May gave us Mental Heath Awareness Month, September gave us Suicide Prevention Day and October gave us World Mental Health Day. I’m sure there are other days to become aware of how important it is to take care of your mental health.
Since COVID, there are so many articles and conversations about what is happening to our mental health during this time and moving forward. I am so pleased that this conversation is happening with more frequency than ever before.
For those of you who don’t know my background, I spent 17 years in private practice as a Licensed Professional Counselor and have 8 years as a sales rep, sales manager and headed the sales & marketing for a new product.
The last 7 years I have combined these skills, experiences and psychological background working with my clients to create a sales process that works, the marketing to have the right prospects & leads and the mental model frameworks to guarantee success in their business and life.
It has all shaped me but my time in private practice was where I knew I could affect change in people and organizations at a deep level. In fact, that still happens today and it’s why clients stay with me longer than most.
In my private practice, I worked with families, teenagers and individuals. They were my foundation. Couples work was a game changer because
there was always one of the spouses that had been dragged to the sessions under threat.
In fact, it was one of those reluctant husbands that came around and hired me to work with difficult leaders at a Fortune 100 company where he was a VP. That work lead to working with other companies.
• Having a layoff – I was there for the immediate aftermath of emotions for those let go.
• Transferring whole families to a foreign country evaluating their mental health and resilience to move for 3+ years.
• A leader dying on the job supporting the shock and trauma of those left behind and wondering why.
• Employees robbed at gunpoint holding the space for wondering how this could happen to them.
• Having an employee shoot and kill the boss processing the trauma that was there for years.
All to show, that even in the most affluent areas where my practice was located, people suffered with shock, anger, anxiety, depression and trauma from work let alone what that did to their personal lives. It can happen anywhere and to anyone. Yet, people hold all that inside them instead of finding a way to manage what they are feeling and the consequences later.
Now let’s add the last 18 months and having your own business. Prior to COVID, entrepreneurs were among the highest group for depression and suicide. Only the helping professions are higher: doctors, police, military, psychologists, nurses, etc… Research is just coming back and starting to show an increase in all areas.
That doesn’t surprise me. The reasons for high depression and suicide rates for business owners are money (no surprise), a financial decision that caused a huge problem and lack of support from family and friends. The
other challenge for entrepreneurs are the falsehoods they tell themselves that ignore the real problems until it’s too late. They then feel trapped in a corner and see no other way out.
She came to my office for a session. She was definitely going through a mental health crises. While she was with me, we found her a psychiatrist and made an appointment. She missed her next appointment and I never saw her again.
On the phone, the wife told my office manager that she and her husband were in crises and needed to see me ASAP. During the session, this couple told me about their close friend and what lead to the crises.
Their friend was a happy person. Married with 3 children and worked from home. The friend had been cooking, baking, buying Christmas gifts and being productive. The family took a vacation and their friend hired a manager to help with work. The day it happened the friend made a big breakfast for her family, dropped her two oldest at school, came home and feed the baby. Called her husband to come home for lunch for a no kid rendezvous and asked her neighbors to take care of the baby and pick up the others from school.
After her husband left, she called 911 and shot herself.
Yes, she was the client I referred to the psychiatrist and my new clients were the neighbors. As I heard the story, I knew it was her. They told me she had taken a loan out for her business without her husband knowing and could no longer pay it back. To her, it was too much of a mistake and this was her way out.
Her family and friends didn’t know anything was wrong. She was always happy. She never let on. She told no one.
If you are an entrepreneur, a business owner or a start up, don’t do this! This doesn’t just happen to other people. I’m speaking to all of you.
Don’t fool yourself with what’s going on with your business – get help before it turns into a mental health crises.
Feeling depressed – share that with someone. Get help now.
If you feel anxious or worry, know that these feelings are a precursor to depression if not handled right away.
Have anger issues, that also is an indicator of depression especially with men.
Addiction issues – what are you really medicating?
Family and friends not supporting you – then you need to have impeccable boundaries around how they speak to you and find your people who can support you.
It starts with the little things that start to go wrong and you can’t let go.
And a trauma can happen out of the blue that derails you even if it’s not related to you.
I’ve got clients now that will tell me something that they went through years ago and ask the question – do you think this is still affecting me?
If you’re asking, let’s explore because what I know for sure is the human capacity to continue to derail our lives without consciously knowing it and wonder why they are not reaching the success they know is possible and how it”s related to your business.
Don’t wait. Check it out now before it’s huge and you feel hopeless.
The good news – paying attention to your mental health gives you greater capacity and joy for what you want to accomplish in business and life.
If there’s anyway I can help you, let me know.
PS. One last comment, especially if you’re over 45 or so. Our mental health ages just like our physical health. Its not uncommon for me to hear – I’ve had this for years and it was easy to handle and now I can’t. Find a resource.