Manic depression and a normal working life

I want to talk about work and depression.
After I experienced an epic breakdown myself five years ago, I was forced to evaluate my life and career. This wasn’t the first time. In 2001 I had a million-pound company and lost everything to my manic depression. Once again in 2011 I lost everything I had worked hard for to the monkeys in my head. And this year, 2017, I have also had a sense that I could possibly lose everything to them. But, unlike before, this time I am fully aware of the repercussions and want to try an understand why, so I don’t repeat the same situation and I want to break the vicious cycle.
BTW, when I say “love everything”, I mean: lifestyle, money, car, house … etc. Material possessions and some friends. What I didn’t lose was the love from my son, my family and a handful over very close friends.
I am wondering if is it possible for someone to live with and manage depression and, live a normal working life? Because what my situation has proved is: it’s more difficult than you imagine. For me anyway. Sometimes my monkeys stir when I am least expecting it and before I can calm them, I am on a never ending downward spiral.
Have I have mentioned in previous posts, I have recently (2017), completed a university course to become a children’s picture book illustrator. When I started the course, I was fully committed to creating my own children’s books and publishing them myself, but as the course progressed, I began to consider working within a company again. Now the course is over, I have a First-Class Degree with Honours and I can’t seem to find a job anywhere. But do I really want one and go through the same cycles again? But in the same breath, do I want to set up as a self-employed illustrator and have to experience another failed business?
If I am to follow my heart and make my degree work for me, I must go it alone.
The thought of being in an office/studio environment dealing with the daily pressures of deadlines, customers and the incessant office noises, fills me with utter dread and terror. It’s probably because I have done it for so long, over 25 years now, and experienced a lot of company politics over my career that I have come to the end of my long and very frayed rope.
After writing my posts, it seems that I don’t know much about myself, but that’s not the case. I just ask a lot of questions to better understand who I am, where I am heading and how I fit into this world.
The reason this post is being written is: I am in a new relationship and not contributing a great deal of money right now, so the pressure to get a job or start my business is immense. My partner and I had a chat this morning regarding getting another car, and it dawned on me that we just aren’t surviving, financially and I need to step-up. But where do I go? I have just started taking my meds again. I am just starting to feel ok. I don’t want to disturb the monkeys after starting a new job and lose it again and look like a loser.
My only course of action right now it to start my own thing, work hard and make sure it’s successful.
But the question still stands, how do people who suffer from mental illnesses work and live a normal working life?

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