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An entrepreneur’s journey through mental health

  June 14, 2017   

Jack is the founder of The Social Mercenary an ethical fashion business that looks to inspire and empower everybody touched by the apparel process. The bags were inspired from a volunteering trip to Ghana and will begin crowdfunding soon!

“Your disability might just be your greatest strength”

Before I start, I would like to point out that having depression, anxiety and panic attacks have led me on a journey, to discover myself and what I love about life. It is because of these mental setbacks that I have set out on my own path because I know that I have been previously underestimated, misunderstood and filled with self-doubt. I want you to know, right now, that if you have a disability, of any kind, you are much greater than people will give you credit for and you can be empowered when you realise this.

To give you a bit of background about me, I started out at a young age in what I can only describe as a chaotic family. I was fat, bullied, had epilepsy and I really struggled at school. The only thing I was proud of at this point was scoring from the half way line in a football game. This set me up to be an overly-anxious deep thinker which led to negative thought spirals, panic attacks and lacking the energy to even get up out of bed.

Things took a negative turn for me when I would dread going into the shower because I would think about the ways in which I might harm myself, I had a recurring vision of being hit by a bus which was horrifically pleasurable and the strange thing about these thoughts would be that they would send me into a huge panic attack because I have and still do have a phobia of death or of dying. Another really strange experience I had in this part of my life was how disconnected I was from my own body. It felt like I was watching myself go through life in a black and white movie, all colour had drained away. It felt like I had no control and could only watch.

So what changed?!

Well, I realised I wasn’t watching a movie and that I was living a life, my life. So I became pro-active.

It took quite some time to realise that the things listed above weren’t normal and then to finally admit that to myself. This was hard but that for me was step one. Then I got help. I started seeing a counsellor, who taught me how to deal with the anxiety attacks, then we began to dig deeper and deeper. This is a slow and painful process but I felt I had to uncover every stone so that I would not live out the rest of my life resenting the people I should be loving. I recommend practicing the 5 second rule for dealing with panic attacks and doing the things you are scared of.

I have to say that whatever you are doing in life, whether you have ambitions of becoming an entrepreneur or not – you cannot expect to get far without first reflecting deeply on who you are as a person, (not who you think you are btw), what you really enjoy doing and what you are good at because, once you’ve found a sweet spot between these things, you will be unstoppable. When you have a purpose, the little things that used to haunt you, day in day out, no longer matter because you are now doing something much greater.

“It is not the meaning of life we seek but instead the feeling of being truly alive”

You will never fully understand the wonders of life and so I think it’s wise to believe in something greater, whether that is (a greater power) religion, self-belief or even destiny. Be grateful each and every day for what you have got, rather than what you don’t. Having the belief that there is a path that you are following helps you to decide what you want out of life and sustains your motivation when things get tough. As an entrepreneur, things will get tough and you will have to make huge leaps of faith based only on gut instinct but without this belief you won’t have the conviction to follow through.

Steps to shifting your mind-set:

  1. Become a person of action rather than of thought.
  2. Finding what you love – or at least searching for it.
  3. Visualise what you want to achieve
  4. Do one thing that scares you each day (This for me is huge, some of the things I’ve been most scared to do have been the best decisions.)
  5. Do one thing that gives you pleasure.
  6. Learn all you can learn – your brain is always making connections but it requires new information to…

My personal journey

I took a leap of faith and started The Social Mercenary because I wanted something where I could really be me. I am not afraid of hard work and enjoy the thrill of not really knowing what I am doing but so far it has seemed to have paid off. Check out The Social Mercenary here:

I am sharing this because as you read I was incredibly unhappy and now everyday makes me smile, laugh and I love every moment of it. Whether I am successful or not to me doesn’t matter instead enjoying every single day and pushing myself to do things I never dreamed of, is what really fills me with joy. Please write to me if this was valuable, would love to hear feedback.

These stories are tagged with: mental health mental health Graduate Perspectives Graduate Perspectives Developing Strengths Developing Strengths