Like it or not people assess you based on what information you give them. So, how do you judge how much of your past to share with people?
When I was diagnosed with bipolar, not only did I struggle to come to terms with it but my family did too. They couldn’t quite comprehend the illness, or the implications.
First time round … My mistake was naively sharing my diagnosis with a partner at a firm that I worked at [some years later]. The following month I was asked to leave said employment. At that point I realised that there is a time to share and there is a time to keep your trap shut.
Having been ousted from a company you begin to doubt your capabilities… I left the shared house I lived in and moved back to the folks to re-group.
Second time round … Fast forward several months and I started again, joining a graduate scheme for the second time. Lower pay this time round - so less stress I presumed [wrongly].
I disclosed bipolar on my application form, which the company would then manage to lose [god knows where it ended up]. After my last experience, I chose not to disclose my bipolar to line management. All well and good, until I ended up in a toxic relationship, which combined with stresses at work, triggered the onset of another episode.
I tried to broach the subject with my line manager, to mitigate the risk of falling ill. Instead he ended up confiding in me, telling me his wife was an alcoholic... at which point I felt unable to ask for the support that I needed at work. I felt out of my depth and worried I would relapse - which I did a few weeks later.
I ended up being signed off work and taking several years out.
Third time round… I not only mentioned bipolar on my application form but I also plucked up the courage to tell my immediate line manager a few months into my employment.
Turns out that it was the best thing I could have done. He is patient, listens and is genuinely interested in my wellbeing at work. I could not ask for a more understanding person to be my manager. I know that regardless of what happens he has my back and is on hand to support me.
So, what is the moral of the story?
1) Follow your gut
2) Be discrete
3) Only confide in characters that you trust
In summary - lived experiences are valuable things - be sure that you share them with the right people at the right time.
It’s taken a lifetime [20 years to be exact] to get to a stage in my life where I am secure enough in myself to open up to those I trust.
What about you - are you there yet?
Stay Well, Stay Safe.
A Moodscope member.