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what would you do?


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Hello all

Some of you know that I work in the pharma industry and therefore have my own personal bias towards certain meds. Not that my docs let me take whatever med I want... oh no! I just happen to spend the better part of my life reading studies for a living and travelling all over the globe to listen to doctors talk to other doctors about what we know to be true and what they think to be true.

Here's a new problem... I have just been promoted to represent some very big pharma companies. What no one at my company knows is that I take 11 pills every day to keep my act together and do this job. I am now in charge of a medical forum in Malaysia that is on the topics of major depressive disorder, bipolar and schitzo-affective disorder.

I HAVE ALL OF THE ABOVE!

I am putting together the slide presentations for the key speakers.

OH MY GOD IS THIS HARD!

For them it's all about high n numbers and low p numbers. And all I can think about is the fact that I have been hospitalized so many times and the meds have saved my life, BUT I have to live with the side effects every day which are numerous. I take beta blockers to stop the shaking that all the anti-psychotics and mood stabilizers cause.

So what I wonder is this...

Should I come clean and tell them their golden girl is sicker than most of their patients? Some days at work I have to go for a long walk just to calm down and other days I read a report and want to kiss the researcher. Maybe I should change my career.

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Nope, don't say a thing.

You have no ethical or moral obligation to disclose your med/psych conditions.

There is no conflict of interest.

You have nothing to gain by exposing yourself. Craziness will become a self fulfilling prophecy. Right now you are the golden girl and any difficulties are written off as quirks. Tell them you are crazy and everything from last quarter's production to how you pour sugar in your coffee will become confirmation of the fact.

a.m.

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first, congrats on being so "together" and on top of the world. i'm here on disability after having been a help desk analyst and i'm sure you're under much more stress than i am, along with a more severe disability (schizoaffective).

by law, at least in the US, they aren't allowed to discriminate against you based on your disorder(s). on the other hand, it doesn't mean that they don't think of "reasons" to fire totally competent people who they know happen to have certain disorders, just to cover their asses should you get sick.

my opinion is to either sink or swim, bail and find a new career or keep it up and not tell them. telling them think would be the kiss of death in your profession. they could always promote someone to your spot and kick you out. it happened to me 2 jobs ago. they promoted our secretary to my job and booted me because i have BP, and it is so hard to prove that i never even tried. instead i am trying t get them for a workplace injury, to get perm. partial disability out of them. i'm trying for something anyway.

this world is so cruel and cut-throat. they'll backstab you without thinking twice. if you can possibly do it, swim. if you can't, then take a look at your skill set and explore what other careers you could pursue without all the stress of your current job. maybe a lateral move to a non-pharma company would be a good choice, just so you're not so closely aligned with an industry you know so much about through personal experience.

this is a very hard decision, and i think a hard one to give advice for. i hope what i think and have to say is helpful. the job i lost only paid 38k USD a year, and i'm sure you make way, way more than that. i hope you can decide what to do, be at peace with your decision, and face whatever comes your way.

good luck

loon

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That sounds like some really hard stuff to figure out...

Have you talked to a therapist about all of this? Is this all effecting your health? If it isn't effecting your health in a negative way and you are finding a way to deal with the stress and you think that you can do your job well, I don't think that there is a problem staying and doing what you are doing. Maybe you are even in a unique position to do a much better job than almost anyone else. It sounds like this is also a personal stress thing...

It is important to be able to keep yourself at a distance though. I imagine you may have to look at people [in general] who use meds strictly as their illness sometimes, too, which is hard. If you can deal with that, then I don't know that it is an ethical issue. There are therapists that have issues and doctors and psychiatrists, etc., etc.

I do think that you should talk to someone about this. I don't know that anyone of us can know enough detail that it would equal a good sit down discussion- whether that be a therapy session or even sitting down for tea or coffee if you have someone you can talk to and laying it all out with them, so you can bounce all your options off of them.

I wouldn't talk to anyone at your work. Not unless really sure that it is in your best interest. What would you gain from it? I don't think you need to tell them about your dx's.

It is how much your personal issues will come into conflict with what you need to get done and what you need to do to prevent that. In a personal way, if you were also talking about how much stress that may bring into your life. I don't think it would be unethical for you to do the forum, personally. It sounds like a matter of comfort. If you think you could/should do it.

[sorry, i did the rambling thing again]

LR

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For sure don't change your career. There need to be people inside who know how it really is. You don't have to "come clean" to have an influence. There might be some point in time where telling people is the right thing to do, but not because you have any obligation to do so.

In any endeavor, each person has their own reasons for doing what they do which are known only to them. I'd be willing to bet that you're not the only one of your colleges that has a personal interest in their work.

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Roosie, you are living proof, HOPE, that things can and do work. I totally agree with AM. As soon as people know something about you, especially something that they can be gossippy or judgmental about, it becomes all that they see. Your mi is a piece of who you are, not all of you. Look at what you have accomplished!!! Even without mi it is no easy task. They don't need to see that piece, you have no obligation to give that piece to them!! Good for you!! Good luck, and give em hell.... ;)

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Hey--I used to coordinate studies for pharms, never did any psych, but even if I had, I wouldn't have felt the need to disclose anything. My personal hatred of big pharms did not affect the way I conducted studies--I am a professional, and so are you. Had I done psych studies--same thing.

You are doing what they pay you for--its not the thrid grade, we don't have to tell every one on the playground how we feel. Go do your job, do a damn good job, and get your money and let it go at that.

I am trying to get another research job now--and you can bet your ass I'm not telling anybody anything.

good luck, and congrats--

china

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I knew you guys would come through for me! Thank you a thousand times over. The advice is excellent.

I have really been fighting with the whole issue in the last couple of weeks. One girl that works for me made a comment about a old school friend who had been hospitalised and made some jokes. It was all harmless and I really like this person and she does fantastic work, but it was just more strain.

I would like to say that I do hope I will have the chance to use my position to make a positive impact.

However, you will all appreciate that being mentally interesting and being on lots of meds is just bloody hard. I have so many side-effects like everyone. I have mini-meltdowns almost daily. I have to fight the urge to do something stupid all the time. Every time things get hard my mind starts saying that it's because I'm too stupid, I can't handle it, I'm sick. I can't feel as much joy in doing something right as the pain I feel when I think I screwed up.

I'll talk to my pdoc about this. Unfortunately my next appointment is next month thanks to my travel schedule and the holidays.

Again... thank you. You are a very special bunch and I'm proud to be among you.

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Hey, R--for an interesting P.S. to this issue, please see my most recent Springer. The ethics seem to work both ways, shall we say???

best,

china

P.S. This is a psych doc, and psych. studies--ah, how the wheel goes round

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