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I think it's time that I talk to my employer about my depression. I've worked there 5 years and I doubt anyone had a clue I had depression, I've always been able to put up a good front and I think been a good worker. Until recently... I've missed a few more days than usual, and had to leave work at least twice in the last few weeks because I couldn't hold it together.

 

Last night someone saw me run to the bathroom in tears, told a manager and she came in to check on me. She was very understanding, but when she asked what was wrong I told her I had bad depression and usually hold it together better. So I basically DID disclose, informally, and while my manager may brush it off, it  could cause them to keep a closer eye on me. Now that I've outed myself I think I should explain and cover my ass under the ADA at least. 

 

I I want to email my boss because I'll fall apart in person and I want to make sure I say the right things. Any advice? Anyone done this? Also I didn't intend to ask for accommodations, but maybe I should... I really don't know what to ask for. Any thoughts or advice welcome!

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I don't have any great suggestions for accommodations, but Google might...websites like NAMI, APA, etc. in addition to more local advocacy groups or employment law groups.  ADA will likely require medical documentation--that's normal--but I don't think there's a huge advantage unless you try to get some accommodations or modifications.  Even some smaller ones like quiet work space, ability to take a break without having it count against you, etc. could help.  I don't know much past that because I apparently have two speeds--trying to do it all or out completely so I can do a PHP/IOP.

if you've been there that long, do you know if you qualify for FMLA? I think that's been brought up but I can't remember the answer.

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I probably could, yeah, just not sure I want to do that right now. I'm more concerned with talking to my employer and saying the right things not to get fired... I need them to know I can fulfill my essential job functions, I basically want them to understand that I'm trying to get treatment and I can still do my job, possibly with accommodations.

 

i should say I work in a busy restaurant; unfortunately most accommodations I can think of might cause talk among coworkers that I don't want, like if I got extra breaks or got to sit down. I really don't want to stand out as getting "special" treatment :-/

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1 hour ago, climber47 said:

I I want to email my boss because I'll fall apart in person and I want to make sure I say the right things. Any advice? Anyone done this? Also I didn't intend to ask for accommodations, but maybe I should... I really don't know what to ask for. Any thoughts or advice welcome!

I've never done this before, but I think emailing your boss would be a good idea.

I like being able to write and edit rather than say something in person because I always miss something, and you can't really edit when you talk, at least I can't.

I'm sorry I don't have any more advice.

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Understood, sorry for misreading. I do think the email makes sense in that case and would gently suggest that double-checking to be sure there's no accommodation that would help wouldn't hurt.  And making sure you have a doctor willing to say you have the health condition, but that shouldn't be a problem I wouldn't think.

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2 hours ago, climber47 said:

Yes I should qualify for FMLA, I've used it before, but I can't afford to take unpaid leave :(

When I disclosed, it was because I was having trouble getting in on time, showing up, and ending up leaving early- I had my pdoc fill out the FMLA paperwork for me so I could just give it to my boss without it coming directly from me. He filled it out in about 5 minutes. I guess he is used to it.

The FMLA is complicated, but basically, you can use it to take time to see your doctor, take days off, etc., without being fired. Usually, employers will let you run through your sick time and vacation time, and when you run out of those days, FMLA comes to the rescue. You get 12 weeks a year. That may be a way to come at this. Good luck, and keep us posted!

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This is a tough situation to be in...... I actually lost my last job because my doctor screwed up my meds and and I was going cold turkey off of Effexor (at the time I didn't realize I was going through withdrawal--I thought I had finally gone over the edge and was full blown crazy). I tried to explain to my boss and I was told they couldn't take a chance that this wouldn't happen again and I was 'let' go. Never before did I disclose my mental illness...

Be aware that FMLA only applies if a company has a certain amount of employees (I think it's 50) and that you have to have been with a company a certain amount of time, and there may be other qualifications I am not aware of.

Lawyers don't want to touch mental health discrimination suits...heck, I had trouble finding one that wanted yo help me my SS Disability application because it was for depression. (I actually got awarded SS Disability in less than 6 months-something I made sure to 'share' with all the lawyers that wouldn't help me because "...very rairly is SS Disability awarded for Depression...").

Companies don't want to get sued so they will find 'other' reasons to get rid of someone.... A good friend of mine jumped through hopes to get time off for therapists appointments....she got fired for being late (less than 5 minutes) four times in  a SIX month period...something they never enforced before or on anyone else...

Just because there are laws against workplace discrimination doesn't mean you have any protection.....just talk to someone that lost their job because of age discrimination. I have found people here in the US have a wildly inaccurate idea that there are all these laws to protect them and their jobs... There is actually very little to no protection for jobs or rights, particularly when it comes to mental illness. Research the laws, don't really on friends-oftentimes they don't really know and are relying on hearsay. An example is about breaktime(s) in the workplace. I've had people here in my state swear a company has to give you so much time for a break if you work a certain amount of time... These same people are flabbergasted to learn that in my state no company has any obligation to let you have a break, paid or unpaid, other than to use the toilet, so much for the idea of a law saying a company had to give their employees a 10, 15, or 20 minute break for each 4 hours worked.  Also, in my state you only if you work an 8 hour day they have to let you have time to eat, and the state does not say how long they have to give you.

I don't mean to come across as a 'debbie downer'...just PLEASE do your research first as to the laws in your state and your company size---I've seen too many people lose jobs because they truly believed there were laws in place to protect them when none exist. Most importantly, keep in mind that HR is NOT your friend, their job is to look after the company's interests/well-being, NOT yours !

Good Luck, and I know I come across as a crabby/mean person--I really do feel for you and want to make sure you protect yourself.

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Ha, I lost a job due to freaking out of side effects of Effexor.

 

yeah, that's what I'm afraid of... Getting fired for some other ostensible reason. However since I basically blurted it out to one manager already, I kind of have no choice. I'd rather them see me "own up to it" and be clear about the fact that I'm dedicated to my job as well as seeking treatment. I've worked here five years and as far as I know have a good relationship with my managers. I'm hoping they'll be understanding but guess we'll see.

 

i do qualify for FMLA, I've used it twice when I had my two kids so that's not an issue.

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I am so glad that if need be,you have the safety net of FLMA and that you having good, caring managers...THAT in and of itself will free you to focus on caring for yourself right now, instead of having the added burden of lugging the secret of having depression on top of everything else going on in your life.

Off topic- Eeyore was always my favorite of the Pooh characters.... My mother got me a stuffed Eeyore many, many years ago.... It's embarrassing to admit that my stuffed Eeyore is 40 years old....

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3 hours ago, Desperare said:

Lawyers don't want to touch mental health discrimination suits.

FWIW ... I guess it depends on where you live.  Around here there are some, and some even advertise on TV specifically as disability lawyers who can help you get disability, or help in some way regarding disability. 

You have a lot of good points in your post to think about.

 

 

 

 

Edited by melissaw72
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You cannot  undo what has been done...but I would be really careful about how much more you disclose to your employer. Desperare pretty much said what I wanted to say.....if an employer wants to get rid of you they will find a way. I have seen someone lose their career because they disclosed to their employer and their employer had the stronger and better financed legal team.

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It really, really bugs me that so many people's employers are so blatantly--and presumably willfully--violating the law.  I'm not doubting that it's happening at all...it's why I held out on giving my diagnosis until the absolute last minute necessary (STD paperwork).  And mine's handled it well.  But that should be the case across the board--not the exception to the rule.

 

Hmm...dances considers a new branch of her career path, once those pesky student loans are done...

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