The pressure of startups can drive some people to suicide

(written by lawrence krubner, however indented passages are often quotes). You can contact lawrence at: lawrence@krubner.com

Startups are intense, and can drive some people to depression.

This article hits home for me on many levels, it speaks about the passing away of Diaspora’s co-founder Ilya Zhitomirskiy due to unknown reasons, however highly associated with the pressures of startup life. As a follow up to my post “The Start Up Girlfriend”, it is clear that startup culture becomes a lifestyle. It is not a 9-5 job with the ability to turn yourself into “off” mode. Do people actually get that? Startup mode is always on. It’s fuelled primarily by passion and for those of us who find ourselves working on things we are passionate about, time is not a factor. But as this taboo topic poses, where is the fine line between madness and sanity? Is the line so far away that it’s a dot?

I have the fortune to be surrounded by some good friends who share a love for startup culture. It’s not always pretty, like anything worth pursuing there are troughs of sorrow and crests of success. How do you put one foot in front of the other on those days? In startup culture, it’s a fairly intimate circle of people working on manifesting an idea, these people become your family, it’s a package deal (the good, bad, and the ugly). However, the ability to stay grounded and balanced, while pursuing such unveiled ideas can seem daunting and doubtful while also being awesome and fulfilling. All off these feelings are usually experienced many times a day in startup life. It is only human to have ideas reinforced by others, we are social creatures. However, ironically, the actual work itself is often a solo unsocial pursuit, you just have to get the work done to contribute to the bigger picture. For those hours spent hustling, coding, communicating, leading, experimenting, call it whatever you want, a bit of debt is incurred, maybe in the form of physical (you’re not exercising as much, you’re not eating as much, you don’t care as much) or mental, as in the case of Diaspora’s Co-Founder. Maintaining the optimistic front in light of setbacks and financial stress is not always easy. There is under-rated stressed from publicly press-released information about your start up and there is under-rated stress from the day to day that startup life demands. So how do entrepreneurs win? How do you put one foot in front of the other? Clearly there is a trend, Zhitomirskiy isn’t the first.

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