How to Operate a Business While Living With Bipolar Depression

Ivy McQuain

When you think about your business and how your depression has affected it, what are some things you can do different to maintain your success?

As a business owner, I can honestly say that one of the hardest things I’ve had to do was wake up and push through another day. While it’s rewarding, it is very difficult to motivate myself when all I want to do is stay in the bed and live in my depression. Let’s be clear: depression can be a debilitating illness. Scratch that: depression can be a debilitating illness that, from my experience, can feel paralyzing on so many levels, and when you live with bipolar depression, you almost always feel like you are living in two worlds. Now add trying to successfully operate a business to that, and you’re sure to be living outside of yourself most days and nights.

Fortunately, there are ways I have identified to help me manage myself and my depression. I want to share those tips with you in this article:

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1. I keep a strong handle on what depression looks like for me. This is something that many people living with bipolar depression may struggle with: identifying depression for themselves and not as a generic scenario. For me, depression is watching more television than working or spending hours playing mindless games and spending money on those games. Basically, it’s avoiding the work at hand to numb the feeling of depression.

2. I reach out to my life lines through text or phone calls. During my depression, I often tend to isolate myself and in doing so I try to end relationships with people I know who are going to check on me often. So when I feel depression coming, I make sure to notify my depression team and ask them to check on me. I even allow pop ups to ensure I am doing my part to maintain relationships during depression.

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3. I make it a point to work on projects that will generate income when I can’t do my day to day operational tasks. This is the tricky part of being a business owner, but when you are in an episode of bipolar depression, you have to make sure you can generate income when you are not able to function. I suggest writing a book, creating a t-shirt line or writing an income generating blog — something that can be on autopilot when you aren’t in the mood.

4. I take time for myself. I don’t consider watching television or playing video games as time to yourself — that’s avoidance. What I mean by taking time for myself is simply putting everything down and finding my center. For me, it’s prayer and deep thought. If I find myself going down the wrong thought process then I redirect and find a task that will allow me to see the joy in things rather than the pain.

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5. I honestly fuss at myself. I am a hard person when I am not depressed. So when I find I am spending too much time mulling about not making money for myself, then I fuss at myself like a mother at her child. I use choice words that work for me because sometimes I know I need a kick in the pants. I also know that being hungry and not having shelter is not fun.

We may go through periods of depression, but how long we stay there is a choice, in my opinion. I say that because there are now many resources and so much help to make sure we can live happy and healthy lives. You can’t successfully operate your business or your life if you can’t manage your depression with honesty. You have a talent: now take care of that talent by taking care of your bipolar depression.

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