If You’re An Entrepreneur, You Might Also Be Mentally Ill – Info Entrepreneurship

Of course, there are other common mental health conditions plaguing entrepreneurs too…like a recent study that discovered a link between entrepreneurial tendencies and traits associated with bipolar disorder. On the plus side of bipolar are super high levels of ambition and a willingness to persevere toward goals. All very important to have with the insanity that comes with entrepreneurial life. If you think about it, there are so many highs and lows (the highs and sense of accomplishment you get from successful launches, great press, surpassing revenue goals, but also the terror and grief of failure), that being an is pretty similar to having bipolar disorder, whether you actually have the diagnosis or not.

Photo by Ryan Rush on Unsplash

When it comes to my own story and what led me to the entrepreneurial path, it's a hair-raising tale, let me tell you. Not just full of bumps in the road, more like dinosaur-sized potholes and rabid demolition. Think of any one of those scenes from dystopian monster or natural disaster movies where entire cities get wiped out, and it's more like that. So it's interesting, armed with the knowledge that mental disorders are rampant within the entrepreneurial world, to look back at my work history and patterns and see how I fit in with all this. Maybe you can do the same.

First things first…I don't actually have a mental disorder. Yup, that's right…no diagnosis here. I'm not medicated, unless you count holistic anxiety treatments, Natural Calm drink, and CBD. BUT…I have enough experience with it within my own family and from my experience with PPD and the subsequent, lingering anxiety that came from that to know what it feels like— as I documented a bit in this story:

I also have adrenal fatigue, an illness actually caused by stress, so that's fun. I've been dealing with it since about 2005 (after I had my second bout with mono and just never really seemed to recover), and was diagnosed in 2010. Adrenal fatigue is a legit illness that doesn't get treated as such by the Western medicine community and that's why it's so hard to get a diagnosis. It's also one that's increasingly common in this insanely stressful world, and I wonder how many entrepreneurs live with it. They don't call it the “burnout epidemic” for nothing.

In fact, I'm dealing with a big adrenal crash right now after a prolonged bout of high stress and overtaxing myself with work and exercise on not enough sleep. Like, I have no energy, serious fatigue, headaches, and I never sleep through the night. In fact, I wake up pretty much EXACTLY at 6:18am every morning — how weird is that?! So, lying in bed with my laptop and writing about my wellness struggles as they relate to work seems pretty freaking appropriate right now.

But I digress….I can see certain persistent characteristics in myself and patterns in my previous jobs that have caused problems. These include but are not limited to:

  • being uber-rebellious and not wanting to stick to schedules or bend to pressure to conform to company policies or culture, especially those I disagree with
  • said rebellion sometimes expressing itself in unhelpful ways, such as being just slightly late all the time, or not hitting every deliverable as expected
  • not “managing up” because I have a basic distrust of authority
  • getting bored super easily especially if there's no room for creativity
  • checking out and disengaging if I feel: bored, unappreciated, disillusioned or unchallenged
  • pulling WAY back and disengaging even more if I feel my job is threatened. Yeah, so this kind of thing hasn't motivated me since I was too young to know better, it does quite the opposite
  • being a little erratic and impulsive
  • placing too much importance on personal relationships with coworkers or subordinates
  • zero tolerance for micro-managing or control freakery

Yeah, ok. So…all of these traits aren't necessarily indicative of a mental disorder but they're not all healthy either. And they definitely did not set me up for success when it came to corporate conformity. On that front, I wear it like a badge of honor. In the corporate world though, I‘m one big Dunce Cap.

Article Prepared by Ollala Corp

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