When Depending on Medication Makes You Feel 'Weak'


Prior to becoming ill, I wasn’t what you’d call a big “fan” of medications.

Sure, I’d take a few over-the-counter pain meds for a headache, but generally speaking, I’d avoid medication if I could. “Better that the body be left to do what it does best,” was my motto.

This motto has become one of my unexpected battles since developing chronic illness.

Certain psychological aspects of chronic illness are well known in the CI lexicon: Mourning. Anger. Grief. Fear.

But for me, a newfound reliance on medication has been an additional emotional blow: Shame.

 

In my previous, healthy life, I took for granted that I’d get through each day taking nothing more than a multivitamin. Now, when I have to take my handful of powerful (and addictive) medications, I feel ashamed.

I feel ashamed because just a few years ago, I was very cautious not to take too many ibuprofen – now, I have to take scary medicines you hear about on the news. Medicines government agencies want to crack down on because they can be addictive. Medicines that, taken inappropriately (and even sometimes as the doctor prescribes), can kill you.

And now I need them to get through the day. I feel shame for taking these because, to the old, healthy me, these medicines are an admission of weakness – a mea culpa that I can’t “hack it” on my own. That I have somehow failed at being the tough-as-nails Superwoman I once thought myself to be.

Each dose feels like an acknowledgement that my body isn’t working correctly. That I am broken, and cannot be fixed. That I am somehow less than I was.

For what it’s worth, I recognize the shame I feel is but one of many difficult emotions with which I struggle each day. I am seeing a counselor to attempt to better battle the shame and the blame, as I realize they are detrimental to my overall fight.

It remains my hope that I will one day no longer need medication, but I am working, in the meantime, to see meds as part of my Warrior Armor instead of as an Achilles Heel.

It’s a slog.

A painful, terrible, daily slog.

But I will conquer this as I have conquered so much else, and I will do it in my own time.

Because I am a tough-as-nails Superwoman. And shame ain’t got nuthin’ on me!

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

Thinkstock photo via Purestock.

TOPICS
JOIN THE CONVERSATION

Related to Chronic Pain

watercolor painting of a woman looking down

When Positivity Just Isn't a Priority During a Pain Flare

Here I am at 4:14 a.m., still awake due to a flare. My joints are red and hot to touch. My muscles ache as if I’ve run a marathon. I have a migraine and no amount of Tums are helping my nausea. Chronic illness sucks. Let’s just be honest. Everyone seems to want us to [...]
post with an arrow pointing right in front of a snowy mountain

The Frustration of Being Unable to Put a Name to My Chronic Pain

I had eagerly logged into my online patient portal to check for results of the MRI from a few days prior. I wanted so badly to find results which would lead to the name of my health problems. My heart sank when I saw the conclusion: nothing. Once again, on yet another test, I was [...]
compression socks

14 Things That Helped Me Improve My Chronic Pain

I had a period of time not long ago when pain dominated every aspect of my life. I had days when I could barely walk. To go from sitting to standing I had to have help and support otherwise I couldn’t get up. My family always had to be around to help me and make [...]
blue watercolor image of a woman

Why I'm Afraid to Talk About My Chronic Pain

I don’t “look disabled.” Most of the time. Unless the weather’s gone wild (and I live in New England, so that’s only an afternoon away) or I’ve somehow injured myself, I usually look like a healthy woman. Heck, I don’t even look my age – no one believes me when I tell them I’m over 30. While [...]