In my third year at university everything took a dive. I realise now I was suffering one of the depressive periods in my bipolar pattern but, at the time, I didn’t know I had bipolar disorder and, quite frankly, it wouldn’t have helped much if I had known.
So – I tanked my finals: they were kind enough to give me a 2:2 anyway. I also made my career choice that year. With a degree in English, there was – teaching. I knew I didn’t want to teach so what could I do? I had a maths A level and so I plumped for accountancy. Why accountancy? It begins with A and was the first career in the book. Yes, it was literally that simple.
So began fifteen long miserable years of doing a job to which I was almost totally unsuited.
The thing is, that, very often, you don’t realise how miserable you are until the burden is lifted and you are released from the thing that is causing the misery. You don’t know you are in a cage; you just know you cannot fly, and you wonder why. You do everything you can think of to be free – other than unlock the door and fly away. The cage is safe, even if you are trapped. You work harder and harder and it just gets worse.
In the end, it was my courageous Director of Finance who took me aside and gently explained to me that I was totally unskilled at being an accountant and that I just didn’t have the talent for it. It was hard to hear, but she gave me a valuable gift and I will forever be grateful.
I look back at that time and it would be easy to see it as almost completely wasted and to be bitter about my choices.
Yet, nothing is ever wasted. Every experience is positive if you view it in the right light.
I think of all the friends I made in that time, the listening skills I learned when managing a culturally diverse team, the different places I lived.
Most importantly, if not for that time, I would not be here now. I met two of my best friends in my last but one job. It was one of those friends who introduced me to my husband. Moving to take a new job gave me the opportunity to sing with a wonderful choir. I was introduced to the concept of personal development. It was through taking one of those courses I stumbled across my new career which I love.
Life really is a journey. There are rocks and desert and thorny places. I think the point is that every step gives us an opportunity to either add to or hone our life-skills. Everything in life does end and there is a new doorway to walk through. Then there is a choice; do we take bitterness or good memories? I don’t think we can take both.
A Moodscope member.
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