I am the kind of person who is capable of being labeled by several mental health diagnoses. In fact, I have been. You could determine that I have a mood disorder such as cyclothymia or mild bi-polar disorder, or perhaps something a bit more organic like attention deficit disorder; or you could focus on environmental influences and say I have PTSD. Any way you slice it you’d probably be correct according to diagnostic criteria.
I have difficulty focusing, I have even more difficulty following through on projects. My memory tends to be rather selective. I over-think situations by considering any and every possible outcome so I can draft a plan for each contingency. I dislike rules and have problems with authority. I am a bit of a thrill seeker and despite my penchant for over analyzing potential situation, I tend to act impulsively.
There are times that my house looks like it home to a lonely beer swilling bachelor, littered with piles of laundry, books, dishes and enough dust to write a short story on any flat surface. At other times I become agitated if a throw rug is slightly askew or the canned goods aren't arranged by food group.
Of course the critical factor in pathologizing these quirks is the degree to which they affect ones life, that is, do they “interfere with normal daily functioning”. But what, I ask you, is ‘normal daily functioning’? For me a normal day usually includes at least several minutes looking for essential items like keys, glasses or the bill I was supposed to mail 3 days ago....a normal day for me may begin at 7 am or at 2 pm depending on the weather and my mood. In a normal day I start several projects and end up working on or possibly finishing entirely different projects I began earlier in the week, month or year. I have craft projects, short stories, artwork and blog posts all in various stages of process. Oh, books too. Ones that I am attempting to read, not write. I have several boxes of pictures and 4 empty photo albums. The pictures have been organized and re organized several times. About 3 or 4 have made it into the album.
I’m not employed at the moment, but when I was I was frequently 10 or 15 minutes late (looking for car keys), I would forget to sign in or out and my desk was a landscape of coffee cups, food wrappers, notes, an occasional toy and clusters of files in a particular order than only I could process. Despite these quirks I was a good employee. Well, I was a good service provider. Remember that dislike of rules, and that problem with authority thing. Sometimes that became a issue. I never lost my temper or became aggressive with a supervisor, but I did commit the workplace venial sin of speaking my mind. You’re not supposed to do that I guess, especially if you don’t have a union to cover your ass when you do.
As I consider returning to the workplace in a world that is increasingly becoming more controlled, more corporate, and is increasing workloads on employees to avoid having to pay additional staff I can’t help but feel a certain amount of fear. Toss in the fact that being over the age of 50 considerably reduces one’s employ-ability and fear turns to terror which quickly retires to resignation. Frankly I’m not certain where this path will lead me but fortunately I’m always up for an adventure as long as it doesn’t mean selling out...and that may mean I have to become an even more clever Survivor. At least I’ll have time to finish that photo album.