I have a manager that does not seem to understand mental illnesses, disorders, etc. He thinks I am making excuses rather than trying to explain things (I have diagnosed ADHD, anxiety, and depression) and I’m trying to take ownership for issues but also help him understand what I am describing better as well. We are sitting down for a conversation later this week. Any advice on how to gently educate or help with his understanding of neurodivergence and other mental health considerations?

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So sorry to hear you're going through this. The onus shouldn't be on you to educate your manager on mental illness, but, as a last resort sometimes we have no choice. I would highly recommend working with your HR manager prior or request they join this meeting. I wish you luck.

likehelpful

Thank you! This is helpful advice.

I think presenting this as “here’s what I need for success” vs “I have this disorder I need you to accommodate and if you don’t, you’ll be in legal trouble” will get you further. If your manager is good, they want you to succeed.

Some examples of things me/my friends with ADHD have asked for:

- access to quiet private workspace for focused work vs open office (not a private office permanently at my level, just a few places i can go to get stuff done)
- company phone to have all email and work-related stuff on (we often need to use social media on the job, but having a separate phone makes this more intentional)
- working from home when needed
- ability to block time on my calendar for uninterrupted work
- a few more informal check-ins before a deadline


here’s a website that’s helpful in listing some things that are within your rights to request https://askjan.org/a-to-z.cfm

likehelpful

I'm sorry to hear that. I think a good approach can be to make some research and print some information about your "excuses". Maybe your manager isn't aware of such things and might need to be educated. As advice, be respectful and put yourself on other people shoes.

helpful

Could you bring in someone from the HR department with you? They usually can help you navigate disability with you. If not then I would bring documentation with you from the American Psychological Association that can back you up and could educate them on your diagnoses. Good luck and sorry you are dealing with this.

helpful

I really hope it goes well and I also hope that after your meeting, your company would take the initiative to educate other employees as well. Some might find this troublesome but I do believe this needs to be done one way or another in order to provide a safe and supportive environment for neurodivergent people like us.

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