“There’s only one time in my life I identified as having a problem with depression, but I’ve never identified having a ‘mental health issue’. I just didn’t feel right or I felt depleted. I was tired, or overworked, sad or stressed.”
I remember the day I realized I was depleted and didn’t think I could handle the responsibility of what I created. I sat across a well dressed man, Tim Brown, at one of my favorite restaurants in Denver, True Foods Cherry Creek. He has silver hair, the kind my grandfather had when I was a kid, a warm smile, and a gentleness about him. I sat across from him sharing my excitement about Impact Founder, a story I was used to telling multiple times a day, it became the standard in my life and with ease I could talk bout depression and suicide in entrepreneurship – and yet I didn’t realize at that time I was falling in and out of 3 months of depression. I just thought I was tired, exhausted from a successful launch.
When meeting someone for the first time, I always ask the person to share their story with me. Why were they referred to me. What is it that impacts them about Impact Founder?
Tim waited patiently for me to finish sharing about Impact Founder. I was green about what we were creating and riding the coattails of a successful launch with over 7,000 visitors to our Denver exhibit at Galvanize. I was excited to create CHANGE.
Knowing he was a published author of a book about his darkest moment, I still asked him why he thought we were introduced. I wasn’t prepared for how it would hit me when he removed a book from his briefcase and slid it across the table toward me. The cheerful, confetti cover of Into the Parade was staring back at me when he told me about when his darkness hit and he came to the edge – a choice where he was seconds from death by suicide. I felt the tears gathering in the corner of my eyes.
I was hit with a wave of responsibility I’d been fighting internally for months since the launch. I didn’t realize the personal struggle I felt as the container for strangers to share their darkest moments – I didn’t realize the impact it was having on me. I felt responsible, honored and yet conflicted. I left that meeting with Tim in shock, and tears. Both feeling honored for his sharing and for the first time I had integrity with myself about the weight I felt from being the container for people to share of their darkest moments.
I was exhausted, more accurately depleted. I am a personal coach, nutrition and life coaching is my focus, how did I get to this point? How did I reach the point of emotional, physical, and personal depletion? Add in that I hadn’t made a dime in months — and was still responsible for my finances. I was in the middle of 3 months of what I would consider a DEPLETION DARKNESS (notice I didn’t recognize it depression) and meeting with Tim was a call to my personal integrity. When I look back at those months, I feel out of body, that I wasn’t there to experience it. A lot of it I don’t remember.
The light in the tunnel here is that I am blessed with a community I built for this reason. I didn’t quite know I was depressed at the time, and I wouldn’t consider what I experienced as a Mental Health issue. I was tired and didn’t feel healthy or like myself – that’s how I felt. There’s only one time in my life I identified as having a problem with depression, but I’ve never identified having a ‘mental health issue’. I just didn’t feel right or I felt depleted. I was tired, or overworked, sad or stressed. I am lucky in that I have always been able to recognize that feeling of “not quite myself” as an indicator that I need to seek and implement what I know works for me – coaching, nutrition, exercise, yoga, friendship, time for myself (self-nurture).
So this is the take-away, the point or the message: I’ve never identified as having a problem with depression or mental health. I just didn’t feel right or I felt depleted. I experienced a post-launch depression in the container of building a movement empowering entrepreneurs not to give up, or burn out and I almost did both. Thankfully the Impact Founder community helped me see the importance, and brought me our of the darkness to keep making change in the world.
My commitment to you is building Impact Founder by sharing more stories like this so that you don’t feel alone, and don’t give up. To empower global entrepreneurs to keep making change in the world. Join us to hear REAL stories of global entrepreneurs AND if you have a story to share, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
*** If someone you know has any warning signs we encourage you to call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) so that you can find out what resources are available in your area. Your call is routed to the Lifeline center closest to your area code. The local crisis center may have resources such as counseling or in-patient treatment centers for your friend or family member. Most importantly, please encourage them to call the Lifeline.