‘“When I look Back on all these worries I remember the story of the old man who said on his deathbed that he had had a lot of trouble in his life, most of which never happened.”
-Sir Winston Churchill
This article is really hard to write because I’m going to be talking a little bit about my personal work experience from various jobs I’ve held over the years and how my mental illness has and still continues to affect my home and work relationships.
I really don’t know where to start, So I’m going to start with the present. I recently was diagnosed with OCD. Uuy I know, the stigma. And I am learning as I go just as much as many of you (or my one reader) about this illness. I still don’t know shit, except that now I can understand the spurts of anger, the irritation, my endless desire for order and black and white rules. My tolerance for disorder was and still is very short.
When I used to have a family, at least one of them would make comments like “you’re a bipolar bitch!”. And I say “used to” because I’ve also learned, before I was even diagnosed, that getting away from toxic and verbal abusive people was probably one of the biggest keys to managing illnesses like OCD and depression, among many other mental illnesses. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness or NAMI, 1 in 5 adults suffer from mental illness in America. Ten million Americans live with a serious mental illness. And 90% percent of deaths by Suicide have some sort of underlying mental illness. Suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the United States.
From my OCD stems anxiety. when something is not done right or on a timely manner, my anxiety flares up and my checking and re-checking begins. And most of my suffering is actually happening at work and sadly for my coworkers this behavior is irritating and stressful and almost always leads to me winning the “most likely to be hated” employee award.
When I’m at home, since I live alone (probably shouldn’t say that on social media) but I’m not entirely alone just to be clear, I have control of my surroundings. I can check my doorknobs as many times as I want. Which is also kind of irritating because I do have three doors,
But my concern has always been that we are so wrapped up in ourselves, our problems, our next moves, in our work; that we fail to notice the problems of others in the workplace. Cuz let’s be real, most really don’t give a fuck about their coworkers once they’ve clocked out anyway.. But still take a crisis seriously.
When I use to work at this high end retail store, there was a kid there that had autism and was dropped off and picked up by his guardian every day. Even though I didn’t cross him on the daily, I still went online and searched a way to interact with him on some small level that would make him feel comfortable.
And having OCD, it is my “expectation” that other’s would even think to be considerate and do the same. Like I said, not all mental illnesses are the same and learning about them, especially when you work with someone who suffers from any of these such mental illnesses, it makes the world go round a lot much better for all parties involved. Some people aren’t just crazy. Most people don’t want to have any of these illnesses. And for some suicide is the only way out.
Having previously been misdiagnosed as simply clinically depressed, I now know when I need to seek help. At my 32 years of age, I can now explain more accurately what my symptoms are and when they are at their worst. And having come from a Mexican family who though not entirely ignorant, this was a condition that just didn’t understand, know how to deal with or have the recourses and tools to educate themselves. In a Mexican family depression is not depression, its laziness. In a Mexican family, depression was not talked about but rather criticized/ made fun of amongst family members (A.K.A. Las Tias). Soon enough, the separation begins and the communication (the little that there was) completely stops.
I still have a long way to go as far as learning how to manage my OCD, I want to gather more information based on my specific condition. I know that my perception of “should’s“ and “other’s” is distorted automatically.
Shoulds: You interpret events in terms of how things should be, rather than simply focusing on what is. “I should do well. If I don’t, then I’m a failure.” From Treatment Plans and Interventions for Depression and Anxiety by Robert L. Leahy.
Since this is a work in progress and it’s definitely to be continued, I’d like to leave you with a few resources and mindfulness tools if you or you know someone who suffers from OCD or Anxxiety.
The OCD Workbook
Thoughts and Feelings
NOCD- free download
Dr. Jenny Yip- free podcast
“Change is a Challenge and an opportunity, not a threat”
-Prince Phillip of the United Kingdom