The Mighty Logo

I Take 51 Pills Every Day, and I Know What You Might Think of Me

The most helpful emails in health
Browse our free newsletters

I take 51 pills every day, on a good day. I know what you’re thinking… there’s no way someone needs 51 pills every day. The truth is I need every single one in order to treat several health conditions I have including bipolar disorder, postpartum psychosis, generalized anxiety disorder, cPTSD, post concussive syndrome, chronic migraine, fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis, sinus tachycardia, gluten intolerance, GERD, IBS, thyroid tumors and a few more. I’m disabled and that’s OK.

But what, you ask, could I possibly be taking? It’s not too much if you ask me, because I know how hard life becomes if I miss them. The truth is I believe in a whole body approach to treating illness. I believe in western and eastern medicine. I believe in caring for and nourishing my body. I do yoga, walk, get acupuncture, try to eat right, see my therapist every week and go to all my various doctor’s appointments.

I would say about half of the pills I take daily are prescribed medications. The rest are vitamins, minerals, supplements and Chinese herbs. My doctors know about all of my medications and supplements. The nurses might make snide remarks about my daily regimen, but my doctors, the ones who truly know me and have been seeing me for years, they understand and never judge.

I’m not a “pill popper,” I take all my medications on a strict schedule exactly as prescribed. But on a bad day I may need several more pills. If I have a bad anxiety attack or a migraine or a fibromyalgia flare or one of my stomach problems, I’ll need even more pills. Some days it’s a lot… but the minimum is always 51.

As far as pill shaming, I’ve heard it all. That I’m a druggy, that I need to “stop taking all those pills,” that I’m a hypochondriac, I’m making things up, on and on. I’m sure you’ve heard it. Anyone who takes pills has. We just have to remind ourselves that these pills are medication, prescribed by a doctor, to optimize our health. I need to be leveled out and I’m OK with that.

A banner promoting The Mighty's new Spoonie Life Hacks group on The Mighty mobile app. The banner reads, Make life with chronic illness a little bit easier. Join the Spoonie Life Hacks group to get tips from other spoonies for tackling everyday tasks — and share your own hacks! Click to join.

My medications make it possible for me to live in this world in so many ways, they literally keep me alive and out of the hospital. (I could write a whole other article on just how much I want to stay out of the hospital). It would take me hours to write out how they all work and what they treat and what overlaps (my heart medication also prevents my migraines) — but I could tell you every bit of it. I know exactly what I’m taking and why.

So I guess I have a question for you… do you know?

Getty image via tomozina

Originally published: July 25, 2020
Want more of The Mighty?
You can find even more stories on our Home page. There, you’ll also find thoughts and questions by our community.
Take Me Home