Longwoods Blog

Why I Didn’t Tell My Boss I Have Bipolar Disorder — Until Now

By Steele Roddick

We’ve made progress on destigmatizing mental illness in recent years. I’ve made strides of my own, and the conversations I’ve had with friends and colleagues have given me not just hollow hope, but concrete confidence that things are headed in the right direction.

There has been one conversation, however, that I have still shied away from until now—telling my boss.

In recent months I’ve read articles from well-intentioned advocates who are quick to claim that mental illness is not a weakness. Though I agree with these advocates’ aims (namely normalizing talking about mental health in the workplace) and understand where they are coming from (a long history of mental illness being perceived as a sign of weakness), I disagree with the content of their claims.

To remove the shame from mental illness, we need not sugarcoat its effects. They are real and pernicious, albeit wide-ranging and idiosyncratic to be sure.

For my part I can say that I have been reluctant to share my mental illness with my boss precisely because it is a weakness in the workplace. When I am feeling low, I am a worse employee. I am less creative and less productive than usual. Of that there is little doubt.

But, of course, everyone has their weaknesses, even the highest performers. I’d argue a lack of self-awareness or emotional intelligence should be of far graver concern to any employer than a diagnosis of anxiety or depression.

Please read the full blog post on the Canadian Mental Health Associations website at https://cmha.ca/blogs/why-i-didnt-tell-my-boss-i-have-bipolar-disorder-until-now


This entry was posted on Monday, February 11th, 2019 at 2:55 pm and is filed under Longwoods Online, Publisher's Page.