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I Need Others to Understand That Medication Can't Solve All My Health Problems

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For a lot of people, being sick is as simple as going to the doctor and being given some antibiotics, but for the thousands of us who aren’t going to get better, it’s a grueling process of going to your GP and being given a prescription with a list of medications that may or may not work. Many doctors may have given up on explaining what they’re giving you, and sometimes they don’t check whether or not you’re able to take this new medication. I was recently prescribed some new anti-nausea meds that could’ve reacted badly with my pain meds and if my pharmacist hadn’t realized this it could’ve had some major consequences.

You see, my peers judge me for the medications I take, often telling me about an article they’ve read and insisting I should stop taking all medications and try something they read about online. While this seems like a miracle cure to them, it’s not always that simple. For starters, if I were to just stop taking my meds, who knows how my body may react. Can you guarantee that if I try this miracle cure my body will magically become pain-free? Will my blood stop clotting? Will I suddenly be able to absorb the vitamins I eat? You see, I hate living with all these tablets; I am very much aware of all the things that could go wrong, so I don’t need to be told that I’m killing myself.

The thought of what all these medicines are doing to my body in the long run terrifies me, and taking a new medicine fills me with anxiety every time and more often than not, I can’t tell if my body is reacting badly to a new drug or if I’m just panicking over nothing. The few people who tell me I need to be taking medications seem to think that if I take my meds I’ll see the effects of it instantly. I don’t. I often have to wait months to find out if my new tablets are working and if they don’t then I’m back at square one. Then the tablets that do work only work to a certain degree; my painkillers are more like pain-dullers and my anti-nausea tablets only have a 50/50 chance of working. So it’s hit or miss and it’s slowly becoming some sick game of luck.

People seem to be under the impression that if I take all my pills I’ll be the epitome of health. This is really frustrating as a person with chronic illness because my symptoms are so widespread and they clash with each other. For example, if my muscles are stiff and causing me pain, I could take a muscle relaxer; this, of course, doesn’t stop my pain because now that I’m relaxed, my joints are popping out and causing me a different kind of pain. Because of this I often have to weigh up the pros and cons of taking a medicine and then if I decide to take something, I need to choose which symptom is causing me the most grief and hope I won’t worsen another. All of my physical symptoms are constantly clashing with each other and it’s as if my body is slowly tearing itself apart.

This not only takes a physical toll on my body but it has a huge impact on my mental health too. I don’t think many people would understand what’s going on with me and I can guarantee if I went to my doctor saying I was anxious or depressed they would blame all my physical symptoms on my anxiety. They would take away my pain meds and leave me bedridden. They would stick some tube down my throat and force Ensure drinks down my throat, telling me I’m not really nauseous but trying to avoid food. Who knows what would happen? I’m scared to find out…  You see, I need my meds to keep living and I don’t want to risk getting them taken away because of some doctor jumping to the conclusion that all my problems are “in my head.”

My meds aren’t going to stop all of this from happening; they might dull my symptoms but they might make them worse. All I know is that as a person with chronic illness, they aren’t some miracle cure, and I may never get better. I’ve accepted this – but when will my peers?

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Thinkstock photo via fizkes.

Originally published: October 21, 2017
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