I am a software engineer, and I have been in my current position for almost two years now. I am really happy with my job. I enjoy the work that I'm doing (for the most part), the hours are flexible, and my manager is great (friendly, understanding about mistakes, etc.) However, I still find the job quite stressful.

I have been diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder, and the stress has much more to do with my mental health issues than with the job itself. I'd find a new job if I thought that it would help, but I'm aware that literally any job is going to stress me out, and there are enough positive aspects of this job that I don't want to change.

I haven't spoken with my manager about my anxiety issues. I can typically keep my composure while in public (though I'll occasionally go cry in the bathroom), and my performance reviews have been very positive, so I don't feel like anyone needs to know. Though I imagine that my manager likely picked up on my anxiety to some extent, since my voice/hands shake pretty badly when I get anxious, which is a fairly common occurrence.

The issue is that we've now been working from home for two weeks due to the current Coronavirus pandemic, and in that time I've only done a fraction of the work that I could normally get done. I am constantly so anxious that I can't focus on my work. It's at the point where I've spent the past two days crying almost nonstop. I don't know anyone who has gotten sick (yet), so I don't have a particular reason for being so anxious other than my disorder. I feel like I can handle the stress of the pandemic, and I can handle the stress of work, but I can't do both at once.

I don't know how to handle this situation. I've thought about asking whether I could use some of my vacation days now, but the pandemic could potentially last for months so it wouldn't be enough time (plus I wouldn't want to use up all my days before we've even finished April.) Should I talk to my manager, and if I do, what should I say? I don't want to outright say that I've barely done any work lately, but I'm sure that my manager will notice at some point and it might be better to just own up to it.

Thank you for any advice.

  • 4
    Tell your manager what you've told us and you two can work together to figure it out. Honest is the best policy in matters like that, and drop in productivity is expected.
    – Aida Paul
    Mar 27, 2020 at 18:58
  • 1
    Please don't vandalize your post. Mar 27, 2020 at 19:45
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    I think this can be made on topic with a specific goal. We can't tell you whether you should talk to your manager but if you want time off, reduced work load, or even just advice from your boss we can suggest ways to ask for what you want.
    – BSMP
    Mar 27, 2020 at 22:50
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    @EJoshuaS-ReinstateMonica, this person wanted delete their question after one hour, that's their prerogative and NOT vandalism, and now you brought it back? WHY?. Why don't you people allow the OP to delete the question, they're obviously stressed out and probably don't want to hear smug judgemental remarks and downvotes from harsh stackexchange users.
    – teego1967
    Mar 28, 2020 at 5:03
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    @teego1967 That's standard site policy across the entire network - I didn't write it. If you don't agree with the policy, feel free to take it up on Meta. Mar 28, 2020 at 5:19

3 Answers 3


I think this is a case of "Asking The Internet For Advice Instead Of A Psychologist."

You probably shouldn't be asking us. If you've been diagnosed with a psychological condition, and that condition is giving you formidable problems... you should be talking with someone qualified to give you clinical help. Asking a "Workplace Problems" forum probably isn't where you want to be with this.

Or put another way: we don't know anything about you, your situation, or your mental state - apart from what we interpret from an internet post that you typed up. We also don't have any sort of verifiable qualifications that any advice we'd give you would be good. So if I told you, "Oh, you should X!" or "You know, maybe you need to Y!"... do you really think it'd be wise to blindly trust me?

Schedule a visit to talk through some of your problems - or if you're really worried about the virus, find a online resource for clinical help.


I'd first check with your health or well being department (I'm not sure if your company has one, but as far as I know, major companies do) if they provide counseling or something like that.

On the other hand, your manager needs to know this condition you have - if you productivity is low enough to make them consider kicking you out, maybe bringing your condition in that point wouldn't help and it just makes them think you are making that up to get away with it. If your boss is as cool as you said, then he will understand - being honest is key. If someone in my team would have such problem, I'd like to know it.

All of the above will help in the short term, but I strongly recommend you to get professional help - mental health is not to be taken lightly and even when someone (or even yourself!) could say you are just overreacting, they don't suffer what you suffer. Stay safe and remain calm please!


Talk to HR about reasonable accommodations under the ADA (or its local equivalent).

Simply put, as someone with a disability, you’re entitled to “reasonable accommodations” under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), or its local equivalent if you don’t live in America- most first world countries will have one. As such, I would recommend talking to HR about this: while HR is not your friend, its job is to protect the company from the lawsuits that might occur if they break the law by disregarding your disability. While you’re talking to HR about it, you can ask them if you should talk to your manager about it or if they’d prefer to handle that; I imagine that getting HR to manage the discussion with your manager would be less stressful for you.

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