Cate I loved this post. I am a 48 year old gay man who has been living with HIV/AIDS for over 17 1/2 years. I also have struggled for years with alcohol and cocaine addictions. I always considered myself to be functioning. I have always been open about my sexuality and my HIV/AIDS status.
In August 2012 after a four day bender I disclosed to my director and associate director about my issues with alcohol and cocaine, This could have been a good thing if I had continued to follow through with their recommendations, however I did not.
In November 2012 I lost my paternal grandmother and then in February 2013 I lost my maternal grandmother whom I spoke to on a daily basis. In both cases I did not take time to truly grieve and take care of myself. Because of this, over the next few months I self-disintegrated and wound up losing a position that I loved dearly after over six years at the University of Texas at San Antonio.
Finally in the summer of 2014 at the behest of my Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor I began seeing a psychiatrist and have been officially diagnosed with bipolar depression disorder – which I have probably been for years which contributed to my trouble with addictions. I am still unemployed but I have some things on the horizon. Would I ever self-disclose again – absolutely! I do believe that if we are not completely honest with ourselves and other regardless of the setting then we are opening the door for our mental illness, addictions and etc. to creep in and raise their ugly heads and disrupt our lives.
Thanks again for the great post!!!!