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AnnaBanana

Bi-polar and working? Do you tell?

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I don't think FMLA requires you to tell a diagnosis. "Acute Illness" should do, if needed. Or "Serious health condition" in ADA speak. You do have to tell if you are pregnant. They are more interested in your doc saying you can't do your job due to illness and what is the expected time to need treatment before return to work.

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Dammit, I feel as if I should delete all my posts in here, but as they have already been clearly seen and responded to, I won't.

But then, I feel tempted half the time to delete all my posts on this forum...

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As someone who worked for a "Best Place to Work in the State" company and who told the HR department about my illness and got screwed out of a job, I would never tell my boss about my BP. Of course, it didn't help that I worked in HR when I was diagnosed.

I'm on disability. I do not work or go to school. As people have told me here, going to school is really stressful when you are crazy. And you are severely limited on the amount of work you can do on SSDI. I got approved on my first try, which took 6 months. There are two additional appeal stages, and yes, they can take 1-3 years to see if you are approved. Lots of things count, like if you are seeing your doctor, consistently taking all your meds, taking care of yourself, and you are still acting crazy. My pdoc wrote a letter, which helps. Nothing hurts to try, the worst thing that would happen is you get denied and you are in the same place you are now. Oh, and you don't work during the application or appeal process or they will deny you.

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I couldn't tell my current employer, as understanding as they are I'm almost positive I would be the first to go in the event of a layoff. I've worked there for 12 years, I see how it works. My boss is wonderful really... and they think I take meds for "anxiety". Anxiety is so common and doesn't have the stigma of BP. People at work are very open with their physical ailments, and with all the doctor's visits and med changes it would have looked like I was hiding something (which I am...for good reason). If it weren't for that aspect I wouldn't have said anything at all...but it's hard to hide it when you have to get backup coverage for an emergency appt and they want to know why. "Not feeling well" isn't going to cut it. I know legally they don't need to know but I felt it wasn't in my best interest to say it's for an undisclosed medical condition.

*Edited to add that I work in a small company, in my location there are 10 employees. Finding backup is a hard thing to do last minute and being so close knit and family like that everyone knows everyone else's business so you might as well get the story straight so the rumors don't start flying.

Edited by wj74

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I'm torn about filing for disability. I want to and I don't. I'm afraid if I file now, it will screw me later. As my therapist says "I've been pretty productive even before being diagnosed". I have 6 month or so long periods every few years or so where I haven't worked due to what I thought was depression. Well it is, but it's a cycle of depression which I now know to be bipolar. If I go back to work, I'll probably just go back to waitressing, so that shouldn't coz any need to tell them that I'm bi-polar. I have a 2 year old and though I might be a little short with some people (normally co-workers, not customers) I think it's the best option for me right now. It has short hours (shifts are typically only 4-5 hours long) and I can make really good money for the shorter hours. I usually average between $400-600 a week depending on the type of restaurant and what schedule I get. I can deal with customers because you usually only deal with them for at most 30 minutes and I'm pretty good at predicting who's going to need what when, so it's generally just checking in with them. Besides 99% of people that work in restaurants are some kinda of crazy anyway, so they are a little more tolerant. This year was really just my worst year as far as "symptoms" go, I think once we find a med I'll be ok. But thanks everyone for their input, it was very helpful. I learned some things I didn't know.

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I told at the very beginning of my employment. It just saved my ass. I'm in a depressive episode and haven't been to work consistently for the last 3 weeks. Since my supervisor knows what's going on, she invoked FMLA to protect my job.

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I sometimes tell my employer and sometimes I don't.I lost a good job at McDonalds several years ago because of my MI and I was fired because of my MI even though I was fired for someother reason but I know I was fired for my MI.I was doing a great job McDonalds said but a few weeks later I was terminated without just cause.Someone had said that I threatened their lifes when I hadn't and the excuse of McDonald's was that some friends and powerful friends in the city that I was working in would boycott McDonalds because I had threatened their friend when I hadn't.

Were I work now they know all about my Mi and MI's of others.It's no secret that I have mental illness here.

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I just lost a job due to being MI, sort of. I was temping at a call center and that environment is a trigger, though I didn't realize it at the time (but the same thing happened at another 2 call center jobs I had so it should've clicked, you'd think!) so I accepted the position and ended up leaving early on a thursday, and taking the next day off to recuperate from the extreme anxiety and depression I was feeling. I went back to work for another 4 days and ended up leaving early again the following thursday. That same day the temp agency called and said due to missing "a lot" of work they decided to "end my assignment". A lot of work was a full day and 2 half-days? Enough to be fired? Yeah , right. I think it was because I told my direct supervisor at the job that I was bipolar and was experiencing difficulty doing my job and had severe anxiety along with my MI symptoms. I had originally asked for some accommodations like sitting with people who weren't as new as I was at the job for a while and listening to their calls and watching them do their thing, to get me off the phones for a while, but was assured that I will get time to do that later on. Later on never came.

I don't think I shall disclose my bipolar to my new job that I just got (that I haven't started yet). Its a part-time job working at a big retail store, so the phone-anxiety trigger shouldn't be there and I think I will be ok.

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I never tell an employer, I use a separate facebook page with my 'professional' name, I never use "sandorfalot" in anything (email addresses and such) while applying..

For the employer that googled a doctor's name, I'm pretty sure that is not allowed.

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I just filled out a job application today. I disclosed my MI as a disability, because the organization practices positive discrimination and entitles a disabled applicant meeting the basic criteria to a guaranteed interview place. I have pretty much always been open if the question has come up, I have a lot of gaps and short term contracts on my CV that I can't lie about. I also need the accommodations that disclosure gives me. I like to talk about how my experiences and illness actually make me a better employee:

  • Time off has made me hungry to work and settle down in a career
  • Bipolar self management makes me organized, creative, adaptable and empathetic/ sensitive to peoples needs/situations
  • I apply for a lot of jobs in health and social care, where being a patient gives me an insight into people I will be working with
  • My choice to apply for part time hours means I can manage my health in my time off and not require sick leave

I don't tell co workers, just HR and a boss.

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I think normally, usually, I would not disclose beyond 'illness' or 'health issues.'

My current job knows, though. Well, I had a bad episode and took a month long disability leave, which I tried to do withoit telling anu details but some came out to a few people. I am really lucky though, the company is big enough to have stores all over the province and a great health benefits package, but small enough that the owner knows the name of every employee and so forth. I am a manager and I only have two employees at my store, they know and my district manager knows. But I have two years of working my butt off and making the company lots of money, so that seems to have helped.

I actually like being able to be open, I don't bring it up all the time but it is nice to be able to reference it sometimes when necessary, like being groggy and out of it 'cause I am starting a new med. I also feel it helps reduce stigma, with it being known I am BP and also being a very dedicated and competant manager, and my time off was just due to illness, like others with time off due to physical illness. Very normalizing.

But otherwise, no, I would not tell.

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I just filled out a job application today. I disclosed my MI as a disability, because the organization practices positive discrimination and entitles a disabled applicant meeting the basic criteria to a guaranteed interview place. I have pretty much always been open if the question has come up, I have a lot of gaps and short term contracts on my CV that I can't lie about. I also need the accommodations that disclosure gives me. I like to talk about how my experiences and illness actually make me a better employee:

  • Time off has made me hungry to work and settle down in a career
  • Bipolar self management makes me organized, creative, adaptable and empathetic/ sensitive to peoples needs/situations
  • I apply for a lot of jobs in health and social care, where being a patient gives me an insight into people I will be working with
  • My choice to apply for part time hours means I can manage my health in my time off and not require sick leave

I don't tell co workers, just HR and a boss.

Titania: That is exactly my doubt. If I don´t tell the interviewer that I am MI, how am I going to explain the gaps in my resume (the long periods I didn´t work?. By the way congratulations for your application, taking the step of looking for a job is already an accomplishment

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Titania: That is exactly my doubt. If I don´t tell the interviewer that I am MI, how am I going to explain the gaps in my resume (the long periods I didn´t work?. By the way congratulations for your application, taking the step of looking for a job is already an accomplishment

At the interview for the job I have now, I explained the gaps in my employment (and the likely poor reference from my previous employer) by explaining that I had had health problems. I assured them that it was being properly managed by a doctor and shouldn't be a problem. That might be more than most folks should do, but I knew that the outfit to whom I was applying would take it the right way.

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At the interview for the job I have now, I explained the gaps in my employment (and the likely poor reference from my previous employer) by explaining that I had had health problems. I assured them that it was being properly managed by a doctor and shouldn't be a problem. That might be more than most folks should do, but I knew that the outfit to whom I was applying would take it the right way.

Tazlina:

You managed your interview very well. I am afraid, though that if I mention my health problems they would ask me what kind of health problems???. If they don´t ask, then they will see I haven´t worked for 6 years (a long time) and will think I have something really serious.

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I think that if you have a gap that long, you either lie or be honest, you can't fuzz it. If you lie, you run the risk of it being found out/feeling anxious all the time that you might be caught out. I personally have gaps from 2006-2007, 2008-2009 and 2011-2012 and so I don't think any intelligent employer would believe the usual excuses.That said, I am in the UK where I believe there is less discrimination, particularly among the public sector. I'm lucky that I have volunteered throughout all of my gaps, so I have some references and some skills I can show for it, which helps. But the way I see it, if I come out and honest and make a strong case for why my illness might actually make me a good employee, someone is going to be impressed with that eventually.

Of course I'll let you know how it works out in six months time, the economy is tough and I might find I have to lie to get a job. I'd just rather not on principle.

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For a gap that long it seems like you almost need to tell the truth or some semblance of it... though I am generally a fan of stretching the truth. Family issues. Doesn't have to be about you! I have lots of gaps which I attribute to having kids and consulting/freelancing, both of which are stretching the truth but they are smaller gaps. I did have a larger gap when I was younger and I had a friend lie for me. I know, awful. But it got me through it.

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I don't have kids, so I can't use a childcare excuse. I have lied an said I took a break to investigate starting my own business, which seemed to go down well.

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Yeeeeah... prior to my current job, veeeerrry spotty job history. As I only got a diagnosis about a month ago, and my history of drug abuse, and moving a lot and shitty abusive 'friends' and room mates, well, I became quite proficient at lying and making up a job history. I had to, really. Don't want to ever be in that place again, but it is most definitely possible to fabricate a job history like that, though it would depend on what sort of jobs you are claiming to have done and what you are applying for.

Edited by Miron

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In my work, you have to disclose when you begin, and if you have any health conditions at all, you'll be called in for an hour-long chat with an Occupational Health doctor where he'll take a full history and want to know what meds you're taking and how long you've been on them. If he has any concerns he'll alter your training, might demand to see your test results or a letter from your psychiatrist, and will keep you under review.

It's a hard-going process and damn near impossible to navigate when you're not well, but it's there to stop people practising as doctors when they're really too ill to work. I disclosed when I started my job, but played it down (it was under control at the time, but it was naive of me to think it would stay that way) and Occ Health don't share the information with your supervisors unless they feel it's necessary. That said, when you work with and for doctors, any time off sick they'll ask what was wrong, when they see you take your meds they know what they're for, and they do notice the warning signs when you're getting unwell, so hiding it from them can be quite a challenge, and if you've straight-up denied your illness to your boss, you can be in a whole world of trouble when you get found out. Sometimes it's just easier to say "I have Bipolar and PTSD, but I'm on meds and I'm OK." So far, touch wood, hasn't caused much trouble - mostly I just get the irritating curiosity about my meds cocktail, or unwanted nosiness about the events that led to the PTSD, but no doubting my abilities or anything like that.

I'm also a really, really bad liar, and I live in a small town, in a block of flats with other doctors upstairs. Secrecy isn't really my forte.

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