Need advice: Do I mention my illness at job interviews?
I have just graduated from college at 39 and have been sending out endless resumes. The problem is that I lost my last two jobs because I'm bipolar. I get stressed, depressed, paranoid, hypomanic, you name it. Most of my problems are with the paranoia, though. It really interferes with my relationships with my coworkers and superiors.
My question is this, how open should I be about my illness when applying for a job? I know it is illegal to discriminate disabilities, but there are so many ways to decline an applicant that I am afraid to mention it. Should I wait until after I get a job? Should I tell human resources, or my boss? Should I tell my coworkers? Should I mention that I lost my last two jobs because I was mentally ill?
I'm just really afraid to even look for jobs right now because I am almost certain that the cycle will repeat itself. I've been on disability since just after I lost my last job, but I would love to get back to work and earn my money. I am intelligent, personable, and energetic when not depressed, but am always afraid to disclose anything because I think it will be used against me. That means that coworkers don't really get to know me and I become an outsider, again and again and again.
Any ideas on how to handle reentry into the workforce would be appreciated! p.s The paranoia is always there. But I am able to do the actual work.