Navigating life with a teenager….who happens to have bipolar disorder

good things happening

I know I have been MIA lately.  There has been so much going on…..and not with my kiddo, thank goodness.  He is actually in a pretty good place lately, ups and downs emotionally, but no rages and he finished the school year with the best report card he has had in years.  No, the craziness hasn’t been at home in the personal sense… has been in my professional life.

For the past 5 years I have worked for a wonderful small company based in NY.  When my husband was offered his dream job here in GA, they were wonderful enough to set me up with a home office and alter my hours so I could be a bit more available for the kiddo, especially for all of his doctor’s appointments.  It was perfect timing, because within months he had his first hospitalization and finally received his formal diagnosis of bipolar disorder.

For the past 3 years since we have been in GA, my bosses and coworkers have been the most understanding and supportive group of people I have ever worked with.  There were no hesitations if I had to log off and go pick CJ up at school or if he was having a meltdown morning and it caused me to log in late.  I was never questioned if it hindered my work….the only question that was ever asked was “Is he ok?”.  I couldn’t have asked for a better job or coworkers for this stage of our lives.

In the past few months there have some major happenings going on at work.  Our biggest client is restructuring and it has wreaked havoc on how things were going to be done at our company.   Labor intensive projects started coming through my email and I knew that changes were right around the corner.

One day, a little over 2 weeks ago, I received a phone call from my boss. She was clearly distraught and I knew what was coming.  Due to the changes, they were going to have to do some lay-offs… being included.  I knew this was a possibility and tried to stay as positive as I could be.  I let her know how appreciative I was of the time that I did have with the company and all that she had done for me.

As that day went on it started to sink in.  What was my next step?  I have a child in a private school quite a distance away; how would I be able to get a traditional job and still get him to and from school? I have been working from home for 3 years; how would I adjust to working in an office again?……..and did I even want to?????

Immediately, I started doing a job search and a few came up in our local school district that fit my qualifications.  I had one week before the submission deadline.  I didn’t sleep that entire week.  I knew I didn’t want those jobs.  I knew I didn’t want to go back to any traditional office job.  How could I even consider the irresponsibility of not applying, though? Not only do I have a kiddo with extra medical needs,  but my 2 step-sons will both be starting college in the fall.  The responsible thing to do would be to apply for those jobs and deal with it.

My husband and I discussed the options and he told me he would support whichever decision I made……but I don’t think he was prepared for what I was thinking.  For many years, he and I have talked about opening a photography business in the future.  My thought was….why not start now?  I could lay the ground work while he was still working full-time and then we could just expand when he was ready to come on board……most likely, after all the boys are done with school.

Even when I came up with this plan of action, I still didn’t sleep.  That application deadline was looming over my head.  I had everything ready to go, should I decide to do so.  My husband asked me what the first thing I would like to do is.  I told him about a few photography workshops I was interested in, to get a little more comfortable with my new camera and equipment.  He immediately signed me up, no questions asked.  The next day, I didn’t send in my resume to the school district….I missed the deadline…..I had confirmation of my workshop registration…..and I slept.  The decision was made.

One minute ago, I logged off my work email for the last time…… the changes will come.  I am almost 40 years old. I graduated from art school, yet I have never had a truly creative job.  I have always excelled at other people’s businesses… it’s time to put all of that effort into my own. It’s going to be a hard path and financially things may be challenging for a while, but that is even more incentive to make it work.  It won’t be easy, but for the first time in my professional life, I will be putting all that hard work into creating something I love.


Comments on: "When One Door Closes Try To Not Jump Out the Window" (3)

  1. Anonymous said:

    Congratulations Caryn! This is such an amazing opportunity for you! You will do great, I am sure!


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