In her article, The Three Cs of Disclosing Serious Mental Illness at Work: Control, Conditions, Costs, Dr. Baldwin states that “The disclosure decision is multifaceted, organized in dimensions of control, conditions, and costs. Control refers to the extent to which a mental illness is concealable, so that a worker may choose whether to disclose. The conditions workers impose on disclosure determine when, to whom, and how much they choose to say. The costs, both monetary and emotional, are a manifestation of the pervasive stigma associated with mental illness.”
This reminds me of a diamond. I feel like I couldn’t really shine at work until I had accommodations – and especially, the ability to come in to work at the time I’m ready to begin (a flexible arrival time). This probably looks bad to anyone that doesn’t know I’m being accommodated. But I’ll take that over getting fired for tardiness.
My disclosure was colored by necessity. I was facing disciplinary action. The conditions were cut by HR, in conjunction with my direct supervisor. They knew something was up with me, but I hadn’t disclosed yet. Lastly, the costs are made clear retrospectively: I had nothing to lose disclosing by that point, but the worry still rested heavy in my heart. It’s always a little uncomfortable disclosing my psychiatric disability. It feels like I’m making an excuse for poor work ethic. I hate that.
Per an article on SmartBrief.com, Mental illness can be more difficult to accommodate than physical illness, in part, because the way it affects someone’s work can differ from person to person, employment attorneys tell the Journal. And stereotypes and stigmas around types of mental illness also may prevent people from receiving what they’re entitled to, according to the Society for Human Resource Management.
Fortunately, I’ve overcome the stigma and allowed myself to request what I need. I also have an understanding employer. My clients benefit, my employer benefits, and I keep my employment. Beautiful.