Photo credit: KoshyK
My ‘policy’ of openness
In general I have taken the stance to be open about my condition of Bipolar Disorder. I find it nothing to be ashamed of and if anything, I feel I can use it to educate others about mental illness in general and BD in particular. Because of the stigma attached to it, I actually see education as an important part of being open about my condition.
Blog & future employer
When I started this blog I had this thought: ‘What when a potential employer, who checks the web, will find my blog? Would I lose a job opportunity?’ The answer to this question for me was: ‘It depends on how the potential employer will look at me.’ In my opinion, my blog shows how I go about my life with mental illness and how I try to use it to my advantage, instead of letting myself be victimized by it.
Latest job interview
You have to know that I have disclosed my condition with every voluntary job interview I have done so far. Yet, when I was applying for a job recently, I decided not to disclose it. Since I will be working mostly on my own in a little Documentation Center of a school, I didn’t see the need to inform the coordinator about my condition. As far as I can see, it will not interfere with my duties.
Disclosure to youth group
Not so long ago I disclosed my condition to the youth group I am a team leader of together with other team leaders. The age group is between 16 and 25 years. The youth leader as well as I trust our youth to be able to accept it and ask questions.
I shared with them the facts about Bipolar Disorder – not my emotions. With keeping it factual and comparing it with another chronic disease (diabetes), I think I made it easier on them to follow my story.
One of the consequences of sharing with the youth group is that most likely they talk about it with their parents. I have to say that at first I sort of shrugged this of. My initial thoughts were: ‘So what if they know it, too? That is not a problem for me.’
There is one BUT, though.
It is not all about me…
Meaning that my initial honest and sincere wish to be open might have effects that I did not oversee. My goal by becoming a youth leader was to serve the youth. They should be the center, not me. Especially not a non-issue about if someone with a mental illness is fit to be a youth leader or not. Because if this becomes an issue with the parents, who knows what will happen? In any case, it will disrupt the goal I set before me…
Although I can’t change anything because what is done, is done, I can review my ‘policy’ of openness. Would I have done the same thing with this all in mind?
So, I am very curious:
What if you know or suspect that the ‘recipients’ of the information about your condition are NOT able to deal with it. Would you keep it confidential for the sake of the recipients?
In other words: What would you have done / do in my place?
Please, let me know by writing me a comment below or using the “Contact Me” form at the top of this page. I am looking forward to your response! Thank you