Severe burnout, exhaustion and depression

I launched my first start-up and after years of insanely hard work and it failed. I then launched my second start-up right after. I have nothing left in me though, I am severely exhausted, burnt out, which has led me to be extremely depressed, miserable and very unhappy. I literally have no energy left. I have to force myself to get out of bed in the morning, I have to force myself to eat, and unless I have to for business, I want to be left alone and not talk to anybody. I’m normally a very outgoing person. I want to be done with my startup. I’m scared and know deep down that I’m working myself to death.

Problem is the second startup is new and met with great fanfare and the same important people I need to network for a really solid job if this doesn’t work out, are the people that have sung my praises and are watching what I do with this one. If I quit so soon, even though they admire me for the first startup which was a while ago, they might deem me a quitter and not want to help me network for a job which I’ll need. Also, what will I say to justify me being done? I can’t go out there and say truthfully it is due to severe exhaustion and depression?

Lastly, if I do want to give it one more shot, how do I do this when I have literally no energy left in me?

Please advise, thank you.


  • Casually check with your network if there are lucrative openings, take it and shelve your startup and take some mental vacation. Then work on your startup on the side until it you feel there’s traction, then jump back in.

    The key is to not update your LinkedIn so people still think you’re fully in your startup.

  • take a retreat. Your startup will still be there in a week-10days and the world wont end.

    Maybe go to a lake, the mountains, beach or anything with a deep connection to nature. 3 full days minimum. You don’t need to justify or rationalise it to anyone.

    try not to drink during that time, or do so minimally.

    Even an afternoon or evening in the forest or by a lake and just breathe. Go alone and relax.

    When you come back into it, mother nature will get your spirit right and refreshed. make it a regular thing

  • If you are still financially independent take a break. If not, try to get a partner. A good partner will bring new ideas in and if willing to work the extra mile will push you to do it too. If you’re really fed up with entrepreneurial life, than talk with the people you network with about getting a job. You can simply explain to them that you prefer to have a sole function in an organization that has already structure rather than chasing all fronts (which is what entrepreneurs usually do).

    I had a similar experience but jumping from a job (my last job which left me depressed and almost burnt out) to my own project, and although I found the energy to pursue it, 3 years later I just keep it because I don’t have any other alternative, so I’ve been trying to exploit those 3 options I gave you above.

  • I’m not a startup founder, but I have joined a few tech startups and currently working as a partner at a startup for IT Consulting.

    I’ve been really busy with the startups I’ve been through, At first, I was really enjoying it. But after a few months, I noticed that I’m not that excited anymore to go to work.

    I also force myself to get out of bed, force myself to work, force myself to study new features of a programming language I’m using, and the new services from a cloud service provider.

    When I force myself, I tend to get really tired faster, and I have moved to different companies thinking it will solve my problem. Still, I’m so busy and need to do a lot of things.

    This led me to really quit my job without too much plan, I was really depressed and I don’t know what to do anymore, I asked for help but my friends and significant other doesn’t understand me and doesn’t take me seriously.

    After a few weeks, I joined a startup again but I’m only required to go to the office once a week and I’m in control of my time. It’s can’t as busy as the previous companies I’ve worked for. I almost only work for 3 days a week with a very low salary which is just good enough for me to survive and pay for my daily expenses.

    I started to recover, feel more relaxed and I’m able to wake up and not worry about what I need to do on every waking moment.

    But the company grew rapidly and now we started to do a lot of work, It was a challenge and fun to do. But the company accepted another project that will make us work every day, even weekends. (just like the startups I’ve been into)

    It’s now starting to feel just like before, I’m anxious, stressed out, and not really in the mood to study new technology. I can’t quit right now because I’m not financially stable. I’m having the urge to move to a farm or somewhere I can live very simply, near nature and live a minimalist lifestyle.

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