Successfully Struggling — #FightTheStigma
“Since we’re still functioning successfully, we can’t be defective,” we tell ourselves.
Accomplishment levels don’t correlate with personal health.
Nearly half (49%) of entrepreneurs struggle with at least one mental health challenge, such as depression, anxiety, addiction, or low self-esteem, and still run successful teams and companies, according to research by the University of California. (1)
JK Rowling struggled with depression and wrote Harry Potter books.
Michael Phelps managed his ADHD and became one of the most decorated Olympians of all time.
Research on the relationship between health and college students’ grades also found that “overall wellness had little if any bearing on academic success…”. (2)
Too often, professionals, including me, prioritize their work above themselves.
How can an email matter more than yourself?
When asked “how are you doing?”, professionals used to say “good”, notes NYTimes Journalist Tim Kreider in the “Busy Trap” (3).
Now “Busy” is the new “Good”… Listen for it and you’ll surely hear it.
Another one of my favorite reality checks came from a coach in response to her clients’ typical rationalization that: “There’s just not enough time right now….”
“Okay, but you have time to feel like shit?” asks this coach.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, it takes the average struggling person over 10 years to ask for help…(4)
You don’t need to wait that long.
- Having trouble sleeping?
- Are your neck or shoulders stiff?
- Experiencing back pain?
- Struggling with stomach issues?
- What if your performance starts slipping?
- Or better yet, what if your performance doesn’t get any worse?
Please understand your physical pains are your body’s red alert signals that something needs to change.
People don’t always realize that mental health isn’t fuzzy. Rather, there are very real, potentially chronic, physical pains tied to feeling negative for too long.
Since depression and anxiety are a spectrum, early symptoms are often mild or moderate enough to be tolerated and rationalized, instead of addressed before spiraling any further.
- Feeling unlike yourself?
- Beating yourself up for being stupid, ugly, or lazy?
- Losing interest in things you typically used to enjoy?
- Feeling alone?
We can always attribute feeling on edge to higher levels of stress.
Since you’re an ambitious, resilient, smart professional, you are strong enough to power through, despite the weight of your negative or anxious thoughts circling around and around.
Please know there are very effective, evidence-backed ways to address your challenges. Plus, remember that asking for help has already worked for millions of others. Research shows the right social support could help you too.
You can always distract yourself with your work.
If you’re usually caffeinated plus drinking or smoking weed regularly after work to relax, you might not realize what your body’s trying to tell you, especially when it’s tired and needs some care.
Spiraling down deeper is when the physical symptoms start getting louder. Alert.
Spiraling even deeper is when the suicidal thoughts start. Alert Alert.
What if I told you life could be easier, sooner?
Maybe your job, friends, loved ones, or current circumstances don’t feel right.
If that’s left unaddressed for too long, you might find yourself spiraling into despair…Please reach out. You have the ultimate power to make better things happen in your life.
Nobody else can make you as happy as you can.
Too many people can’t fully understand what you’re going through (yet!)… #FightTheStigma
When you’re ready to turn things around… #TryWCN
Well Connected Now personally matches professionals to mentors, coaches, and therapists.
(1) Genius in Madness? 72% of Entrepreneurs Affected By Mental Health Conditions — Debra Carpenter via StartupGrind — https://www.startupgrind.com/blog/genius-in-madness-72-of-entrepreneurs-affected-by-mental-health-conditions/
(2) The ‘Busy’ Trap — Tim Kreider via NYTimes — http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/06/30/the-busy-trap/?_r=0
(3) The Relationship Between Wellness and Academic Success in First-year College Students — Howard Monroe Ballentine
(4) What is Depression? — Helen M. Farrell via TEDx — https://youtu.be/z-IR48Mb3W0