helen-louise (baratron) wrote,

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on medication and closets

I don't like taking something that's identifiable as a psychiatric drug in front of other people. Is that weird?

I'll happily take vitamin pills or painkillers or any normal over-the-counter medicine in front of anyone at all. I have no shame in needing any of those things, and pretty much everyone takes painkillers sometimes. I'll take asthma inhalers in front of other people if I have to, although I prefer not to because a) people give you funny looks if your inhaler is anything other than the regular blue aerosol Ventolin, b) people ask if you're ok and start acting like they should be calling ambulances and things. But when it comes to psychiatric medicines, I get all cagey and secretive.

Why does it matter? I dunno. I just don't want people to think less of me for knowing that I can't do without a crutch to regulate my emotions. Believe me, I've tried - but after three (or four) major depressive episodes (I can't count them anymore), it's Just Not A Good Idea, ok. I think I'm doing well to "only" need a cocktail of antidepressants and vitamin pills, and not needing the antipsychotics or anxiety meds I've had to take in the past. And hell, I'm holding down a "proper" job, of sorts.

Why do I care that someone I know but don't know well might see me taking a tablet and recognise the name of it and jump to conclusions? Dunno. Because mental illness is still so stigmatised? But aren't I contributing to that stigma by not being open about it?

I dunno. I try my best to be open about things, but am still closeted about everything. I challenge homophobia and bigotry when I hear students saying stupid things, but without revealing why it bothers me so much. I make sure that my bright students know just how common moderate to severe depression is among bright young people at university, and how useless many GPs are at dealing with it. But I don't tell them of my own personal experience with these things, in case they or their parents think less of me for it.

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