Solo founder here. I endure regular bouts of depression. It destroys my productivity. Eventually, the depression subsides and I resume the madness. It seems to happen in waves.

  • Man, I hear you. How long do those depressed waves last? Seems like I can go a couple weeks before my head pops out of the water for air.

  • A hopeful founder one day that has that same problem, good luck with your battles.

    Some days I’ll be going through all the mental illness pages on wiki, assuring myself I have some form of Bipolar, and then other days I realize I’m not crazy just fucked up.

  • Oh yes. This sounds eerily familiar. I just eventually tell to myself “fuck everything and just keep doing, keep shipping” and get back to work. Until the next wave.

  • If you’re talking about the self-doubt, yeah I get it bad. 90% of the time I’m working of something and I think “this is crap – who the hell would ever use this?” The inner self-critic is needed, but can also take over if not kept in check. I crave unfettered confidence so badly. I’m very temped to get pharma help, but don’t want to got there.

  • Get on a schedule, exercise in the morning. (I’m saying this from experience, not trying to be preachy) make your bed and if that doesn’t work, drugs. Daydream. Visualize your startup. Put yourself in their shoes. Get a dog.

  • OP here. Here are the countermeasures I’ve taken to control my depression:

    I take lexapro daily, occasionally tweaking dosage as needed. I exercise for 45 minutes 5 times a week. I meditate, but not religiously. I read leisurely.

    God, I feel guilty even admitting to this alleged time wasters. But in hindsight, they’re really not time wasters– they’re helping keep me going.

    I’m no psychologist but my unqualified theory is that these waves of depression are probably part of a psychological pressure release valve– emotional flood gates that can withhold the anxiety flood waters until they shouldn’t.

    If that is the case, then I may be doing the best I can and must accept the dynamics of what’s going on. When the flood waters rise, the gates will open.

    Therefore, my goal is to shorten the duration that they remain open so that I may resume my work at a level that it requires.

    Curious what your thoughts are on this?

    • I love your approach! I certainly empathise with managing the symptoms of stress -achievable; rather than focusing on eliminating the stress -unachievable.

      I’m in the midst of a stress cycle right now, for me that manifests as waking up with headaches, procrastinating and not sleeping well or at the best time for me, and doing just one meaningful thing for my startup every day -ordinarily I plough through an intense To Do list but right now only external deadlines can focus my attention.

      A SoloFoundersAnonymous would be great, I raise an issue on Secret and people tell me to get a co-founder or CTO -not what I need to hear and not helpful.

      to ya for keeping on…this too shall pass.

  • i tried to join a solo founders group and rejected me.

    I think solo founders need a support group – there is no one else around to bounce off – that understands your plight.

    It’s lonely at the top

    • That’s why I come here:) then I read nightmare co-founder stories and it all makes me feel better about being a solo founder.

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