To Disclose or Not Disclose

…that is THE question! Being Bipolar is never easy. What’s more it gets hardest when I have to decide to tell someone or not.

When should you tell or should you at all. In the professional world they don’t seem to want to know that you have any problems. I don’t know why that is seeing as the work force is human and all humans have a variety of challenges. What if an employee has a difficulty that can be accommodated? Oh sure the politically correct will say that’s what the ADA is for. It has helped make great strides for the physically challenged individuals true. But my personal experience is that it hasn’t helped me much with my emotional impairments.

I worked for six years at a publicly traded corporation serving a contract to a bureaucracy on a government air base. Political correctness at its finest. But all I got when admitting I needed a bit of help was lip service, criticism, and ultimately laid off my job.

Any potential employer I’ve disclosed to has not hired me. Not even as a quota filler. I was told by a state contracted Dept. of Rehabilitation representative to NEVER disclose. She was an employee of a nationally recognized non-profit corporation that specializes in creating and finding jobs for handicapped persons. She everyday is on the crest of the wave in dealing with stigma and professed to support it by telling me to project a certain persona.

I get that we all have to put on our best face and our right foot forward when job hunting. And I’ve learned my lesson about pre-job disclosure. But that begs the question… So WHEN do I disclose??? I am on strong medication to control my disorder but I still get symptomatic at times. My disorder will inevitably flare up and rear its ugly head. That usually comes in the form of fatigue. And sometimes in the form of social faux pas. Basically I have come to terms with the fact that my performance can be less than stellar sometimes. That’s humbling at best and discouraging at worst. My personality is such that if I have to put a mask on for someone I feel totally insecure. I feel like I’m lying. It completely impairs my performance rather than if my symptoms just partly mar it.

So my question isn’t rhetorical at all. When does one disclose???

…and that’s just regarding business. What about relationships or dating? What about telling family? I’ve been surprised to discover the ones closest to us can wield the most stigma.

Don’t misunderstand I am not complaining I am inquiring with qualifiers. Ultimately my life is pretty good and my needs are met. I just would like the opportunity for growth and am lacking the knowledge to achieve it. It’ll get sorted out. Thanks for listening!


About rebquist

I am a mother of two in her forties who does entry level administrative work. Some days I have gout in my foot like an eighty year old man. Other days I'm up like a kite. I live each day bipolar and each moment as though I have to account in the mirror. I have no pro writing experience just an A+ in English 101. Which is only as far as I've gotten. My M.O. ?? Emotional Health Stigma Must DIE!!!
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