Photo by Alex Kotliarskyi / Unsplash

35:2 Running an agency with depression

Lee Matthew Jackson
Lee Matthew Jackson

I’ve been battling with my mental health many year. I’ve had a range of support including medication to keep me on track but things are still hard. Getting up in the morning is still an effort. A throw away comment from someone can still send me spiralling for days.

Lee Matthew Jackson - Trailblazer FM ™


Lee Matthew Jackson

Trailblazer FM ™

Yet somehow I am able to show up online. Whilst I don’t always get it right, I am going in the right direction and that is forward.

In this episode I share what keeps me motivated and moving forward:

  • I am driven by my mission
  • I know exactly who I serve
  • I resonate with the problems I am helping others solve
  • I am honest about my feelings
  • I talk to others
  • I seek help

Important: These are my experiences and should not be considered as medical advice. Whilst I hope this encourages and inspires you, remember you must get professional medical advice to help you manage your depression.

For more help visit: Big Orange Heart

Supporting content

This episode was inspired by today’s live stream:

Depression and my business (Showing up despite the big black dog.)
I’ve been battling with my mental health many years. I’ve had a range of support including medication to keep me on track but things are still hard. Getting up in the morning is still an effort. A throw away comment from someone can still send me spiralling for days. Yet somehow I am able to show up online. Whilst I don’t always get it right, I am going in the right direction and that is forward. I share today what helps keep me motivated. _ I am driven by my mission _ I know exactly who I serve _ I resonate with the problems I am helping others solve _ I am honest about my feelings _ I talk to others _ I seek help Lee Matthew Jackson


Welcome to the Agency Trailblazer Podcast. My name is Lee Matthew Jackson. And in today’s show, let’s talk about depression. Now, please don’t tune out, because this is a really important topic, whether you struggle with it or not. If you don’t, then please listen, because hopefully it will help you understand what is going on in other people’s lives and help you to support them better. And if you are struggling with depression or any form of mental health, then I hope you will be encouraged by what I share in this episode in a way that will help you to deal with some of the symptoms and enable you to move forward with your business rather than being held back by what you are struggling with.

Now, before we carry on, please remember that these are my experiences and should not be considered as medical advice. And whilst I do hope that you are encouraged and that you are inspired, remember that if you are struggling with your mental health, you do need to get professional medical advice to help you manage your depression and we will talk about that a little bit later on in this episode.

I’ll give you a little bit of background of my experiences so you know where I’m coming from. Then I will share with you where I am at the moment. And then finally, I’m going to go through a few things that have helped me show up online and continue to run my business despite what is going on inside.

So over the years on and off, I have struggled with depression and this manifests itself in many different ways. First of all, anxiety and that feeling of just pure dread. And much of the time I can’t actually work out what the root cause of that anxiety is. I don’t necessarily have one thing that is freaking me out. And yet I feel that overwhelming sense of dread and it’s really horrible and debilitating.

Depression has also manifested itself as severe tiredness, an illness where I just can’t get out of bed or it’s a real struggle to get out of bed. I’ve experienced too many panic attacks in places where I really don’t want to be experiencing panic attacks, including before client meetings in London, which were some of the worst experiences I’ve ever had.

For many years, I’ve battled depression whilst running two companies and showing up online through the podcast on YouTube, on Facebook, sticking my stake in the ground, saying, hey, I am here to help other people. I am here to help. Event organizers. I am here to help agency owners. And I have a mission. And frankly, it’s been an ongoing struggle to keep motivated, to keep showing up, to keep doing what I do whilst battling in the background, this in a conflict.

I am constantly putting myself down. I’m constantly wondering what the hell I am doing, putting myself out there when deep down inside things feel like such a mess. And yet, despite all that, something does continue to drive me and help me move forward. Over the last few months, I’ve been completely medication free, which has been phenomenal and yet also scary because I recognize that I have to deal with some of these things on my own.

And that is something that I’m not finding all too easy. If I am perfectly honest, we have Covid, we have lockdown. We have so many things going on around us that will spark my anxiety, spark fear, spark worry. And I’m having to ensure that I keep focused as I possibly can on what my mission is, who it is that I am looking after all of those things that keep me motivated and keep me on track. And I have to remember to be super honest with myself during this time when I am struggling, I’ve got to go and talk to people. When I do need help, then I need to talk to my counsellor or I do need to talk with a medical adviser. It’s really important during this time that I recognise when things are not going great and I don’t just bury it under the carpet.

So like I said, over the years, this has been an ongoing battle and something that I’ve had a combination of support and medication for and over the last few months, something that I’m trying to move through without the medication.

Now, let’s talk about medication before I carry on. I do think it’s really important that if you are struggling with depression, if you are not sleeping well, if you are exhausted by your mental health, I do think it’s important to seek medical help and to get medication. It’s not a weakness. Sometimes we need that help to be able to restore ourselves, to be able to balance those chemicals, to get that much needed sleep so that we can begin to repair and heal and we can build our strength up to the point where eventually we might not need that medication any more.

I liken it to if I broke my leg, I wouldn’t try and walk around on a broken leg. I would accept from the doctors the relevant painkillers and I would allow them to put my leg in a splint and I would use the crutches that I would be provided with whilst my leg healed. In fact, I put off accepting medication for the Depression for a very long time because I thought it was a weakness. And when somebody put it to me in that exact way, with the scenario of having a broken leg and not accepting help, it made me realize, oh, I, I need to accept this help, because if I do, this is a platform for me to change. This is something that I can do to look after myself whilst I need it now and then I can build up my strength and work through these problems before we go into what is helping me.

Let me just share with you right now that I am struggling. I found these last three months without medication, kind of an up and down experience. It sometimes it felt easy and I felt really motivated and excited and happy. And then other times I feel really low. And frankly, today is one of those days where there’s been a combination of experiences with other people that have just slowly chipped away at the the happiness and the energy that I have. And I’m feeling really low. I I’m feeling like avoiding people and avoiding meetings and avoiding conversations. I want to kind of hide away right now. I’d love to just put my out of office on and not be available for the rest of this week an. Here it is, it’s it’s hard.

And that is how I’m feeling, and yet I recognize that I do still need to show up for for my clients, for my team members and for my family. And and I also need to work through this. And I don’t know if I’m necessarily going about it in the right way. So please don’t copy me. But let me share with you what is still keeping me going through even these dips where for the last few days it’s been quite a struggle.

To recap, I’ve shared my background experiences, a shed where I am right now. These are the things that have been helping me.

Number one is I am driven by my mission. I am clear what I want to achieve over the next few weeks, months and years. And knowing that helps me focus the business and myself. And it gives me that drive to get out of bed because I have a mission to achieve. I recognize that my small, achievable actions each and every day will build up to big change, will build up to a mission accomplished.

So if you don’t have a mission, can I encourage you to start to write stuff out? What are your dreams? What are your hopes? What are your aspirations? What can you aim for? Having something to aim for, for me has been absolutely awesome and energizing in some of the hardest moments of my life. I know that there is still something worth pushing on for.

Number two is I know exactly who I serve. I have this mission and I that mission sorry is for those people. I have a real passion for the people that I help. I’m showing up sharing with you my ideal audience. My ideal customer. My struggles, because I recognize that you may also be going through these struggles and I want to help you.

Which leads to number three, that I resonate with the problems that others have. You may not be struggling with mental health, but perhaps you’re struggling with your business. You may be overwhelmed with work. You may be struggling with your cash flow. You may be worried about generating leads. You may be miserable in your own business. You may feel trapped. All of the above, whatever it is, I resonate with that because that’s where I was many years ago. And my mission is to help people who are struggling in those situations and move out of that and move into something that is so much more positive to create a business that they love.

That means I am driven by number one, my mission number two by who I serve.

Number three, I resonate with the problems and with the people that I serve because I was there and I want to help them. I want to help you, the listener, achieve a business that you absolutely love and that you will want to get out of bed for even in the darkest time. So this is what drives me and this is what helps me drag myself out of bed.

Number four is that I’m honest about my feelings with my colleagues, with my wife, my family and my friends. I am honest and I share what is going on if I’m having a bad day. I will tell them, for example, when Tim, my business partner, wants me to jump on multiple meetings with clients, I’ll explain to him that I’m actually struggling today and how can we make this as easy as possible for me to still honor our client commitments without it being overwhelming. And when we’re honest about our feelings, when we’re honest about what is going on in our lives, you will surprisingly find that people are super supportive.

And thank you, Tim. Thank you, Kate. Thank you, Ian. All my family, friends, everybody, for being supportiv when I say to them, I’m really struggling right now and I need your help. I want to do what it is you’re asking of me. I want to help. I want to support. But I’m also really struggling.

Which then leads to the next point, which is talking to others. Yes. Be honest about your feelings and why do you on why you are. That’s a way of talking with people, but equally talk to others about what is going on inside. And that means having advice from a counselor or having advice from other people that also struggle the way you do.

I absolutely love my network of friends. We have our own Facebook group because I can rock up there completely raw and talk to them and ask them questions maybe about what they’ve struggled with and how they’ve overcome certain things or just share with them what is going on in my life and that in itself is so flippin cathartic and the love and the positivity that they talk back into my life is phenomenal and keeps me going.

And then finally, I consistently seek help. And that’s not just from family and friends and being open about my feelings, but I seek help with the professionals. I make sure that I am not putting this down to my own weakness and I am ensuring I use the help and the support of those who are trained in this, who understand how all of this works and I take their advice and I follow the guidance. It is so important, especially important, as I continue to try and remain off medication for a while to see how that goes. And yet I am not averse to going back on if that is the direction that they suggest I go in.

So I’m sorry if this is felt like a bit of a downer podcast, but it feels like a really important subject to tackle. We are living at a time where mental health awareness is is growing. People are feeling freer to talk about this. And as you are my ideal audience listening to this podcast, then I want to be able to talk about what I’m going through in the hope that it will both help and inspire you if you are struggling with this and equally, if you are not struggling with this but do know others. I do hope that this helps you understand what they might be going through and how you might be able to support them better.

There is nothing, nothing more powerful to to somebody who is struggling than than a hug, than someone reaching out to listen and not judge. All of that is wonderful. And again, to all the people in my life who have been that support, who have listened and not judge, to have given me hugs when I need them. Thank you. And please don’t stop a frickin LOVE YOU!

If you have been affected by anything in this podcast, can I encourage you to reach out for help and perhaps your first port of call would be Big Orange Heart, which is a charity for people who are working remotely all around the world and that is most of us right now during these “Covid times” and they are there to talk to to help, to support you and to put you in touch with the right people. So that’s a Big Orange Heart.

I’ll put a link in the show notes of this episode for you to go ahead and check out. I’d also like to thank our sponsors Cloudways for enabling us to continue to deliver this content and also for their support for Big Orange Heart as well, because they too, really believe that we should be there for one another to support one another and to have conversations about the tough stuff so that we can all get through these things together.

So thank you as well. That’s it. Cloudways you can check them out over on

Guys, you’re all awesome. Thanks for listening. I promise to be a bit more peppy next week. Well, I’ll try. But hey, have a wonderful week if we don’t see you in the Facebook group. We will see you in next week’s episode.


PodcastSeason 35

Lee Matthew Jackson

Content creator, speaker & event organiser. #MyLifesAMusical #EventProfs