This is probably one of the hardest posts I’ve ever written. I must admit I’d been thinking about writing it for a while but it wasn’t until the sad news of Robin Williams’ passing that I decided the time was right.
I’m an entrepreneur who runs a full-service marketing agency called Vent2Me. I’ve been very fortunate that my business has grown into a full-time endeavour with three employees. I also have an amazing husband so life is pretty good. Despite this, I have a secret. One that is rarely talked about because of the stigma and misconceptions around it.
I suffer from depression. I can’t remember when I first realised I was a little different. All I know is I’ve been taking anti-depressants for many years and I don’t see myself stopping anytime soon. I take two tablets a day to help stablise my mood and it works well. When I tell people I suffer from depression, most of them are often surprised and often respond by saying. “you can’t have depression, you’re so confident!’
Confidence has nothing to do with depression. I may be loud, appear proud and act confident but that doesn’t mean it always comes easy. I’ve learnt to become this way through hard work, self-belief and a great support system.
Despite how strong I may appear, I still worry that people will think of me differently as a result of this post. But I figured the more we talk about the issue, the more people will realise depression is not just about being sad or tired. It doesn’t make you crazy nor is it contagious.
In some ways I can honestly say depression has helped me become a better business owner and entrepreneur because it has taught me amazing truths about life and myself.
Here are some of them
With depression, often the simplest things make the biggest difference. For instance, music has played a major role in getting me through tough times. I can honestly say that INXS has got me through some really dark days and I’ll be forever grateful for their music.
As a business owner, I celebrate the small wins along with the big ones. I also know that one bad day or week isn’t going to affect the outcome in the long run.
An important lesson for anyone to learn, but often we are our own worst enemy! I can tell you that things do improve, but you need to be willing to accept responsibility for your actions and move on. Often we hold grudges for the sake of holding them. It’s not worth it. Once you’ve moved on, you will often see things in a clearer light and discover something about yourself that you had no idea existed.
You may not realise it but people are generally rooting for you. By talking to people I’ve learnt that they do want to see me succeed in life. The same goes for business. For every setback or snide remark, there are many more positive responses out there. Hold on to the positive ones from people who support you because these are the people who know you best.
Listen to your instinct, your intuition, your gut. I’m happy and satisfied in life because I do exactly that. If I’m tired, annoyed or unwell, I take time out and do something that will cheer me up. If I feel like working non-stop then I work non-stop. You know what you want so go out and get it!
It’s the same with business, if I had listened to the people who had told me my business wouldn’t succeed with a name like Vent2Me I wouldn’t be where I am today. My gut told me it would succeed with hard work and determination, and it has. Don’t stop yourself from doing something because you are scared. Ask yourself what it is that you want, and then go out and get it.
Depression treats everyone very differently and no matter how much sleep or talking you do about it, it won’t go away overnight. Depression can affect anyone at anytime and it’s often the person you least expect who may suffer from it secretly. So be kind to each other because you never know what somone else’s life is like until you walk in their shoes.