At home, my daily medications sit prominently on my desktop. Any visitor could stop by and see I take a number of pills. If they wanted to rummage a bit, they could easily figure out I take drugs for mental health, blood pressure, and allergies. Less interesting, I guess, would be the Vitamin D pill I take.
My daily meds are arranged in a pill box that has small compartments for morning, mid-morning, afternoon, and bedtime. And the pill boxes sit in a plastic tower, so I only have to worry about sorting meds once a week. (On Sunday nights, my desktop can look like an apothecary table.)
Each day, I get up and take two pills out of my morning portion right away. This helps me get ahead of Anxiety … which will attack if I don’t preempt it. The other morning pills wait an hour or so until I’m ready for breakfast (i.e. they must be taken with food).
As I get ready for work, the appropriate pill box gets put in a pocket of my backpack, which if I remember, gets taken out at work and is placed near my keyboard. I like to think it’s like some people placing ibuprofen or antacids within immediate reach.
I’m not trying to advertise, “Hey, look at me. I’m Ailment Man.” Rather, it’s because I so often forget to take my morning and afternoon meds for my mental health. The chance of forgetting is much lower if I just have the pill box in plain sight all the time.
If I leave the office for a meeting, I put the pill box back in my backpack. Again, if memory holds while I am out and about and if it’s time to take my meds, I do so. Again, I don’t advertise. I just take out the pill box, remove the appropriate pills, and pop ‘em.
I realize I am lucky enough to work with colleagues who don’t think less of me because my mental illness.
I know, for others, similar actions could lead to stigmatizing, misplaced pity, and / or prejudice. The workplace, school, even certain family settings can be challenging.
For me, it’s a simple act of remembering my meds while also fighting the stigma against mental illness.
Here’s the funny thing. While I’ve always been open about my Depression and Anxiety, I’ve always — until just recently — hid my meds. I’ve tried to take them when others weren’t around … or at least take them discretely. But with my current med schedule it is quite simply hard to remember. It’s not like I take all my meds with meals and when I go to bed. And so, the forgetting has become more frequent. And the result hasn’t been fun; that is, my Anxiety levels begin to creep up if I forget for more than an hour.
And so, a couple of weeks ago I stopped hiding my meds. And I have to say it’s been liberating for me.
I am who I am.