When it comes to taking time off work for health reasons, you have two choices. You can either tell your boss the truth, or you can tell your boss a lie.
If you tell a lie, you may feel like you are protecting yourself. You may believe that you can fix your issue and get back to work before anybody knows anything different. Taking time off work for a legitimate health reason or illness should make the time request easily grantable. However, it could be that the health reason for you needing time off work comes with a particular stigma. So, some presume that people with depression are unproductive. Or, people with addictions are automatically unreliable. However, you as the sufferer, know better. It shouldn’t be, but it is your responsibility to banish these misconceptions once and for all.
Let’s look at an example. Some believe that if you go to rehab, you are in a prison-cum-hospital-cum-care home environment. As a result, your means of communication like phones and laptops are taken away. However, this is simply not always true. There are some places, like this rehab clinic, where not only can you keep your phone and laptop, you also have your own room and independence. Letting your boss know these smaller details will help him or build a better and more accurate picture of your time off.
However, in order to be able to banish these misconceptions, you also need to be truthful about your reason for needing time off. So, how do you go about telling your boss?
You could write them a letter, and ask them to read it away from colleagues and in private. However, if you can handle it, a face to face meeting would be better. It allows you to actual interact and gauge their reaction for yourself. It also allows for them to ask questions in real-time. Plus, of course, all being well, it gives them an immediate outlet for them to express their support for you.
There are things in place to protect you. While you might not know about them, they will be there. Companies cannot fire you for you having a health condition such as mental health issues or addiction. While some stigmas do remain, understanding of these issues is increasing.
However that first meeting with your boss goes, make a record of it. Note what was said, and who said it, and what was agreed. Then, write an email to your boss reiterating what you have agreed upon. This might be how many days off you can take, or what will happen once you return to the company or role again. This could be done more as a precaution than anything else. It means that you can take your time off safe in the knowledge that there is a written record of what has been agreed. If any issues do emerge further down the line, you can refer back to this. If you trust another person to be part of this exchange, copy them in also.