I've been seeing a psychologist once a week for over a year now and it's only occasionally directly interfered with my ability to get work done. However, there are some days where there will be a non-critical meeting that runs late and I have to leave and normally, when asked my reason for leaving, I simply say that "I have an appointment" or "a medical appointment". There was one instance where I knew a meeting was going to go very late, and so I messaged the same supervisor letting them know I had an "important personal appointment that I don't feel comfortable discussing in front of or with others" and would need to leave at a certain time, which they said was fine.

However the work schedule has been brutal these past few months (most weeks have been 65+ hour weeks for more than two months) and I feel that my productivity has come under a lot of scrutiny as stress-levels rise and hard deadlines approach.

As I had a psychology appointment today, I decided to work from home (a highly-frequent occurrence across all teams at my workplace) so I could just get to working and not deal with wasting commuting time. A set of problems that I had been working on the previous day and night, and was causing delays for others, had reared its head again this morning, so I was asked by one of my supervisors (a higher up) what my appointment was for and when, so we could review my work and get it cleared up. It wasn't asked in any particularly striking way (also it was over IM).

I didn't have a lot of time to think of an answer, and I knew I'd need to reply with something more informative, so I simply said "a psychologist appointment" and the time. The supervisor's response didn't seem too fazed or anything, but it did leave me immediately feeling worried that I should have handled it differently, and that this will have adverse effects on my job.

I know that I'm within my legal rights to not tell my employer anything about my health that I'm not comfortable telling, but I did feel somewhat obligated to tell, both as a team member and, to be blunt, as one of the consistent bottlenecks of this project.

Please advise; any and all help is much appreciated.

  • 5
    Seems too late to worry about it now. Just keep going and see what (if anything) happens.
    – AndreiROM
    Jun 1 '16 at 17:13
  • 3
    Where are you located? In some parts of the world that isn't much more unusual than seeing a hair stylist. In other places there may be more stigma attached.
    – keshlam
    Jun 1 '16 at 17:45
  • @keshlam Canada
    – DanTheMan
    Jun 1 '16 at 18:00
  • 1
    @DanTheMan My point is that your question as written is unsuitable for the site and you should drastically reword it to so there's a practical core question. "What are the risks of doing X?" is good. "Should I do / have done X?" is bad.
    – Lilienthal
    Jun 1 '16 at 18:04
  • 1
    Tell them your psychologist advised you not to work more than 40 hours a week.
    – gnasher729
    Jun 3 '16 at 19:22

Let it go. You've got enough to be concerned with as-is. 65-hour work week? If you feel this is normal and acceptable, then you might want to put more effort into pleasing and comforting and nurturing yourself and let the job be what it's gonna be. Worrying about what your boss will say == ANXIETY. It will shorten your life span!

Make your way back to sanity, one step at a time. Best of luck.

  • Ha, no a 65-hour week is absolutely not acceptable or desireable, it just, well, it is what it is at this point and the whole team is pulling through to get it over with as soon as possible. Definitely needs to be a review of how we got to this crunch time; normal weeks should be 37.5 hours.
    – DanTheMan
    Jun 1 '16 at 17:54
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    I can't speak for whatever you're doing in your psychology appointments but I can speak with certainty that your stressful work situation is counterproductive to your therapy. Congrats on making yourself a priority, at least in that way! Don't let the job impede your progress. (I'm a life coach.)
    – Xavier J
    Jun 1 '16 at 18:01

You can't "unsay" anything so what happens, happens. I would have said "doctor's appointment" though. That's my go-to answer if I have to be off for something like that. Don't just say "appointment" though because they might think you're looking for work.

As a matter of practice though, I avoid telling employers anything about my health (especially mental health) unless it affects my job. In the States we have the Americans with Disability Act (ADA) which prevents employers from asking medical questions except as related to the job at hand. For instance, if I was taking a sedative and was a machine operator, they obviously would have a right to know.

In my personal case, I do typically tell them (after I've worked there a bit) that I'm diagnosed ADD if I happen to forget my medicine one day. There's potential for negative opinions but I've never had anything happen. Typically I say, "If I seem more distractable or excitable today, I apologize. I have ADD and I forgot my medicine this morning." It's no big deal. I just want them to understand that there's a reason why I keep interrupting them and bounce from subject to subject.

The bottom line though is that it's nobody's business but mine. If it's advantageous to tell them (such as my wife's recent hospitalization causing me to have to work from home more) then I will.

Remember though that a lot of people simply don't want to hear about personal problems. And with mental health issues, it could make some uncomfortable. Just bear that in mind going forward.


This is the exact reason why the medical information should be withhold from management at workplace. Regardless what you do from now on, that supervisor will look at you and think, "(s)he has mental problem". And in the long run, if it comes down to letting someone with your skill set go and you are up against someone who do not have a psych problem or did not disclose, that someone will have the upper hand, even though dismissal on any health condition grounds is illegal. They can make up any reason why you were being let go.

On the other hand, being secretive about your appointments will raise the ire of your supervisors, especially the workload is as insane as where you work. Which brings me to another aspect: Your management should have a little more foresight and staff your project/department more considerately, instead of slave-driving you and your colleagues, working 65 hours long work weeks.

Your picture wreaks bad management all over unfortunately. But from now on, be on the lookout for tell-tale signs of how this supervisor treats you, compared to how he/she did, up until now.

  • 1
    not sure why you were downvoted so much...
    – DanTheMan
    Jun 1 '16 at 18:08
  • @DanTheMan because he speaks the truth. "A man about to speak the truth should keep one foot in the stirrup" -Mongolian proverb. Jun 1 '16 at 18:15
  • 1
    @DanTheMan I really do not care how people rate my answers. I voice my opinions and it must really irk some politically correct people. Yes what I said is not kosher and should never happen but we, the people with any common sense, all know that, it is not the case and prejudice prevails almost every time.
    – MelBurslan
    Jun 1 '16 at 22:47

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