If you’re reading mental health bloggers, you’ve probably read plenty about people who stop taking their medication. There’s some sort of shame or stigma attached to this and those who’ve done it. I’ve heard people berate themselves and say they knew better and they can’t believe they did that. I always have the same reaction, “Why wouldn’t you do that?”
This is why doctors have to tell us to finish taking all of our antibiotics. We’ll feel better, and we’ll forget we need them.
One’s perception of normal is completely relative. Some people feel their own version of normal when they’re unmedicated. Some people feel their own version of normal when they’re medicated.
I don’t want to generalize too much, and I certainly don’t want to be too specific, BUT if you are a person or love a person who has this pattern, I’m hoping to make you see this in a different way.
Please stop thinking there is something wrong with you when you stop taking your meds and find yourself remorseful. It is a human thing to do. That’s why it’s COMMON. Yes, it can be dangerous. No, you shouldn’t stop cold turkey, on a whim, just because you’re having a particularly good Monday, but you can’t hate yourself for it.
People do this with all kinds of medication.
People who don’t have mental health issues.
I am a long-time allergy sufferer. I’m an allergic disaster waiting to happen. We do not need to talk about the condition or the medication to relate. Just assume in my 40-some years, I have taken lots of meds for allergies.
My children have allergies. Moo the worst.
As Moo’s mother, I must nag her about taking her allergy meds.
If her throat and ears itch madly, she will enthusiastically swallow a teaspoon of honey and 10ml of nasty-tasting liquid antihistamine for immediate relief. If her skin freaks out, she will gladly soak in an oatmeal bath or rub any number of recommended products onto her skin.
When her allergies aren’t drastically affecting her life, she doesn’t want to take any of the meds or even rub anything on her most susceptible areas. At no point does she ever want to take her nasal spray.
I see it coming.
She wakes up hoarse.
I hear the slurping of snot.
I see her stop drawing to swipe at her nose.
Her energy isn’t as high.
She requires more affection.
It is a BATTLE to get her to take her meds when she doesn’t feel poorly. If I don’t coerce her to take her pill and sniff her spray, she just won’t.
We go through days of this, “Did you take your sniffer? Do your sniffer!”
She never wants to take the sniffer.
“MAMA! NOOOO! IT WAS JUST TWO SNEEZES! I’M OKAY!”
It could take a few days or even a week for her to get to a point where she actually feels as snotty as she seems. By then, she might have a chronic cough, be vomiting mucus — well on her way to a respiratory infection.
It’s my job to prevent that.
So I line the medicine cup up with the nasal spray, the honey, the pill, and the hot tea. It takes three days of consistent care to end her suffering. Then she feels all better and doesn’t want to take the meds. Again.
It’s not because she’s a child, it’s because she’s human.