Come out of the closet!

Hi All

I have been diagnosed for over 4 years now but have not declared it officially to work.  My immediate boss knows about it but the big boss and HR department don't.  After having a bit of a bad week I was off on Friday, I haven't been off for over a year but by Friday my body had just had enough.  

The sick form has recently been changed and you are now asked why you were off and if there is any longterm underlying problem?  Is it time to come out of the closet as the saying goes or do I just keep plodding along? 

I wondered what your experience was, I've kept quiet so far because I didn't want 'that' label and my post was temporary but I was made permanent in the Summer last year.  My boss had said he will support me whatever I decide, however he is due to go off for an operation and will be away for a few months.  I'd had to think I had a relapse and got him into trouble in his absence.

sorry to go on and on and ....

Many thanks


Hi, Mags,

Ultimately, it should be your decision. Gather all the information that you can like your Doctor, your 'friends' and relatives and keep in mind that it could 'get worse'. I myself, was director of a family firm and I had to look at the financial implications. There are good sides and bad sides to giving up work - if you decide to give up work - what would you do all day? I have given up work but it is not always 'ideal' to be 'sitting around' all day doing nothing - you have to be a certain 'type' of individual to deal with it? Work is not the be-all and end-all of existance but ultimately you may not have the decision? YOU DECIDE, MAKE UP YOUR OWN MIND (to have the confidence to deal with whatever happens to you?) - or you can 'end up like me' and be 'house bound' and spend all the time on the 'internet' typing messages like this one here - it's YOUR LIFE! 

I will 'try' and respond if you need any further advice [edited by Moderator] - I am married to an Optometrist and have a young daughter who is 8. My mortgage is coming to an end and we 'let out' two other properties but we are by no means rich. I miss 'jogging' or having the ability to do it (I did do it like I did do other things because I had a choice - I don't now).

My Doctor has a relatve with MS and he is aware that he might develop it - and the reason - there is no choice. Good Luck.

Marcus. (What a bummer! my initials are MS - if there is a god, he has a weird sense of humour!)

Hi Mags, I haven't had to go through this as was made redundant before dx (because of a merger), but keep in mind that you are protected by the law. They can't get rid of you because of MS. I think it could make life easier for you as they have to make adaptations so that you can continue to do your job... and you won't feel so bad about taking time off sick.

There's nothing worse than having to keep a secret at work. Arm yourself with knowledge of the law. Google 'Disabilities Discrimination Act'. Also 'disabilities and employment'. 

I'm sure their are people on here who have been in same situation and will offer advice, but I would think it's better to inform them before your sympathetic boss goes on leave. It sounds like quite a big organisation and will no doubt have policies and procedures on disability and equality.

Good luck and hope you get a good and supportive response from them.

Pat x

Hi Mags

I was off work for months around the time of my diagnosis so there was no point trying to hide my MS. It re-assured me that MS is covered by the Disability Discrimination Act, especially as a new MD and HR Director decided I had to change roles if I wasn't coming back full-time. I got some good legal advice and it's all ended up really well with me doing a job I absolutely love.

By being open about my MS I can be flexible about where I work (either home or office) and if a symptom is really playing up I don't have to pretend I'm fine. My role is senior in the business and I meet the heads of other companies so I want to show people that being disabled / having MS doesn't stop you doing a great job.

I know lots of people with MS don't have the same reaction from their employers and their job isn't the sort that can allow them the same flexibility I have. The MS trust brought out a booklet on MS and Work last year - if you decide to tell your employer it might be a useful resource to give them. I found that I had to educate my colleagues and HR about MS in general and my symptoms / treatments specifically.

Good luck with your decision

Lisa x


Hi Mags

Ironically your boss is going to have alot more time off than you have ever had!