“There's so many people out there suffering that won't get the help or haven't gotten the right help, and that's why I’ve become such a passionate advocate for mental health,” explains Tonia Jahshan, founder and President of Sipology by Steeped Tea Inc. After suffering a devastating miscarriage and then quietly dealing with postpartum depression after each of her three children, Tonia found herself in a very scary spot mentally. She was starting to behave in ways that felt outside of her control, smoking and drinking and experiencing panic attacks and intrusive suicidal thoughts. It was not until she finally accepted help from others and devoted time to her own recovery that she was able to get back to herself. Today, Tonia shares her experiences with mental health as an entrepreneur and why it is so important to speak up, especially as a woman.
So many people are continuing to quietly suffer from mental health conditions like depression, anxiety, and postpartum. It can be very challenging to speak up and be open about these issues, especially as a business owner and the face of a company. Tonia struggled for years, but pushed away all forms of help. She refused to see a therapist and believed taking medication would make her seem weak. It was not until she was suicidal and worried about leaving her children without a mother that she accepted help and went into a hospital for five weeks. Although she felt guilty about leaving her family and business during that time, she finally realized that it was okay to prioritize her mental health. When she came out of the hospital, Tonia shared her experiences with postpartum with her employees and found that they were really happy that she was speaking so openly. Her speaking so freely made it easier for them to speak about their own experiences.
Entrepreneurs tend to be high achievers and are used to doing everything themselves. This often means that it can be hard to ask for help. But you do not need to suffer in silence. It is okay and natural to need help sometimes and even to need medication. You are not alone and if you speak openly about your experiences it is very likely that you will find many other people in your circle that are dealing with similar situations.
“There's so many people out there suffering that won't get the help or haven't gotten the right help, and that's why I’ve become such a passionate advocate for mental health.” (15:07 | Tonia)
“People were so happy that I talked about it, because it helped them talk about it.” (15:56 | Tonia)
“I’ve got to take care of my own mental health, and I can't please everybody.” (22:37 | Tonia)
“My biggest lesson that I ignored… trust your gut, because most of the time, it's right, and whatever that was, is not going to turn out well.” (26:04 | Tonia)
“It's okay not to be okay. It’s okay to ask for help. It's okay to be on medication because you need it.” (27:17 | Tonia)