You can’t run a business. You have depression. 

These were the words that used to run around my mind, before I left my corporate job four years ago.

You can’t run a business. You can’t even get through the day without a nap.

You can’t run a business. You don’t even like leaving the house.

You can’t run a business. You spend most of your time feeling that the world is going to cave in.

Since that point, I’ve discovered that ‘can’t’ is a very subjective word.

Thankfully, my depression and anxiety are – for the most part – managed well. My medication now suits me, and I’ve worked through enough darker times to understand them for what they are (and find my way through them). I have a fabulous doctor, and a family who support and encourage me.

But I know not everyone out there can say the same.

I don’t know why, but it seems that dreams are the first thing to disappear in the face of adversity.

(In the spirit of National Mental Health Awareness Week, I’m using depression and anxiety as the adversary in this note, but it can easily be substituted for a limiting factor of your choice).

Depression and anxiety brought me to my knees just before my 18th birthday. I lost my grandmother, and my father was diagnosed with Chronic Myeloid Leukaemia shortly after – all within a very short space of time. A sensitive soul at best, my world closed in on me – and all I had left was emptiness.

I struggled to keep a regular job. I was permanently exhausted, often couldn’t process my thoughts due to my racing mind, and it felt like there was a big pane of thick glass between me and everything else around me. As my managers piled on the pressure (and the targets), I could feel my sanity crumbling. It was literally sucking the soul right from me, right before my eyes.

When you’re feeling numb, exhausted, hopeless and helpless, the last thing you think you can do is leave the security of your regular income, and start a business.

Luckily for me, though, there was one more sentence that followed my limiting belief. My thought process actually went something like this:

You can’t run a business. You have depression.

So that’s precisely why you should. 

I’ll admit, the last part was a whisper. In fact, it was barely even a whisper.

But that’s the beauty of hitting rock bottom.

The only way is up.

And I knew that. I knew I had nothing to lose. Despite the days where I questioned whether I could even make it to tomorrow, I knew that I was living right at that moment – and I had nothing to lose.

For me, my business has not only changed my life literally (as in, I now work from home, can do the school pick-ups, decide my own hours etc) – but it has also healed my soul.

I know that might sound quite dramatic, but it’s true. It has provided me with a catalyst to re-discover who I am. Depression – or any kind of illness or trauma – are invitations to go within again. My business provides me with an opportunity to do that. To go deep, connect with my true self again, and feel good about doing good.

This is also why I choose to run my business archetypally. My Archetypal Blend is a gentle nudge every time I feel myself heading away from the path (which, believe me, is very often). It’s the tool I use to remind me of my inner strength, and what I know to be true – the things I know despite my shortcomings and setbacks.

I wanted to write this post today because in National Mental Health Awareness Week, I think it’s important to raise awareness not only of the monstrous side of mental illness – but also to highlight the beautiful opportunity it brings, if you’re able to see it from that perspective.

No matter what your particular struggle is, know that there’s always a whisper that follows ‘can’t’.

You might have to lean in to hear it, but it’s calling you.

And you know what you have to do.

I shall end with a quote that moves me to tears:

“I will love the light for it shows me the way, yet I will endure the darkness for it shows me the stars.”
~ Og Mandino