5 Benefits of Being Your Own Boss When You Have Depression

Dr. Julia Ingle PT, DPT
Woman using a laptop at home

Owning a business was something I never thought I’d be able to do. I thought having depression meant I was too “too” for entrepreneurship: too scatterbrained, too tired all the time, too unmotivated, too moody. But when I finally hit a wall (and rock bottom) with traditional employment, I decided to take a leap into the self-employment world — and I haven’t looked back.

Here are my favorite things about being an entrepreneur living with depression:

1. I can make my own schedule and work at my best times.

The majority of the working world operates on a “9 to 5” schedule, which is brutal for a non-morning person like myself (and many people with depression). Now I can save my energy and focus for times I am more likely to be productive, instead of wasting time zoning out waiting for that crappy cup of coffee to kick in.

2. I can take breaks whenever I feel like I need them — and go anywhere. 

Related:Download The Mighty app to connect in real time with people who can relate to what you're going through.

Mental health issues can strike anytime, anywhere. When I was an employee, I would have to push through them to the point I would sometimes end up in a puddle of tears in the bathroom. Now when I feel like I need some space, I can go anywhere and do anything until I’m ready to start working again without sacrificing my mental health.

3. I can take a mental health day or two… or three…

Before, I hated using my precious sick time whenever I had a down day, so I would force myself to go into work. Of course, trying to push through only made my depressive episodes worse and last even longer. Now I can take days off at any time I feel like I need a little break, knowing I will return to work and feel better faster than if I ignored my needs.

4. I can control my work environment and set-up.

Related:The Single Phrase That Pushed Me Deeper Into Depression

My last work environment was chock full of fluorescent lighting, minimal windows and fighting over desk space — all of which drained my energy. Now with my trusty laptop I can work anywhere my heart and brain desires — out on the patio, on the beach, cuddled up on the couch with my dog — you name it!

5. I can work on things that light me up, rather than things that drain me.

When I was an employee, I had little control over who I worked with and what projects I was assigned. Now I can shift gears during the day to work on projects that match my energy. Feeling inspired? Rock out a webinar or blog post. Feeling tired? Why not relax on the couch and work on some data entry? Plus, as your business grows, you can even hire people to do the stuff you hate! Your business, your call.

Related:Study Highlights Believing Biological Cause of Depression May Lead to Less Stigma

While challenging, being your own boss can be deeply rewarding and healing — even if you have a mental illness.

Are you an entrepreneur living with depression? Let me know in the comments!

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Read more stories like this on The Mighty:

Why Sylvia Plath’s ‘The Bell Jar’ Is Required Reading for Depression

The Contradictions of Being a College Student With Anxiety and Depression

Why Does Depression Make Me Feel Irritable?

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