To Co-Workers Who Know About My Bipolar Disorder, and to Those Who Don't
To Those Who Know,
Thank you for giving me the courage and strength to show up on the bad days, but also the comfort I can stay home if I need to. Telling you was terrifying. There’s no taking back something like that. But I’m glad I told you so I don’t have to waste energy trying to hide it. I can walk into the office and shut my door, and when you know I’m at my worst, you respect that door. You may not think you’re helping on those days, but you are.
To Those Who Don’t,
Thank you for not prying. It’s an odd thing for me to explain over the phone, so, for the most part, you don’t know because I haven’t wanted to spring it on you. But thank you for noticing I’ve been gone from work and for asking if I’m OK. As silly as it sounds, asking if I’m OK lets me know it’s OK if the answer is, “I’m getting there.” You all seem to understand that just because I’m back doesn’t mean I’m fully healed, and that grace is liberating. Knowing I don’t have to cringe at my phone ringing is a big deal.
I realize there is a chance you are finding out by reading this now. That thought has crossed my mind, and I am prepared for that possibility. That’s the environment you have created. I’m not scared you’ll find out anymore. If you do, you do. If you don’t, you don’t. But I won’t hide, and I thank you for that.
Sincerely and thankfully,
Your co-worker struggling with Bipolar II
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Thinkstock photo via golubovy.