Startup City Magazine

Internet Developer From Startup land Commits Suicide- Depression in Silicon Valley?

Silicon Valley is not exactly a place where the weak can survive and this we see from the recent suicide of Aaron Swartz after the failure of his startup company.

The existence of depression within the Silicon Valley has rarely been made aware of. This incidence is in fact a reminder of the fact the Valley is not just a city of successful startups but a one of struggles and disappointments too. This is in fact not the first case of suicide having occurred in the valley.

"It's a major issue, and it's one of the least talked about things in the Valley," says serial entrepreneur Sam Altman, who was a Y Combinator classmate of Schwartz's. "The emotional rollercoaster is very lonely, and the downtimes are really down.", as reported by

"You think 'how low can the lows really be?'" he says.

The Struggle "is when you want the pain to stop. The Struggle is unhappiness," he wrote. "When you are in The Struggle, nothing is easy and nothing feels right. You have dropped into the abyss and you may never get out."

Brad Fled an investor who had like Swartz been battling anxiety disorder says “Many entrepreneurs don't feel like they can talk openly about their depression, as they don't want their investors, employees, or customers to know they are struggling with it," he says. "For anyone who has been depressed, not being able to be open about it with the people around you makes depression even harder to deal with."

Swartz, on the other hand, describes by saying, "You feel as if streaks of pain are running through your head, you thrash your body, you search for some escape but find none," he wrote. "And this is one of the more moderate forms."

"Go out and test yourself today: pick a task just hard enough that you might fail, and try to succeed at it," he advised in one blog post. "Reality is painful -- it's so much easier to keep doing stuff you know you're good at or else to pick something so hard there's no point at which it's obvious you're failing -- but it's impossible to get better without confronting it."

However the sad part of it is that we can never get to know what would have been Swartz next project taken up. "Aaron’s dead. World wanderers, we have lost a wise elder. Hackers for right, we are down. Parents all, we have lost a child. Let us weep." tweeted Tim Berners-Lee, who invented World Wide Web.

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