To most people, a successful business owner is someone highly efficient, highly motivated and often charismatic. Though these labels are valid — to own a business is to be all of these things at one point or another — they can intimidate even the most aspirational of us. If you have mental health issues like I do, owning your own business can seem an impossible goal, an eventual raisin in the sun. And because mental health issues remain a cultural taboo, would-be entrepreneurs struggling with these issues might never take the leap to start their own businesses.
My own story begins with both the entrepreneurial spirit and the battle with my own mental health. I experienced anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorder as a young child, dealing with a myriad of compulsions from constant hand-washing to obsessively cleaning to checking my pulse every few minutes. Luckily the physical compulsions stopped as I grew older, but the obsessive thoughts remained. What if I die right now? What if I get murdered? What if I get robbed? Any milestone produced anxiety attacks. When most people felt excited, I cried. I hated being out of my comfort zone, but my mother always told me that things would get better.