I am currently on a medical leave of absence for anxiety. My current employer has been supportive and knows (and even has encouraged me) I am interviewing for other positions. I have been with my current employer for over 10 years with exceptional performance reviews. My current employer has also written me an excellent letter of recommendation.

How do I best explain my medical leave while interviewing? I feel that if I use the word anxiety, it will leave some people questioning if I can do the new position. If I am too vague, I feel I will leave some people filling in the blanks (alcoholism, etc.).

Any suggestions on how to explain my situation?

  • Why are you leaving this company? Why is your current employer encouraging you? Aug 23 '16 at 17:41
  • I'd just say "medical issues" and leave it at that. Aug 23 '16 at 20:42
  • My situation appears different that previous posts in that I am still currently employed, but on leave. Aug 25 '16 at 0:03

Although people are generally more educated and understanding today regarding mental health issues, I would not discuss specifics. Simply say you had health issues that prevented you from working for a certain period of time.

I can't imagine anyone would jump to the conclusion that you were in rehab or something similar, and I would be surprised if an interviewer were to push the issue beyond your initial, simple explanation.

The fact that you have a long history of exceptional performance is going to be more important to your potential employer, as is your reassurance and references to show you are now capable of doing the work, and doing it well.

A confident interview will help reinforce your message that you are ready to get back to work, and contribute to your new employer.


I've got some anxiety-related challenges of my own, so I get it. Re-phrase "anxiety" to "personal life challenges". Keep it vague, on purpose. If it comes up in conversation, steer away from the details with your anxiety and keep the focus on how it's made you a better person, how you've grown, and what you learned as a result. Paint yourself as empowered by the experience (I hope this would be a true statement).

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