Many have been hurt by medications. There are those life ending treatments. There are accidents. It doesn’t matter what remote or near number in the chance-line the side effect has to the victim or the survivors. They happened and they happen.
If you are a survivor of something like this, if your child died or your mother almost did, if you lost your favorite thing in life – lost what you identified yourself by or if you were changed without being asked, you know what I am talking about.
How do you come back after that? How do you endure opening your pill dispenser on Wednesday, on Thursday, every week, every day, how do you take medications when they are prescribed?
On my end as a physician, each prescription is a choice. Each prescription carries the bit I am allowed to participate in. Signing my name, I am saying with the informed patient, that the benefits outweigh the risks.
When you take your medications, know that you are not alone. Know that you are doing this with numbers of other courageous people taking their medications. Know that your physician, with the research behind this, with the high numbers of other persons generous enough to enroll themselves in those medication trials before the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) approved it. Know that the FDA is with you and know that the benefits out weigh the risks for you. That you decided the benefits are greater than the risks means you know what they are and you are choosing to take care of yourself.
Medication isn’t for everyone. Medication hurts a lot of us. Taking medication with this knowledge is still something many of us choose.
If we are not taking our medication because the fear precludes it, we can do better than that for ourselves. We can choose not to take it without being chosen by fear. On the flip side, we can choose to take medication without being chose by fear. Being chosen by fear hurts us too.
Self-Care Tip: Go into the space of where your fears are and let it lose power over you.
Questions: How do you claim your freedom to choose when it comes to something as complicated and scary as medication? Please tell us your story.
- Pay close attention when taking medications (mysanantonio.com)
- Taking your meds can save money, hospital trips (seattletimes.nwsource.com)
- Pharmacy Errors: Swallowing the Wrong Pill (abcnews.go.com)
- More Accidental Drug Poisonings of Children (well.blogs.nytimes.com)
- Recovery Bill of Rights for Trauma Survivors (survivorsguide.wordpress.com)
- PTSD and Choosing Not to Be A Victim (friendtoyourself.com)
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Symptoms Running Your Life? (healmyptsd.com)
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I have been on medications since I was 16 years old. I am now 38. I have learned the hard way that not every doctor is thoughtful or thinks long term for us. Even the good doctors do not always inform of us of short and long term side effects. I have found it crucial to research online – as unreliable as that information can be. I worry about the long term effects of being on so many medications for so many years. I truly believe that connection and acceptance work FAR better than medications for me. But doctors are busy. I don’t know what the answer is. I do know that the doctor I felt the least connected to gave me the most pills, and I am struggling to wean myself off some of them. I just wish people had more time. I have been longing for the connection I didn’t get with my parents for a all my life. I have. Struggled to make those connections myself…but often what I get are addictive behaviors and more and more pills.
JJ, keep going for what u want. u r worth it. u r valuable and designed for love.
i’m sorry to hear the docs let u down so often and am glad u r saying this out loud. keep on.
Laying in bed this a.m. waking up and saying my prayers, gratitude etc. Having eaten chocolate before bed and asking “why” why am I medicating. Answer: because of the fear, so move through the fear practice Feldenkrais and allow the fear to come and move around in it.
Get up and 15 minutes later here is your email. For me as an addict 20 years clean now I can tell you from my experience that drugs and food are my medication. When I hear gamblers, alcoholics, sex addicts, food addicts, bulimics, anorexics, shoppers etc. trauma survivors speak we are all self-medicating (usually) the free floating fear around us.
I have had to allow myself to live in fear this past year, to allow it to wash over me and live within it. I have come to think of it as a cleansing storm, the winds pick up and the sky often darkens, the trees blow around and its exhilarating watching nature let loose, and a bit of a fear thrill too, and then the rain comes and it all settles down again.
So for those of us who self medicate to not have our experience, what would it be like to allow our experience? Or allow our selves to have some medication prescribed by a Doctor and allow ourselves to be taken care of if that is what is necessary?
I respect people who take care of themselves, who take their medications and are working towards wholeness, whatever that might mean for them. My 18 year old takes her medication every day. As a recovering addict that was something I really needed to put aside as a parent and take my child to our Doctor (whom I trust!!!) and ask him for help and if this was something that would help her.
I am the first to go for counseling (I would go every week just to chat!) however I had to really put aside my personal opinions (on medication) to ensure that my child was given the care she needed.
Its not easy however, I hope its the best for her, and we touch base from time to time as she still lives at home, and we have fairly open dialogue, she is an adult for all intents and purposes and I want to respect that however, she is still a child in some ways. Its a hard balance sometimes.
Thanks for a great email, I always appreciate you!
such a lovely flow to your narrative col. thank u.
I think a big part of the dangerous area is due to patients deciding they are their own doctors and designing their own treatment accessing medications any way they can. Or like”Hey Dorothy, here try some of my pills for a week.”
u carl. ”Hey Dorothy, here try some of my pills for a week.” too good. now that i heard your voice in real sound, everything u write comes to me animated and carl’ish – more so than ever. delightful.
One of the best pieces of advice I received over the years during which I was on about 40 different medications to treat severe depression, PTSD, anxiety and, eventually, fibromyalgia came from a psychiatrist who was taking me off Zoloft (on which was having seizure-like symptoms) and putting me on an MAO inhibiter (which, eventually, rendered me nearly catatonic). He said that doctors know a whole lot about a whole lot of medications and maybe not as much as they could about others but they, in good faith, prescribe the medications that, as a result of their research, appear to be the ones best suited to the patients’ condition. That’s the good thing. BUT, he said, for all that the doctors know and read and study about medications, they still do not know, for sure, how they will affect the patient for whom they are prescribing the medication. As a result, the psychiatrist suggested, a patient must never completely trust the doctor; a patient must trust him/herself first. If something doesn’t feel right to the patient, instead of trusting that, if the doctor prescribed it, it must be okay, the patient should contact the doctor and say “This doesn’t feel okay for Me.” More than likely, what the patient is feeling is a normal reaction to the medication and all is well, but, in my case, way too often, my reactions weren’t normal and I should have called the doctor before ending up in the emergency room seizing or bleeding or un-able to speak or staggering sideways rather than walking in a straight line.
My reactions were NOT the fault of the doctors (although I did have one psychopharmachologist in the early ’90’s who seemed to think that, since I was so very ill, if this medication didn’t work then a brand new one was just out so let’s try it and, by the time I left him, I had a whole closet full of half-taken meds with which I could have committed suicide if I had been so inclined at the time. That doctor lost is licence to practice so the point is….well, whatever you want to make of it.). My reactions were, according to what I have read and been told about fibromyalgia, probably because people with fibromyalgia react more severely than others to any medication. True or not, I followed the psychiatrist’s advice, after way too many trips to the ER, and I know to ask, rather quickly, if something doesn’t feel okay. Unfortunately, I also am afraid of psychotropic meds because of all of the trips to the ER. Medications and taking them are a conundrum…and very personal…and I’m sure all of us and all of our doctors, when faced with prescribing or taking yet another medication, wonder if….but, then again, what would most of us do without them?
I’m sorry. This ended up being much longer than I had intended but this subject is one about which I feel very strongly, perhaps for obvious reasons.
we luv your stories nance, so tirade away ;). thank u for sharing. these can often b complicated and fast moving lives we spin to tell and u can only say it like this. keep talking.
Didn’t mean for it to be a “tirade”. Yes, it has been frustrating and scary but never something to be angry about. I guess my point was to say, in an obviously too long way, that taking care of Me is making sure that I always keep the communication line with my doctors open. It took me a long time to learn that I am valuable and it’s okay to call my doctor, when something doesn’t seem right, without worrying that I am inconveniencing the doctor.
tirade hm. may not have been the right word as i didn’t hear anger in your story. more intensity and emotion than anger. a relation of what has been important and is important. what’s the word for that stuff? i like the pluck u pick w. keep on.
Trust the doctor to know a little but you need to know more. You are responsible for yourself. Read everything you can about your meds. Make a med and mood diary so you can keep track.
If you want to wean your self off do it with the doctors blessing and knowledge. That way he can help you. And pay attention to the word wean. Don’t go off them alltogether at the same time.
good stuff, clar. all around. money.
wink. i get u. if only we could get this in any other way than hard work and freely given gifties from above… wait. that doesn’t sound so bad. 🙂
I love your blog. So helpful.
I have nominated you for The Versatile Blogger Award. You can read about the award process on my blog at http://thereinventedlass.wordpress.com/ in the Versatile Blogger post. Congratulations! And thanks for your awesome blog!
thank u lass – big smile. sweet! i’m really especially thankful for your feedback and connection. honored. keep on.
my choice in the end was clear. i could either go on meds andtake the edge off slightly or maintain a constantsense of unease. it took tons of trial and error and a few attempts at living without it,butnow l know ican’t stand the fear. .. ..
lisa, i shook my dance moves off a little when i got your comment. whoop!
I have been taking medications for the last 18 years. I have gone through every side effect and I have had dangerous allergic reactions. But still I have to look the other way and accept that the benefits outweigh the risks. I have tried several times to make it without meds only to have disastrous results. I would like nothing better that to be a free woman… free of meds.
wow marie. the longer i practice, the more i realize the magnitude of your choices and the more i perceive the courage. i know that heaven will b great if my mini-years of life generate this kind of pleasure. nothing like forever. keep on.
Wow. I worked with a lot of the ‘mentally ill’ when I was a probation officer. Most were bi-polar, dual diagnosis clients abusing (self medicating with) alcohol or methamphetamines. Knowing that all medications are drugs and being aware of their impact on ones life was my mantra for my caseload. Very good post
it’s so good to hear from u. thank u hansi. i wasn’t sure if u were still around and had hoped.
i hear your feedback and imagine where it comes from. keep on.