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Mental Illness May Plague Entrepreneurs More Than Other People. Here's Why (and How to Get Help). One entrepreneur walks us through her struggle with the anxiety and depression that affects so many.

By Lissa Harris

This story appears in the July 2018 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Viktor Koen

In seven years of running a startup, I experienced just about every emotion entrepreneurship has to offer: the adrenaline of launch; the calm energy of focused flow; the brittle, jittery high of riding a 2 a.m. work jag; the terror of feeling the mask slip, of telling an upbeat story to customers as panic churns in your guts; the grief of failure -- and the relief of failure, too; the ghostly lost-limb feeling that asks, Who am I if I'm not running this business?

Related: 4 Things My Battle With Depression Taught Me About Entrepreneurship

However, my mental health résumé is a lot longer than my entrepreneurial one. I've been dancing a medicated tango with depression and anxiety since childhood. I've racked up just enough time in the other wing of the hospital to be a bad life insurance prospect. I don't have a formal ADHD diagnosis, but I suspect a clinical psychiatrist would take one look at my school records -- a tale of epic disorganization stuffed under a mattress of high achievement -- and call it like it is.

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