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Noncompliant: A Label Worth Looking Twice At



It’s difficult to write about living well with mental illness when all of a sudden, as if almost out of nowhere, you stop doing exactly that. I shouldn’t say it was all of a sudden, I saw the signs, we all did, the pattern repeats itself every year around the same time, like clockwork. I’ve often said that a person could set their watches to my swings into mania and falls into depression. But this year something was different, I had a doctor, one whom I had been seeing for years, who seemed to have been offended by something I had written on my personal blog (therapists, take note if your ego can’t handle what we as clients write in our blogs you shouldn’t be Googling your patients) anyway long story short, my psychiatrist ushered me out of her office with the words, “I’m referring you to a humble colleague.”


That was it. I was left with no medication refills, no follow-up appointment, no further instructions, and the “humble colleague”, still haven’t heard a whisper from that person. After a few years of seeing me three times a month and her apparent frustration over my unwillingness to take certain medications that really had no feasible reason for being prescribed to me, I was dumped and labelled noncompliant. Thank goodness I had other options, but I feel for the clients who don’t.


I really hate the word noncompliant; there is something about it that just gets my back up. Sure, I see where it fits, I’ve been noncompliant during manic phases where I have refused any and all medications, but when a doctor labels a patient noncompliant because that patient disagrees with a certain approach to treatment, when they are well enough to make that choice, there is a big problem.


This isn’t my first rodeo, won’t be my last, and I’m certainly far from ignorant when it comes to psychiatry and my own body. I am med resistant, that is a pain in itself, so there is frustration on the part of my doctors, which I can appreciate, but in no way does that make me noncompliant as well. You see I refuse to allow my medications to be tinkered with every two weeks, nor will I swallow 17 pills a day, guessing which one may or may not do something. No, I choose to be more proactive in my care, and unfortunately there are still doctors out there who prefer their patients to be completely reliant on them, ask no questions, and swallow what they’re told. When egos clash during treatment, nothing good comes from it, which set me into a bit of a spiral down.


I’m happy to say that my new doctor is turning out to be pretty awesome. He listens to me, understands where my frustrations are, and is working with me. I’m finding some balance again. Never be afraid to speak up if you feel like something isn’t right. This is your body, your mind, and your peace.


It’s good to be back.

Noncompliant: A Label Worth Looking Twice At

Nicole Lyons

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APA Reference
Lyons, N. (2016). Noncompliant: A Label Worth Looking Twice At. Psych Central. Retrieved on June 4, 2020, from


Last updated: 14 Apr 2016
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