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I'm No Longer Ashamed of My Medication

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Please see a doctor before starting or stopping a medication.

One pill. That’s what it started with. It wasn’t for anything special. I was 9 years old when I began having migraines, probably associated with puberty. I was so against it. I did not want to take something every single day. I did not have a choice. It was either being debilitated by pain or getting through the day. I will be honest, there are times I skipped my medication or tossed it in the toilet. (Don’t do that… save our water.) I eventually sucked it up and that was it for five more years.

I was bullied, experienced abuse and developed an eating disorder, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). That’s the short laundry list. I was 14 when I first went down the hole into my depression severely enough my parents finally noticed. It took everyone time and I didn’t feel like anyone cared, so when I made my first attempt at taking my own life and ending the pain, I didn’t think anyone would care. I was wrong and my family has always loved me. After the hospitalization and being put on medication I never seemed to get better. It never seemed to work. SSRIs, mood stabilizers, antipsychotics, benzos, tranquilizers, oh my. I lost track of how many medications I tried except that the list of medications I haven’t tried kept getting smaller to where eventually no good options or combinations were left.

It took close to 10 years to achieve long-term stabilization. In those 10 years, I was in treatment or in the hospital constantly. I spent more holidays and birthdays locked away from my own self than I dare to remember. I do remember one thing that still hasn’t changed. The pills! I have not gotten rid of them and I hope I don’t ever have to go off my medication. You see, my house may be a pharmacy, but it is one for just me. In my early 20s, I started to also have medical problems that compounded on more pills. I still get the thoughts that come and go, to take them or not to take them. If I don’t take them I am playing Russian Roulette.

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It has taken me years to realize that the pills don’t define me they refine me. I can think. I can breathe. I can cuddle my daughter and not question what I mean to her and if she loves me. I can go to school and actually graduate on time and with honors (hopefully). I can accept that my body has limits and to honor my body. I can pre-treat when symptoms just begin. I can stay awake and focus. I am present with my wife and not drifting off into space. I am not curled up in a ball just wanting to stop crying.

I love that I take medication because I am giving my body what it needs and what it deserves. I can’t control my genes and they don’t control me. It deserves love, symptom management and occasionally pain-free. It deserves to be calm in a storm. I deserve to be able to be as independent as I can and to take care of me. Will I lie that it is a pain to carry bottles, inhalers, rescue medication, saline flushes and caps, and a freezer pack with medication on me everywhere I go is easy? No! I don’t like that very much. I don’t like having to plan my day around how I feel and change it when unpredictable symptoms come up forcing me to cancel plans. However, I would not be here without the medical care. It is here for a reason. I use the services available and treat the dis-ease so I can be at ease. No guilt or shame here. Self-love all the way. Pills help me be the best me each and every day. My life I want to have each and every day is just one pill away.

Getty image via Tijana87

Originally published: October 21, 2020
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