Depression is no joke.

For the past few years, I’ve struggled with thoughts like:

– If I don’t succeed, I might as well die.
– Anyone else would have figured this out by now. I must be broken beyond repair.
– It’s pointless to even try; I’ll never figure it out.

These aren’t the misanthropic thoughts of a moody teenager. I’m not sharing them for sympathy.

I’m coming out of the mental-health closet because depression is alive and well among adults – entrepreneurs or otherwise.

Sure, I may be pre-disposed to feeling bad. I’ve had my fair share of knocks and am by far my own worst critic.

But over the past few years, working from home as a small business owner has isolated me more and more from the stabilizing sanity of social interaction.

I live alone, work alone, and navigate my problems alone.

Of course, I have an online social life. But Facebook also feeds my insecurities and fuels my inefficiency. I waste hours unwittingly absorbing what everyone else is doing. How well everyone else is doing.

As a business owner, the pressure to be perfect – to live what I teach and always be “on” – is stifling.

What if I want to rant about the culture that encourages the objectification and abuse of women?
What if I want to rage against the violence we show ourselves and each other through our thoughts, words, and actions?
What if I just want to say that I’m sad?

It doesn’t fit my brand.

I’m trapped by my own persona.

I’m not perfect.

Other people look at me and see courage and confidence – a seemingly aloof and self-contained woman.

But I crave connection.

I long to be understood and seen for the real me – the messy, hurt, angry girl who puts up walls because I don’t know how to not care deeply for anyone in my life. As well as the playful, spirited, no-nonsense woman that I also am.

Because I’m just a human, running a business, trying to live my dreams.

The irony is that, despite the depression, I’m one of the happiest, luckiest people I know.

My life is full of caring friends, inspiring colleagues, and soul-soothing work. I get paid to meditate, teach yoga, and help people connect with their deepest joy and passion.

Life is full of contradictions and we teach what we most need to learn.

Right now I’m teaching how to release anger. How to accept yourself, love yourself, and move beyond years of trauma to re-claim who you really want to be.

So I suffer.

I walk through the fiery pain my clients also endure so that I can turn around at the other end and shout guidance to them over the roar of their habits, doubt, and fear.

Not everyone may feel what I feel or choose to work as I work. Heck, I hope most people don’t.

But this is my journey.

I have chosen to open to my true nature, which means I have chosen to face all that distorts and disfigures me too.

It’s not pretty, but it’s real. And it’s working.

If you’re reading this and wondering if something is wrong with you, there’s not.

Even if you should feel happy and you don’t.
Even if you have every reason to be grateful but aren’t.
Even if you’re surrounded by love but feel alone.

You’re doing fine.

As much as I believe your true nature is joy, life isn’t meant to be 100% joyful.

You have to get lost in the dark woods of isolation, desperation, and depression to embrace the pleasure love, abundance, and happiness bring.

Know that you’re on the right path.
Know that you’ll be okay.

Just keep going.

Be free. Be brave. Be YOU!