Side note: I started writing this on the 18th May 2017 at 11.30pm. After re-reading it, I thought about editing it but stopped myself. It’s very disjointed, and extremely raw. For me, it’s one of the scariest pieces I’ve ever written. But it’s also a part of my journey, and one that I believe a lot of people will relate to, whether they feel these emotions in the same intensity or not.
If I’m totally honest, it’s completely self-indulgent. When I began writing, it wasn’t for anyone else.
I needed to let these thoughts out. And a part of me (maybe subconsciously, maybe not) wanted certain people in my life (business and personal) to get a glimpse into what was going on in my head.
Because here’s the thing that all entrepreneurs know:
What you see on the outside is quite often worlds apart from what’s going on inside.
So, without further ado, here is the blog post that has taken two months to finish, and which, may or may not kill my business and/or certain relationships off for good…
This is something you shouldn’t really talk about in the online entrepreneurial space.
Yet at the same time,
The conversation needs to be had by people all over the world.
It’s also not a “list” article where I’ll be giving you ten steps to cure mental health issues and bring world peace. All that will be contained in my next blog. Obvs.
This is, primarily, me at the beginning of the incline on the other side of a “low period”.
The reason I’m writing here, and sharing all my cluttered thoughts with YOU, is that somewhere out there, I guarantee there is somebody who’s peeking out from a hiding place on the settee somewhere…
And they might read this post.
And they might think…
This shit happens to others as WELL as me.
I’m not alone.
I’m not sure how this is all going to pan out. I’m just going to write, and I’m asking you to follow along as best you can. Hopefully I’ll make sense.
Let’s go then.
Mental Health Issues are Running Rampant Through the Entrepreneurial World
Actually, in the world in general, not just the biz world.
But entrepreneurs can easily withdraw from the world. If you’re surrounded by people who work 9-5s and have never ever thought about or wanted anything other than that, you can feel extremely lonely, even when you’re surrounded by loved ones.
And depression will dance, woo, and cavort with loneliness all day long!
The thing is though, that so many entrepreneurs are out there, stumbling right now because they are in denial about being depressed or anxious.
Well, I’m no expert. And this whole post is purely about my OWN experiences – but from what I’ve seen (and felt) it’s because we’re made to feel like any negative feeling at all is a sign that you are NOT meant for success.
Which, for me personally, is pretty shite.
My Self Esteem Is Just Fucking Fine Thank You
“You’re being too hard on yourself”.
“You’re settling because your self esteem is too low”.
“You just need to have confidence and faith that it will work out – and go for it.”
“Fuck it. Just don’t worry about the shit you can’t control”
These are all things that have been said to me by friends and loved ones when I’ve got myself worked up and convinced myself that I can’t do anything right.
There are memes, blog posts, and articles all over the tinterweb backing up the same theories.
And of course, they’re all absolutely logical things to believe.
Which, for me personally, is pretty shite. Again.
Because really – 89% of the time (I reckon) I’m actually extremely confident. I’m focused on what I want, and I’m driven. If you see anyone who’s met me during that 89% of my life – they will tell you I’m a force to be reckoned with.
The other 11%?
I’m completely lost.
But I’m not weak.
That’s something that I’ll get to in a minute.
First, I want to explain, as best I can, what it feels like to sink down. Not because I want to “lower vibrations”.
But because I think it’s about time people spoke about this openly and honestly.
The Slippery Slope
I don’t know what it’s like for other people. But when I start to descend into depression, it’s not a gradual thing.
It’s like I’m walking along and there’s a flash flood, I’m swept away and then I’m fighting to get back to dry land.
Triggers can present themselves in different ways.
But mainly, there’s always some form of shame or guilt that leads to a downward spiral.
And before you say it, I know everybody has these feelings of guilt.
Mothers feel as though they’re not quite good enough.
Wives feel like they’re not good enough.
We all have feelings of insecurity at some point or another.
Or so they say.
That’s why you have to learn not to give a fuck and just get on with it regardless, right?
But here’s the thing –
Instead of thinking about ONE thing that I’ve made a mistake with – my beautiful memory bank starts churning out every idiotic, shameful, guilt-ridden thing I’ve ever done in my life like a broken cash machine spitting out £10 notes!
So if I make a mistake with a client’s video or copy?
I think of ALLLLLLL the mistakes I’ve ever made.
I think about the arguments I’ve had with people who have called me stupid in the past.
I think about when I didn’t live with my daughter.
I think about when I had an argument with my friend at school and even though I never told her, she made me feel like I was lucky to have her as a friend. And that she was better than me.
Then – I tell myself to stop being so stupid. I’m overreacting.
I remember my accomplishments.
And I think, this is a mindset thing.
I just need to change my mindset.
And I start to wonder – why CAN’T I change my mindset?
What is so wrong with me that I dive so deep into this shit whereas others can just let it go?
Why do I have to be SUCH a mardarse?
How am I going to be a good example to my daughter?
How is my husband supposed to respect me?
THIS is why I’m not making money.
THIS is why I’m not doing what I said I would do.
Because I’m weak. I’m lazy. I’m not cut out for this shit.
Then the other side of me fights back and says “YES I FUCKING AM”.
Now it’s a screaming match in my own head.
And I’m cooking tea, scrolling through my phone, watching TV, and having conversations the whole time.
I probably look like I’m in a bad mood.
But I’m just trying to focus on not letting any of this shit in my head escape out of my mouth…
And then I start to get angry.
Why the fuck should I have to hide this?
Why can’t I just say that I’m upset, and irrational, but fuck it that’s how I feel?
Because I’ve surrounded myself with people who don’t care.
I’ve obviously done it for a reason. I’m self-sabotaging!
I’m doing this on purpose.
It’s all my husband’s fault! He’s my fall guy. As long as I’m with him, I can blame him.
But then that’s stupid. Because I love him and I hate it when we’re not together.
This is me.
I’m being stupid again.
I need to get out of my fucking head.
“Are you OK?”
That’s my husband, or a friend, or sometimes an online biz buddy…
Everything is fine.
Aside from the fact that I’m probably just in everyone’s way.
My clients would be better off if they worked with somebody else who had more expertise than me.
My family would be better off if they weren’t trying to support my crazy ass dream to have whatever we want in life (are they supporting me??) OF COURSE THEY ARE!!
And then the tightening in my chest starts. I have to remember to breathe. When did I last inhale?
Every muscle is tense.
I have to concentrate on breathing for a while.
I have things to do.
But I need to breathe.
I have people to talk to.
But I need to breathe.
All I need is a few minutes to get on top of it, and once I can breathe again, I can think about what to do next.
Jesus WHY am I being such a fucking moron???
Am I a legit psycho?
What the fuck is WRONG with me.
I feel so sorry for my daughter.
The thought of seeing or talking to anyone right now is…
They’ll see me as weak.
They’ll know I’m useless.
I just need to have some time on my own. Get over the hump. And then I can go back.
Numbing the Pain
When you get hit with that kind of thought process – rapid fire, hour after hour throughout the day. For days on end. You start to push things down.
As an entrepreneur, it can be hard to talk about it online.
It seems like everyone is either high vibing the fuck out of life or being amazingly rich – they don’t want negative Nelly with her depression and anxiety showing up and killing the mood.
And why would anyone want their family to suffer through that?
Talking about it just seems self indulgent.
Get out of victim mode and step UP!
Maybe some food will help.
I’ll get a snack while I think.
A few drinks at the weekend with friends will help too.
That’s the ticket! There’s the old Mem. Drink in hand, singing obnoxiously loud and out of tune, laughing, joking, dancing…
Until Monday, where I start to think about how I shouldn’t have drank at the weekend. Not to that excess.
Why can’t I just be NORMAL??
Now, again – these are my personal experiences. I know they vary wildly for each person.
But most recently, my numbing recipe has been a delicious cocktail of alcohol, TV, sleep, and food.
With a HUGE serving of regret, guilt, and of course… the trusty twosome: Depression and anxiety.
The Flip Side
Of course, it’s not always like that. In fact, for those who have followed me online for quite a while now, there’s a totally different side to me. The Type A personality.
Type A Mem is:
Note: There’s a possibility that I have bi-polar 2. I don’t suffer from manic episodes where I hallucinate or hear voices. But I do have hypomanic episodes.
And the hypomanic episodes are glorious… until they’re not.
Here’s how they down:
I wake up and the world is awesome. It’s better than awesome. It’s mine for the taking.
Any goal is achievable.
There’s no way I’m trying to hit a poxy £500/week goal when I know I can easily make £3000 this week.
I have just the idea for the program that’s going to get me there too…
Oh my GOD – I’m a content machine. Words are flowing, and as they flow… I have ANOTHER idea!
I’m putting these thoughts out there and people are eating them up.
I’m so charming. Everybody loves type A Mem!
I could literally talk about the dictionary and have people hanging off my every word.
I’m getting client after client.
I’ve got tight deadlines to stick to, but I can handle it.
OOOHHHH! I just had ANOTHER awesome idea. Let’s start working on that!
Oops. I didn’t do those must do tasks that I was supposed to.
I’ve been doing so much though, I’ve been super productive. I can catch up on that work tomorrow.
I’m still loving life, but I’m beginning to get more stressed.
Have I tidies the house today?
Have I fuck!
I’ve been doing loads of shit!
Ok, I haven’t finished any of the tasks I’ve started, and actually I’m pretty behind now, but it’s OK, I’ve still got bags of energy. I’ll catch up.
Am I going to bed? Nope. It’s 3am and I’m in my stride baby! Who needs sleep when you’re on fire like this? You gotta make the most of it when inspiration hits you like this.
Right. New day. Lots of shit to do. STAY FOCUSED.
Oh my God, how is it time for my duahgter to be home from school already?
Yes, I want to hear how your day went, but honestly, can you hurry up? I’ve got so much stuff to do.
Shit, I need to answer my client emails.
Ooh, I just had a great idea for an opt-in. Let’s do that.
Ahhh… My design skills are back! Now I can make all my stuff look pretty again.
Fuck SAKE! Why can’t anyone else cook tea?
No. I don’t want to talk right now. I’m behind and I need to do this work.
Holy fuck. There’s no way I’m going to get everything done.
I need help.
Don’t tell anyone. They’ll think you’re weak.
And so begins the crash…
We all have good days and bad days. And this logic is one of the reasons I give myself such a hard time. I know that EVERYONE feels like this. So it’s infuriating when I let something so natural completely derail me.
I’ve been one of those people to tell the world, very loudly and matter-of factly that “if you want it, you need to stop looking for excuses and just do the work”.
And I still kind of believe that.
Except that now I know:
If you tell yourself that every time you have a shitty day, all you need to do is push through and hustle hard – all that’s going to happen is you’re going to feel even worse when you realise that you can’t do all the stuff you can do on a “good” day.
That in itself sounds like a self-serving excuse.
But that’s where I honestly believe the problem occurs.
Allow Yourself To BE
For some people, pushing through anyway really works.
After YEARS of trying this approach, I’m finally realising that for me, it doesn’t.
I’ve spent the last few weeks thinking about how to build a business that works with my mood swings.
So that when I slip into depression, or hypomania, I don’t fall off the edge and make things worse for myself.
What I’ve come up with, is something that’s different from anything that I’ve learned online.
That’s not to say that everything I’ve learned is useless. Just the opposite.
I’ll still be using the tools I’ve always used. Because they have worked.
It’s just that I’m creating a business that’s totally centred on what *I* need. As a person. As somebody who has intense mood swings and knows that this is a part of who I am and it’s nothing to be ashamed of.
In the past, I’ve made grand plans and big announcements for the future.
This time is different.
I know two things:
For now, I’m going to call it a day for my Biz stuff.
Because the ONLY thing on my to-do list today was to finish this article and publish it, and write another one for thrive (which I actually wrote before I started working on this again).
I’m going to allow myself to share this around, in certain places. But then that’s it.
Why not more?
Because, in truth, I could quite easily get sucked into a manic hole of working away on the laptop today. It’s the first time I’ve felt like this in months. And it’s SO alluring.
But I know where it leads.
I choose to stablise myself.
Does it mean I’m not hustling? Not doing enough? Ignoring my calling or purpose?
It means I’m maintaining, so that I CAN live my purpose.
One thing I would LOVE (two actually), is for you to:
Until next time, big love.