I’m looking for advice

Ok, so I am trying to decide what I will tell my boss about my mental illness if she asks.  I have already told her that I will need to be out for parts of the day.  I informed her that I was seeking treatment for a previously diagnosed mental issue.  Her son has been diagnosed as bipolar for almost 20 years.  She is very open and understanding to mental illness.  She also seems to be very friendly with me.  She takes me to lunch at least once a week as a thank you for the work that I do.  I haven’t gone to lunch with her alone since I told her I was seeking treatment (I didn’t say “in therapy”, but she probably knew what I meant).  She asked me to go the day after I told her, but it was also the day of my first DBT session, so I had to decline my free meal.

I am torn about telling her what my diagnosis is, should she ask.  I feel like this topic WILL come up at some point, so I need to know how to handle it.  I don’t do very well being asked questions like that when I haven’t put some thought into my answer.  I usually just end up spouting off at the mouth and giving away more than I intended.

Ok, so, her son has bipolar.  She is understanding and sympathetic towards mental illness.  I understand that there is a stigma against BPD.  I know that people have a hard time understanding BPD.  They think they have a handle on bipolar because it is so commonly diagnosed.  Borderline Personality Disorder is different.  Less people know about it.  A lot think it is multiple personalities (Though it is close, isn’t it?).  A lot think someone with BPD cannot be “cured” or “fixed” or “helped”.  We are seen as difficult and manipulative. 

Anyway, I guess I am just looking for some advice.  She is very understanding, but, if I decide to tell her what my diagnosis is, how MUCH do I tell her?  I feel like I should give her the full picture so she won’t be freaked out when she Googles it.  Then again, do I want her to know that I feel like a different person trapped in my head?  That I don’t recognize myself when I look in the mirror?  That I cut myself when I’m stressed?  That I can barely function on a day to day basis?  That I sit at my desk and cry throughout the day?  That I have to go outside to my car and scream and hit things?  That I take EVERYTHING as a criticism?  That I feel so fucking worthless and despicable that I don’t deserve to live?  That I get so angry I shake and have violent urges?

Please help!!  How much info should I share?  What should I hold back?

Categories: Borderline Personality Disorder, BPD | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

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8 thoughts on “I’m looking for advice

  1. It depends on how much you think you can trust her with this information. You could just say ‘mood disorder’. It’s loose and fluffy and doesn’t give too much away.

    • Thank you for your suggestion. I hadn’t considered saying “mood disorder”. That’s nice and generic. It could be anything.

      • Well that’s what I’d probably say if I ever had the guts to admit my problems to my boss! But then my boss doesn’t exactly sound like your boss lol.

  2. Satis

    I’d probably agree here with MissLauraC. Most bosses – even caring ones – have to concern themselves with their business. They will want to know your illness, the potential impact on your work, and in particular they will want to know that you’re seeking treatment and that you’re trying your hardest every day. My boss has an interesting way of putting it: he doesn’t expect 100% every day, but he does expect 100% of what you can manage on any given day.

    Ultimately, if you’re getting the work done (and it sounds like you are), I’d imagine she’d not be too bothered.

  3. Good advice all around, although I would add that wikipedia’s page on BPD is really accessible & is accurate & includes what CAUSES BPD to begin with. So, your boss aside, if you have other people who are close to you, who you need to understand – I would print it up 20x & pass it around. It’s that good! Sometimes I still read it just to try & keep my symptoms in check. Think I’ll do so now. Best wishes.

  4. Bourbon

    I have been in this predicament many a time. Have you come to a decision? I applaud you for disclosing it at all – often I didn’t. B

    • I was still considering things, but was told this morning that my boss has been let go. So, it turns out, the point is moot. Now I’m worrying about who is going to be in to replace her.

      • Bourbon

        Oh no !! How irritating! Are you going to stay in touch with this old boss? Perhaps this is a chance to ask a BOSS how much they think you ought to share? Sorry to hear it. I can understand your worry about who is taking your bosses place. I hate changes like that. B

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