Self-Care Doesn’t Have to Be That Big of A Fight

Rajasthani women take part in tug of war game ...

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Self-Care Tip #215 – Fight as little as you possibly can when reaching for your choices to self-care.

We skipped over that.  We didn’t tug on the medication-or-no-medication rope.  What a relief.  Marsha surprised me.  When we first met, she had been the one who said,

I don’t want medications but I can’t go on like this.  If I choose to start, when can I stop?

In these scenarios, it’s easy to get snagged by the temptation to educate (tug.)  There is the risk that if we don’t educate, we might miss our opportunity to engage her in treatment and get help.  However, because Marsha was willing to at least start medication, even though the duration of treatment was in question, I decided to let the medication argue its own case.  (Standing quietly by the rope.)

Not everyone is as good to me as she was.  Some patients, prodded and edgy from the anxiety, want to fight a little.  That anxiety is coiled and full of potential energy.  Feeling put off, up it springs when I say,

Let’s talk about this, if it’s alright with you, after you’re feeling better emotionally.  (Pulling on the rope now, heels three inches deep into dirt.)

Somehow, Marsha let it ride out.  Somehow, Marsha came out on the other side.  She had nearly forgotten about wanting to ever stop her medications.  She never even brought it up in fact.  I did.  I think I had to say it twice to get her to know what I was talking about.

No.  I don’t care if I have to stay on these medications the rest of my life.  I feel so much better!  I’m more myself than I ever was.

 

And there it came.  That beautiful awareness of taking care of our changing selves.  Without much in the way of hand blisters, she stepped by her own volition across the line.  Marsha was a no drama type of girl.  Just in time, I caught the temptation, my own springing up potential energy to pull on the rope when we were on the same team.

Marsha had struggled with disabling mental illness her entire life, and here in the third decade of life, she simply walked over into health.  Gracefully she left her previous self, accepted her new, assumed it was her intended baseline and that was that.  She wasn’t over the stigma, she hadn’t accepted some of the other lifestyle changes entirely but still, she was content to call her team, come what may.  What a woman.

Questions:  How has the process of getting on and staying on medications been for you?  When have you felt more yourself?  How do you define your true self when you change through life?  Please tell me your story.

20 thoughts on “Self-Care Doesn’t Have to Be That Big of A Fight

  1. “If I choose to start, when can I stop?” I asked Dr Rose here in Miami that same question. After I year and a half I suggested that I would like to ease off and then quit taking the medication because I felt so much better. And that now I could handle things without them. She asked “Why do you think you’re feeling better?” “Because I take the meds.” She then said “That’s why you are better, dummy.” I am still on the meds. I won’t be better without them. So I see this person must take his insulin, that one the blood pressure stuff and another this or that. So there should be no stigma about meds. I operate so much smoother with confidence and difficult matters and unfortunate matters are resolved without so much trepidation and anxiety. Take the meds.

  2. What I see is—your experienced hand holding Marsha’s, guiding her across to the self-care life.

    I feel your joy for Marsha, and her relief and happiness that she allowed it to happen.

  3. I have a wonderful colleague who suffers with bi-polar and was anxious to get off her meds due to the stigma attached. Fortunately she was steered in the right direction (and back on her meds) and with the right counseling was able to see just how much better she is when on medication.

  4. I don’t really know how to explain it, but I just feel like a new, better and motivated person since I’ve been on meds. I can’t say that “I feel like myself again” because I really don’t know what “myself” was like before. I have had depression since childhood, so I have always remembered feeling different in some way, or incomplete. My anxiety meds have been cut back some and I can definitely see and feel the changes in me. It has only been about two weeks but I feel myself being consumed at times with those unwanted thoughts again, and my motivation and energy level has gone down. Before I started on my meds, I remember wondering how long I would have to be on them, and I knew I didn’t want to have to take them my whole life. After having my dosage cut down, I’ve realized that I am unable to do everyday tasks without having to tell myself to get up several times, whereas before I would have my morning bike ride, laundry and dishes done before 10a.m. I feel like I will have to be on meds for a while longer because I just wouldn’t be able to function without them.

  5. Medication did help me in the beginning, and then became my crutch (in my mind)…when I was ready I went off and more helpful than medication has been a new perspective on life. Of course, it was time for me to go off…my depression was a result of something bigger…the big issue was PTS (is that the correct current terminology?) I do understand people’s reluctance to take meds…as they did affect my clarity…however, had I not gone on them I probably would not have gotten a handle on things and fared as well in the long run.

    • crutch is a word that means different things to so many. unfortunately, although often unintended, it alludes to stigma related content.
      PTS – r u saying PTSD? post traumatic stress disorder?
      so happy u r doing well!!!

      • Yes…PTSD. As in a crutch…I felt I g=could not go on without meds…I did not want to deal with the situation, I wanted the meds to take the pain away, wrong approach ( I know this in retrospect). Only in dealing with the issues head on did I find the strength to become a victor instead of a victim in my situation…I realize that in many other situation differ from mine. Mine was initiated by a hold up at gunpoint which spiraled into panic attacks and depression…it was a long road, and I was on meds for seven years…not sure how long I’ve been off probably about seven. There is absolutely no shame in meds…they can be lifesavers…unfortunately society and insureance companys place a stigma on the use of them…don’t get me started with the process of having to renew life insurance and having to get documentation that I was not suicical…yes, I did!!!!

        • she’s! i hate that about ins. of course they do it w so many other things as well, like obstructive sleep apnea and more. they want patients who will not be using their insurance. …I’d like to sell you my housekeeping services as a package deal but i dont’ want u to use your house and if u do, keep it clean. this will just b better for me and i’ll make more money doing less… who can blame them?!
          anyhow, gunpoint stinks. u r not designed for that. i’m so glad u survived though. so glad. bless. now when i go outside and look at trees, flowers, a hummingbird this morning, i inevitably thing of u n your eloquent descriptors. keep talking.

  6. The only stigma I had about taking meds wasn’t really a stigma, I guess. I didn’t like feeling as groggy as I did on meds, but that may have been the fault of the doctor and not the meds. I HATED the weight gain!! I still do because, no matter what I do, at my age losing weight seems to be almost impossible. I can’t stand the way I look and I can’t stand the physical limitations caused by the weight. Those facts alone make me depressed, but, then again, if I’m depressed I need to be on meds. Frustration can’t begin to explain….. (It’s the morning after watching Biggest Loser. Might explain a lot, I guess.)

  7. I remember life without meds. Not going back there—ever. Never had any stigma attatched to taking them probably because I can function “normally” with them. Not housebound with fear and anxiety–bigger stigma in that for me. Rare to find someone who understands that you cannot leave your house–if they do it is usually because they have been there.

  8. im on medecation but with the good comes the bad i sleep about 14 hours a day that is my avarge sleep sometimes a bit more that is a sacrifice for being a little bit more equipped to deal with reality at first i thought they had no affect now i am addicted to them i have been told i am stick on them for life anyway but if i dint take them ishake a lot and i mean loads i cant hold cups of tea and that i cant sit with anyone or be with anyone without ending up in tears and i dont sleep and i mean dont sleep maybee 3 four days would go by and i would not sleep i would just think bad things as well so sacrfice a bit of life to live a fuller life if that makes sense in a way

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