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Knowing When to Quit

Posted by lizzieboo , 19 September 2012 · 480 views

Today I realized something fairly huge in terms of my future: It's time for me to let my professional career (as an editor and writer) wind down.

I need to communicate some things that it hurts to admit. But maybe it'll help me get past being upset about matters beyond my control. Over the last year, I have lost three major clients as a direct result of having bipolar disorder. Stated bluntly, I can no longer guarantee a reliable turnaround for projects. I might be in a perfectly "normal" frame of mind when I take on a project, but if something triggers an episode of depression or hypomania, I become an entirely different person. The strong, intelligent (some have said gifted, even brilliant) literary mind is replaced by a deeply sad or desperately fearful wreck. I change from a rational, coherent Dr. Jekyll to an unlettered, inarticulate Mr. Hyde...and while my particular transformation isn't violent, it's still an agonizingly hateful experience. What makes it worse is that, unlike Mr. Hyde, I am fully aware of what I was before the "change," but I'm trapped by the raging emotions that rule my mind during bipolar episodes. And that reasonable, sane Dr. Jekyll inside is wracked by pain at the face my uncontrollable emotions present to the world.

Either way, I'm unable to function. If it's depression, I'm paralyzed by lack of motivation or will to even start a project, let alone complete one. If it's an episode of hypomania, my mind races far more quickly than I can begin to process. I might begin to edit a sentence and by the third or fourth word, forget what I meant to write. And that's if I can even comprehend what I'm reading--in states of hypomania and/or anxiety, I can barely understand the spoken word, let alone written words. I can't even finish reading a short story during such episodes, because all I see on the page is a random jumble of words, lacking clarity and meaning...and that only increases my agitation.

Words are my life. I learned to read when I was two; I suppose I was a bit of a savant because I just started picking things up and reading them with only the barest amount of instruction from my big brother. I knew by age eight that, in one way or another, I would devote my life to this wonderful English language.

Now I fear it is time for me to say goodbye to the grand passion of my life...to leave the writing and editing to those whose minds are not a whirling vortex of words and images and sound.

It hurts more than I can express...and that, too--that inability to express my thoughts--is a sign that it's time to let go.

I know what you mean.  I used to be top performer at every job I ever had then the past couple of years, I have been fired 3 times and quit 1 job just because of my emotional roller coasters.  This illness robs us of so much.  Try not to think of yourself of abnormal though, maybe you just need a med adjustment or change.  I have had to have a few this year and a few in patient stays.  We aren't failures we are just continuing works in progress, unfinished sculptures that take restoration from time to time. :)
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I can relate to your pain somewhat. Mental illness has lost me many great jobs, including my own business, which resulted in me losing my house and being homeless for a time. It was tough to admit I couldn't do my work anymore, but a relief also once I'd made the decision and come to the realisation that I just wasn't well enough to hold down a job. If I had a physical illness which affected my work I'd have to quit, so it's not different for a mental illness. Look after yourself and take each hour at a time. I think you're awesome!  ((HUGS))
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