Choose, Gladly, Using Resources

Being a friend to yourself includes choosing, being glad that you can, and using resources to make your choice a good one.

Mrs. Smith told me with a barely noticeable arch in her back that she was still planning on God healing her daughter.  I don’t know if Mrs. Smith thought about how her daughter felt about that.  Was Kristy personalizing her illness?  Did she think God rejected her?  The problem of her continued illness must show something more than a physical flaw in her perhaps.

Will we know it when we are healed?  Until then, what to do?

Years ago, I met Fran.  She was pulling her hair out.  Her annoyed husband disrespected her for it.  Fran kept willing herself to stop.  She said,

I’m doing it less now I think.

The good news for Fran is that she responded well to fluoxetine.  Her anxiety decreased and she almost stopped pulling out her hair.  She’d wear her growing bristles pressed down with bobby-pins and hide it with her long hair.  As her hair grew longer, she had fewer bobby-pins and I knew she was taking her medication.  There were other problems between Fran and her medications.  Taking medication shamed her.  And, she blamed her fluoxetine for her weight gain and rash on her face.  She felt uglier than ever in her husband’s eyes.

I don’t pull hair any more.

Fran stopped her fluoxetine and half her head went bald.  She did not lose weight and she still had a rash on her face.  Fran went back on her fluoxetine and she has cycled on and off of it this way over the years we’ve worked together.  Somehow despite all our time together, Fran does not believe me when I tell her that when she is better symptomatically, she is not healed.  Fran does not grasp that her behaviors come from something at a genetic level.  We can treat her, influencing the way her genes express themselves, but in her case, not cure her.

We are a team.  She and I, and sometimes her husband, and sometimes her sister.  I give her medications when she thinks she needs it.  I don’t leave her when she doesn’t.  Either way, we keep trying.  It is very hard for Fran to know that she has not been healed.

I don’t have many clear examples of treatment-to-cure in psychiatry.  The statistics vary between diseases as to their rates of recurrence.  The brain being human, we can yell at the serpent for our insanity.  However, in the end, here we are.  As Billy Joel says in his great ’70’s hit song “My Life

Either way it’s okay to wake up with yourself.

The opportunity to choose our own answers, to decide what to do about it, and believing if we are sick or not sick  – is all our own.  These can be hard decisions but until we lose capacity to choose, we own them.  Decision making capacity of course is a medical decision.  But competency is a legal decision made in a court of law.  Having the right to choose is a beautiful privilege.  This does not mean to ignore counsel, evidence, data.  On the contrary.  That would not be a friendly thing to do to yourself.

Self Care Tip # 75 – Choose well and be glad you can.  Be a friend to yourself.

Question:  What do you think?  Agree or disagree.

12 thoughts on “Choose, Gladly, Using Resources

  1. I made the choice to not take effexor any more. I initially typed in ‘my effexor’ and then remembered that the drug didn’t belong to me, I was only using it..borrowing it…..? I have now been effexor free for about 1 month, I think.

    I feel strangely liberated knowing I have been on some kind of antidepressant since 1996 and now am not.. …..I concede the fact that the drugs I was prescribed enabled me to somehow hold on long enough to find the person I know I can be… I am still learning.. mostly that fear consists of a lie with the comfort zone of a hammock!

    I am embracing my choice so far and using the tools to LIVE as I have been given …to this point and we shall see….

    • thanks for reading and commenting! thanks for sharing some of your story! u r a woman of courage. i liked that – “fear consists of a lie with the comfort zone of a hammock!” i can feel myself trying to balance. keep on!

  2. I also just referenced “The Joel” in my last post, albeit in a very different way.

    Being a friend to yourself is one of those things that I think we don’t consciously think about… but we should.

    Great post.

  3. I truly believe that taking my medication made a great change in the quality of my life. It doesn’t mean that sometimes I would like to survive my monsters without it. I don’t know how much time I can take it without compromising my overall health. I would like to stay with it forever if it is safe. I feel so much better since I started the medication. It is so good to wake up balanced and that my days go without ups and downs in my mood, without fighting about silly things with my husband or get depressed if my kids don’t write me or call me. I enjoy my days, doing whatever I do without questioning myself about it. There is no pressing belt surrounding my head, the first sign of depression for me. Its good to feel well. Yes I can say that I gained weight since I started the medication, it’s difficult to stick to a diet, but that happened before the medication too, should I blame the pill for it?

    • Hi Mila. thanks for reading AND commenting! i love your response. articulate and real. u said it so well. Being able to trust ourselves is a great benefit of emotional health – “doing whatever I do without questioning myself about it.” i don’t know many things more self eroding than emotional illness.
      in response to your q re: trigger to wt gain, it’s not so easy to answer. many meds do influence appetite but not all. i know any way u look at it, it can b tough and u r NOT alone!
      u may have already read these, (and i’m not trying to self promo! blush!) but if u r interested, ck out Get Access to Information – Get a SmartPhone, Do This, and Something Decadently Enticing. they say what i’d want to share w u now. u r a woman of courage! Keep On!!!

  4. I use to wish for a medication that I could take to make me feel better about taking my medication!
    With my experiance not taking my medication is an illness in itself. I use to struggled but now I realize I am much better when I take my medication. I can think of all kinds of reasons not to take it, but there is only the one reason that truely counts. That is my happiness. I have to be a friend to myself.

  5. Pingback: Free to Be Accountable « A Friend to Yourself

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