I don’t like the words “disabled” or “disability” when it applies to depression. My brain rejects the descriptors as if I am giving in. If I am disabled, does that mean that the depression has won? If I am not, does that mean my depression isn’t real?
We have a new group at work that is designed to support people with disabilities. There are people with moderate to severe physical disabilities that clearly need accommodations at work. The obvious options are ramps, elevators, adjustable desks, and such.
There is a new push, however, to include mental disabilities in the same category and this rubs me the wrong way. I almost feel like I am that person with the “emotional support” dog that barks and pees everywhere. Or the people that pretend they have a service dog, since businesses can’t really ask too many questions.
Should mental disabilities like depression and anxiety be given accommodations at work like physical ones? What would those be? Can they put me in a cubicle outside, so I have the sunlight? Can I request an enclosed cubicle so that the annoying person singing doesn’t distract me? What exactly is the benefit of including depression and anxiety in workplace accommodations for people with disabilities?
And most importantly, does adding mental disabilities take away from the benefits that people with physical disabilities get?