With some regularity I read articles about some amiable, accomplished and brilliant young kid that decides to end their life in the start-up scene. Invariably they’ve managed to come a very long way along some perceived curve of success and then there is a snag. Either they plateau in their growth, the start-up tanks or there is some other hiccup that causes trouble.
The author states that his article comes from the position of seeing friends commit suicide, which must be really tough. But watching someone shut down is very different from experiencing clinical depression / suicidality yourself. So take this with a grain of salt; it’s an outsider’s perspective.
From my personal experience, depression is largely unrelated to outside stimulus. That’s kind of the definition; feeling sad and anxious all the time after a family member has died is natural. When there’s no reason for it, it’s depression.
I have been depressed at crappy jobs at BigCorp where I didn’t get to do anything cool and my skills were being wasted, and I have felt the same way at kick-ass startups where I loved my job. So taking a job at a big company is certainly no defence against a lack of serotonin in the brain. You may avoid the big loss of failure only to experience the mounting frustration of unrealized dreams.
Startups involve a ton of effort, but there are advantages. You can design your lifestyle - work from home, work from a coffee shop, get a Zen-like quiet office or a Keggerator-equipped party floor; whatever you need to keep a support network and manage the stress. Take an hour or two off to go to therapy, doctor’s appointments, whatever you need. It’s your ship, find the currents flowing in the direction you want to go.
The most important thing is therapy. Get meds, see someone, meditate, keep your friends close. Take your mental health as seriously as you do your physical health. And if you feel suicidal, call someone. Do whatever you have to do to survive.
Unless you assume your rightful responsibility, and begin to program your own mind, the world will program it for you