most of the time we take things for granted. We accept things as they are instead of taking ownership and changing whatever we need to. For instance, I do not watch the television, neither do I read newspapers. Good news is not news, and I have enough to worry about in my personal life. This is one of the most effective ways I know of keeping my balance – my sanity.

I read somewhere that ‘a lot of people are unhappy because being unhappy is easy. Being happy is actually hard work’. Since I read that, I made up my mind to do whatever I need to stay ahead of depression. It is actually easy – almost too easy to be depressed. Self-pity does the trick easily; holding tightly to the mentality that the world and people in it owe you something. Staying above all the problems and issues, however, is what is needed for a happy life.

And sometimes, depression can be an effective tool. Being worried about the validity of your dreams is something that can be used as motivation. It can make you see clearer than you have in a while. Depression can give you the extra objectivity you need to confront your ideas and products. It can put things in new perspectives for you.

Depression is dangerous if unchecked. But, if checked and used properly, it can be a boost – a forward propeller. At the end of the day, it can get you focused and realistic. Depression can keep you grounded even while you’re reaching for the clouds.

And in our line of business, that’s never a bad thing.

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