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Mental Health Q: Should I make my manager and/or teammates aware of my recent diagnosis with major depression?

likesmart
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I'd say yes with caveats. Just say you've recently been diagnosed with a major health issue that has unpredictable episodes, to avoid any incorrect stigma people may have. You don't need to say anything further and it's very illegal for anyone to press for details on your health. If you haven't read noonday demon it's a great book about major depression and may be a good one to share with anyone close to you in your personal life.

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This is good advice. Unfortunately there is still a stigma around mental health. I have had to take short-term disability twice due to mental health, and while my managers were wonderfully supportive, one of my second lines gave me a hard time. In one instance I feel like I got dinged on my annual review because of the time I took to take care of myself.

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My work hasn’t been affected, but some days (like every two weeks) I’ll have a really bad day and can’t function and won’t even turn on my laptop. I’ve never missed a deadline so my output hasn’t been affected. But I’m wondering if I should make them aware of what’s going on. I’m especially interested in hearing from managers. Would you want your direct reports to inform you if they were diagnosed?

Obviously this is something personal and I wouldn’t want to share this with them unless I absolutely needed to. So I don’t know what the professional courtesy here is and if owe them an explanation as to why I wasn’t online for an entire day or log off early.

likesmart

This is such a tough situation to be in. I've been there before OP. I will say no matter what you choose to do I hope you continue to seek treatment outside of work.

As far as whether you should tell them in advance, it's honestly your choice. I've seen situations where people have done that and got a lot of offers for personal help, mentoring, and outside involvement. Then I have my own personal instances of being up front about medical conditions and I feel like that it actually hurt me rather than helped me.

There isn't a right or wrong answer, me personally I would rather just tell people for my own peace of mind and comfort since my conditions are already annoying enough, having to wonder if I should tell people about them is a burden I shouldn't have to worry about.

I would reach out to HR first to learn about accommodations - this would qualify as a disability & you deserve all the support you can get

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Maybe you can ask to have a standing appointment every Monday for 2 hours where you can take the time you need that way you can take it or leave it and you can use that time to go to therapy or have me time and if not you can continue working but at least you have some time for yourself that won’t be questioned.

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OP i hope you cope well. This is a hard time but you’re a human first and an employee last. If you have that relationship with your manager, reach out for a 1-1 and briefly touch upon the new disruptions to your life. You will probably get permission for time off or to “take it easy” without impacting your team. I was in this position before and it is daunting to consider revealing these details in a professional setting but the understanding is most important. I would imply anything chronic because it may rub some the wrong way, those who don’t understand. But I would explain how you are currently experiencing all of these symptoms of depression and that you need to strike a balance to get back to where you were! Best of luck

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Yes, please talk to the senior most person on the team. Burn out and depression is quite common in our industry and these crazy times. Talk to him/her and take time off + seek medical help. You’d do the same if you broke your hand, wouldn’t you? So why de prioritize a mental health issue?

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Hey OP just want to say stay strong, depression is difficult, make sure to get help you’re not alone

Hey! Sorry I am a bit late to this. I spoke to lawyers about my own health issues, especially re: discrimination, accommodations, etc. in case there was ever a need. Long story short, if you do not disclose, you are making a lawyer’s job a lot harder.

If you need accommodations/want to disclose: go to HR; you don’t owe your team anything other than “hey, I have an appointment/have to be home/etc. and have to leave early today” or whatever else.

I have seen a lot of things impact people’s career progressions, but my own chronic illness (for which I took a month off from work, turned down clients, etc.) did not really impact mine, if that’s any consolation. So best of luck to you and feel free to reach out.

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