Please Stop Judging Me for Taking Pain Medication


I truly wish more people understood this about chronic illness:

We are not drug seekers.

We’re not after pain killers – we’re after a treatment that will reduce pain.

That’s a big difference.

Many (if not most) of us have a serious love/hate relationship with our medications…even the ones that work for us. Possibly especially the ones that work for us.

The thing is, many of the meds we take have side effects.

I know, everything has a side effect. Something making you feel better is a side effect, if you want to get technical. I’m talking about things that, even as they help us, make us uncomfortable and actually sometimes as unable to function as we were before taking them.

Weight gain. Weight loss (yes, that can be a negative). Loss of sex drive. Hair loss. It stops the attack or pain, but knocks you out or leaves you in a fog. Impairs your mental or cognitive function – memory, ability to concentrate, etc.

And guys, I’m 100 percent serious when I say sometimes these are only the mildly annoying side effects.

I’m not even counting the, “Oh my God, what is this doing to my body in the long run?” concerns. I’m also not counting the fact that they don’t always work 100 percent – or at all, there is no one magic treatment or doctor that will give us our lives back, or that many treatments are expensive or limited by insurance.

You’re probably thinking if something has an unpleasant side effect, what’s the big deal? Just stop taking it.

And there’s the rub.

Because when you’re sick every day, you learn that you have to weigh the evils sometimes.

“Am I willing to deal with ___ so I can not hurt today?”

“Am I willing to deal with pain, etc., so I don’t have to take this one?”

“Can I function through the day if I don’t take this?”

And the big one: “Is feeling better worth this?”

Sometimes it is…and sometimes it isn’t.

Sometimes I skip meds so I can function, and sometimes I can’t function without them.

I can be both thrilled to have them and loathe them at the same time, and I’m not alone.

We are legion…and we’re tired of getting the side-eye and judgments that come along with living with disorders that we didn’t ask for. Why should we be treated as if we’re wrong to want to feel better for a while?

Wouldn’t any of you do the same?

Hard question to answer.

Most of us are still trying to answer it every day.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

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