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Last night I went to the eye doctor and he asked me what meds I was on. I proceeded to tell him but I felt really strange saying it. I understand the importance of our medications and I shouldn't feel embarrassed but I was. I couldn't help but think he was judging me (although he probably wasn't).

 

Anyone else feel this way when asked what medications they're taking?

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I understand how you feel. I used to feel the same particularly at first. I've now managed to get to the point where pretty much any medical professional I feel fine saying it to. They understand.

What helped me was contextualising it with my job. I work in a service industry and people are embarrassed about things I find perfectly normal all the time. I know it's very different but remember that it's their industry. They see it all the time.

Interestingly one of the first non MI drs I had to tell was for my eyes too. He emphasised that its really important to tell them because alot of psychotropics can effect your vision so major med changes should also prompt eye checks.

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It's tough - because I know when I tell them, they might be wondering about my diagnoses or judging me.  

 

But really most health professionals don't think anything of it.  And the ones who do are assholes.

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I was self-conscious at first, especially since I did have a couple doctors react differently after I said what meds I was taking - one weirdly started telling me bipolar stories of encouragement, famous people, etc. He was a dermatologist.

 

Then, I had some medical problems and had to see a lot of different doctors, nurses and staff that I had to give my med list. For the most part, none cared personally. All cared about not creating med interactions.

 

Now, I use the medical staff's reaction, particularly the doctor's, as a gauge on whether I respect them and whether I want to give them my money for their services. Doctors work for us even if they forget who is in charge. The reaction is information. I want to know if it's negative. It suggests the care I will receive. It's part of my evaluation of them. It plays a big role in whether I will see them again.

 

ETA: As for my GP, I want one who sees my mental health as a medical issue and a consideration in my care. I would not see a GP who wouldn't consult with my psychiatrist when appropriate. Physical health and mental health overlap on occasion - there are med interactions, routine tests to run that both can use monitoring my health, etc.

Edited by AnneMarie
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The first few times I disclosed my med cocktail, I was definitely embarrassed and afraid of judgement.  However, most professionals I have encountered actually do act like professionals and leave the mental health discussions for psychiatrists and therapists.

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There have been only a handful of experiences where a medical professional asked, "what is that medication for"? and I felt a bit of embarrassment.  Most doctors, nurses, etc. don't blink an eye when I give my med list.

 

I just operate under the principle that they are professionals and will act accordingly.

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The useful thing for me is to know that if they do start to ask awkward questions - I am under no obligation to answer.  I will very happily refuse to answer questions that make me uncomfortable - including any questions about my PTSD or anything alluding to the fact that I have BPD.

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I don't experience any embarrassment over telling others what meds I take, or even what psychiatric conditions I have.  Especially medical professionals.  Their reaction, if shitty, can make me angry and/or a bit outraged.  But that's based on them; my feelings are my own but if they're going to be petty about it I'm not going to be happy with them.

 

I know that I used to be more self-conscious; I know this logically because I have read things I wrote years ago which demonstrate it.  However I don't remember feeling that way, what it was like, or how I got to this point.

 

I suspect I hit this point, however, because of my rather weak self-censor/brain-to-mouth filter.  I've definitely developed this sense of 'if it's going to come out eventually then I might as well choose when it does.'  It's a way for me to take back control.  It's really difficult for me to not be Out about stuff.  Even my work knows that I'm nuts and don't just have unspecified medical issues.  However I realize that I'm very very fortunate to have a workplace that understands and respects me rather than judges me negatively.

 

The worst treatment I've ever had from medical professionals with regard to my MI status is from professionals in the MI field.  I mean there's great tdocs and pdocs and others out there, but seriously.  I have yet to experience very many medical situations since being on psych meds.  I've yet to have a bad experience with, say, a walk-in clinic doc when I had to list my medications in case of a reaction with Keflex or something.

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I tell the person asking about which meds I am on all of them, as a matter of fact type-thing.  Like as if there are a lot others who take a lot of meds too.  When I list all my meds, and they are ready for the next one (after telling them all) I say, "No more, that's all."  At this point in my life if people judge, they judge.  They can go to hell. 

 

I have encountered DRs who tell me that they would have never known I was on all the medication unless they had the list of the meds.  I like those DRs because with me, they don't judge.

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The ones that get me are the ones that I'm using off label. I take Metformin. No, I'm not diabetic. I take it to help with the side effects from AAPs. I take synthroid. No, I do not have any problem with my thyroid. I take it to help with the rapid cycling. I take propranolol. No, I do not have heart problems. I take it for the tremors. These are the ones that I don't like having to answer. I feel like I have to justify the decisions pdoc and I have made every time someone wants a list of my meds. They see my meds and make assumptions and those assumptions are often incorrect.

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The ones that get me are the ones that I'm using off label. I take Metformin. No, I'm not diabetic. I take it to help with the side effects from AAPs. I take synthroid. No, I do not have any problem with my thyroid. I take it to help with the rapid cycling. I take propranolol. No, I do not have heart problems. I take it for the tremors. These are the ones that I don't like having to answer. I feel like I have to justify the decisions pdoc and I have made every time someone wants a list of my meds. They see my meds and make assumptions and those assumptions are often incorrect.

 

Yeah I am on prazosin and when I go to pick it up at the pharmacy they are always quite confused because I am a young woman and don't have a prostate.

 

The other week there was a very young pharm tech there who told me "Here, these are the medications for your....bladder".

 

So I said "Actually it's not for my bladder, it's for my nightmares"

 

And he said "What?  It's not used for that"

 

I told him to go look it up :P

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When I was taking Lamictal instead of Keppra I had more than one doc suggest I was bipolar. My cocktail did resemble one that a person with bipolar might take. I had to point out Lamictal was for seizures and Abilify for MDD.

My dermatologist was very insistent I had to be bipolar, so much so I had remind him I was here for dermatological concerns, only.

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Tryp, that is funny (not really, but sort of) about the pharm tech assuming meds were for your "bladder" or worse yet, non-existent prostate.  

 

I also like Melissa's comment that at this point, if anyone is going to comment on her meds, they can "go to hell". 

 

I used to be super-embarrassed about being on a med to help with recovery from opiate dependence.   And then I just decided that I was trying to get well, and really - there wasn't ever any physician or nurse that made me uncomfortable about that, or any psych meds.

 

Frankly though, there has been the occasional pharmacist or pharm tech that make unwanted comments.  Usually I just ignore them. 

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I haven't had that one, sylvan; obviously I'm not taking anything off-label really.  But I've seen others rant on about the supposed "pointlessness" of taking meds to deal with the side effects of other meds.  I try to speak up in those instances because seriously, sometimes it is honestly necessary.

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The only time I've been publicly embarrassed while picking up meds was when an over-eager cashier insisted on overusing everyone's names quite loudly during the transaction.  Apparently he hasn't yet been "retrained" to not do that while on rotation while at the pharmacy counter.  I try really hard to avoid that guy since then.  

 

"How ARE you today Miss Circles?"  Is that correct, pronounced Ciiir-KULZ?"  "Let's see what you've got here Miss Circles, THREE medications today?  Is that correct Miss Circles?"  "Are all of these prescriptions for YOU, Miss Circles?"  "Miss Circles please wait a minute while I check your ID for this restricted prescription."  "Miss Circles please sign here, CONTROLLED SUBSTANCES MUST be signed for"  "Miss Circles may I help you with anything else today?"  Miss Circles, come again, see you soon Miss Circles."

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That's obnoxious, Circles.

 

I once heard two pharmacy techs at my old pharmacy saying loudly to each other that I was on a lot of medication and wasn't it lucky I had good insurance.

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My primary keeps saying I am overmedicated, so my pdoc had to call him and say that even though I was on a lot of meds, they were necessary for many reasons, a lot to do with the hallucinations.  Pdoc said he didn't want to undermedicate me because I was stable at the moment.

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The ones that get me are the ones that I'm using off label. I take Metformin. No, I'm not diabetic. I take it to help with the side effects from AAPs. I take synthroid. No, I do not have any problem with my thyroid. I take it to help with the rapid cycling. I take propranolol. No, I do not have heart problems. I take it for the tremors. These are the ones that I don't like having to answer. I feel like I have to justify the decisions pdoc and I have made every time someone wants a list of my meds. They see my meds and make assumptions and those assumptions are often incorrect.

 

I take propranolol too, and I've had a lot of people assume I take it for blood pressure or something. Which is bizarre, because I'm a healthy 22 year old female. I dislike having to explain that it's for anxiety. It feels like it's no one's business why my pdoc and I have decided that this is the best med for me. 

 

I am pretty embarrassed when I have to take my meds at work or school. My boyfriend calls it my "daily handful of sanity." :lol: I get people asking what the meds are for, and I just say "schizoaffective disorder" and they're usually confused cause they don't know what that is, so they leave me alone. Occasionally, I'll get someone asking "what's that??" and then I guess that's a teachable moment. I am in no way implying that mentally ill folk need to answer people's questions though. 

 

Honestly, we shouldn't be anymore embarrassed than the people popping birth control pills in public, or whatever. A lot of people are on medication. 

 

Oh, and thanks for reminding me! I need an eye exam!

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The chemists are pretty bad about chatting loudly. I went to fill my seroquel prescription and the chemist out of the blue and super loudly I must add if I was feeling homicidal. Nope, but if I was I totally start on you. I just shook my head and tried not to cry. I went to a different chemist from then on.

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