I am a man in my early thirties, I recently graduated from a training program and am now actively looking for a job. I am a capable and hard working person and feel that I can bring a lot of good to whichever company hires me. I also have OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder). At my last interview, everything was going well, I was telling the interviewer about a company I recently interned for when suddenly I was struck by an obsession (threatening thought). The thought was that I provided confidential information regarding my place of internship and this would be used against them and bring them down. I felt totally disoriented. I tried my best to pull myself together and complete the interview, though it took every bit of energy to stay focused.
I left the interview in a depressed state of mind. I know I’m the ideal candidate for that job. However, in that state of anxiety, my thoughts didn’t come naturally. I probably seemed kind of boring and dull.
Dear Feeling Down,
Individuals living with OCD and other forms of anxiety often feel down when they feel that the state of anxiety they were in affected their performance in a professional or social setting. Individuals with anxiety are bright, talented, and creative. A capable person will feel bad when they are not utilizing their potential in a given situation.
Nonetheless, I wonder if you would be as hard on yourself if your performance suffered as result of allergies, a sinus headache, or worrying about a sick child. I think in those situations you may be more understanding towards yourself. Somehow, when it comes to having obsessions and anxiety, people can be really hard on themselves, as if they caused it. One doesn’t cause oneself to get stuck on obsessions and anxious individuals don’t look for things to worry about. Can you try to see it as any other biological or situational occurrence that would throw off one’s performance? Can you try to be kind to yourself?
To further this point, if you knew that your neighbor went on an interview, experienced extremely distressing thoughts and did the best that they could, wouldn’t you admire that? Why can’t you admire the fighting spirit you exhibited, completing the interview, offering lots of smiles, while feeling that the world was crashing down around you. How many people can pull that off?
Lastly, I question whether your performance at the interview was as bad as you think. Individuals with anxiety have a tendency to have high expectations of themselves and to magnify their faults. On a scale of one to ten, how would you rate your interview? Was it horrible, or not as good as you would have liked? I suspect the latter, but don’t get bogged down on overly analyzing the interview. Focus on accepting the situation, whatever it may be, and moving forward.
All the best,
I am a young Mom with three kids. I think I am doing a pretty good job raising my kids. My husband is caring and despite his busy schedule makes time for me and the family. Financially, we are comfortable. So why am I writing? I suffer from OCD and go to horrible places in my mind. Today I questioned whether I hit a pedestrian while driving?
Yesterday I feared I gave bad advice that will mess up someone’s life forever. When people ask me how I am doing I give a resounding “B”H, fine.” But how am I really feeling? I couldn’t be feeling more awful and alone.
Dear Distressed Mom,
One common sentiment expressed by individuals with OCD and other forms of anxiety is that they feel so alone. Given the high numbers of people suffering from OCD and other forms of anxiety it doesn’t need to be this way. You probably know many people experiencing anxiety, however like you, they keep it under wraps. Like you, they are successful parents, and productive individuals.
There’s good news on two fronts. There is excellent help available today for OCD and other forms of anxiety. One no longer needs to live a double life, pretending to be happy on the outside, while suffering on the inside. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy teaches people how to tolerate their distressing thoughts and teaches them that they can successfully face their fears. I offer this form of help in my offices in Ramat Beit Shemesh and Yerushalayim. Secondly, I will be starting a free, confidential support group in Ramat Beit Shemesh and in Yerushalayim for Women living with OCD. In a supportive environment one will learn the foundations of OCD treatment and individuals will be encouraged by the group to take on new goals towards achieving greater freedom in their lives.
All the best,