I had a lovely visitor to my site, 1Wise-Woman, so I went and checked out her site where I read this post: The Choice is Yours.
I agree completely with what she had to say and recommend that you read it too. It got me thinking about medications in context of both my professional and personal lives. For those of you who have been following my blog for any amount of time, I’m sure that you already know where I stand on medications. But for the purposes of those who are newer to the Pig’s weird world (welcome) I figure I’ll start by giving my 2 cents on that.
I think that our culture is too quick to reach for medications and that we primarily research medications. I think that medications should be the last thing that we try rather then the first and it is all too often the first thing that providers offer. There are so many things out there that can help people that have much less risk. Those options should be tried first. But yes, there are those that are in crisis or have tried other options. Medications are not wrong. They do help people. They are a good choice for some people. And no one should be looked down upon for the choices that they make to achieve wellness. Regardless of what those choices are; medications or not. If you are not hurting other people, you have every right to do what makes you feel well. I think it is complete bull shit for people to judge from the outside. I have met hundreds of people with mental illness and each person has complex, differing needs. But, no, meds are not the only answer. And I think that is part of what these memes are driving at. But they come across as callous and judgmental.
From my own perspective, I have found that the world in my head is a complex and divided place. There is a driving need for order with an inability to maintain it. I received ERP to treat the OCD and it was one of the most difficult things that I have done, but it was very helpful. On the other hand, I have decided to use medication to treat the ADHD because I haven’t found any non-med option that has been effective. And my experience with using the ADHD med has been strange. It is a controlled substance. That means that you get ID’d when you pick up the med, which you can only pick up at one pharmacy. You have to bring your meds in for random counts. You have to pee in a cup for random drug testing. You have to sign a med contract. The script has to be paper rather then an e-script. There are just so many bull shit hoops to jump through so I can take this med. All because you might be an addict or you might be diverting you med. Nothing like making a person feel like they’re a criminal for having ADHD.
The system it self is built in such a way that fosters stigma. By making us go through all of this, it is sending the message to our providers that we are likely to be engaging in criminal behavior. Otherwise, why would we have to be monitored? And that message is sent to everyone in the office from the one writing the script to the person at the desk. They give the medical assistant the cup with instruction to collect the drug screen. Stigma message sent. The provider tells the secretary to call me to come in for a random drug count or random drug screen. Stigma message sent. The provider hesitates to write the script. They are dubious of the adult ADHD diagnosis and are wary of “drug seekers.” Stigma message sent. That shit just fucking sucks. I am lucky. I have never felt like those providing me care were judging me, but I have known many who have experienced that.
Bleh. It’s a catch 22. Our culture/society is set up in such a way that medications are the first line treatment for everything. But if you are taking medications you are a “drug seeker” and are some how a failure. Well fuck that. I argue that it is society that is the failure. We as a group should be able to support each other. We should be able to tolerate and nurture. Why aren’t we researching options other then meds? If you think that meds are so terrible, get out there and research other options. I’d love to have more treatment options! Get off your ass and move to make change for the situation or shut the fuck up about how we are struggling through with what we have. Seriously. You have no idea. None. The system is broken. And those of us caught up in it are just trying to survive. Please, don’t judge us for using what there is. Believe me, we know it isn’t great. We would love to have something better.