Overcoming Loneliness & Depression as a Solopreneur | Emma Rose Company | Working From Home | Small Business Tips | Finding Support

I've been wanting to write this post for some time now as business is growing and I find myself at my computer more and more lately {and alone}.  I wish that I could sugarcoat this post but I'm going to be real.  I'm going to go past all the beautiful images on my Instagram and other social media platforms.  I'm going to go deeper than the happy and uplifting posts that I strive to put out there because there is a part of this journey I have yet to discuss with you all.  But here I am today, ready to dive into something that hits home for me personally and professionally as I've watched my own journey unfold.

did you know that 1 in 3 entrepreneurs live with depression? 

When I read a study recently that number shocked me.  Okay, I guess it didn't completely shock me because it can be a very lonely and isolating journey as an entrepreneur.  Some days are extremely lonely when you work from home chasing after your dreams.  When I was 18 I went through some trying times that threw me down a dark path of sadness, fear, depression and isolation.  I had people around me who loved me unconditionally, but all I felt was alone.  Looking back on it all I now realize how young I was at that time and how much learning and growing up I still had to do but at that moment it felt as though nothing would ever be put back into place.  I thought that my mistakes would define me for the rest of my life and that I didn't deserve happiness.  I've overcome all that with years of working on myself as a human being.  I learned how to forgive myself, find grace, and how to let go of things that were out of my control.  I found the courage to finally tell my Mom and Dad that I needed some help.  I needed someone who wasn't in my family or in my close circle of friends to talk to me and guide me through the next chapters of my life.  I'm forever grateful that I was able to find the strength to ask for help, ask for forgiveness and guidance because that was what I needed.  I've never admitted any of this until now, and conveniently enough I'm sharing it with the world.  Scary, but I'm ready.

I feel so vulnerable, but it's okay.

The reality of my life and journey I have embarked on as a blogger and business owner for me personally comes with sharing pieces of my life and story and how I am where I am right now.  I get emails and notes every day from complete strangers telling me how amazing I am and how my journey inspires them, lifts them up and gives them hope.  When these first started coming in it was so hard to accept.  It took me some time to accept this next phase of my life and that my work and story was actually helping others.  As these messages keep rolling in, I realized it was time for me to share a bit more about myself and that it hasn't always been the way it is now.  By the grace of God, not giving up, asking for help and ultimately meeting my Husband I found a way to be happy.  It wasn't perfect.  It took years to find myself in a place where I could look in the mirror and feel proud of the girl looking back at me.  I had fought off the demons for several years until this past year when we moved to the city in which we reside in now.  I had some seriously blue months this winter and it took me a little while to realize what was happening.  I was depressed.  I was lonely and scared of the new adventure my Husband and I had signed up for moving back to his hometown to be part of the family cattle ranching business.  Throw in the fact that I was navigating these new waters with a new baby, it was hard.  I cried a lot and thank God for my Husband for being there for me during that time.  I didn't let myself get back to that incredibly dark place at 18, but I was close.  Our life was messy.  Relationships, living situation, leaving our friends and my own family behind proved to be an incredibly bumpy time in our lives. It's hard to believe that this was not that long ago, but our move was not easy.  It's still hard, but it's good.  We are happy and now know that we made the right choice in moving back.  

things got better, but I was still lonely.

When we moved I was prepared to see my Husband less than I was used to but talking about it and preparing yourself is completely different than actually living it.  My Husband was no longer as present in our daily lives and that was (and still is) really hard for me.  The reality of our new life has thrown me into times of feeling completely lonely.  Not depressed like before, but lonely.  All my hours in the day were given to a little human named Riley and any extra moments were spent plugging away at the computer working on my business.  It wasn't long ago that I realized something would have to change.  I needed to find a way to still give my business my whole heart and energy, but I also had to figure out how to make the journey less lonely.  An ah ha moment recently for me was when I finally did get around a group of girls I could not shut up.  Seriously, after the evening out I swore they would never want to hang out with me again because I just talked talked and talked some more.  I realized that I've been desperate for adult conversation (aside from Shaun.)  

being an entrepreneur comes with high risk.

Beyond the risks we take with our money, time, energy, security we are gambling with mental health.  We have to deal with the ones who do love us the most, but also doubt us and can't understand why leaving the 9-5 is worth the risk.  They don't get it.  They try to be supportive, but the last thing you want to do is go to those people when things are hard because of the looming, "I told you so."  Becoming an entrepreneur is a deeply personal journey, and it is difficult to separate your individual identity from the business that you are trying to create and grow. Soon, business setbacks (of which there are many) seem like personal setbacks, and depression can quickly take root.  It's everywhere and often overlooked because the word "depressed" unfortunately hold such a negative stigma in our society.  I'm guilty of it because until now I never wanted to admit that I suffer from depression.  I scroll through beautifully curated social media accounts every single day and I always find myself wondering what the real story is.  Has this "perfect" person struggled?  Yes, I'm almost 100% certain of that, but no one openly talks about it that often.  I hope today we can break the barrier and start talking about the reality of working alone 99% of the time and how isolating it really is.  I'm no longer in any sort of office setting where there are adults around me all the time.  It's just me now and I have to find a way to get the interaction that is missing from my work life now.

Emma Rose Company | Overcoming Loneliness as a Solopreneur | Working from Home | Lady Boss | Stay at home Mom

I have a few tips on overcoming loneliness as a solopreneur.

Don't be afraid to admit that you need help.  The moment you can confront your thoughts and feelings can be a huge weight lifter.  My journey on admitting my own depression was back when I was in my teens, but even now I know how to approach my feelings and talk about them openly with the people closest to me.  My Husband knows when I need a little more to make me feel better.  Whether that is words of encouragement, affection, or simply listening, we navigate it together.  Reaching out takes courage.  It takes vulnerability and being able to recognize something that isn't talked about openly but finding the strength to admit it anyway.  I'll also say this, no matter how dark a situation appears, it's never as bad as it seems.  Sure, it's bad.  It sucks, but it does get better.  There will be bumps and setbacks throughout your journey as an entrepreneur, but you are not alone.  You are not weak, you are actually the opposite for finding the strength and courage to seek help in whatever way works best for you.

Stop comparing.  It's been freeing for me personally to stop comparing myself to others.  Every once in awhile late at night I'm scrolling through my phone and wondering (like I said above) what their life really is like and if they are truly that "perfect".  Stop.  Just stop it.  You are YOU.  You are beautiful.  You are talented and you are here because you want to tell your own story, find your own passion and chase your own dream.  No one else has anything to do with that.  Do you, always.  If you spend your time comparing yourself to others it will only feed the loneliness.

Shut it down.  Walk away from the computer {and cell phone}.  I'm still working on this because I truly love being at my computer and working, but it's always by myself.  I get lost in my work and before I know it it's been a week since I left my house and actually got out to talk to other adults aside from my Husband.  I know, sad.  But it happens!  That's life with a baby and as a solopreneur.  There is ALWAYS something to do.  Always.  I've learned some things about myself in the past few years that I am a complete homebody.  I'm working to break out of that and get out more because I genuinely love being home without the crazy of the world around me but it also affects my loneliness.  I need conversation and interaction with others.  I don't want to be that friend who shows up once every few months and doesn't know how to communicate anymore or find myself in another word diarrhea situation like I was recently.  That's no fun for anyone.  I challenge you to take one day a week where you don't hide behind the computer.  Find a day where you can do something for yourself that makes you happy (aside from your business).

Keep things in perspective. Like my 18 year old self, at that time in my life it seemed like things would never be okay again.  Life is full of ups and downs.  It's like looking back to your teen years and something that was truly raw and difficult at the time becomes blurry and less painful as the years pass.  The pain may always be there, but it's dulled.  This too shall pass.  I do love that phrase, and it's true.  We are always going to be faced with challenges, but try to keep it in perspective that it's temporary.  

Write it down.  I've always been a journal girl.  I love to write things down.  It's always helped me.  Recently when things got dark again I realized that I had not been writing things down anymore.  Actually writing out this post is a huge help in my own loneliness and isolation in what I do.  I find peace when I write my feelings down on paper (or screen!)  With that being said (like what I'm doing here today) is find a place to share.  The ability to connect and relate with other creatives is huge.  I have hopes that sharing my own story here today will open the doors for communication with fellow creatives who may experience the same woes that I do.  

Do something for yourself.  I already said this but I think it deserves a section of its own.  Join a club, go get that mani and pedi that you've been putting off for months.  Tell your spouse or partner that you need a break.  Take that break.  I've never been good at asking for help.  I've always just done it.  Don't make the mistakes I have because we all need help.  We all need breaks.  With or without kids, you have to find a way to step away from the biz and focus on yourself.

cheers to finding the courage to overcome loneliness and no longer being afraid.  you are not alone.

I'm not sure I can sit here and tell you that depression is not still a part of my life, but it's much different now.  It's controlled.  I know now when things are a bit much and I need a little pause to regroup and regain my focus.  I'm not longer sad.  Sure, I get blue sometimes but it's different now.  Now I know that I'm not alone.  Now I know that there are people in my life who will never judge me for my imperfections.  They continue to show up for me and love me unconditionally.  Relationships are so important and I'm working every day to strengthen the ones around me.  It's okay to get lonely and feel depressed because like I've said about 10 times throughout this post is you are not alone.  We need each other.  We need to talk about these things and keep the communication open to ensure that these bumps in the road are controlled and that you never ever feel like you don't have anyone to talk to.  We are in this together.  

 

Always, EMMA

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Emma Rose

Emma Rose Company, 6849 US-101, South Bend, WA, 98586