Stigma Resistance and Existence in the Project Management Workplace:

I have found in my 35-year career mostly doing project management work that the company you work for is only as accepting as the people who make it up.  When I have experienced a supporting atmosphere for my bipolar illness (which is extremely rare), my mentor or my boss has come from a place where mental illness was in their family.  One a husband, one an aunt.  This was volunteered information to me from them.  I find the ability of the workplace to be supportive is in direct correlation to the boss or mentor having first-hand experience with mental illness.  For all intents and purposes, the individual and not the company is the determinant of a supportive environment for working with a mental health condition.

It should not be this way.  The company as a unit in and of itself should be able to show understanding and support for mental health challenges particularly with such advances as the Americans with Disabilities Act. 

In my experience, the company is more prone to act out of fear or out of ignorance and assume someone with a mental health condition is dangerous to themselves and to others around them.  There is a tendency to criminalize people with mental health diagnoses in the workplace when that mental health diagnosis is exposed. 

Not uncommon is the ushering out of the office by building security when the mental illness surfaces.  Is this ever done when you have diabetes?  Or a brain tumor?  Or cancer?  No, you are not humiliated and meant to feel you are criminal just for being ill.  These other illnesses are accepted as part of the risk profile for managing employees.  People are given support for their illness by co-workers and by management for these other non-mental illness profiles, while for mental illness profiles the employee is considered an immediate and unsurmountable threat and treated as a criminal.

Again, I would hope in the US the Americans with Disabilities Act would change this criminalization of people with mental health diagnoses in the workplace, but in my experience it has not.  That sounds out as a sad state of affairs for employment for people with mental health diagnoses.

Have you ever been treated poorly at the office because of a mental health diagnosis or break-through event? Have you ever been treated well for the same? What causes some employers to act in a way that is supportive and others not?

My three most popular posts

My three most popular posts so far since March 2020 have less to do with mental health and mental health symptoms than they do with talking about the general well-being of, well, everybody. Folks have liked a list of suggested things to do on a rainy day. Folks have liked the observation that amidst all this staying at home, the air and water quality may ironically be getting better. This is a small silver lining to the tremendous pain and suffering of covid-19. Folks have liked the idea that those of us with clinical depression or clinical anxiety may be able to help those experiencing these same issues situationally specific to covid-19 by simply telling our stories.

So what are we saying in all this? Is there a pattern? Do we want our sympathy and our empathy to extend to all folks who struggle not just those folks who have clinical diagnoses? Do we want posts that take us away from our own mental health predicaments and lead us to think about the greater good? Do we want posts that encourage us to do things that make us and those around us feel good simultaneously?

To me, what all this is saying (in my opinion) is that as people with mental health challenges (and diagnoses) we want to reach out to others and to our better selves more than we want to isolate. And for many of us, including me, that is simply a big deal – a very big deal.

Do you have posts with a lot more traffic than others? Do you see any patterns in what people “like” or like to “view”?