Our Time In The Sun

Sheryl Sandberg in her compelling book Lean In hints that the goal is to mix the personal and professional on the job. That woman can offer their original talents alongside men.

I wouldn’t be so quick to disclose your mental health diagnosis on the job. In most traditional arenas of employment this backfires. You’re viewed through the lens of a disability and every screw-up is chalked up to not taking your medication.

Your diagnosis can and will be used against you in office work no doubt about it and I’m confident when I say that in other areas it can backfire too.

I call it “the time in the sun” when a person is successful living with a mental health condition. Everyone has a thing. It’s how you carry yourself that effects how people respond to you. The goal is to be proud of yourself, hold your head high.

People know. It’s not ever a secret for a lot of us. To quote a fortune cookie greeting on a dessert plate I bought: You Think It’s a Secret But It’s Not.

So disclosing is unnecessary. It becomes a non-issue when you find your place in the sun. It’s where we can hope to be in our recoveries: where the light of hope shines, a spark of excitement to be alive doing what we love.

It’s easier to think stigma is powerful, evil, limits us. Yet only our own fear of stigma limits us. When we get past making stigma a threat, we can move into the sun: we can light up our recoveries with our faith that we have right inside us what it takes to succeed.

Try it: live in the light, dare to find your place in the sun. All human beings need light and air and laughter. We must have a sense of humor about the perceived stigma.

I’ll end here by telling you again:

It’s possible everyone knows. There’s no need to disclose. You shouldn’t make your life all about your diagnosis. When you find your place in the sun, you will be successful, regardless of any stigma.

I will report back in here next how you can thrive at work.

Author: Chris Bruni

Christina Bruni is the author of the critically acclaimed memoir Left of the Dial. She contributed a chapter "Recovery is Within Reach" to Benessere Psicologico: Contemporary Thought on Italian American Mental Health. As well as an author and activist, Bruni is an artist and athlete.

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