Disclosure Dilemma

| 10/7/2014 10:28:00 AM

Job interview 

Tim White, PhD, LPC, NCC offers advice on family planning and parenting, LGBT issues, disability issues, education and work issues, relationships, ethics and "unusual" social issues. Send questions to Tim for future columns through his website.

Hi Tim,
I am in my fifties and have been out of the workforce for the past seven years. I spent some of that time caring for my disabled child and parents with medical problems. I also had been struggling with an undiagnosed thyroid disease called Hashimoto's Disease, which my doctors and I mistook for bipolar disorder. After a correct diagnosis and months of adjusting thyroid medications, I feel better than I have in years!

I am ready to go back to work and concerned about how I should address the above on my resume and in interviews, without going into the painful details. Thanks! — Me Again

Hi Me Again,
Thank you for bringing up the link between thyroid and mental health conditions. This article from the Wall Street Journal addresses medical conditions that mimic mental illness and references a helpful book. In some cases, these illnesses are quite treatable with minimal medication. Thyroid is a usual suspect but certainly not alone. Misdiagnoses like yours can have devastating and lasting negative effects on patients' lives. Thankfully, now you are newly and correctly diagnosed with a new bill of health and a new career ahead. I recommend making a new start altogether.

You owe no explanation to your prospective employers about your misdiagnosed mental health, unless there are serious details you have not shared such as significant disruption of work in the past, or some sort of legal trouble, like previous incarceration or probation. Hypothyroidism is quite unlikely to be excluded for most health insurance. My sincere congratulations to you on overcoming this adversity. There is no need to sound an alarm. Instead, use every inch of space on that resume and every minute of that interview to toot your horn!

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