From Algorithms to Anxiety: A Tech Leader's Mental Health Coming Out
For about 15 years, I've faced mental health challenges. 8 years ago, I was diagnosed with anxiety, obsessive-compulsive symptoms, obsessional rumination, and depression. Since that time, I've been under consistent treatment, including medication. I'm in a much better place today than I was 8 years ago, but my journey is still ongoing and might in fact never end.
In the midst of this, I led a successful consulting company, founded, managed, and sold a startup, and mentored a team of over 20 engineers — a role I still occupy.
After my diagnosis, I began to open up. I started with friends in the tech community, then our founder circle at Frontastic, the wider Frontastic team, and in the last two years, the whole commercetools group.
Talking about my mental health condition initially helped me cope. Now, I see it as my duty to inform others about mental health. Mental health issues are as real as a broken leg or the flu and need understanding, treatment, and support from the social environment.
Mental health challenges don't prevent leadership. In fact, leaders should be open about their mental health, acting as role models and creating environments that support healing and understanding.
This is my coming out.
From now on, I'll be advocating for mental health, possibly through talks at tech conferences.
If you're interested in having me speak or collaborate, please get in touch.