The Shame of a Pharmaceutical Induced Illness

I have noticed some shame associated with floxing.  I have felt plenty of shame.  I haven’t wanted people to know that I was sick.  I haven’t wanted people to know how I got sick.  I haven’t wanted people to know that I’m dwelling on being sick or that I’m participating in support groups.  I certainly have felt some shame associated with having mental health issues – a lovely part of floxing.  I have felt shame at how I dealt with getting sick – badly – something that I can at least partly attribute to my mental health issues that were caused by getting floxed.  I have felt shame about the fact that I can’t do the things that I used to be able to do.  I have felt shame about my anger.  I have felt shame about not getting better more quickly (and I am a fast recovering Floxie).  I have felt shame over the fact that I’ve changed, that I’m just different now.   Lots and lots of stupid shame.  I have noticed that other people seem to feel shame about being floxed too.  They use a pseudonym when participating in the support groups, or they ask for things not to be shared with their friends or family members.  Shame, it appears, is part of being Floxed, for many people.

I wonder where this shame came from.  For me, in some cases it was justified.  I really did deal horribly with getting sick.  I was anxious, had psychotic thoughts and sought validation of my sickness and thoughts of my impending death.  My family was worried – justifiably.  And maybe it’s okay to feel a little ashamed of the fact that I’ve dwelled on being sick.  It’s not healthy to have a sickness form your identity.  More importantly, it’s not helpful.  But I really shouldn’t have been ashamed of getting sick, or any of my symptoms.  It’s not my fault.  And the fact that you got sick is not your fault.  And I shouldn’t have felt ashamed at the pace at which I recovered.  My body, mind and spirit healed as fast as they could.  Yours will too.

Shame, I think, ultimately stems from fear that you won’t be loved.  That you won’t be loved as a sick person.  That you won’t be loved as a person who can’t run, or play football, or dance, or whatever.  That you won’t be loved as an anxious person.  That you won’t be loved as a person who isn’t as smart as you used to be.  That you won’t be loved as a tired person.  That you won’t be loved as a Floxie.  So you hide your sickness, your anger, your pain, and you feel ashamed.

I’m not sure what to say to any of you who can empathize with this post, other than stop it.  Stop feeling ashamed.  Stop hiding.  Stop being afraid.  And you may just find that you are loved just the way you are, busted tendons and all.

You are sick.  You are not broken.  You are not less.  You have nothing to be ashamed of.  You have no reason to hide.  You are loved.  Even if you are sick and scared and can’t move or think, you are loved.  You are loved by your friends and family.  Even if you don’t feel the love from them, don’t believe the love from them, you are still loved because love is within you.  You are loved.  You just are.


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13 thoughts on “The Shame of a Pharmaceutical Induced Illness

  1. erin July 3, 2013 at 4:45 pm Reply

    I agree 100% Lisa. I see this a lot. You forgot how everyone else, “the normals” have these lovely perfect lives and we are trying to get through the day without wanting to kill ourselves. I firmly believe that the shame and the “in the closet” attitude of flox victims is why the Pharmaceutical companies have gotten away with this. They count on us to keep quiet and lay low all the while, they cripple others. We have done nothing wrong, we did not bring this upon ourselves through “bad choices” and we should no longer be silent. APATHY = DEATH. I encourage all victims to share their stories. We are victims, not whiners. WARN OTHERS AS YOU WOULD HAVE CHOSEN TO BE WARNED!!!

  2. Jan Bush July 3, 2013 at 6:03 pm Reply

    This is so sensitively written and I’m so proud about how you’ve grown through your illness, that was certainly not anything you sought out! They say people grow stronger out of adversity, that pain has a way of teaching us. Maybe your shame has made you a better person, or so it would seem to me. It is a shame to feel shame, but we’re all human. Be gentle with yourself. . . . .

  3. Destruida Los Restos July 3, 2013 at 9:19 pm Reply

    That’s a very well-written and interesting post. I think that shame is often a result of abuse and being attacked by your doctor (even though he or she didn’t know it) is abuse. Being abused makes one shamed and cringe, like the poor, sad dogs and cats I try to rescue. Being abused says, “You’re worthless,” so we react accordingly.
    Blog on!

  4. Greg Spooner July 4, 2013 at 8:40 am Reply

    Another great post! This shame works against us… it keeps many quiet when we need to shout it from the rooftops. If we remain silent nothing will ever change. I’m not proud of being floxed, but I’m proud of all those who are brave enough to try and change the system that did this to us. Lately the only shame I’ve felt is that I’m not doing enough to raise awareness. I hope I can use that feeling to do more.

  5. Mary Kinnavane July 4, 2013 at 11:19 am Reply

    None of us asked to be sick but this awful drug has just ruined my life. My 3 kids have turned their backs on me as they would never believe in a thousand years that this could happen. I do not bother to ever talk about it to anyone because nobody cares. I am alone and have to spend most of the time in bed as I cannot walk due to my torn Achilles tendon and tendonitis in my right shoulder. After working for forty years I certainly am not enjoying my retirement. I have all the details and I hope someday to go to the USA. and vent my anger on those terrible companies that caused this. In Ireland people do not realize that they are being poisoned every day by “Tavanic” levaquin.

    • paul cahan July 11, 2014 at 7:45 pm Reply

      Mary: I’m so sorry to hear about so many people so much pain, it’s just awful. do you have the letter that Dr. Todd Plumb wrote? Do you have letter that Dr. Cohen just wrote the Senate Health Committee? One problem with this site is that we can’t attach things to share except a “link” Send me your email address and I will send you some things that will help in explaining to people.. even your doctors… what is wrong and how YOU and millions of others around the world have been wronged in varying degrees. Whenever I see anyone on crutches, wheelchairs, with a limp… I wonder if he or she was floxed. I have little business cards about the issue I give sometimes to strangers I meet on the subway who give me their seat when they see me on crutches. I got 500 cards for 10 dollars! Paul Cahan
      you can “google” this blog and show it to your friends/family. My art describes the pain better than words. also… if you go on utube, your friends can see my talk about what happened to me. on utube, just search ‘floxinhell”

  6. Edeline Hubregtse July 5, 2013 at 2:56 pm Reply

    Although I’ve never used this stuff , I can very well relate to these feelings of shame , for having Lyme disease most of my life. Thank you for saying it.

    • mary kinnavane July 6, 2013 at 2:24 am Reply

      Hello Edeline, Sure I have felt shame as I did not even tell my three grown up children or my brother that I was floxed. Perhaps I am too proud to tell them as I had to be the strong one all my life. My kids Dad was a hopeless Father and left when they were young. He died of smoking and drinking to excess 20 years ago. I always had to be the strong one of the family and worked for The Health Board for 33 years to rear my kids. They graduated and left Ireland to work in Denmark, Switzerland and London. I have never told them as I am too proud or ashamed I do not know which. They have had enough sadness in their young lives so if you want to call that “Shame” perhaps it is, or the sin of PRIDE I do not know. My brother has his own health problems so I can not tell him. Regards, Mary Kinnavane

  7. Barbara Clark August 3, 2013 at 9:43 pm Reply

    Thanks for this post. I feel so much shame that I did not read the package insert. I have told a few friends who immediately told me they always read them. One who was prescribed Levaquin and after reading the insert she told her dr she would not take it. Argh. I am also feeling shame at being less than myself and for my mental health issues. Trying to keep it together as a busy working mom is really hard with all of this going on. I am different and my kids are noticing. I am only about ten days out and the beginning is very hard. So very thankful to have found these FB communities. So. very. thankful. I am also feeling similar about not being lovable if I get sick or cannot do what I used to. Having been an athlete and very fit my whole life I can already see how I am having to adapt and change and I don’t like it. Esp when exercise has been my stress relief.

  8. Ren November 17, 2013 at 11:10 am Reply

    In the same vein, this video inspires me…about a burned war vet who does comedy routines:

    • Lisa Bloomquist November 17, 2013 at 5:13 pm Reply

      Thank you so much for sharing! Bobby’s story is amazing and inspirational!

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