I’m not alone.
I’ve been pleasantly surprised at how many emails I’ve received from people who saw my last post. Some already know me, and wanted to offer comfort (and booze). Others said that what I wrote resonated with their own experiences.
I’m humbly grateful for all the responses, but it’s made me think about something bigger than just me.
There are a lot of us on the entrepreneurial path who are starting to acknowledge our mental health issues. I don’t know if the incidence is any greater in the general population, but it feels like many of us are striving for something that’s missing.
The New York Times talked about hypomania in entrepreneurs – those who need less sleep, have inflated self-esteem, and seek out risks more than the average. These episodes may alternate with depressive episodes. Or they may just punctuate a relatively “normal” affect.
At the same time, startup depression is being recognized and talked about publicly.
Then, this morning, I read Chris DeVore’s blog post on Flow, a state of being and working that I think of as being “in the zone” - happily wrapped up in a task to a degree that time and ego lose importance. Which to me sounds like what a hypomanic episode feels like.
Perhaps I’m imagining a connection between emotionally labile people and entrepreneurship. I haven’t been able to dig up any relevant research on the topic. I’m left wondering if there is a connection, and if those of us with high peaks and deep valleys are drawn to startups, if founding a startup increases the amplitude of our mood swings, or if it’s a little of column A and a little of column B.