Why don’t you take your pills?

I stumbled upon an article that suggested the reason folks with chronic conditions don’t like to take their meds is because

“There is a part of us, especially those of us with a chronic illness, that resents the pills: resents these tiny daily reminders that we have a condition (probably for the rest of our lives) that we cannot control. And we want to rebel against them, just a little.”

I agree with her.  But I think it’s a matter of maturity.  I missed my pills once last week, something I’ve done less than half a dozen times.  There was a time I resented the heck out of my pills.  I had a dream of living a medicine free life.  I would be strong and healthy and take only fish oil and a multi-vitamin.  As you know, I take a whole lot more than that.  But I’m comfortable with it now.  I’m not reminded that I have a major psychiatric disorder that will never heal.  I just take ’em and think nothing of it.

The fact is, my life is better with pills.  It makes it worth living.  The day I forgot my pills I walked around in a state of guilt and dread.  I had done nothing; I’d committed no crime, hadn’t overspent, nothing.  Without medication, I would be walking around like that most of the time.  Without medication I would have died by suicide long ago;  there is no question in my mind.  Therapy works, but according to my old psychiatrist, it gets about 50% of the job done.

There was  a time I just pitied myself for being mentally ill.  Look at the news paper and see that it is filled with crimes committed by folks with bipolar.  However, the fact is, mentally ill people are no more violent than the rest of the population.   You get whack jobs like the guy who shot Gabrielle Giffords and think he speaks for the entire population.  The news gloms on to it and blows the whole thing out of proportion.  It doesn’t serve to feed Mad Pride.  It reminds me vaguely of the stereotypes that get applied to different racial groups.  Just because one man does wrong does not mean the entire race is to be feared.  Most mad people don’t drown their children.  Most mad people aren’t violent.  The stigma and stereotypes developed by a few people’s actions are not my business.  I can’t change them, and they don’t change me.  I may be “mad” but I’m not crazy.  (Remember, my old psychologist told me I was one of the least crazy people she know.)  I won’t become crazy so long as I stay on track, take those wonderful pills, eat what I’m supposed to be eating and stay away from alcohol.

So, I’ve stopped feeling sorry for myself about having to take pills.  I’m not ashamed.  I’m not going to shout it from the mountain tops, although if my books are ever published I will do the equivalent of such.  I take pills.  I will take pills the rest of my life.  I will hate standing there in the kitchen sorting my pills for the rest of my life, but I so rely on them it can’t matter too much.

 

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