During my senior year of college, I recognized that I had a passion for startups and education. I was in the midst of completing 5 years of undergrad in accounting and finance, but my amazing parents/family supported my decision to pursue an alternate path. I went on to learn to code and design and leave my highly sought after role at Ernst and Young to work at a startup.
From there, I went on to join a couple friends and launch a startup—an accelerator school for software engineers. We grew this company from just Austin to also be in San Francisco, New York, and Los Angeles. After we expanded to new cities, we were acquired by a competitor for a multimillion dollar deal and were also invited to the White House to discuss the future of education.
Around the time of the acquisition, I unfortunately fell into a clinical depression. This was the first time in my life. I had barely any energy to even take a shower and I was having suicidal thoughts. It was miserable. Much of my social network was quite surprised to hear I was facing depression because historically I was always a high energy, social, and positive person. I later discovered that depression can hit anyone for reasons that can be beyond our conscious awareness. I luckily survived this depression. It lasted for about 6 months. I was then able to return back to the company that acquired us and continue working.
After not too long, I fell into another clinical depression and had to take a leave of absence from work. This pattern of falling into depression periodically unfortunately continues until this day which totals more than 6 years at this point. And to my awareness, I fall into depression quite randomly. I begin feeling good for months which includes me eating very clean and exercising, meditating, seeing friends and family, and sleeping regularly. Then all of a sudden I will wake up being like, “oh shit, I feel like off. I’m in a depression.”
Clinical depression for me is quite scary. Not only do I not have energy to get work done as well as social anxiety which keeps me very isolated, but I also have suicidal thoughts. I have had multiple close calls with committing suicide. It’s not a great feeling!
Now that I am currently out of a depression, I often think about and get asked, “how did you get out of your depression?” My answer is, “I don’t know. I simply survived it thanks to my inner strength and the support from my family and friends.
With the awareness of the importance of family and friends in my life, it was time to gift my 1.5 year old nephew for Christmas. One day, I was reading a simple picture book to him and thought I could make a simple picture book for my nephew but instead of dogs, cats, and giraffes, it could be a picture book of those closest to him, family and friends.From there, I used my design skills and My Family Book was born!
Books were given out to family and friends. The response was very encouraging, so Shaan and Hans decided to officially launch My Family Book.