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Anyone else embarassed to take this class of meds? 

Do you avoid or even "forget" to tell other medical professionals that you are on them?

I am so embarassed about taking clozaril, that I have been avoiding getting help with another pressing medical condition because I will have to tell another Dr what meds I am on.............

I asked my pdoc if I could try life without it for awhile.......but she pointed out (rightly so), that I didn't do well the last time I tried that.........although I did that without her knowledge, so I think the fear of being labled "non-compliant" factored into my problems at that time.......

Why do I second guess myself?  Why do I care what other medical people think about this med, and not think twice about telling them of the levoxyl I take for my  thyroid...or even the ADs I take?????

Anyone else feel like this?  My pdoc said that I should not feel embarassed to tell another dr!  But I have dealt with the stigma of having a MI for sooooo long, with the medical profession being one of the biggest problems...... 

Thanks again for giving me a place to vent!!!!

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Try not to worry about what other people, especially healthcare providers, think. Trust me... they've heard/seen everything!! I've been on some kind of psychiatric meds (including an antipsychotic)  most of the last 10 years and I really can't think of a single time where I felt like I was being judged or anything.

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My take:

You and your pdoc have decided you need the anti-psychotic. You know it works for you. But it is very important for all of your docs to know about every single medication you are taking. And you owe it to yourself to go to any doc you need to, and can afford to see, to take care of any of your health matters. Docs need to know what meds you are taking to check for any possible interactions or potential side effects with other meds. So, my reasoning, which may indeed be faulty, is that docs write down the meds you take but if they hear a psych med don't all the sudden think -- Oh my! This person is crazy.

OK, maybe some docs do think this but if they do they are shitheads in my book. I know that some docs do nothing to help fight the stigma of mental illness. But you can fight it by saying I take an anti-psychotic and I am proud because it keeps me stable and it helps a medical condition which I have, and one that I am taking care off myself.

I don't know if that made sense. I don't mean to come off as offensive or that I don't understand the stigma and stupid docs. I guess I am just in a mood tonight. Shove it in there faces! We take our pills like Rx'd because they help us with a legitmate medical condition, and dammit MI should be viewed like any other medical condition. I know, I know, it isn't by alot of people. Forget about what other docs think, you are being responsible and taking care of all your health needs!

Erika

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Does it ever get any better???????

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I have found that educating myself about my diagnoses and medications has made me a lot more confident when it comes to dealing with my regular doctors (and my pdoc, too).  I think both the confidence and the ability to talk intelligently about my conditions and treatment makes me more credible to them. So yeah... I think it does get better! Or maybe I just care less.  ;)

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at this point i have no pride or shame to be hurt by telling people about my meds or MI. i will tell anyone who asks, but i don't bring it up in conversation.

grouse.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I agree.........

I can speak confidently about my depression and the medications available to treat it, when the time is appropriate....

I can jump in and hopefully educate people who refer to ADs as "happy pills" (that one does make me really MAD),

but I still have problems with those damn medical providers....the ones who don't even know what "clozaril" is or what it is used to treat........until of course they look it up.........maybe I am just paranoid......::shrug::

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I don't have a problem telling doctors what I'm taking -- it's when they ask me why I'm taking them that bothers me. Sometimes I've been a bit sarcastic, what do they think I'm taking an anti-depressant for? Entertainment value?

I usually have to deal with a student RN or LPN when I go to the clinic where my family doctor and endocrinologist are, and they often look at me very strangely when I tell them what I'm on.

That said, you absolutely should go get whatever health care you need. If your doctor isn't able to handle the idea of the meds you're on -- then you should get a new doctor (unless this one is some expert that can't be replaced).

Fiona

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I don't have a problem telling doctors what I'm taking -- it's when they ask me why I'm taking them that bothers me. Sometimes I've been a bit sarcastic, what do they think I'm taking an anti-depressant for? Entertainment value?

I usually have to deal with a student RN or LPN when I go to the clinic where my family doctor and endocrinologist are, and they often look at me very strangely when I tell them what I'm on.

That said, you absolutely should go get whatever health care you need. If your doctor isn't able to handle the idea of the meds you're on -- then you should get a new doctor (unless this one is some expert that can't be replaced).

Fiona

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

It is funny.....well sad, I guess........

I know that I need the meds I take!

I KNOW, that without the medication (along with therapy), that my children would not have their mother here today!!!

But I still can't get over the stigma that "I" associate with taking a AAP. 

But I am working on it!!!!!!! 

Thanks for listening!

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Oddly enough, I got less of a 'good lord you must be nuts.' response off APs than I did off Lithium.

Heck if I know why. Maybe no one knew what the APs actually were.

Then again GPs here are so old fashioned (Read ignorant) I'm usually shocked when they don't cup or leech me. =P

'Well...your problem seems to be a humour imbalance...'

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The stigma is real, unfortunately, but fortunately it is getting better as SSRI are given for all types of dxs.

But...I worked for the Mental Health Association, which was a MI advocacy organization in Texas, and is still in existence, working to beat the stigma of MI. T

The history of how MI folks were treated in years past, have helped contribute to this stigma. Women were locked away, by their husband, for just being non-compliant, PMS, etc. When you read the history of mental health hospitals-and their treatment of patients, it is truly terrifying.  I also  worked for a federal-court appointed panel to oversee a class-action lawsuit against the Texas mental health system in the 80's- even after deinstitutionalization. Much overdrugging, no therapy, patients with

untreated dyskinesia, violations of civl rights, etc.

Its people, like us, who need to educate others. Many homeless folks have  untreated MI (worked in tht field as well.) After the govt proposed deinstitutionalization, they promised to create mental health clinics to treat these folks without family ties, I remember cases where they would take the patients from the hospitals, via buses, and just drop them off at the bus depots. I am sorry for this rant, uh...it just pisses me off how MI patients were treated in the past.

S.

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I'm not embarrassed about my meds or about being bipolar.  I don't run around announcing it, but I'm not afraid to tell people about it.  If someone is going to have something against me for it, then they're not worth my time and don't need to be in my life.

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At first I was a little scared and embarressed, but now im not at all.  Seroquel has not only saved my life but drastically improved my quality of life. 

These drugs are prescribed now a days for a range of conditions including anxiety disorders such as OCD, panic and GAD, insomnia and depression as well as the typical schizophrenia, psychotic and bipolar disorders.

Not just at small doses either.  I have OCD a psychotic depression (and panic disorder) and I am prescribed 900mg of seroquel a day on top of my 60mg paxil.  It works well and that is what is important.

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I don't have a problem telling doctors what I'm taking -- it's when they ask me why I'm taking them that bothers me. Sometimes I've been a bit sarcastic, what do they think I'm taking an anti-depressant for? Entertainment value?

.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I've had the same thing happen.. Docs/ nurses asking what I am taking the lithium for? Well, shit, it is well known it is for bipolar and yeah..do they think we just take it for the fun of it.?? Now that does make me angry.

Most of my docs have been very cool about my MI but my cardiologist just laughs and says, "Oh you aren't bipolar!"..I don't know what his thing is or when the last time he practiced psychiatry was, but I find that kinda funny and strange at the same time.

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I couldn't care less about doctors - shit, they can read my medical notes if they want to. But I do wonder about the pharmacist, as I use the same one all the time. It was OK when I was just taking lamotrigine - I could have been epileptic (which I think of as stigma free), but add olanzapine and I'm clearly wacko.

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Yes, I agree, lithium scares them all to death.  "They" remember all the horror stories of old.

When I was taking it, my internist absolutely hated that I was taking it.  Sort of like doesn't your pdoc know there are more up-to-date things he might use for you.

I think he was annoyed because he had to be more careful about drug interactions.

But you also have the medical techs/nurses/receptionists who immediately think of One Flew Over the Cockoo's Nest when they see your list of meds.

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Hehe...I work at Walmart, and that's where I get all my prescriptions filled for Abilify, Lexapro, and Depakote.  It must just scream schizophrenia.  So, at least my coworkers in the pharmacy know I'm crazy.  Plus, when I take in the prescription it says right across the top "Blah Blah Center for Mental Health". 

I guess it's a good sign that I haven't considered the fact that they might think less of me for being on those drugs.  In fact, they're always really nice to me.  And if they weren't nice, I'd just think, "fuck 'em, I'm a stud who is doing great".  Okay, I'm not a stud by any means, but still. ;)

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I don't care about it.  I crack jokes about it and just say I am crazy. 

When I was filling my last script at the pharmacy, I was shocked that I had to drop $100 on meds AFTER the drug plan and I said.  "Christ, how much would this cost if I had no drug plan?"  The girl said "Over $300" and I said, "Wow, being crazy is damn expensive!!!"  Others in the line looked at me strangely, but the pharmacy girl laughed.

When someone in my dept at work asks if anyone has Advil, I pull out my emergency pill kit and jokingly say "What's your pleasure?  Depressed, Anxious, Psychotic or just plain headachy?".

I think I crack one liners so often that no on really knows if I am truly crazy or just kidding, lol.

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No embarrassment. If anything, it seems the younger pharmacy girl kinda bends over backwards to help me when needed. Like trying to get a few days' worth of meds while waiting for the $%^&&* fucking mail-order to come in. I hate insurance, have I ever mentioned that? She called the insurance co for me while I waited, when they said no (they said NO, no override, can you believe it????) we worked out how much UNinsured lamictal & depakote would be. I actually went in and picked up a daily dose, so I didn't have to pay for more than I needed.

Embarrassment is long past.

Edited to add: you asked about AP's. I take Risperdal.

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When I take olanzipine, it's like someone throws a switch - about 90 minutes after I take it, I close down and just can't stay awake.

I had to take my daughter to the ER a few weeks ago, and I'd already taken my olanzipine for the night. The queue was awful, and when I told the triage nurse that she may need to keep an eye on me as well, she told me I shouldn't be there if I couldn't look after my daughter. So WTF was I supposed to do? Ask an 11 year-old to get a cab? I nearly lost it big time at the nurse.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Goes for everything not just APs. If anything less for APs as they are used for so much lately (one reason you may get asked what's it for?). These questions are often just expressions of ignorance - like if I give "norethindrone" instead of "progesterone" I may have to say, "It's female hormone" if I get asked what it is or what it's for. 

Of course, the damned things MUST be listed,  owing to the risk of interactions (and even so  - you'd be surprised!  ;) ).    ALso you may have to discontune some before surgery etc. 

Generally though, as with so many issues, I have found that when verbal inquiries are made,  much depends on how one speaks. If you're embarrassed and show it, the interviewer is likely to feel  the same.  If you answer more casually, they will usually respond in kind.

Then too, there are choices of phrases and descriptors which can make a  big difference.  Instead of  "antipsychotic" for instance,  it can do very nicely to say "mental health" stabilizer/treatment /medication or "major tranquillizer"  (they have  so many applications these days) . Sometimes it helps to practice responses with a tape recorder (you'd be surpised how much you can learn about how you come across with these gadgets - phone calls can be a good place to start).  Even launching into  spelling,  dosage and schedule,  can turn it into a detail oriented professional exchange relieving tension  (instead of a deathly and possibly embarrassing silence - however brief).

Likewise, if one wishes, "antidepressant" can go to mood elevator/brightener.  And  "anxiolytic"  is a good one too (there spelling is really needed!).

These are mostly for the pre-grand entrance (of MD!) interview with the nurse, taking the med update.  They CAN be awkward for both parties if not handled well. 

Generally the best trained nurses (and most experienced) don't exhibit ANY emotional reactions,  whatever they hear - even if they feel  them! 

(Of course, hehe, if you want to embarrass them, when they ask "what's it for?',  you can just deadpan, "Because I'm off my rocker". This may insure,  it won't happen again - that the ignorant person , looks up the class of meds and names, rather than risk a similar moment.  :) )

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  • 2 weeks later...

worrying about what others think of you can be really tough to get over. When i was in my young teens, i constantly worried about what others thought of me. I was so insecure (just like most my age) i don't know how i did it, but i reached a point where i finally didn't care what others thought of me. I actually get comfort out of knowing that others think im "weird" or "crazy". I don't mind people knowing that i have schizophrenia and am taking AP's...however i do hate having to take meds because of side effects and the possible bad long term effects of them. Also, the worry that maybe they are being used on me as a form of mind control.

It's not something you should worry about, but i know that me telling you that is not going to make your discomfort go away.  sorry you have to feel this way. Hopefully over time it will get easier.

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I still worry what other people think of me, for lots of reasons.

The MI one is still there. Some of my friends know little about that side of me, and they probably wouldn't react badly.  Lately I've been conducting my own little social experiement.  I've been meeting a few new people.  Been on a few "dates".  And, I've told them straight up.  Most were pretty good.  I had one guy who questioned how geniune I could be on meds... like getting to know someone who constantly drinks.  I got quite offended, but realised he was just wanting to know what it's like, and, hey, I've had numourous existential crises over the years. ;)

I've seen a lot of docs, and it's been no problem telling them about the bipolar thing.  Like someone else said, they've heard it all.  If I was seeing a doctor who had a problem with it, and there was stigma, I would go see someone else.  I think in Australia you can even report doctors who are like this...

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  • 3 weeks later...
  • 1 month later...

It is kind of funny or sad depending that I really do not have a clue what the pills I take actually do. I mean 4 of them are antidepressants, one is for sleeping, one is an antipsycotic and I don't have a clue what lithium is good for.

take care

trg247

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I confess that last month, during a high phase (higher than hypo, lower than all-out mania) I got pregnant, and had to end it in abortion (best choice for a number of important reasons).

When I went to the clinic for my abortion, I knew from when my cousin went that if they saw that you were taking MI drugs that they'd want your pdoc to sign off that you were in your right mind to make that decision. Not wanting to give my pdoc power over my body, and having done the research to make sure the RU-486 (abortion pill) would not interact wtih my meds, I confessed nothing to them about any drugs, not even Allegra.

Also, during a recent ER visit for a non-MI issue, I "forgot" to tell them about the buttloads of MI drugs I take. They weren't going to give me any drugs, only do X-rays (car crash) and I felt it was my private biz if I took Zyprexa or what.

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I confessed nothing to them about any drugs, not even Allegra.

Also, during a recent ER visit for a non-MI issue, I "forgot" to tell them about the buttloads of MI drugs I take. They weren't going to give me any drugs, only do X-rays (car crash) and I felt it was my private biz if I took Zyprexa or what.

This is quite self-destructive behavior!

So you know that RU-486 wasn't going to interact with your meds -- at least officially, the doctors there might have seen things not in the official literature -- but what if they wanted to give you some other medication for some reason? That could result in definate trouble, perhaps disasterous trouble for you.

The same is true of the hospital -- you couldn't be sure that they would only want to do x-rays. What if they had seen something on the x-ray that they wanted/needed to check out and the process required medication? What if you did need medication for something?

I suppose that as long as you remained conscious and coherent you could tell them when the time came. The doctors/hospital are not going to be thrilled about that approach; they're going to wonder, rightly so, what else you might be keeping secret. If, for some reason, you become unconscious or can't think/communicate you won't be able to tell them the truth about the medication.

I know it's not always easy or comfortable to admit to the medication and the pdoc and all the rest, but keeping it a secret is only endangering your own health.

Fiona

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yeah, i know, but it is that i am so embarassed. people already think i'm weird, what about seeing my med list and DXes? lol.

I called in seven scrips this morning; It's always fun to go pick them up because six are psych meds. The pharmacist seems a little nervous when he asks, "Do you need any counseling on these meds?" The techs all recognize me and don't embarass me at all. The biggest difficulty is getting the wheelbarrow of cash through the door (and that's just for the co-pay) ;)

Tommy

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When I went to the clinic for my abortion, I knew from when my cousin went that if they saw that you were taking MI drugs that they'd want your pdoc to sign off that you were in your right mind to make that decision.

oh my god. Do you know anything more about that? Is it law, or just something the clinics insist on?

On a different topic, I've noticed that when I tell doctors I'm taking an AP they ask what I'm taking it for, even if they already know I'm bipolar. I've had this happen at least twice. Does this happen to anybody else? I have the feeling that what they're really asking is if I have psychotic symptoms.

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From the heart,

I really do not give a damn about what I take , who knows it, and what they think about it.. Some of the

time the people who need this information probably need more meds than I am on.. My family Doc is a

nervous wreck.. she shakes and is quick to anger.. I told P doc and he knew her way back when and he

thinks I may need to find a new Family Doc cause she is cracking under the pressure. His colleague from shrink school is his patient.. So why be embarassed.. I kind of laugh when I fill out a form for a new specialist and they leave a little space for meds and/or conditions you have... I always ask for another form... Most people dont even now what the heck you are on anyway.

Antipsychotics are used for different reasons so I don't care as long as it works.. We should not be ashamed , at least WE ADMIT we have an ISSUE and are dealing with it.. TO Us MI'S

FRosty

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yeah, i know, but it is that i am so embarassed. people already think i'm weird, what about seeing my med list and DXes? lol.

I called in seven scrips this morning; It's always fun to go pick them up because six are psych meds. The pharmacist seems a little nervous when he asks, "Do you need any counseling on these meds?" The techs all recognize me and don't embarass me at all. The biggest difficulty is getting the wheelbarrow of cash through the door (and that's just for the co-pay) ;)

Tommy

yeah, they always look at me weird when i march up to the counter with all these psych med scripts, and ask if i need counseling! sometimes they even pretend not to care, but i can tell them do. they care. the world cares. they suck.

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Heya,

Well, now apparently I'm on Seroquel.

Whatever, whatever, my pharmacist is very matter-of-fact: Your medication is ready to pick up.

Do you know why you're taking this medication? Do you know how to take it? are standard questions to ensure I'm not just taking it b/c my doctor told me to.

I already wear a Medic-Alert tag b/c of anaphylaxis to wasp stings. I recently decided that b/c of the weird drugs I'm taking, I should amend my medical record that they have on file at Medic-Alert.

When I added my meds I realized that it looks like I'm seizing, which would cause serious misunderstandings with the hypothetical paramedics reading my tags/wallet card/calling Medic-Alert.

So, I added biplar disorder to my medical conditions.

DH thought it was weird, I guess, he said, 'You put *that* on there?"

Whatever. I feel safer really.

As long as I don't think too hard about getting bitten by a wasp then shipped off to psych.

Both together might be a bit much.

--ncc--

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