Being an entrepreneur is difficult enough. Adding a mental health condition to the mix can make things pretty wild…
Mental health is a topic that’s full of stigma, verbal fluff, and awkward silences.We so often assume that people who live with mental health conditions can not cope and live “normal” lives. Let alone accomplish what every entrepreneur strives for; success.
I was diagnosed with Bipolar I disorder a few months ago. If you aren’t familiar with this condition, I’ll explain it pretty briefly here.
I have severe manic episodes where I feel invincible, unstoppable, motivated, and on top of the world. Shortly thereafter, I begin to feel horribly depressed, tired, sad, and my thoughts are slowed down so much I can barely think at all. Then, sometimes, I feel normal for a little while. But it all starts over again.
There are times where I’m up all night creating massive amounts of content, networking, working on new designs, and even coming up with new business strategies to implement. Then there are a days where I can hardly focus enough to schedule articles, let alone create or curate anything.
So, how do I manage, exactly?
Well for one, there’s a lot of therapy involved; medications, psychotherapy, DBT, and hours upon hours of research and educating myself on my condition. And while these things take a lot of time out of my day, I’ve managed to keep my business at the forefront of my mind.
In fact, the business I’m building for myself has been one of the most grounding aspects of my life. And I’ve learned a lot just going through the motions.
Here are some really useful things to remember when you’re an entrepreneur who deals with a serious mental health condition. They’ve been a staple in my life for the past several months, and I’ve seen noticeable improvement.
Always put self-care first.
Whatever that may be. Make sure you’re taking care of your hygiene, your finances, taking a break when you need to, and paying attention to the signs and symptoms of your condition.
Designate tasks where you can
Stress is a big trigger in general, but especially so when you’ve got a mental health condition. Don’t put yourself in the position to burn out. Ask for help when you need it!
Have a routine
Routines are notoriously helpful for mental health patients. Remember this! Spontaneity is great. In fact, it can be quite healing in its own way. But having a routine that you adhere to can help you stay in the right state of mind to manage your personal and business life.
I know this should go without saying, but getting and staying organized is a big deal. When you know where everything is, and have a schedule, you can eliminate that added stress of forgetting a project or a clients contact information! (Phew!) Plus, there will inevitably be days where you feel like you can’t do anything, or at least, you don’t want to. Sticking to a regular routine will become a motivating factor and has been shown to be really good for those of us with mental health conditions.
Network and seek peer groups often
This has been one of the most helpful and liberating aspects of being an entrepreneur. I get to network with all sorts of people. And I have found some really great groups on social media, too! (Shout out to all the ladies at Women Helping Women Entrepreneurs!) Don’t be afraid to reach out. You’d be surprised how many people are willing to offer good advice, or even just an ear to listen.
Remember; having a mental illness does not limit you
It’s just another obstacle and lesson in life, to make you stronger, more effective, and more successful.
So educate yourself, seek out your support system, and keep grinding. You can do this.
I believe in you, and you should too!