Working in employment we talk a lot about "disclosure". For my clients, this would mean choosing to disclose to their bosses, supervisors, human resources (whoever) that they have a mental illness. I find that some of our staff, one in particular, really look down on the clients who refuse to disclose, even when they're having problems. In some cases, they'd rather look for a new job. And some of our staff just can't comprehend why a client would feel this way. I totally get it.
See something I've been thinking about a lot since this topic started coming up at work is disclosing my own mental illness, and if I did, who would I "disclose" to, and what would that look like. Actually, I'm not a fan of the word disclose as it really implys something hidden. I kind of prefer to see anxiety as a part of me, and just as I wouldn't share intimate experiences at the work place, I don't share about my experiences of anxiety. Lately though, things have been sucking. They had been going quite well for a while, but then the seasons changed again, from spring to summer, and things haven't been going so well (i'd love to know what it is about the change in seasons that sets me off).
When in comes to the idea of talking to my supervisor about my anxiety, I'm not actually that nervous, I'm just not sure I see a point. One of the objectives of disclosure is to make accomidations, and right now I certainly don't need accomadations. On the other hand, if I was my supervisor, I might like some advanced warning in case things came up and I did need some accomadations. So I can see both sides. I think I'd also feel better around my coworkers if I could say something like, "my anxiety is really bad right now, so I'm going to shut my door and take it easy for half an hour and see how I'm doing". It would be reassuring and less isolating. On the other hand, on our team of 8 there is 1 person I would NOT want to know, and that makes disclosing to the team quite hard.
So in terms of clients. I'm realizing that this is an issue that will be close to my heart if it comes up in counselling. I fully believe I am capable of helping a client through it, I'm not giving the client advice or an opinion afterwards, but even in the questions I ask, and the direction I choose to go with the client, I'll have to be quite careful.
Any thoughts on disclosing mental illness in the workplace? Is it good? Bad? Neither?