Start-Up Stress

My sister, Stephania, has had a pretty hectic two years. I’m reflecting on this because I just got off the phone to mum, and she was positively gushing about how well Steph has managed to ‘dust herself off’ (mum’s words).

The story is that Steph had developed a rather lucrative start-up, which suddenly lost its footing and went under. That set off a process of Steph having a bit of breakdown in her mental health. She ended up booking herself in at a psychological treatment clinic on the Mornington Peninsula, where she had relocated from Sydney shortly before the fateful crash of her business.

As it happened, she was able to avert a full-on mental health crisis by getting in as soon as she became aware that she wasn’t feeling great. I hadn’t really cottoned to this, but according to mum, Steph had disclosed that the pressure from the business’ many stakeholders had been immense. She’d quite likely have suffered a much more serious breakdown if she hadn’t had psychological support in place while this was unfolding.

Anyway, she’s finally succeeded in cutting her losses and getting a new business off the ground, which seems bonkers to me but is also kind of admirable. She is, at least, likely to be much wiser to the risks and pressures involved than she was last time.

Another thing that mum divulged to me is that Steph has struggled with anxiety for many years – since high school, in fact. I’d actually been oblivious to that, or at least to the fact that it was a serious issue. Apparently, her psychologist has given her a referral to a psychiatrist in Mornington, who is developing a treatment and recovery management plan.

Part of me wants to tell Steph to just stop being so darned ambitious – her need to be the CEO of a software company is surely a key contributor to her anxiety. But then, I don’t think she’s programmed to live life any other way.