“Wow, you’re taking too many medications!”

One day I went to urgent care for an intractable migraine that just wouldn’t let up. Sometimes it can be tricky to treat them because I can’t have NSAIDS (due to gastric sleeve and taking Lithium). I was going over the meds I take and the nurse said, “Wow, you are on too much medication.”

Immediately my body went hot, I started to sweat and tears came to my eyes. I waiting until he left the room and then I cried. It was bad enough I had a severe migraine, I didn’t need to hear that. There was so much judgement there. And I went to one of the best psychiatric hospitals in the country, so I was confident that I was taking the right amount of meds. When the doctor came in later I was still crying but managed to pull it together to tell him that it was inappropriate for that nurse to say something about how many meds I was on. That I felt attacked because I am on a number of psychiatric drugs. In between tears and hiccups, I continued. I told him that judgement just adds to the stigma of depression and keeps people from seeking treatment because of it. 

The doctor assured me that’s not what he meant. That the nurse was not being judgmental, blah blah blah. But the damage had been done. How is there no judgement when a man says, “Wow, you’re on too much medication.” What was the point in that comment? How is that helpful?

I wanted to leave, but I needed pain relief badly. As soon as the meds they gave me for the migraine started to work, I told them I was better (which I sort of was) and left. 

I was embarrassed that I cried and made a big deal out of things. And the doctor, of course, told that man that I was upset. He did apologize but I just didn’t feel better about it. 

Looking back, I can’t believe I was embarrassed, because the truth is that I NEED those meds to fight depression. They help me function, be productive and help me be a better wife, mom and friend. Those medications (along with ECT and therapy) changed and saved my life. So fuck that guy. 

I’m proud that I sought help for my depression and that I take meds. And because I’m proud, I’m going to list my meds with no fear or shame. 

Synthroid- hypothyroidism
Rexulti – antipsychotic 
Lithium – mood stabilizer 
Nortriptyline- antidepressant 
Emgality – preventative med for migraines 
Trazodone – helps with sleep
Gabapentin – anti-anxiety 
Imitrex – abortive migraine med

I hope that none of you ever faces that kind of judgement and shame. There is absolutely no shame in seeking help to fight such a debilitating illness. One that steals your joy, makes you so fatigued you can’t get out of bed and one that causes so much mental anguish that sometimes you feel you’d rather die. 

Not a damn thing wrong with that. 

I hope you all have a Merry Christmas and enjoy your family. I’m going to because my meds help me to do so. 

Stay in the light, friends. 

7 thoughts on ““Wow, you’re taking too many medications!”

  1. Ashley L. Peterson – Canada – I'm the author of three books: Psych Meds Made Simple, Making Sense of Psychiatric Diagnosis, and Managing the Depression Puzzle. These are informed by my professional experience as a former pharmacist and mental health nurse, as well as my lived experience of major depressive disorder. My goal with Mental Health @ Home is to challenge mental illness stigma and provide a safe space for open dialogue to empower others to share their voices.
    ashleyleia says:

    People need to learn to keep a lid on their stigma. I’ve never been told I take too many, but I’ve gotten plenty of judgy looks when people find out I’m taking 5 psych meds.

    1. Heather Loeb – I’m 36 years old and suffer from Major Depressive Disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Avoidant Personality Disorder and Binge Eating Disorder. I live with my husband and two small children in Texas. I hope my blog helps to end the stigma of depression and other mental disorders.
      Heather Loeb says:

      It’s so painful, right? They have no idea what their ignorance does to us and to mental health as a whole.

      1. Ashley L. Peterson – Canada – I'm the author of three books: Psych Meds Made Simple, Making Sense of Psychiatric Diagnosis, and Managing the Depression Puzzle. These are informed by my professional experience as a former pharmacist and mental health nurse, as well as my lived experience of major depressive disorder. My goal with Mental Health @ Home is to challenge mental illness stigma and provide a safe space for open dialogue to empower others to share their voices.
        ashleyleia says:

        For sure.

    1. Heather Loeb – I’m 36 years old and suffer from Major Depressive Disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Avoidant Personality Disorder and Binge Eating Disorder. I live with my husband and two small children in Texas. I hope my blog helps to end the stigma of depression and other mental disorders.
      Heather Loeb says:

      Thank you. And thank you for reading. Please share on social media

  2. I’ve received the worst care when I’ve gone to an ER for migraine. They treated me like I med seeking, instead of in severe pain. I made it clear that I didn’t want narcotics or opioids and even had a list of the cocktail the neurologist on call had recommended. People are too judgmental and more so when they know you have a psychiatric condition.

    For the record, I am on abilify (antipsychotic), wellbutrin SR (antidepressant), pristiq (antidepressant), singulair (asthma/allergies), allegra (allergies), melloxicam (arthritis), omeprazole (acid reflux), and I get Botox every 12 weeks for chronic migraine. I have been on a drug cocktail for depression/bipolar for almost 30 years. I am ALIVE because of that.

    1. Heather Loeb – I’m 36 years old and suffer from Major Depressive Disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Avoidant Personality Disorder and Binge Eating Disorder. I live with my husband and two small children in Texas. I hope my blog helps to end the stigma of depression and other mental disorders.
      Heather Loeb says:

      I have had urgent cares/ERs treat me like I’m drug seeking, especially since I can’t have NSAIDs. Having migraines, another invisible illness, is just has hard as having a psych condition. People can be so ignorant.
      Thanks for reading and sharing

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