Updated: Apr 11, 2019
One of the many reasons I started Not Normal Creative was because, alongside dealing with CFS, I also have depression & anxiety. Not the kind of triple threat I'd wish on anyone! I was so fed up with having to hide my mental health issues from employers, having to lie all the time & constantly pretend that my brain wasn't trying to sabotage all the thoughts in my head. It was exhausting. And was not good for me physically or mentally. So I wanted to create a business where I could be completely open about who I am & what hurdles I have to overcome, as well as being supportive and open to both clients and staff that have their own mental health obstacles too. A business where no secrets or shame existed.
I hate the uneducated view that people with mental health issues are not as capable as others, it's just not true. If anything, people with mental health issues are more determined and hard-working than people that don't, because they have so much more to fight through from the get-go. But look, it isn't fucking easy. And there will definitely be times where the anxiety will take over and you can't get out of bed. There will be times where the self-doubt will bombard your head and stop you from pushing forward. There will be times where the depression gains control and convinces you that there's no point in doing anything. So how do you get through this and STILL run your business successfully?
1. Try and ease your depression before it goes into full melt-down mode. Be aware of how you're feeling, what's stressing you out, what's making you anxious. Just being able to clearly acknowledge what's making you feel like this is sometimes half the battle. Try writing down how you're feeling and why you think you could be feeling that way. It's so much easier to process and deal with something when you can visualise it and untangle it from your mind.
2. Get rid of unwanted stress. Whether that's turning off your notifications for the day, rescheduling a meeting or even deciding not to work with a certain client any more. Seems drastic, but this is your business and you should never have to work with someone who makes you unwell. It's not worth it. Trust me. Free up your time and open up your doors to someone that's a better fit.
3. Get the fuck on with it. Sometimes, (emphasis on the sometimes) the best way to fight off the anxiety about not getting things done, is to get things done. It's not easy. Tasks will take longer than normal. Breaks will be more frequent. Naps will happen. But you can do this.
4. Get help. Delegate tasks to staff or take on a VA. This might seem like an extra expense, but if it means you have time to deal with what you're going through in a healthy way, and your business can keep running at it's best, then it's definitely worthwhile.
5. Stop. Sometimes none of the above work, no matter how hard you try, and what you really need to do is just stop and take some time. And do so without feeling guilty (possibly the most difficult task!). At the end of the day, you are human. And mental health illnesses or not, we all need a break. Be open with your staff and clients (honesty is always the best policy!), put things into place so you're not leaving anyone hanging, then switch off, take some time away and look after yourself. Take the time you need so that when you're ready to, you'll come back refreshed and an even more determined boss babe than before!
Let us know if there's anything that helps you that we haven't mentioned & let's open up our stories and take away the stigma from mental health!