So yesterday was #worldmentalhealthday 2020 and lots of people took to social media to talk about their mental health or moments in time that made them stop and listen.
Running your own business can be hugely rewarding, but for many small business owners having sole responsibility for the company’s success or failure can take its toll. Being an entrepreneur is one of the hardest roles that I have ever had and has brought the most amount of stress upon my already tired body and mind. Being a mum and entrepreneur really is a massive achievement and those that are doing this daily… I salute you!
In 2007 we set up a business and we knew that it was going to take many hours and a lot of dedication. So I took on the responsibility of making sure the home and our son were ok, as well as working night shifts. This allowed him to lock himself away so he could 100% focus on starting up the business. Even though he had my full support he also felt the pressure, and now I can understand a bit more than I did back then.
In the first 6 months of setting up my business the anxiety set in… It felt like an elephant was stood on my chest, and I was so emotional. The pressure of everything had reached capacity and the stress was causing feelings of anxiety. I recognised the feelings as they were similar to an episode I had in 2005 so I went straight to see the doctor. I have been on medication several times over the years and I now just treat it as a vitamin when I am struggling and need some extra support to help my wellbeing. Recognising your feelings and emotions is vital and so is reaching out and getting help asap.
Starting a business whilst going through a divorce was probably not one of my best moves (in hindsight) and led to increased stress and severe anxiety. It can rock the strongest of people to the core and turn your whole life upside down. So, it is hardly surprising that it can lead to mental health issues if the negative emotions and sudden challenges you find yourself having to cope with are not dealt with properly.
Anxiety can be debilitating, so it’s important to seek professional help if your symptoms are severe. If you feel anxious on the majority of days and experience one or more of the symptoms listed above for at least six months, it may be a sign of an anxiety disorder. Regardless of how long you have been experiencing symptoms, if you ever feel like your emotions are interfering with your life, you should seek professional help.
Other symptoms I have had since starting the business are:
- Constant Imposter Syndrome Thoughts:
Impostor syndrome (also known as impostor phenomenon, impostorism, fraud syndrome or the impostor experience) is a psychological pattern in which an individual doubts their skills, talents or accomplishments and has a persistent internalized fear of being exposed as a “fraud”.
Past experiences, trauma, or relationships can leave negative thoughts in your mind and this can be very damaging. The fear of not being good enough can lead to mental health complications, in some cases. You may experience anxiety, fear of being a fraud, depression, frustration, a lack of self-confidence, guilt, and shame.
Again back in 2019, I recognised that the constant Imposter syndrome needed to be dealt with, so I went to see Ali from https://www.bemoore.uk/. Therapy is an amazing way to deal with your past in a more productive way. Take time to reconnect with your true self, which then makes your path ahead clear – aligned with your values, and achieved with purpose and intention.
A therapist can help you identify and explore the causes of any unexplained emotional symptoms, so reaching out is always a good option. They can teach you coping mechanisms to keep the thoughts at bay and you will feel stronger for facing your demons and dealing with them.
2. Brain Fog and lack of concentration:
Ever felt fuzzy-headed or unable to focus? That’s brain fog. It may be because of a medical condition or you may need to see a medical professional for a diagnosis. Brain fog is a term that describes when you have problems with focus, memory, logic, and problem solving. When insomnia kicks in I can feel like this, I get brain fog when I am super tired and just need some more sleep!
Feeling blue or stressed out once in a while is normal. But if you’ve been anxious, on edge, sad, or hopeless for more than two weeks, you might find it hard to think clearly. That’s because depression, anxiety, and even high stress can be mentally exhausting. These feelings can steal your focus from your day-to-day tasks and cause a lack of concentration. Again this is a red flag and time to see your doctor to see what is going on.
3. Overreacting to the smallest things:
This is the one thing that makes me realise that things are just not right. Losing your mind over something small or breaking down when something minor goes wrong…
Is this happening more often than usual?
Stress usually doesn’t just get better on its own and if you are noticing that you are overreacting… it may be time to seek help. You may have to actively work on getting control of the stress in your life so that it doesn’t control you. When you first identify how you react to stressful situations, you then can put yourself in a better position to manage the stress, even if you can’t eliminate it.
“It is not our stress that kills us, it is our reaction to it.” —Dr. Hans Selye
4. Feeling sad and becoming tearful:
Sometimes it is hard to know if what you are experiencing is sadness or depression. Depression is different from sadness, stress, anxiety or even grief. It is normal to feel sad or low at times. What distinguishes depression is a combination of factors, including continuously feeling miserable or losing interest in things that you usually enjoy, to the point where you feel you are no longer functioning.
Sometimes you might find yourself crying a lot more often than you’d like to or without an apparent cause. Being sad is a normal reaction to difficult times in life. But usually, the sadness goes away with a little time. Depression is different—it is a mood disorder that may cause severe symptoms that can affect how you feel, think, and handle daily activities such as sleeping, eating, or working.
Well-meaning friends or family members may try to tell someone with depression to “snap out of it,” “just be positive,” or “you can be happier if you just try harder.” But depression is not a sign of a person’s weakness or a character flaw. The truth is that most people who experience depression need treatment to get better.
5. Being distant and quiet:
When I become distant and quiet my mum notices straight away and is straight on the phone. Feeling lonely isn’t in itself a mental health problem, but the two are strongly linked, and having a mental health problem can increase your chance of feeling lonely or hiding away from friends and family!
You may experience social phobia – also known as social anxiety – and find it difficult to engage in everyday activities involving other people, which could lead to a lack of meaningful social contact and cause feelings of loneliness. The longer you hide away, the harder it is to socialise and communicate. So if you know you are currently doing this… again it may be time to reach out and start talking with those closest to you so they can help you.
Prolonged exposure to chronic stress can lead to memory loss, anxiety, irritability, depression, substance abuse, social withdrawal, weight gain, insomnia, suicidal thoughts, or worse. So if you are feeling any of the above feelings or symptoms, please do reach out and make an appointment to see your doctor.
No matter how much you love your work, it’s not worth sacrificing yourself for and the most important thing to remember is that you don’t have to do it alone.
Remember – Depression is common – It is not a sign of weakness – It is nothing to be ashamed about – It can be treated!
Been worried about how you’re feeling for a while? Don’t wait to ask for help – Mind is here for you.
Call the confidential Infoline on 0300 123 3393