What Meghan Markle, Prince Harry, Oprah Winfrey, and Piers Morgan Can Teach Us About Mental Health, Entrepreneurship, and SuccessApr 12, 2021
What if I told you that shame, stigma and our irrational fears about “mental illness” are the top reasons why entrepreneurs and high achievers don't address their mental health problems!
In this blog post, I’m going to examine how Oprah Winfrey’s interview with Royals Meghan and Harry is an invaluable lesson for all hard-driving entrepreneurs and high-achievers who work so hard to keep up appearances over getting honest with their own mental health problems.
The price we pay for allowing our mental health to deteriorate because we are too ashamed of what people will think of us and the stigma that they might attach to us as “losers” is far too great.
It is time to lose the shame and stigma associated with mental illness and to create better mental health and wellness.
If you’re like me, you might very well be putting your own life at risk!
How do I know?
Because I was one of those people.
I was afraid to tell my partners and customers that I, too, struggled with my mental health – thinking that they would think less of me.
I wanted to project this image of success, despite the anxiety, depression, and overwhelming stress that I was experiencing on a regular basis.
Not paying attention to my own mental health needs first made my anxiety and depression far worse and nearly killed me.
After watching Meghan talk about her own mental health issues that led to suicidal thoughts, I felt compelled to share this video with you now.
Maintaining appearances vs. appearing vulnerable and imperfect have caused many people to suffer and even take their own lives every year.
My question to you is this?
Have you ever felt feelings of shame or stigma from your mental health problems?
Let’s get this conversation started, so please comment below – I’d really like to know if shame or stigma about your own mental health has kept you from asking or getting help!
Research teaches us that…
Nearly 50% of success-driven entrepreneurs and high achievers struggle with mental health issues, and most don’t ask for or get the help they need
Two-thirds of the respondents from a recent survey believed there was still a lot of stigma attached to mental illness, while almost half said they would not welcome a mental health facility into their neighborhood. In fact, nearly 9 out of 10 people with a mental illness feel stigma and discrimination negatively impact their lives.
So, why do we keep secrets??
“Many of the characteristics needed to be a successful entrepreneur align with some symptoms of mental illness,” Dr. Crystal I. Lee, owner of LA Concierge Psychologist, tells Talkspace. “For example, those with bipolar disorder think big and reach for the stars. They can be visionaries that think outside of the box and create highly ambitious goals and plans.”
Why do entrepreneurs and high achievers struggle so much with mental health issues?
The qualities that describe a great entrepreneur or creative person, someone willing to take the risks often necessary to achieve success, overlap with mental health conditions. According to a recent study commissioned by CNN, “creativity, extroversion, open mindedness, and a propensity for risk” are some of these characteristics that create mental health problems.
Dr. David Linden, a neuroscience professor at Johns Hopkins’ School of Medicine, adds to the list in Forbes, “obsession, dedication, novelty-seeking, [and] strong drive for success.”
Many highly successful people, people can absolutely thrive while struggling with their mental health “It’s important to see that they’re able to be successful because their environment capitalizes on the individual’s strengths…It’s a matter of the environment (i.e., job) matching the strengths of the individual.”
Pressures of Success
- There’s more to the story, however. Success comes with a price, whether it’s high-stakes financial responsibility, performance expectations, or a level of fame and public scrutiny. All that stress and pressure on top of growing demands can lead straight to the beginnings of larger issues.
- “On a practical level, it’s very difficult to balance a demanding career and your well-being,” Melody Wilding, a licensed social worker and career coach who works with high-achievers, tells Talkspace. “As you rise higher, you also face greater pressure to perform, which can lead to self-doubt. The flip side of being smart and accomplished is that it’s easy to fall into traps of overthinking and worrying.”
- Success can also breed isolation and self-neglect. When a business venture really takes off, it requires a lot of time and headspace to manage. That can push aside many of the social connections and centering moments that would otherwise support our mental health.
- “When you start having elitist big jumps upwards, then things change,” psychologist Deborah Serani told Forbes. “There’s a lot of disconnect from simple things, like sitting down for dinner with your family…That’s the stuff that brings texture and joy to life, and people may lose a lot of that richness when they’re consumed with a business 24/7.”
- If left unchecked, the balance between success and mental health may tip from stress and burnout to a full-blown mental illness.
- “Being at the top meant there is little time for self-care, family time, or moments of stillness — a recipe for burnout,” says Lee. “The incredible stress of being a successful person can actually trigger episodes of mental illness.”
The Fact is: There is nothing shameful about poor mental health – especially in these stressful times
Health is Health – whether it’s physical, mental, emotional, relationships, spiritual, or some other malady getting in the way of you achieving your best life with wellness, wellbeing, and abundant success.
It’s most ignorance combined with fear and inaction that allows us to suffer and not get the help that is now readily available just for the asking.
So, let’s explore the 9 ways you can fight mental health stigma right here, right now!
Talking about our problems or challenges diminishes their potency and makes the “boogey man” go away!
Oprah’s interview with Meghan & Harry exploded the need for all of us to talk about and tell on ourselves before it’s too late
Meghan was struggling with a very life-threatening issue like suicidal thoughts. Not talking about it and hiding it from the world that thinks the Royals are perfect in every way and sit on a pedestal is ludicrous.
If Meghan and Harry hadn’t confronted the shame and stigma that they were experiencing – she might have continued to keep her depression and suicidal feelings to herself and perhaps taken her own life.
The last year of pandemic living has made an already bad mental health trend even worse. Suicides and all kinds of mental illness are on the rise and people aren’t either getting the help they desperately need or are struggling even more. Worse, suicide rates are up across all age groups.
The truth is, the more we know, the better we do in life.
And, it is our right, responsibility, and duty to end this senseless shame and ignorance society places on mental illness
It’s time to save lives and make our own lives better!
So, let’s explore what exactly what we can do to change the way people think about mental illness
- Talk Openly About Mental Health
- Educate Yourself and Others
- Be Conscious of Language.
- Encourage Equality Between Physical and Mental Illness. ...
- Show Compassion for Those with Mental Illness. ...
- Choose Empowerment Over Shame.
- Be Honest About Treatment.
- Talk Openly About Mental Health. ...
- Let the Media Know When They're Being Stigmatizing
To recap what we’ve learned so far…
Stigma, shame, and fear of letting others in can maim or kill you
The 50% rule: Talking about our problems cuts the pain of secrecy in half
Challenge your irrational fears and thoughts about mental health and you! No more bogeyman
Let others in: practice confidentiality and discretion to build trust
Become part of a community of like-minded people or tribe
Educate yourself & get help anytime/anyplace you need it – links to resources on website (we also live in a virtual world and telehealth and online programs are very accessible and cost effective today
The truth will set you free and might even surprise you. If you are struggling or think you may have a problem that needs professional help, please contact the suicide hotline where help is available 24/7. https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/
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