If you take any medication for your mental health, you’ve probably heard some of these: “you don’t need to take that”, “those drugs are dangerous “, “I don’t believe in taking that stuff”, or “do you really want to be addicted to those meds?”
I have bipolar. I take three medications. It’s very common for patients with bipolar to take a “cocktail” of meds. I also have ADHD. So I take a stimulant medication for that. And I take a sleeping pill.
I’ve been on these meds for years. For the most part, they control my symptoms. I have also had years of therapy and done a variety of things from mindfulness to dietary restrictions to help.
Believe me, I would not be taking anything if I didn’t have to. Meds are a pain. They can be expensive. There are side effects.
I know of people who have mental illnesses who do not take meds. I think that’s great. Just don’t preach to me about it. Because everyone is different. Just because something works for you, doesn’t mean it works for me.
Taking meds does not mean you are weak. Or that some evil doctor has pushed you into taking them. When people are sick, they take medicine. Why would it be any different when the illness is mental?
Some people very close to me have been on my case about my meds for years. At first it was just a comment here or there. Or an occasional news article emailed to me.
Recently, out of the blue, one of these people sent me a bunch of texts identifying what they thought I was doing wrong in my life. I had experienced some set backs in recent months and, admittedly, I was having a pretty bad year. She was being nosy, bossy, intrusive. Then came the shocker.
“Adrienne” she texted,”you are a drug addict!”
OK I admit…back in the day I did smoke a little weed now and then. But that was 20 years ago. What in the hell was she talking about?
Adderall….She thought I was addicted and it was ruining my life. Oh, and she had told my mom who apparently agreed. Oh, and my ex-husband was also on board. AND, they had decided that I needed to go to rehab.
I didn’t know what to say. I knew I wasn’t addicted because I only take it on as “as need” basis. I never exceed the prescribed dosage. It doesn’t make me feel high.
Trying to justify why you take meds is like trying to convert an atheist to Christianity. They made their mind up long ago. Nothing you say will convince them.
For some reason, people who are anti-meds feel very passionately about it. Maybe they don’t trust doctors. Maybe they buy into the Big Pharma conspiracy. I don’t care.
Whether or not I choose to take meds is non of anybody’s damned business! It’s my body.
I’m here to tell you that I do trust my doctor, I have been helped tremendously by my meds and if I have to take them for life…I’m okay with that.
Nobody on this earth knows the hell I went through pre-medication. The despair. The self harm. The inability to function normally. The relationships I’ve ruined. The jobs I’ve been fired from. Nobody knows except my doctor and me. So you know what I say to the medication shamers?
Walk a mile in my shoes.