Self-Care Tip #230 – Remember why you feel the way you do.
Olive was doing well.
How are you doing Olive?
Oh fine. Just fine,
Olive would say. And she was. A sense of rightness filled her when she thought about it. Right with the world, her garden, her work and even her kids. She wondered that there had ever been a time when she hadn’t been.
It was almost easy for Olive to forget about why she was better. Almost, except for her probably thirty seconds of opening the lid, dumping the contents into her hand, tossing them, all of them into her mouth. One swallow with water and it was over. Thirty seconds she thought. I’m doing it for my kids.
Then came the best reason she ever needed. And despite knowing that she had done this before and had relapsed, something about the rightness of the reason made her feel like the relapse wouldn’t be allowed. The rightness would keep it away. After all, she was stopping her medication for her kids. If she didn’t have medical insurance than she would be a huge burden financially and she would die before doing that to her children.
So quietly Olive stopped.
By stopping medication, many of us have this sense of eliminating the reason we started the medication in the first place. Take medication. Disease continues. Stop medication. We are superior.
When my son was about one year old, he learned that if he turned his head away from you, it was as good as denying your existence. Turn. You’re gone. Turn back. You reappear. Turn. And just like that, you’ve been eliminated. Even now, remembering it delights me.
Not so cute however, is the number one reason for relapse in mental illness – stopping medication. For Olive, she turned her head, and hoped her recurrent Major Depressive Disorder would not be there when she turned back around.
How are you Olive?
(Sigh.) Fine. Just Fine. (Sigh.)
But Olive wasn’t. Even though she knew she had been better on her medications, she couldn’t see any more, how much better. Her face tightened up, her thoughts wandered and she exploded more. Self-loathing of course followed and she felt like her suffering was unique to her. No-one understood her, especially her ungrateful children. She was doing this for them, just like everything she did through her whole unappreciated life. This was all wrong.
Is this why I worked all those years and raised them?!
Readers, you may not agree with the crystal clear logic that emboldened Olive’s heroic stopping of her medications, but it’s not the only one out there. This being the number one reason for relapse implies that there are many that seem to make really good sense. So forget about they specific “why” of why Olive turned, and just know that many of us do. Many.
Question: What has helped you stay on your medication when it seemed to make sense not to? What do you think about people who choose to stay on medications for life? Please tell me your story.