I hope that this post will keep me sufficiently anonymous. I'm starting as an investment banking analyst at ain a few weeks (not in a US office). I'm really excited to start the job, and I think I will really thrive there, but there's a catch: I've had to push my start date back due to a hospitalization.
I spoke to HR and said that I was hospitalized, and they were more than ready to push back my start date. However, they insisted that I tell them what was going on, and when I said that I wasn't comfortable, they threatened to escalate the matter. I don't want my bosses knowing my condition, which could happen is they escalate. So now I'm trying to figure out what to say.
My diagnosis is bipolar disorder, and on the right medication, I am quite stable - I have some blips but I can get on with my life and work effectively. However, when my meds are changed to less powerful ones, I relapse - my most recent episode involved visual and audio hallucinations, paranoia, some delusions of grandeur, all superimposed on manic symptoms. Scary stuff.
I'm not sure how much I should disclose to HR, if anything. On one hand, if for some horrible reason I relapse (which is very unlikely on my current medication), I don't want people to be thinking I'm on crack because I'm speaking at a million miles and hour and jumping from idea to idea or that I'm antisocial because I feel too depressed to talk. I also will need allowances to go to psychiatrist appointments every now and then, even when I'm stable. However, I am keenly aware of the stigma that mental health holds, and I would hate for disclosure to influence my career. HR said anything I tell them will stay within HR, but I'm even worried that them knowing will influence the opportunities that I have. At the same time though, maybe having HR on side would help me get any allowances that I need.
Does anyone have any advice? Any suggestions at all would be welcomed from people in the industry (dealing with mental health issues or not) as I'm hearing mixed messages from my doctors, nurses and friends.