My secrets are benign.
And yet, it took a real act of courage for me to disclose to my colleagues at work that I have Early Onset Alzheimer’s Disease. I did not know what to say. I was afraid that I would be the cause of whispers in the break-room. I was worried that people would treat me differently, that there would be a hush when I walked by. I work in a warm and cordial environment…something that I am proud of, as CEO of a well-respected east-coast advertising agency. As you might expect, the decision to “go public” seemed, at first, like a big hurdle, but when I decided, with the help of my colleagues, to go public with this change in my personal fortunes, a great relief came over me, and I was able to confront the unpleasant prospect of this disease with an ”attitude of gratitude” (yes, it’s corny, but while I am disclosing, I may as well go ahead and own-up to my 24-year membership in Alcoholics Anonymous as well…the mother-lode of corny sayings…)
As many who face this kind of dilemma will attest, most people are interested mostly in themselves (and rightly so—you get sick, you treat your disease, and you walk on). So the real work is to participate in one’s own treatment, advocate for prudent attention to the disease, and use the experience to help others.