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Torn on telling work - any advice?

Discussion in 'Employment, Education & Disability' started by T2L, Jun 16, 2018.

  1. T2L

    T2L Active Member

    Hey guys... I'm looking for some advice about work. My therapist even suggested I mention something to my boss and said we could role play to practice. However, I have NO clue what to say for various reasons... It's complicated. Bare with me as I try to explain... I'm sorry if it gets long. (It got long...I tend to ramble and go in circles when I try to explain things, I apologise in advance and thank you for reading).

    I don't want to fully disclose my job, but let's say it's very much a "macho, type A male dominated, don't show emotions, be tough and get over it, let's objectify females and discuss sex all the time" culture. UGH on so many levels! It sickens me!

    Due to various medical issues starting from being premature (I still get majorly I'll every 3-4 years being hospitalized), then various forms of abuse since I was a young child into adulthood, it's all very difficult to untangle what's what. I've had multiple people also suggest I'm on the spectrum, which could be contributing to my difficulty in feeling/expressing emotions, awkward social interaction, anxiety, sensory overload, etc. BTW in person I barely talk and is an effort to say "hey..." but I can write a lot. Lack of ability to talk on my job has already been noted and others have taken over my speaking parts of meetings. I'm glad they did, but it's still very embarrassing!

    Anyway, regardless of it's that, PTSD responses (dissociation, hypervigillance, anxiety, lack of concentration, irritability, isolation) overall social anxiety, etc. I'm afraid it may impact work and I want to cover myself in case something happens. Hopefully nothing does, but I don't want to risk my job in the process of trying to get myself help!

    I did inpatient 6 weeks last summer for substance abuse (still sober!), but only HR knows why. My boss thinks it was just R&R after my mom passed away. I used FMLA but that only lasts so long. I don't want to take advantage. Unfortunately it also used up all my vacation and sick days that I'm slowly building back up.

    As I get deeper into therapy and discussing the abuse, I'm obviously having a more difficult time in all areas of my life, which of course includes work. I'm doing the best I can at the moment, but I know it's less than optimal and less than I used to be able to. This in itself frustrates me and I beat myself up about it. I know they have noticed the decline and errors I'm making. I've been there almost 4 years and no one has said anything out right, but I'd like to be prepared if needed.

    I still work my 8hrs a day, or make it up as needed to get 40hrs a week. Some days I just skip lunch and leave early without sayinging anything because I'm overwhelmed or have therapy. Some have made jokes "oh hey look, he's here today!" (Side note, I'm in an office without windows and close my door due to sensory overload so they don't think I'm there).

    Ugh, sorry...I can't get out what I'm asking advice for....1) should I even say anything? 2) if so, to HR and/or my ultimate supervisor? 3) what should I say? 4) would it be better to discuss the ptsd, Asperger's, or another aspect? Again, I don't want any of this to be seen as an excuse or a reason to slack off. I have high work ethics and will continue to do the best I can!

    In a way, this line of work does understand PTSD as a general concept, but I don't want it to sound like an excuse... Just more like "if I need to leave suddenly or work from home one day this is why." However, at the same time I don't want to share the basis of PTSD, nor do I want this to backfire and risk losing my job. I know there are anti-discrimination laws about disabilities, but I don't know how that process works. I don't even know how to inquire HR without essentially "outting" myself. Then again, due to last summer they already have on record substance abuse and eating disorder thanks to the treatment center I went to.

    I'll keep chugging along and doing the best with the ever increasing demands on top of therapy. Obviously you can tell anxiety dominates this whole thing. I'll stop here... I'm just getting exacerbated now, and I'm still unsure if I got out what I wanted to ask.

    Thank you for sticking in there with me.
    EveHarrington likes this.
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  3. My therapist suggested that I mention to “work” that I have an anxiety disorder. She said that anxiety is a very common disorder that people can understand, plus you technically aren’t lying either! I have also used this to explain things to my children.
  4. ShadowWolf

    ShadowWolf New Member

    Do you trust your boss? You could start there and see if they think it's a good idea to tell HR.

    At my workplace, there's a lot of leeway given to the managers, so I only told my boss I have PTSD. I figured if I needed accommodations beyond what he could provide with his authority only then would I tell HR. But if I need a break or to suddenly go home "sick" for the day, I'm able to do that in my line of work. Don't know if it's the same for you.
  5. Faith Andrews

    Faith Andrews My talent: pretending that I'm okay everyday Premium Member Donated

    I regret telling my boss. Things changed after I did.

    I would tell HR to cover yourself as long as there are rules in place preventing them from sharing the information with your boss.

    I worked in the same environment as you and I loved my job. I am currently not working and on disability. I loved working and it was like part of my identity. I feel like I still would be if I would have kept my mouth shut. But since I was approved for disability I’m probably incorrect in saying that and shouldn’t even be giving you advice.

    They said I was forgetting things and making lots of mistakes as well.

    I know this is a very hard decision and if your therapist is suggesting it then I would at least role play as suggested. Your T probably knows you the best. How long have you been seeing your T?
  6. T2L

    T2L Active Member

    That's a good idea... And simple! I think I over think things. I'm still unsure how/if to approach my boss, but if I do I can just say anxiety.
  7. Old worn bear

    Old worn bear New Member

    This is a tricky one. There are laws about what an employer is obliged to do if they know about a formal diagnosis and there are laws about what they can't do with same. My T says to be careful as it can backfire. I'm in Ireland, where are you all (if it safe to say) and does anyone know enough about the laws in their jurisdiction to give us an overview?
  8. grit

    grit Active Member

    There are many factors to consider. All the factors must be on table for any meaningful advice.
    The type of work. Can a person cover for you whenever you leave? are you permanent or unionized? Are you specialized or not? Is this a big company that can absorb your absence easier than mom/pop store? Do people take leave of absence or call in sick and the culture supports this? how long have been there? new or old? are you young or old? if you are in US are you black or white? There are many many factors - I cannot cover them all but you cannt just disclose this sort of thing and assume.

    My first instincts is not to disclose mental health of any type if you can help. My second instincts is to be really honest about your employmentability in such that what happens if you lose the job? Do you have back up plan? How about your family? How will this impact?

    It is very serious to disclose this at work because after, a cat is out of the bag and all those people yapping about gender, sex, or whatever sound like the types that will also gossip about you behind your back...it sounds toxic place to work and maybe this is speeding up your anxiety.

    If your therapist say go ahead, they know your situation way more than me so they are probably at a better vantage point but still if you are here asking that also means, you did not trust your therapist's advice (which is kind of dangerous)...you should be deciding about this. At the end, the biggest impact is on you and your family.

    I wish I could wave the magic wand, but I cannot. Take the culture and some of the factors I mentioned above into full consideration and then go with your gut feeling on a good day.
  9. Justmehere

    Justmehere Help support myPTSD - more info in Social forum Moderator Premium Member

    My 2 cents....
    Check out resources online about possible workplace accommodations and how to make a formal request for them. JAN workplace accomodation toolkit may have a some good resources. I suggest asking for accommodations but keeping the diagnosis private, and just indicating it's for a health problem. You can ask your therapist or doctor to write a letter that verifies you have a health condition, no diagnosis, and you need xyz accommodations - things you are already doing or that might help down the road to manage symptoms. That's it.

    Workplaces can get weird about a mental health diagnosis. I have had jobs in places that were trauma informed, but one that handled my own diagnosis badly. I regret telling them. It's generally worked better to ask for what I need, but keep the diagnosis private.

    Even if your HR manager and supervisor are super trained in PTSD, they may not know how to best interpret your symptoms, and it's not really their place to figure out how to handle them, but that of your therapist and you. But they can handle things better if your therapist and you spell out for them what you need to do to manage symptoms so that you can keep up the good work you have done on the job. (btw, kudos to you for the year being sober!)

    If you do end up telling them, I'd still suggest the letter. Then it's written, documented, and clear. Less likely to be misinterpreted or go wonky.
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