Visiting pharmacies

It seems as though more times than not, I will leave a pharmacy feeling a little irritated. It probably stems from my own self-consciousness in getting psychiatric medication dispensed. Having social anxiety, I fear being judged, and I can’t help worrying that the pharmacist or pharmacy assistant is judging me for taking an SSRI. Then there’s the fact that I was a pharmacy student and still work as a pharmacy assistant, so I get rather impatient when they treat me like an idiot.

My intention today, and every other day I attend a pharmacy, was to hand over my prescription, receive my box of medication, provide payment in return, and leave. Minimal conversation preferred. But no. The pharmacy was relatively quiet while I was being served, and thus the pharmacist decided he had time to ask some additional questions. “You been on these long?” he enquired. “Umm, not that long…a couple of months,” I said. “How are they going for you?” he proceeded to ask. “Umm. Okay,” I replied a little abruptly. I appreciate that he was just making some conversation, and he was a nice enough guy, if not a bit weird. But I also can’t help thinking, It’s none of your business! Just give me my pills without the unnecessary questions please!  Being asked how my medication is going is awkward at the best of times, asking while my mum was there accentuates the degree of awkwardness by ten. My mum and I never discuss my mental health issues, unless it’s to do with such practicalities as appointment times and fees.

Then there’s the assumption that I’m an idiot. Okay, there’s no way they’d know I’m a pharmacy assistant and an ex-pharmacy student, I’m aware of that. But I know the generic brand of sertraline you gave me is the equivalent of Zoloft. There is no need to add on with a pen to the printed dispensing label, Z-O-L-O-F-T.  It’s just frustrating to be treated in such a patronizing manner when I deal with generic medicines every day while I’m at work, packing at least eighty of those damn Webster-paks per eight hour work day.

9 thoughts on “Visiting pharmacies

  1. We have too much in common lol. Our posts are always the same rants. :). Least it means that there clearly is a problem, if more than one of us are moaning about the same annoyances. Amen to this post honey, I have the same fucked up irritation once a week with the horrid little man that is my chemist. Yesterday morning was final straw. I’m switching chemists monday morning. And I took a note of the awful mans name to lodge an official complaint. I always worry its my own anxiety that leads te my becoming upset and paranoid about it, but I had a friend come with me and he was appauled by the pharmacists rudeness and insensitivity. So its confirmed. Also, can completely relate to what u say about ur mum. Mine is very similair in that we do NOT discuss the fact I am ‘crazy’ it doesn’t fit her agenda to have a messed up daughter. X

  2. It amazes me that so many of us have pharmacy issues, regardless of background knowledge. Speaking loudly about your prescription, asking invasive questions (especially when you’ve been getting the same prescription at the same pharmacy for months), and basically treating you like a subhuman.

  3. ah oops! didn’t realise you were pharmacy when I started banging on about ODing being unpredictable. But you should still stop it as a SH method!
    I’ve grown a bit tolerant of pharmacies but then I’m ‘whatever term they use for bad girls who won’t reliably take the pills they’ve prescribed’, so I’ve forgotten how shit they are. Now that you’ve reminded me, they’re arseholes (and that’s a key reason in why I don’t adhere to medication properly- it’s all too much to keep hassling). But don’t you know mental=stupid? Sooner we all learn we have lost our sense of being real live people (with intelligence and opinions and education) when they give us a DSM diagnosis the sooner we’ll get better. And back into being happy ignorant little consumers.

  4. the people that work at my pharmacy know me by face and name and for some reason that really embarrasses me b/c t means i’m in there all the freaking time…which i am b/c I’m on 3 meds and i usually only get 2 weeks worth at a time…and then there’s the they know me by name and then can associate my meds with me and for some reason that embarrasses me more. The other day the pharmacist asked me how my olanzapine and seroquel were going, were they working etc… and I thought kinda meanly…wtf you’re not a psychiatrist even if they weren’t you couldn’t do anything about it, so why the hell are you asking…and then i felt bad for being a bitch.

    I also never talk about my MH issues with my parents. I certainly don’t talk meds with them.

  5. I think your pharmacist was WAY out of line! It’s none of his business how long you’ve been taking your meds or how well they are working. That kind of stuff is between you and your doctor. I’m sorry he invaded your privacy like that.

    But just as a similar story– there’s this pharmacist at my local CVS who knows me by name because there was a point at which I was coming in there for new psychoactive meds every week. Whenever I walk in, he immediately grabs my meds because he knows who I am. So I asked him “Should I be concerned that you know my name?” He said “No, I know all the regulars.” Haha. I’m a “regular.”

    Wishing you well,

    • Actually, I think it is well within the pharmacists ‘right’ to ask such questions. The role of the pharmacists extends beyond simply dispensing the pills. Part of the scope of their practice is to give healthcare advice, help patient’s understand their doctor’s instruction and monitor patient’s progress to ensure their medications are working optimally.

      It’s your ‘right’ not to engage in that discussion with them though.

  6. I had a similar thing happen to me with my gyno last year. She asked me the typical intro questions, and one was about what medications I was on. I told her I was on Wellbutrin, and she continued to ask probing questions about my depression, which had nothing to do with being at the gyno! I was so uncomfortable (and it’s doubly hard with social anxiety, so I know), but the worst bit was that after the appointment was over, she continued to ask me stuff when I was in the lobby, in front of everyone! Ugh, people just need to butt out of these things.

  7. Actually it is the Pharmacist’s professional duty to ask about medications to ensure efficacy and safety.

    This isn’t done to annoy you, it’s done to make sure that you are safe and have the oppourtunity to speak to a medical professional about your medications as often as possible (outside of just when you see your Doctor).

    Just becasue you’re embaressed about your medications, don’t take that out on the Pharmacist who is just trying to do their job – to help you – as best they can 🙂

  8. i totally understand your frustration. i want to get in and out wuickly with no fuss. i also feel as thought they are judging me for what i am taking. i think most of it is in my head, but the anxiety is there none the less.
    your blog is excellent.

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