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.
Rexulti – antipsychotic
Lithium – mood stabilizer
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.