It all started with poor mental health, a blog, and free-time.
In the cold winter months of February 2018, jobless and struggling with my mental health, I launched a blog with little to no plan for its future. Fast forward to today, after a journey down the Pinterest rabbit hole, and online entrepreneurship has consumed me (for the better)!
From Aspiring Blogger To An Actual Business Owner
If you’ve been with me from the beginning, Caffeine and Conquer started as a small blog on Blogger, Google’s free blogging platform. It was creatively named “Sarah Fournier” (that’s me) and was a project to occupy my time until I landed a job.
However, like many things in life, my plan didn’t pan out that way.
How Anxiety, Panic, Depression and Emergency Surgery Left Me Unemployed
2018 was a weird time in my life. I had been struggling with the physical symptoms of stress and anxiety and, on top of that, was diagnosed with a huge ovarian cyst.
I was haunted by debilitating mental health symptoms
The ongoing depression and anxiety I experienced since 2013 was under control until the beginning of 2017. It was my last year of college, I was looking forward to graduating and entering the workforce as a museum employee.
You know, be a regular adult in the real world!
I completed an internship at a museum between January-April 2017 and was offered a contract summer position afterward. Things were actually looking up!
However, once summer ended, so did the contract position.
Queue the post-grad struggles
After graduating from college and finishing my summer position, I ended up working for a little bit at a bookstore and then at a call center. I still needed to earn an income until I gained employment in my field of study.
Luckily, I had an interview lined up for an internship at an art museum in my city! Yay…? Nope.
When I Found Out I Needed Emergency Surgery
In October 2017, I discovered a had a cyst or tumor in my abdomen. After this point, my mental health went downhill. I couldn’t handle the daily stresses of life anymore and I shut down.
I healed from the surgery for two months and tried to return to work but my anxiety symptoms were going from mild to severe. My symptoms started to happen everywhere I went rather than in some situations!
Anytime I went out or had to speak to someone, I had extreme dizziness and shortness of breath.
I couldn’t just ignore it anymore and continue with my responsibilities, it became too much to handle EVERY SINGLE DAY.
I visited my doctor, asked to be put back on an SSRI, I quit my job and went on social assistance.
The Problem With Mental Health: How Can You Fix Something If You Don’t Know What’s Wrong?
Mental health issues are very difficult to understand, especially if you’ve never experienced it yourself. You can ask me why standing in a line up in a store made me dizzy and short of breath, and my answer will be “I have no idea“.
I didn’t have any fear or anxious thoughts about being in a lineup. It just happened out of the blue, EVERY SINGLE TIME.
The fact that medication helps me so much makes me suspect it’s a chemical imbalance that I need medication to treat. Because of this, I’ll likely be on it for the rest of my life.
However, I also believe unhappiness, discontent and other similar emotions can manifest themselves as physical symptoms in some people (especially panic attacks).
I suspect this was me and that I’m very sensitive to stress, which gets expressed as symptoms.
When Is It Okay To Listen To Your Intuition and Body Signals?
I like to believe, if something is right I will know it. So, I decided not to return to work to give my body a break and focus entirely on growing my blog.
The Universe Was Sending Me Signs As Mental Health Symptoms
After about a month of writing online, I felt like I was on to something good.
I went down the Pinterest rabbit hole. If you’re a blogger then you know what I’m talking about. The amount of resources accessible to us on Pinterest, by other bloggers, is amazing!
What started as a personal blog to keep me busy, turned into:
“I can do this for a living?… Oh my god, I have to do this!”
I was enjoying writing so much that the idea of turning this into a career just made sense. I’ve always been a creative person and stumbled on a way to leverage these creative talents and stay at home in my PJs as well.
I was also not waking up every morning anymore feeling unmotivated and miserable about showing up to a job I wasn’t even interested in.
I didn’t announce this to my family right away but I knew I wasn’t planning on returning to work. You would probably do the same if the alternative was working in a miserable minimum wage job with severe anxiety symptoms. It just isn’t worth losing my sanity over.
In March 2018, I made the decision to give this blogging thing a try, and when I put my mind to something I do it.
Where I Am Today (1.5 Years Later)
Since making the decision to ditch traditional employment and live on my own terms I have kept up with this blog and launched my Pinterest Management business.
My income has grown 800% over the last year and I’m still growing.
Why Does This Work For Me? (And Might Work For You Too)
Traditional employment is good because it’s secure and offers benefits, however, it’s not going to fit everyone.
Because of my mental health, I actually find working for myself a lot better than working for someone else.
- I can choose my own hours
- I decide how much money I want to make (no cap)
- I can work from the comfort of my own home
- It’s an introvert dream
- I’m not wasting time and money on a long commute each day
- I can change up my environment to boost productivity
- I feel in control of my future and career
- I don’t have to convince people to hire me, I created my own job
- I’m 100% invested in my projects
I’m much happier than I was in early 2018 and I credit that to the risks I’ve taken and listened to my body.
I Would Love To Connect
Leaving your 9-5 cubicle job to grow your own business takes gumption! Dealing with mental health issues just makes us stronger. I’m interested in connecting with women like you.
Leave a comment on this post and let me know your story!