You wake up as usual to go to work.
But you feel something is not right, you can’t tell what but something is just not right.
You are tired. You check the time you went to sleep yesternight: all normal, same time you sleep everyday, so it’s not sleep deprivation.
You attempt to get up, one foot off the bed, but the other just won’t follow.
You try to think of just one thing to look forward to in the day, some motivation to pull the other foot out. Nothing comes.
Begrudgingly you go to work.
You can hardly get anything done. You feel you are putting in the hours, and working hard, but you are not getting even the mundane tasks done.
Lunchtime is here.
Your colleagues leave for lunch but you think of the trek to the restaurant and decide against it, feeling too lazy. Or too tired. You grab a coke or a cup of coffee for lunch.
You’ve lost all passion for work, for love, for friendship.
You hate the company you started. Or you hate your boss.
You feel worthless. Undeserved.
What you used to love so much becomes a bore. You can’t concentrate in church, in a meeting or even in a discussion with friends. You feel abandoned. You feel alone, yet surrounded by too much world.
Too much world that cannot understand what you are going through.
You talk to a thousand people but nothing seems to stick.
Well, almost nothing – you listen to, you want to hear, the negative advice. It feels like the best advice.
You consider any advice along the lines of “quit”, “shut down”, “do something dramatic” but want nothing to do with advice along the lines of “persevere”, “delegate”, “take some time off”.
You want to reach out but a small voice tells you: “nobody fucking cares, stay in.”
You get irritable. You have a fight ever so often with your friends, your colleagues, anyone around you.
Or you just withdraw and avoid all conflict.
The only bearable thing is a dark room, all alone.
Bearable yet you’ve lost the ability to want to sleep.
And the ability to enjoy anything.
And this becomes a cycle.
You’ve lost all motivation to live.
Nothing seems to excite you anymore.
Even suicide doesn’t look like too bad an option.
You are not alone.
Thousands of people suffer from work related burnout and/or depression every year. And a big part of those are in the startup community.
And the line between Burnout and depression is too thin, even different psychologists have different perceptions of both.
I am just recovering from that. The fact that I am even able to write this is a testament to that.
Depression is a hated word in our culture. Many associate it with weakness and too much emotion, especially if you are a man.
But this is not the case.
There are a myriad of causes of the same: from too much exhaustion for too long to trauma.
And left unhandled, it can lead to losing of friends/ relationships, jobs, opportunities.
Take a break.
Turn off your phone.
Think this, and internalize it: life is bigger than your current situation. Never forget that.
Seek professional help. Any doctor will point you to a psychologist who can help.
Talk to people. Take time to form new relationships.
Remember, we can’t solve all our work problems by throwing more work at them.
And again never forget: life is bigger than your current situation.