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When I'm Shamed Into Thinking I Don't Need My Pain Medication

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Editor's Note

Please see a doctor before starting or stopping a medication.

I’m 29. I look and act like a relatively “normal” human being. But I’ve had chronic migraines and headaches for the past 13 years.

I have difficulty doing full-time work. I have a limited social life. I’ve wanted to give up over and over again.

What I struggle with constantly is the relationship I have with drugs. I’ve tried so many different drugs. Most don’t work. The ones that do come with some pretty nasty side effects.

I’ve recently had a couple of friends commenting on my use of drugs. If I’m honest, I have used them irresponsibly at different times in my life. However, the recent comments made me feel like I was taking them for my own pleasure and all the wrong reasons.

I’m not sure why, but I believed them. Maybe I was hoping that they were right. I hoped that my only problem was the drug addiction.

So I cut out all the drugs. No pregabalin, opiates or diazepam. I’ve done this before, just cut all my meds. I’m definitely not advocating this tactic without a health professional’s help.

What I realized, once the drugs were out of my system, was that I’m taking these drugs for a reason. I couldn’t believe that I had let other people have a say in my health, when I know first and foremost what is and isn’t working.

I haven’t been able to function at my normal capacity, but I felt guilty when I went back to using the drugs that help me enjoy my life and enable me to actually function to the best of my ability.

So often, I hear people saying that we are an overprescribed society. So what does that say about me? When I hear that I feel like I have a dirty little secret, because supposedly everything can be fixed with diet and exercise (it can’t, I’ve tried).

I love feeling like I can be open with my friends about my condition and the drugs that I take. However, after the most recent comments, I can’t help but think twice when sharing my struggles.

What I’ve learned: don’t let people shame you into thinking you are a drug addict or just making everything up in your head. I have carried this shame for such a long time, feeling like it’s my own fault that I have chronic pain. Just because doctors can’t find a problem does not mean that it’s all psychosomatic.

You don’t need other people to believe you. Let them think what they like. But believe in yourself enough to keep striving for the best life you can.

Keep searching for answers. Keep fighting. And keep standing up for yourself, even when the shame and guilt feels overwhelming.

Getty photo by 4421010037

Originally published: June 9, 2018
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