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Old 17-10-2014, 08:57 PM   #1
Bleeding Angel
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Work and mental health - updated 23/12

Sorry if this is not the best place but I'mm wondering if many of you have been in a job and told your employers about your mental health issues? and if so how did they respond and did it make the job easier (or at least the environment)?

I ask because i have been in the same job for 15 months now but because of a lot of changes and issues in the work environment I ended up breaking down quite a few times and had to tell my manager as it was affecting me badly (so he knew about my bpd, dysthmia and self-harm) but nothing was discussed in depth. Things changed again and i had another new manager so my old one told him some information and i had a chat with him but only discussed the dysthmia and doesn't know about the bpd or self harm. I broke down at work again today and i am not sure if it would be wise telling my new manager in depth about bpd and how it affects me in regards to work as I'm not sure if its too much info or if telling them will help.

I would just like to know if anyone can share their experience with this?


Last edited by Bleeding Angel : 23-12-2014 at 09:35 PM.




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Old 19-10-2014, 10:07 AM   #2
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Thanks Dash, to be honest i have been very reluctant to say anything only reason i did is because breaking down in work isn't good and before i said anything both my managers have said they have depression and attempted suicide (i suppose to try and say we have been there so we understand a bit). I guess though things like depression are more understood nowadays but bpd isnt and the one manager i told about it had not even heard of it.

But because of the negative aspects of bpd im concerned about explaining it, because i know people think you are an attention seeker, liar and manipulative and i don't want to be judged on that with some of the things i do in work (ie asking to leave to go outside because I'm panicking). We dont have any type of occupational heath in work so first point of call for me would be my manager and i guess i don't have a second point of call. Its just difficult to know what to say as its not their responsibility at the end of the day, its mine and they cant help with that only the work aspect.

Its just difficult i guess.





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Old 19-10-2014, 10:22 AM   #3
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Instead of telling them that you have BPD, which is not particularly well understood outside of the mental health profession (or even within it sometimes!!), could you instead explain that you have mental health difficulties and explain what the consequences of that are on your work? So, describing the symptoms of BPD that cause you problems in the work place, so that they will be able to work out what adjustments they can offer to help you overcome those problems to be able to do your job comfortably.

Hope that makes sense.

I've had excellent experiences with telling my line manager about my mental health struggles and he is really good with encouraging me to take time off when things get impossible. Partly because he's a legend and partly because it's dangerous for me to do my job when I'm unwell and because he knows that me taking one or two days off to recuperate prevents long term absences from me soldiering on then having a complete meltdown.



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Old 19-10-2014, 10:05 PM   #4
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In my previous job I didn't so much 'tell' my manager as she found out. I worked in a diagnostic laboratory and after my first OD all of my tests went there so she sort of accidentally found out although I also phoned her from the psych was to talk about it as I knew that I couldn't hide it! She was very nice about it all and was always very helpful and approachable. She even sent people to visit me during work time on occasions! Even letting one take me home and sit with me for the afternoon when I was discharged.
On one occasion she sent me to the occy health dept as she felt they could help and was devastated when they wrote to her saying she would be well within her rights to dismiss me.
In fact she was more supportive than my family at times! And often would find me in tears or having an anxiety attack and sit with me to make sure I was OK.
She was very supportive and I don't know what I was so scared of telling her about it before!



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Old 20-10-2014, 10:21 AM   #5
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Hiya,when I got the job at the school I now work in I had to declare the bipolar/adhd to occupational health as part of the terms and conditions,occupational health passed me fit after a lot of questions etc.
They told me that they would tell my workplace that equality laws apply to me but not what the issue is and that was down to me.

After i'd settled in and got to know the staff and gauged how they would react I told my class teacher who is now the joint headteacher and also the SENCO eventually and it was the best thing I ever did.they couldn't have been anymore supportive of me and are actually even more admiring of me then they were as I do a very challenging job and still manage to hold it together.

I had a meltdown the other week and had to be talked out of the toilet into the headteachers office where i just cried on her shoulder for a very long time,they were fantastic and did everything they could to make me feel better and make it easier.
Every day for a few weeks the school SENCO came to find me to give me a hug once a day to make me feel a bit better so cute! :)

It was the best thing I ever did telling them.With regard to them not knowing about BPD they didn't really know much about BP but when I explained how it effected me and what I get like they were happy for the info.
I think the more your manager knows the better it will be for you and him :)



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Old 21-10-2014, 05:41 PM   #6
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Thanks for the advice, im going to raise my concerns first then take it from there though i guess its just trying to speak to them thats the issue, i asked them on monday if we could chat and as they had to leave early said would do it today but nothing. Guess its that bpd part of me that feels a bit unimportant (tho i know work was busy today as very high up people where in visiting) and don't really want to chase it up.





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Old 22-10-2014, 08:49 AM   #7
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This is an interesting an inspirational thread for me because I'd like to be able to tell my employers about my difficulties however I don't because I suspect that they'd try to get rid of me for them.

I know legally they can't discriminate but generally I think employers can do whatever they want. There's always a reason to get rid of someone. I suppose it depends on the nature of the organisation though and I imagine public sector is very different to private sector working



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Old 23-10-2014, 06:30 PM   #8
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Thanks, i was worried about that as well but i got told no. Its difficult for me to talk about my illness as i tend to close up a lot but we had a chat and told him what i had and about work and that, im going to write the rest down about how it affects me in work then on monday have a fresh start as all of this will be out there.





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Old 23-10-2014, 07:12 PM   #9
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Let us know how it goes will you?

We'll all be thinking of you I'm sure and all hoping for the best for you!



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Old 24-10-2014, 03:19 AM   #10
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I have gone through this myself. I remember a couple of times I've been to interviews and I've either had to talk about my mental health problem as they know through my cv that I've had a gap between years or they ask me if I have a disabilty.

Don't generally tell anyone about my mental issue unless it is necessary as I think it's not important to me anymore cuz I've recovered apart from the depression but if they have to know if I have a disabilty or so what at an interview then I say it to them.

I'm not sure in the past that they looked on the fact that I do have mental health illness and wether to hire me or not. Still think employers don't like to give the employee a chance to show them that they can do the job as they are well enough to return to work. It's like they don't know how to take it.

I dont think I've been in a difficult situation like this but I remember one interview I had the lady questioned me about my cv and had no choice but to be honest and I knew what she was thinking and I didn't get the job. I still think some employers look at the fact that u got a mental health issue and can't take the risk in giving u the job.

Though I remember the lady who I saw about the job gave me another interview which I was surprised on but still didn't get it. I then realised maybe it could of just been that I wasn't the nest candidate for the job and wasn't about my mental illness.

Apart from that, every interview I have had so far has not asked me if I got a disabilty or anything. I never had to say and wouldn't want to unless its necessary.

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Old 27-10-2014, 05:24 PM   #11
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I was away for the last few days so thought i would update - well i ended up just writing a letter as it was easier and could say more as i completely close up when speaking in person and was nervous in giving it over as it had some personal stuff in at as well and i said about the self harm (well my old manager knew anyway). Ended up he wrote a letter back basically saying he supports me and understand my situation and if i know what triggers the self harming in work to speak to him so he can intervene.

I guess it went better than i thought it would but at the same time still feels uneasy.





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Old 27-10-2014, 06:02 PM   #12
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Thats good to know Bleeding Angel. Im glad ur manager understands ur situation. Some managers dont do anything but ur manager seemed to.

Atleast u got him if u need it. There anyone else u can talk to? Thats good idea u wrote a letter.

Keep up the good work :)

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Old 23-12-2014, 09:34 PM   #13
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Im bumping this up because its been nearly two months since i wrote this and things have not really improved, in fact I'm so conflicted about the work side its extremely difficult. In terms of me some of my medication has been stopped and got referred for an urgent psychiatric assessment as i was overdosing on my medication and because its a trycillic anti-depressant it can be more dangerous in overdose so they stopped that and told me id be referred to a cpn and would see me after christmas to review medication....well that was start of december and not heard anything since, i had to chase them for a week to actually get the cpn referral done, so at least on the work side they know I'm trying.

But its been difficult in the fact that i have overdosed and went into work, and overdosed when i have been in work. My manager knows i have done this, and tells me to say if i have done this (but i never will at the time because il just be told to go home) and i have also been caught out by him once as he suspected by the way i was acting, but i refused to go home (i suppose its difficult to hide some things as i sit right next to him or now one seat away). I have tried to explain as much to him about borderline from my side as he said he did google it and i know how much misinformation is out there, and also about the self harm. He has also changed my settings at work so i don't take the lines i find most difficult, and if our team can we do off the phone work in the afternoon which helps with the anxiety, and has asked to to keep a kind of work diary daily so if i find a call difficult or it plays with my emotions in a bad way to record down whats happening to see if there is a link between stuff. But work still makes me anxious and i already have had a week off sick as my manager thought it was for the best. I think i'm doing really badly but i'm not, even this month i'm the only team member to be passing quality, and im one of the top performers in terms of call stats, but i think im doing awful.

But i have spoken to him a few times every week since posting this either in person or by letter (as its easier). But i have had a few issues with being in the team i am in as well (i cant move team as i'm happy with my shift pattern). People notice something is wrong with me, sometimes i'm really quiet and i have also been in tears at my desk a few times. Also my friend last week decided to ignore me and move seats which i can understand given the way i am sometimes but that bpd part of me hates being ignore and wants to be told what the issue is. I had to ask and in the end i was told that i'm just feeling sorry for myself and if i'm ill i'm not fit to be there and should be off sick, however i know for me thats not helpful and i'm trying to get my hours dropped by a day. But my manager was fuming with that comment and even asked if he wanted me to speak to them about it, which i refused as it would just make things worse.

I get i am really struggling in there but i keep trying, and i cant fault my manager as he has been amazing and supportive. But some parts just don't feel right, he hasn't referred me to occupational health as he thinks it wouldn't be helpful and that he can deal with me, but he has spoken to them for advice to make sure he's doing the right thing. But when i was last in i mentioned about the self harm, because i don't use any kind of first aid stuff he asked what i would need and what if he kept it in his locker so no one would know (we all have our own lockers but because there is so many staff over the holidays there is like 2-4 people to a locker, so i didn't want to put stuff in my own bag). But i felt awkward saying what i would need so he told me to get the stuff myself and being it in when i come back from my week off. He also said to promise him the next time i want to self harm rather than doing it to go speak to him first. I have said that i don't feel this is his job to deal with that and that it just comes across as attention seeking, but he says it is, as its his job to keep me safe at work and it doesn't.

But i'm so conflicted with what to do, at the same time he as told me he has depression and anxiety issue, so in a way ( i have not said this to him as i dont feel i can) i feel like what if my illness makes him worse. He's told me just in general if he's had a bad day, and i know its in that way to show me that he's human and can relate, but i dont think it helps. And hes also the type of person you can tell if they are in a mood or not so i cant imagine going up and saying hey i want to cut myself would be helpful for either. But i also dont want to get dependant on anyone else for anything, and its difficult to know what to do.

I just need advice.





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Old 27-12-2014, 09:21 PM   #14
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awh I'm not sure what to say that would help but he sounds bloody brilliant I have to say.
It sounds like he's done the right thing seeking advice from occupational health I think he has good points-it is his job to keep you safe at work yes and although you may feel uncomfortable with the locker idea I can understand why he would suggest that is their any way you would be able to consider doing this?
Does your work have any sort of counselling scheme for workers? some places do.
Is he the only one who knows? I only ask because in my situation their is 3 members of staff that know that I can kind of share out the stuff with so that I don't feel I'm putting on one person all the time (as it sounds like you feel like that a little bit so i can understand that feeling.) although I don't think he sounds like he feels burdened at all tbh.
Obviously its taken me a long time to trust these people and get to that point that i can but it has helped.
I know you probably don't want to do this but when I was feeling so bad that I felt that it was effecting my job as much as I hated to admit defeat (which is how I felt at the time) I had to take sick leave so got signed off for 2 weeks but it was cause I was in a job where I cared for others in my role so I felt that I needed to do the responsible thing and my manager respected me more for that.I just wondered if that might be something you might consider? though I know it could make you worse but I guess you have to weigh up all the pros and cons and think about whether work is actually helping you at the moment or not?
Don't know if any of that helps.Hope you feel a bit better soon



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Old 05-02-2015, 12:10 AM   #15
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I understand your predicament. I didn't tell anyone at work about my history with depression. But, turned out my depression was misdiagnosed and I actually had a mood disorder. So when I broke down at work cause I was edging towards being manic and was then off for a long time...I had some explaining to do. ****ing hard. I ended up being sent home for being such a mess whilst working with some close work colleagues. After a few months off I returned to the biggest hug from one of those colleagues, it boosted my confidence to return. Basically, whether you inform people of a possible struggle or whether you hide it, when or more positively 'if' you start to struggle at some point you will always have to explain what happened. You will always have to reassure people that you are actually ok, but you just trip up sometimes.
It's nothing to be ashamed of and nothing you should hide but if you mention it people will look for it. It's human nature.

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