Being unemployed has really begun to take its toll on me. I’ve been without a job before, but it was always with the constant distraction of a newborn. After months of searching, interviewing, and semi-stalking employers the result is always the same. I am either "overqualified" or "under educated". My kids are in school most of the day and the time I spend alone seems to be causing the re-emergence of a condition I had prior to having children. Most people’s exposure to Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is through television shows which highlight extreme cases. Even at its peak my OCD was mild at best. I never viewed it as a problem because it didn’t affect anyone but me. My isolation has made me go back to my old ways...
For me OCD manifests itself in strange ways. I have an obsession for counting things, i.e the steps I take, the number of times I chew while eating, and the result must always be an even number. I’m not sure if it’s because I like even numbers or I hate odd ones. I think it may be the later since I actually hoped at one point during labor that it would last longer so that my first child would have at least one even number in his birth date. This is probably when I decided I may have a problem. I also have heightened anxiety when things are not where they "belong", and by that I mean where I want them to be. I’m sure many people feel that way but it was a little extreme for me. Things didn’t belong in a certain "area", they had a very specific location as in; 4 inches from the wall, or the exact center of the mantle. I spent my days walking around my house slightly moving things to their "correct" positions. Someone watching might think I didn’t move it at all because it was so slight, but for me it was where it "belonged".
Once my kids became mobile, I really needed to work on my "problem". It would make me insane that this little person would go around and move my stuff all day long. Not only that, they now had their own stuff that I had to find a specific place to keep and they refused to leave it where it "belonged". I followed them around all day putting things back in their place. It was consuming me that they had a blatant disregard for my condition. I always felt on the verge of screaming "stop touching my shit!" Finally (with the help of prescription meds) I waived the white flag. I was able to discipline myself and allow them free reign during the day, and once they were in bed for the night, I could go around and fix everything. Besides, this was my problem, right? Why make everyone else suffer?
Up until now, it was working. Now I find myself going around the house while they are at school, putting everything (including all their stuff) in the place I have designated as its home. Then it happens...they come home. All of the obsessing I did during the day is completely undone in minutes. As I watch everything being ripped from its "home" I start to shake and sweat. The urge is back... "stop touching my shit!". I've also noticed the development of a facial tick whenever I write my son's date of birth. I fear that the longer I am out of work, the worse it will become.
I’ve been plotting a new strategy for my next interview to ensure that I will get a job. I picture the interview to go something like this:
Interviewer: Tell us about your accomplishments, any awards or certificates achieved, and the skills you have acquired at your current job…
Me: Well, my first accomplishment at my current job was that I made a person. I did actually receive a certificate for this feat. It’s called a Birth Certificate. I then proceeded to figure out everything this person would need in order to survive. The skills I acquired resemble those of a nurse, teacher, police officer, lawyer, psychiatrist, and on one occasion, a firefighter. In addition I was able to retain a client throughout the duration of my employment...he’s known as my husband. I would like to add that I performed all of these tasks without any formal training, or prior education in the field, and for the first few years with minimal sleep. I have never used a sick day or taken a vacation...any questions??
As I walk out of the room and close the door behind me I envision the interviewers turning to each other. One will say to the other..."Clearly she is overqualified"