This article has been re-shared from it’s original source, Entrepreneur.com
One of the last people I would have associated with depression is entrepreneur Ramon Ray, the human spark of energy behind SmartHustle.com. I have hosted panels with Ramon and love his positivity that he shares prolifically via social media videos.
But, when I recently saw that Ray was doing a talk at South by Southwest (SXSW) on entrepreneurship and depression, it reminded me of both how we never really know what is going on behind the scenes, even with people we know well, and how depression is a real and serious issue for so many entrepreneurs.
I decided to reach out to Ray to see if he would share some of his story and tips, and he was generous enough to do so:
What inspired you to do this talk at SXSW?
Ray: There are many awesome talks at SXSW — funding, startups, women, coding and more. However, there are few that speak about the raw challenges, pitfalls, negativity and depression of starting and growing a business. Some weeks ago, I posted on Facebook about my own battles with depression. It generated thousands of views, many comments. I figured it was time to take this important message beyond Facebook and share it at SXSW.
Why do you think depression hits entrepreneurs?
Overall, entrepreneurship has unique challenges. Money, team building, legal issues, product development snafus and more. This causes lots of stress. This stress breads loneliness as we have few people, if anyone, we can turn to for help and to discuss. Our spouses, who should be closest to us, often won’t understand. Our friends already think we’re crazy. Our family wishes we’d get full time employment. And, most of us have a stiff upper lip — a mask that everything is ok. But, that’s often not the case, so we’re very, very lonely and suffering alone.
Let’s talk more about this loneliness being a depressing factor for entrepreneurs. What do you mean by this?
One type of torture used in war is simple loneliness. To have the prison alone, with no human contact for long periods of time. It’s a mentally painful experience. So, as an entrepreneur, it’s very similar. Being alone, or feeling that you are alone to fight your battles and go through challenges and experience failure is so difficult, at best, for most.
Do you think entrepreneurs, in particular, are subject to depression? If so, why?