Nobody is crushing it. Nobody is killing it. Nobody has it all.
The other night I came across a recent episode of CNN’s Mostly Human about “Silicon Valley’s Secret” — perhaps better known as the stigma around mental health. Even though 1 in 4 people suffer with mental health issues and an even higher percentage of entrepreneurs do, we still can’t seem to talk about it. This episode covered the issue in one of the most genuine and direct forms I’ve seen to date.
“We’ve decided as a startup culture that you can only be crazy or sane. That there’s no spectrum and that mental health or emotional problems indicate two things: one, that you must in the crazy world and two, you are weak.” — Rand Fishkin
Mostly Human took a (fittingly) humanizing approach to portraying the struggles of mental health by highlighting just a few of the incredibly impressive people who have experienced it first-hand — depicting it not as a choice but as a condition. Emphasizing that people don’t choose to “commit” anything, rather they deal with the cards they are dealt and pointing out that the only way to reduce the stigma is to ignore it and speak openly despite of it. And specifically to the tech community, realizing that the struggle tends to be more real than the facade of “crushing it”.
“Nobody is crushing it. Nobody is killing it. Nobody has it all. I have the authority to say that because I am honest with myself.” — Jerry Colonna
When asked why she produced the piece, CNN’s Laurie Segall first said she felt she “needed to”, but only when prodded did she say felt she needed to because her aunt is schizophrenic. That alone is an example that shouldn’t need prodding. We all have an aunt, uncle, or perhaps ourselves who fall on different points of the mental health spectrum. Hopefully, Mostly Human is the first of many pieces highlighting this shadow over Silicon Valley. With each additional post, video, or story, we get closer to eliminating the stigma until we no longer feel the need to shade when our loved ones, or ourselves, may be suffering from something they did not ask for.
“To stigmatize someone for something that is biological is to dehumanize them.” — Amado Guloy
When it comes to breaking the stigma around mental health, no one has done a better job than TWLOHA. As someone who discovered them in a time of need, I’ve been an active supporter for nearly a decade now and am participating in their virtual 5k on April 15th — if the cause is important to you, I’d implore you to help me reach my $1,000 goal and donate here. If you’re in LA and can run 3.1 miles, join my meetup at the Beverly Hills Sign! Message me for details.
And finally, if there’s anyone in the tech community who ever wants an ear, let me know — I have two.