Justin Alan you mentioned disability in several contexts here--as in, “receiving financial assistance for…”, which would require you to be “awarded" disability status (an unsavory option, I agree), and also as in disclosure of your own disability diagnosis to your employer (wha..huh?!?!) which is obviously generally a horrible idea, considering the bosses in my own experience.

Why is there no mention of FMLA? Are you in the states? I’m bipolar, though to be honest A LOT of what you experience on a symptomatic day sounds awfully similar to my own life.

Six years or so ago, I was dangerously close to being terminated because of attendance issues and I was angry, and frustrated, and terrified about what my kids and I would do without that job. My then supervisor, who was a decent person with a job to do, suggested I apply. I thought FMLA was for pregnant women and people who got in car accidents or had long term physical illnesses (like cancer) that made them unable to work. It is, but it is customizable. Your primary doctor fills out a relatively simple form stating your condition, date of diagnosis, whether it is temporary or lifelong, that you are doing everything in your power to keep your symptoms under control with meds and regular visits to your psy doc, and the reality check that mental illness is in fact an illness and it is bound to make you symptomatic sometimes, even if you do everything right. They recommend a leave “prescription", kind of…like mine says I reasonably can be expected to be unable to function adequately at work 1 or 2 days a month (bc my bad days sync with my cycle, see.. ), and that if I get spun out enough that I am unable to reel it in, I should have a chunk of time in there, couple of weeks, in the event I have to check into an inpatient facility.

this paperwork goes through the HR dept, employees of whom are legally forbidden to break your confidentiality to your employer.

now, I dont know exactly how that works when the boss and hr are one and the same, so…

anyway, the govt. entity that processes FMLA applications will look over the doctors recommendations, apply their own algorithm, and award you a certain number of covered leave days for the next year. Every year, they award me the maximum, which is far more than indicated by my doctor

These are not paid days. At my work, if I have paid leave available and need to take an FMLA day, I get paid for that day AND I get protected from retribution (like being fired for something that isnt my fault). If I have no leave accumulated, then I JUST GET THE PROTECTION.

My boss doesnt get to know why I have FMLA. She doesnt get to ask my reason for calling in. She gets to say “okay" and suck it up. There were a couple months there where she got a little cheeky (“I need to use FMLA today" “Seriously?!?”) and I started feeling that old paranoia again and stopped mentioning FMLA when I called in. But I went to HR to find out what to do and in no uncertain term was told to backdate any days that should be fmla and weren’t, because that was my protection. And I was adamant they not speak to her, I was just checking my rights, so they reiterated-you have no duty to explain ANYTHING, and she isnt permitted to ask.

in case you think it wont be enough to cover you, know I end each year with like a hundred unused days. you know, stress can induce an episode. being relieved of the burden might mean you end up able to actually miss FEWER days, and that the days you ARE at work might just be way more productive.

maybe its an option for you. I wanted you to know how it works for someone with a mental rather than physical illness.

I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up, but I know I want it to be spelled right and punctuated correctly. I guess that’s something.

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