Startup CEO: Running A Company Can Make You Suicidal

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Running a startup isn't as glamorous as some make it out to be.

It's filled with hardships, the stress of raising money, and a ton of risk.

Earlier this year, Ecomom founder Jody Sherman killed himself.  But what happened to Sherman is a risk a lot of founders face.

In fact, it's a risk a lot of people face. Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death among people 10 years of age or older in America, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Andy Dunn, clothing startup Bonobos CEO and angel investor in Ecomom, recently wrote about his own battle with depression.

During the formative years of Bonobos, things got really tough. In 2009, his co-founder and good friend left the company. That happened around the same time Dunn was recovering from a break-up with his girlfriend. The following year, Bonobos started running out of cash.

Dunn found himself not wanting to get out of bed. He felt depressed. 

"You don’t want to be a burden, nor do you want to assume your situation is any harder than anyone else’s," Dunn writes. 

Dunn put off telling his family what he was going through for a little while because of just that. He eventually told his sister, whom wondered why he hadn't told her sooner.

"I’m convinced Monica saved me several times over between 2008 and 2010," Dunn writes. "When I once insinuated in as light-hearted of a way as one can that I didn’t feel like me and therefore wasn’t sure if I wanted to be me, she came at me firmly."

The key, Dunn learned, was not to let go and never give up. 

Suicide is commonly talked about as a shameful act, Dunn writes.  But Dunn doesn't see it that way. Instead, he looks at it as an act of mistaken heroism, or misguided honor. 

The solution, Dunn says, is discussing suicide more openly and acknowledging it as "a killer of brave people, not of cowards."



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