Some will say that this story has no business being posted in a professional platform like LinkedIn. I differ in opinion. Mental health is as big an issue in a professional setting as it is in a personal one. Some people get a little squeamish when deeply personal subjects are discussed. Some don’t want to hear about it in any forum. Entrepreneurs, for the most part, don’t like vulnerability. Mental health affects us all, whether we choose to acknowledge it or not. If studies are correct, entrepreneurs don’t want to come clean about their dark, innermost thoughts.
By now, my story is well documented. I’ve suffered through some devastating events over the last number of years. I’ve talked about the struggles of a failed marriage and business, and most tragically, the suicide of my 14-year-old daughter, Madeline. All these events significantly contributed to my own personal battle with depression. I’ve also talked about my own personal victories; the reinventing of myself and launching my business, The Finish Line Group, the successful way I battled depression and turning the tragic death of Maddie into a platform to bring greater awareness towards youth mental illness.
Is my life normal? It’s questionable whether it will ever be truly normal again. Some events will have a life-long effect on who you are and what you have become. By no means does today’s events predetermine who you will be tomorrow. My only true realization, by doing nothing will certainly not change your future path. What works for you today will not necessarily have a positive effect upon you tomorrow. This is as true in life as it is in business.
I’ve been taking anti-depressants for a month after Madeline’s passing. There was an initial reluctance because of the often-feared side effects of anti-depressants and my less than a great experience with them in the past. When the emotion became too great to function normally, my therapist, Dr G, convinced me that it was the right thing to do. Within a week, the medication allowed me to focus, relieved some of the emotional lows that I was experiencing and allowed me to function daily. It’s not that the medication made me emotionally void but instead allowed me to resume life with limited side effects. I had always looked at this as a temporary remedy.
About eighteen months after I had decided to go on these meds, I had decided to wean myself off them. I decided that I didn’t need help anymore. I had people close to me offering different opinions. Some said that I needed to get off them as quickly as possible, and others questioned my decision and said it was too soon and to weigh my decision carefully. A part of me didn’t want to be dependant upon medication to feel better. I could deal with this on my own.
I talked to some people who had confided in me that they were on anti-depressants or anti-anxiety medication. I said, “I would never have known.” “Exactly my point”, they would respond. They had tried to go off their medication but realized the negative side effects of not being on them far outweighed any side effects of being on them. For them, these meds help normalise their lives, allowing them a greater contribution to society and managing their own lives and those of their family.
Does that make them strong or weak? I’m not sure, but it certainly makes them smarter in recognizing that these meds’ aid positively and impacts their richness and quality of life, productivity, and functionality.
“MAINTAINING MENTAL HEALTH IS AS IMPORTANT AS THE DIAGNOSIS”
Mental health is a state that people with a mental illness hope to get to. Whether they’re able to achieve it by exercise, counselling, medication or their approach to living life, it’s better to have mental health regardless of how you achieve it.
If you are an entrepreneur or business owner who feels alone and challenged right now, we have a community of fellow business leaders here to help. Feel free to follow me or direct message me to see if we can be of assistance. Confidentiality is assured.