Disclosing Depression, Part 3

The appointment with my therapist lasted no more than five minutes; we didn’t even go into his office but talked standing in the door frame. He had my note already prepared, which stated that I was incapable to work or sit exams from Thursday until Tuesday – tomorrow we’ll figure out a long-term strategy in our regular session. I was grateful that he filled in a few more days than just Friday, because it doesn’t look like I only wanted to get out of the exam this way.
I got a little glimpse of my therapist in his role as a psychiatrist, too. Usually, when I come to see him, his business as a psychiatrist is done and he takes his white coat off and sheds the whole “clinician persona” for the duration of the meeting, so the whole scene had a faint hint of strangeness to it. The psychiatrist-character appears a lot busier and, even though still being very friendly, more authoritative.

There’s no diagnosis on the note, but a huge stamp stating “[…] Clinic […] for psychiatry and psychotherapy” above my therapist’s signature, so when I hand it in on Monday, it will be known at the institute that I am being treated for mental health problems. So far, the university administration knew because I had taken a sabbatical a year ago, but none of my professors or other people at the geosciences department are clued in currently.
I am not sure how I feel about the fact that this is going to change: I like to keep some things private. It’s none of their business what I’m struggling with, but I also understand that it is better to be open about it and admit the problems I have – especially since my depression is chronic, not a singular episode. Recovery takes a long time, and I will have many more moments when depressive symptoms temporarily return, so it would probably be better to make it public and then deal with whatever consequences this has. Legally, I am on the safe side: my therapist told me more than once that they must not discriminate against me and have to treat me like anyone else. It is not open discrimination I fear anyway, but the hidden prejudices which are not expressed openly.


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