"It's not a broken arm, but I must take leave."
The past few months, my brain, has felt, broken.
Broken like the state of our economy.
Broken like our justice system.
Broken like our country's unity.
I thought, for a while, that I could DIY it, that I could throw some fancy zebra duct tape, positive affirmations, and hot sauce on it and call it a day.
I thought that, if I waited it out, took a few extra naps, drank a few extra glasses of wine and told myself it would be okay, it would be.
Newsflash. It wasn't.
Everything was suffering; my body, my health, my nerves, my work, my relationships with others but most importantly- my relationship with myself.
I started to hate myself and more than I ever hated myself. That scared me.
It took a quite a few bad decisions, terrible moments, and hard conversations to realize that this was going to take a village and that village very well could be a village of strangers, again. We had a "Humpty Dumpty" situation on our hands. Below are the steps in my mind, as I thought they would play out.
Step One: Tell my employer, whom I have never met in person, that I am not only taking leave, but also have bipolar disorder and am days away from a mental health crisis.
Step Two: Figure out the lie I would tell my team and direct reports as to not scare them but to keep them informed.
Step Three: Have little flexibility in fear of legal repercussions.
Step Four: Engage in program with deep shame and feel like a failed professional, again.
Now, what really transpired left me feeling like...
Because in reality;
Step One: Tell my employer, whom I have never met in person, that I am not only taking leave but also have bipolar disorder and am days away from a mental health crisis
Step Two: Cry happy tears when my employer validates my mental health condition and says the following, "Tell your staff whatever you would like. If you had a broken arm, you'd tell them you had a broken arm. Why is this any different? We are here to support you in whatever ways you need."
Step Three: Start making my own coverage plan and working hours to preserve my autonomy per orders of my supportive employer; including but not limited to what messaging to use with staff.
Step Four: Tell my direct reports that I have bipolar disorder and am taking leave to engage in proactive mental health treatment.
Step Five: Do that and feel great.
I may not have had a broken arm, but I was broken and I am healing.
Stay tuned for details about the process.
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