I recently came across the term “founders depression” in an article titled 1,183 Words You Need to Read Before Starting Your First Business. I wish I’d known about it before.
Because after reading the article, I realised that I was in the thick of it for a pretty long period of time — almost two years — before it became unbearable.
In the article, which featured Heartbeat founder Kate Edwards, she says that “founder’s depression” is different from typical depression.
“I would define [founder’s depression] as feelings of sadness or despondency that you become accustomed to, a constant onslaught of feeling desperate or overwhelmed with negativity,” she said.
“When someone is normally depressed, they feel like all hope is lost. When someone has founder’s depression, they still feel like the whole world is against them, and negativity abounds, but for some illogical reason, they keep going.”
Apparently, it stems from equating business health to personal health.
The article also quotes psychiatrist Dr Jehangeer Sunderji who said that “the heart of founder’s depression is the projection of their identity on to the business”.
It’s the thought that “if my business is thriving, I must be thriving”, when this isn’t always the case.
These days, I’ve learned to choose better partners — ones who know that the self is separate from the business.
And I’m learning that staying unhappy even in a profitable business isn’t worth it.
Well, you know what they say: Hindsight is 20/20.