Full disclosure

12 Aug

So in beginning this project I decided to consult with my husband to make sure that I had his full support. He knows that I have been wanting to do something like this for a long time, I just wasn’t at the right point in my life to be able to do it until now. I believe that I am a strong writer.  People have told me that I am an excellent writer actually. But in my opinion, there is one huge roadblock standing in the way of my blog becoming a success: full disclosure.

Coming out to the world and saying that you have bipolar is such a scary thing. There is so much stigma attached to the label of bipolar that it makes it almost impossible for most people to admit that they have the diagnosis at the risk of losing friends or losing their job. Future employment is probably the major reason my husband and I are nervous about unveiling my identity completely.

As an avid blog-reader, I myself know that unless a blogger shows their true identity and describes his or her life in detail and with pictures, their blog is not all that interesting or captivating. I want to be able to share without strings attached and at this moment this isn’t possible. Not without my husband’s approval and he did make a valid point when we talked this evening. He wants me to think about it more.

I’ve had what I would consider to be a successful career so far as a Recruiter and, although I’m a Stay-at-Home-Mom right now to our two kids, I’d like to work again. I am easily described as a Type-A personality who craves challenges and goals to exceed, so I predict that there will be a time in the next couple of years that I will want to do some type of recruiting work and therefore I would need to be hired by someone. Whether that be a private client hiring me to do some freelance recruiting, or a company hiring me as a contract recruiter, it’s all I’ve known career-wise for the past 10 years and it is work that I do well and enjoy. So will coming out to the public that I am bipolar hurt my future chances of employment?

I guess in a sense I’m also wondering, “Will my diagnosis revelation change the way people in general feel about me as a person?”. I really hope not. That would truly be sad.

Only time will tell. I’m going to consult a few more people who I respect given their situations surrounding bipolar disorder and disclosure, in addition to my parents and brother, to collect some opinions which will help me to make this very difficult decision.

Have you ever been scared to disclose to friends or colleagues/bosses that you are bipolar? How did you handle the decision?

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6 Responses to “Full disclosure”

  1. Shelly August 15, 2011 at 9:35 am #

    I’m kinda on the fence in that I’m keeping my identity and family name off of this blog. I link these posts to facebook which definitely has my real name but only those that I friend have access. Well, I suppose they could share what I write…hmmm. To me it doesn’t matter. I used to think a lot about it and wonder how friends, family and acquaintances would perceive me. Now, I am who I am and if they have a problem with it, it’s really their problem!

    I’m in grad school for the express purpose of getting my Master of Social Work in order to work with those who have mental illness. I’m a strong advocate for education and reducing/eliminating stigma. I trust that my stance will not hurt my chances of future employment. Time will tell I guess.

    I appreciate your decision at the present…very valid reasons. Just by having this blog is a great resource for those with bipolar or who have loved ones with the disorder.

    Blessings!

    • bipolarandpregnant August 17, 2011 at 10:14 pm #

      Shelly – that is awesome that you are getting your Master’s in Social Work! When I was in the hospital the last two times I remember when I came out I really thought hard about getting into the medical field somehow to help people going through what I was going through. That is so cool that you are actually doing it.

  2. Ruby Tuesday August 15, 2011 at 5:39 am #

    I think this is a decision everyone needs to make for themselves, but I am big on full disclosure. I think the only way to truly fight the stigma is to start putting faces with diagnoses, and show the world that we are people, just as they are.

    My friend and fellow blogger, Always, actually just wrote a post on this topic: http://acanvasoftheminds.wordpress.com/2011/08/13/to-out-thyself-or-not-to-out-thyself/

    (I promise I’m not trying to advertise, it would just be convoluted to try to get you there from my blog).

    I may like to maintain my anonymity on my blog, but that is because I am an anonymous person. Anyone who knows me or meets me face-to-face will hear about my mental health issues sooner or later.

    Like Sandy Sue, I am on disability. I don’t know if I will ever hold a “traditional” job again. But I have always been the one to stand up for principle, consequences be damned.

    Good luck, whatever you decide to do.

    • bipolarandpregnant August 17, 2011 at 10:09 pm #

      Thanks Ruby. I just read the post your friend wrote and I almost totally agree with her. The thing for me is that I have to think about my parents and their feelings on the issue of my disclosure. They are not supportive at this moment, but I hope they will be in the future.

  3. Sandy Sue August 13, 2011 at 7:29 am #

    If you are absolutely set on working in the world again, don’t disclose. The allure of social media is that lovely, but false sense of intimacy. Employers are savvy. When you start applying for jobs again, they *will* find your blog and read it.

    Because I’m on full Social Security Disability and will probably never be able to hold a job again, I feel I can be very frank on my blog. I’m divorced and have no children, so my posts cause no repercussions for others. My immediate family and friends are all aware of what I’m doing and are supportive. I have nothing to lose.

    The flip side of this coin is that you could be an incredible advocate for those suffering from mental illness. You sound like you’re in a good place right now, but since we never get “cured” you’ll probably have more episodes in the future (hopefully, more manageable). Documenting your episodes and how you deal with them is important information for other sufferers. The fact that you call yourself a “Type A personality” says to me that there’s more inner work for you to do. Also valuable information. Watching how you parent and how your illness effects your children would be a unique viewpoint, and one I’d be personally interested in following.

    Whatever your decision, you must do what’s right for your family. They, of course, must be your first priority.

    Many Blessings. Sandy

    • bipolarandpregnant August 13, 2011 at 10:06 am #

      Sandy,

      Thank you so much for your comment. I appreciate your insight and definitely agree with you on many of your points. My family is my number one priority and I know that I have to keep their best interest in mind as I move forward. You will definitely see more posts on this topic as I try to figure out whether I will or will not disclose my true full identity on the blog.

      Thank you also for putting your story out there. I look forward to following your blog and wish you all the best as you continue on your journey. Keep in touch.

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