Prepare Your Case
You've thought the whole thing over and discussed it with your family, your psychotherapist or physician, or a good friend, and you've decided that it's in your best interests to tell your employer about your depression. Before you enter the boss's office and have the one on one chat, do your homework. This won't be easy, and it will take energy, but it's essential to your welfare.
Schedule the Doctor's Appointment
This is the first step. Make the appointment and then keep it. Once you have made this commitment to yourself, you'll be in a better frame of mind to make other decisions. Taking the initiative here shows responsibility, along with a sincere desire to regain your health.
Start keeping the paper trail now. The worst diary is better than the best memory when it comes to recalling important dates and events. Keep all your medical records, receipts, schedule of appointments, and anything else that's pertinent in a file that you can access when you need to.
Use Your Sick Days
You're a stellar employee, and you don't take much sick time. Now is the right time to do this, however. If your doctor prescribes antidepressant medications, these may take a little time — perhaps up to three weeks — to work up to an effective level in your body. If you have accumulated some days, take them. If your workplace has a sick pool where you all donate a day to be used when someone needs extra days, apply for some. Eliminating the stress of working, while you're getting better, will help you get better faster.
Talk to the Boss
There are advantages and disadvantages to disclosing your medical condition to management. You'll be relieved of the burden of pretending you're operating at 100 percent. (It's probably apparent to everyone close to you, anyway, that you're subpar right now, so you'll defuse this as an issue.) You'll also open the door for reasonable accommodation. Then, if your employer uses your disclosure against you and either demotes you or terminates you, you may be protected by the law. If you don't disclose, you won't be protected.
Tough to make a decision? Paper and pencil time again. Take a sheet of paper and fold it in half, vertically. Label the left side of the paper: Reasons to Disclose and label the right side of the paper: Reasons Not To. List everything you can think of. Let the paper sit a day or so and add to it, until you've got everything down. If you can discuss this with family, so much the better, as it will undoubtedly bring up some areas you may have overlooked. Read through your reasons for each course of action. Where is the advantage? It's a good tool for getting the big picture out in the open and can help you see what decision will be in your best interest.
Realize however, that human nature is human nature. Your boss may decide to give a plum assignment to someone else, or you may experience some difficulties in dealing with your associates, as a result of them perceiving you as privileged or mentally ill. Of course, this is foolish, and you'd give just about anything not to need accommodations. Unless others have walked in your shoes, however, it's nearly impossible for them to understand how depression feels. Only you can decide what the right course of action is.
Talk to Your Trusted Colleagues
Go slowly, here. Take your time and decide exactly what you want to say and the best way to say it. It's probably not a great idea to burst into the office tomorrow morning and announce or snarl to everyone who'll listen, “I have depression!!” That will sound more like a challenge than anything else. And what exactly are your co-workers going to do with that tidbit of information, anyway? No, give this some careful thought, before proceeding. Time to back up a bit and do some planning. What do you need from them? A willing hand? A sounding board? Take a trusted friend or two aside and talk. Her support will help you cope when the day gets long.