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Disability Narratives

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Audio clip: Paul explains that his anxiety can make a job interview a difficult process to go through.

It's something that I think has always - it's always sat in the background, I don't know how to - well, it kind of came to the surface, really, as a bigger issue a few years back. I think just kind of I was having a lot of anxiety, a lot of panic about various things, and it just kind of became that I was - it had gone from really a bit of shyness into just obsessing over stupid things, like I don't know - things like worrying that the car was going to break down, when there was no sign that there was any problems with it. You know. Paranoia about that, what am I going to - am I going to be here at the right time? So it didn't really affect - it's something I struggled with in my personal life, I don't think it really affected work massively.

Which is kind of - in a way it's kind of strange. Might sound kind of strange, because like I say, it was sort of social anxiety, social circumstances would cause a lot of problems. But work related things didn't, so I could deal with people at work, I could talk to people at work, once - then I'm comfortable in the situation, i.e. I'm the knowledgeable person, people are talking to me, no problem about that at all. It was just the social situations, if I was thrown into a social situation where I think most people - sort of situation where people would feel uncomfortable, it would just make me completely panic and want to run away, rather than feeling like 'ooh god, I don't' - from what I understand from other people - 'ooh, I'm not happy with this, but I'll get on with it'. It'd be just be 'no, can't do it, can't deal with it'. So I don't think it's - So that's been - Once I'm in work, that's not caused me any problems, really.

The problems really is - and I still struggle with it - is around interviews, and getting jobs. I hated - I hate interviews with a passion. And I go into them, and just shut down. Basically [laugh]. It's horribly embarrassing, in a way. In that I go into an interview and panic. But I had an interview recently for my current job, having been doing a similar slightly more junior role for the best part of a year, I knew my job, I knew it inside out. I knew the three, the three people that were interviewing me. One of them was my current manager, who was my manager at the time. One of them was somebody I work with on a regular basis, and work with quite a lot. And one of them was somebody I've known for - haven't worked with him, but we've been in the same department and known him for five years. I've been in meetings with all of these people. I go into meetings with all of them, and I am happy to do that, confident, put my point across, and I've had disagreements with - professional disagreements with them, but I've had disagreements. I've had, been asked my opinion. I've had to give information, that kind of thing. Come to an interview, and suddenly all of those paranoias a neuroses, just my anxiety takes over, and it's just utterly ridiculous. That's sort of where it's affected me and where I have issues with it.