There was a time when like most people earning a wage I did just what was required of me and no more, merely to stay employed. Then back in nineteen seventy five I secured a job as a lab technician in a leading New Zealand university. I absolutely loved being there. Barely a year had passed before I changed my attitude regarding the employee/employer relationship. Yes I was still receiving a weekly wage. But the benefits of working there changed me forever. From that day forward I have continued to give, give, give to the detriment of my sanity and wellbeing.
Back then as an emerging writer, being able to pick the brains of certain among the academics within the School of Science where I worked was an absolute godsend as far as I was concerned. In appreciation, whenever any of them wanted something from me, I gave them two hundred percent of my time and energy. Five years before I finally quit in two thousand, after twenty-five years loyal service, I was hospitalized after suffering the first of two major breakdowns. There is only so much stress an individual can cope with before your system shuts down to protect itself, and you.
In two thousand and three, I quit my job here in the UK to return to New Zealand with one aim in mind, to concentrate on writing the Science Fiction Space Opera which by then had completely taken me over. I just had to get it done! To say I was obsessed would be a major understatement. Nothing else mattered.
Why head back there? Because If I had remained here, either I must buckle down and carry on working in a dead end occupation working as a labourer on a building site in Hampshire (the only job available to me at the time), or pursue my dream. I needed the peace and tranquility that New Zealand offered, and still does…
You would have thought that the fact it almost finished me off would have slowed me down. It hasn’t. Because of the level of stress and anxiety, when I returned to the UK, I had another episode far worse than the first. This time what triggered it was the overwhelming feeling of hopelessness over the endless rejection letters each time I sought a publisher for my first novel which added to the usual stress I had become accustomed to.
Yesterday, after gathering together a raft of research material for my next novel, I began ravenously devouring the information like there was no tomorrow. Then the old familiar alarm bells rang in my head.
Ease up you idiot!
At one point I even imagined that I heard the famous line from the nineteen sixty-six song by Jerry Samuels aka Napolean XIV – “They’re coming to take me away, Ha Haa” in my mind. You would have thought that after almost sixty-seven years, I would have learned to pace myself by now. When will I ever learn? Probably never.
More fool me…
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