That’s a pretty bold statement to make and I am sure many of you are reeling right now ready to rip me a new one. So I will list all of the reasons I know of as to why people don’t take medication and my thoughts on them. If I forgot one or don’t have your reason on there, please educate me.
Reasons people do not take medication to treat anxiety or other mental health disorders:
- Many people think that taking medication is not natural. They think that our bodies should be able to handle things on their own or look for strict organic alternatives.
- They think that they should be able to handle their “mental shortcomings” on their own, that using medication is somehow degrading or embarrassing.
- Or maybe they have simply had a bad experience that has turned them off of the idea. The side effects were so horrible that they would rather live with the original problem.
- Or maybe you are like me and have insurance problems and can’t afford it!
Let me address these issues.
- Medication is not natural- I have a hard time understanding this one. Maybe my spiritual beliefs are giving me a blind spot. The way I see it, everything we have been given on this Earth is a gift from God. A man having the knowledge to take certain elements and put them together to make a medicine that will help us doesn’t qualify something as “man made” to me. This is in reply to people who consider medicine to be man made vs. organic alternatives which are not man made and are therefore better somehow. Everything is created from God. He just gives us the knowledge and enlightenment on how to use everything to our advantage. Just because it doesn’t come directly from the ground or a plant doesn’t mean it’s automatically bad for your body. To me you might as well go back to the Stone Age and live without electricity because the light in your house isn’t natural and who knows what kind of long term damage that could have on you. Granted there are medicines that have proven to be bad for you, but I am not arguing that ALL medicines are good either. I am purely stating that there are SOME medicines that can really help you and shouldn’t be pushed aside simply because it’s a pill. I am talking about people who won’t even take a Tylenol because of what it might do to their body. (If you actually do have unpleasant side effects and that’s why you don’t take medicine than that’s a different situation that I am not referring to here, and will address that later.)
- Embarrassed or too proud- that’s exactly what it is. Pride. LOTS of people struggle with this one including myself for a long time. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. If you have diabetes, and you need to take insulin every day for it, than that’s what your body needs to survive. No one thinks twice about that. But somehow people think that if your mind doesn’t have the right chemical balance and that causes them to have unrealistic fears or high levels of anxiety, that they should be able to handle it on their own and learn to deal with it, otherwise they are incompetent. Why on earth has that stigma been placed in our society? If your brain needs medication to function normally, adjust the chemical imbalance, than by all means give your body or your mind what it means. No one should look down on you for that and if they do than why would you want to hang around them anyway? I struggled with that because I want everyone to like me and worried what people would think if they knew I took medication. It turns out that not very many people even know that I am on it, and the ones that do have been extremely nice to me and have continued to be my friend.
- Bad Side Effects when attempting to take medicine- This one I feel for the most. I have been extremely lucky to not have really horrible side effects for the medication I have been given. I still think that even if you have had a bad experience, it doesn’t mean you should swear them all off. I think you just haven’t found the right one. There are doctors that are willing to work with you to find what works best for you, but it’s a longer process that can get tiresome. Its easier for me to say don’t give up when I haven’t had the same experiences. But if I did, I would like to think I would continue to look for options to help me and not just accept my fate. Sure you can do other things that help immensely such as breathing techniques, positive affirmations, writing out your thoughts and then analyzing them, etc. All of these are great tools that have served me well. However the frequency of having to rely on these dropped dramatically when I finally got my act together and started taking medication regularly. Every time I stop taking it for whatever reason, (I forget or get out of the habit, I don’t have insurance so I don’t get the refill, etc.) I always pay for it with a setback. It makes my life so much easier to be consistent. For people still trying to find what works, you can take Vitamins B and C to help in the meantime.
- Can’t afford it- This I have to admit is a hard one. I bet you there are programs out there to help you. I know your local LDS church has a welfare program that might be able to help you pay for needed medication. I am not sure on the policies for non members but it might be worth looking into that or a government operated welfare program. For me it was just a weird situation where there was an unexpected job change and we had to switch insurances and the timing was bad so I have been a couple weeks without meds and I wish I had thought it through with more importance instead of just having a “whatever” attitude about it.
What I am trying to get at is that we are all worth the time and trials to find a medication that makes our body and mind feel like your normal self. You are worth not having to wake up everyday and feel defeated, wondering how you will ever make it through this all over again. You are worth a trip to a doctor who can help you make the right decision for you. Don’t fool yourself into thinking its not worth it, because “its” = you. Its one thing to let yourself be abused as a child by someone else, let your self esteem be abused by mean kids or even adults, but today I am begging you to not abuse your self worth by thinking you don’t need medication, its not good for you, by giving up the search because its too hard, or by leaving you at the bottom of your priority list.
You deserve better.
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