Mental Health & Bullshit in Business
I’ve not posted since 2017. Time to sort that out.
My chosen topic for my “comeback” blog is mental health.
Mental health has become a popular topic for Entrepreneurs and startup founders to talk about.
Why? Because it’s another buzz topic. Tech, startups, funding etc etc etc.
They all have their moment in the spotlight and then when the next shiny thing comes along they’re forgotten and people (like me) are left wondering who is genuine and who has beliefs that run deeper than PR spin.
The purpose of this blog isn’t to belittle mental health. Quite the opposite.
A little about me and my mental health struggles before I go off on one
I’ve been very open about my “life story” and subsequent mental health struggles.
Life throws shit at you and you just have to get on with it. But sometimes, it’s not that easy and when you think you’ve dealt with stuff it comes back and knocks you for six.
For years I was angry, upset and slightly mental. Why? Because aged 15 I was raped.
Having been through counselling with Survivors Manchester 5 years later, I was in as good a place I thought I could be.
I’d revisited the event and dealt with it as best I could. I moved on and started to get on with my life – setting up my marketing agency LeftMedia.
For years I felt fine, until I was diagnosed with HIV. Which as you can imagine threw another spanner in the already pretty fragile head.
I didn’t take it well at all and had to take time out of work which had an impact on the business.
Anyway, the point of telling you this is to show that despite what you might see in the news or on social media, things can be going on behind the scenes. Someone can be in crisis or really struggling.
Think before you’re a twat to people.
I remember not too long after my diagnosis that I cancelled a meeting with someone I classed as a friend in business (at the time) and explained I was struggling and didn’t feel up to seeing anyone that day.
Her response “oh right”
Talking about mental health is obviously a good thing but be careful
I’ve openly advocated talking about mental health in the past.
But as the lovely woman above demonstrated – you can’t buy empathy and tact and sometimes being open about your issues opens you up to people who either don’t give a shit or have their own agenda.
Which leads me onto people who talk about mental health for their own gain and to build a personal brand.
We all know that we should live healthier lives and look after ourselves so we don’t need to be told by so called “influencers’ how to.
I’ve had enough of seeing posts from CEOs and Founder’s who’ve “made it” preaching about how we should all meditate, get up at 6am and have a cold shower before balancing ourselves upside down whilst trying to keep the contents of our bowl of gluten free porridge oats for breakfast from falling out.
To me, those who talk about mental health (me included) should point people in the direction of professionals who know more than Joe Bloggs on the subject. Giving you a safe space to share your thoughts. A place not to be judged.
Sometimes the things people in business and startups post about make you feel worse. Because they paint an unrealistic view of how to cope with mental health issues.
Why we should look to professionals for help
I’m a strong believer that talking about mental health is a vital step to help you get better.
But perhaps the best people are those close to you. Family, partners, friends.
People you might think are being supportive in the startup/business community may just have different intentions when they offer you an ear.
Where can you get real help if you feel you need to speak to someone?