I feel like today’s blog is a bit of a continuation of the blog about understanding what effects you and how. The shift in today’s blog is that we’re going to discuss medication. This post is inspired by my conversation with Women Who Inspire co-author, Lauren Fisher.
Here’s the thing, I am not a doctor and I am not trying to give you medical advice. I am just someone who has had a lot of experience with medications, both positive and negative and the thing I’ve learned is that we have got to pay attention, understand that there are many medications in the world to the point where not all doctors understand all medications fully and really become advocates for ourselves because everybody and every body is different.
Here’s my experience with medication (a very brief version).
I grew up with addiction prevalent around me. I was one of the lucky ones because those struggling with it didn’t hide it from me. I was very aware of the effects of addiction and how difficult it could be for people to get help and get sober. It was an experience I swore I would never go through and therefore, I swore off all drugs and alcohol (at one point, I now enjoy a very occasional glass of wine 😉 ). Then in my early twenties, I was one of over 60 injured in the now infamous Santa Monica Farmer’s Market crash (which is part of what my chapter in Women Who Inspire is about) and I developed debilitating post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and needed to be medicated. It was a HUGE struggle for me…I mean HUGE because it really was life or death. I refused medication because I was so scared of becoming an addict that it nearly killed me and I’m not exaggerating. I didn’t sleep for 8 months and my body and brain were on the brink and I snapped one day.
This happened to me mostly because of my fear of addiction, but to be honest, it happened in large part to the stigma that’s been developed around mental health medication. I was embarrassed that I needed to be on something to control my mood. That really bothers me.
There’s this meme going around the internet that just sends me into an internal anger that I can’t explain…it has a side-by-side picture of a pill next to a picture of a forest and it says over the forest picture “This is an anti-depressant” and then over the pill “This is Shit.” GGGRRRREEE!!!! This image breaks my heart because people who are really struggling with depression will feel too embarrassed to seek the help they really need in order to save their lives. Depression is no joke.
Now, listen, I’m a giant fan of nature and trying to heal yourself naturally. I really am. But, there are certain times when medication is necessary. I’ve found that the key is to make sure you’re really paying attention to what the medication is doing to your body and your mind because the side effects can be just as dangerous as the condition you’re trying to treat. Lauren and I talk at length about that during our conversation and I really hope you’ll tune in when the interview comes out on Sept 14th because it’s such an important conversation. There’s so much more to it than what can be written here in my little blog, but the bottom line is that we have to do two things (IMHO)
(1) Really begin to understand our bodies and how things effect our moods. A quick story to illustrate. A few weeks ago I was at my doctors and she put me on a new medication to help get my blood sugar under control so we could focus on curing my diabetes. I happily took the medication knowing that we have a plan so that I don’t have to be on it forever (that’s me advocating for myself with a doctor who is truly a part of my recovery team). It took about a day and I just wasn’t feeling right. Then on day two of taking the medication, I was driving and I wasn’t upset or anything and all of a sudden, I had the thought of “I should just drive my car into a tree and end it.” Whoa!!! That’s not a normal thought.
Because I’m very aware of my moods and physical body, I was able to recognize right away that it was a side effect of the medication. Sure enough, I went home, read the side effects (which I don’t do before hand anymore because then I hypochondriac myself into thinking I have all of them) and suicidal thoughts are a potential side-effect of this medication. I called my doctor right away, told her what happened and went off that medication immediately. She gave me a new one and it is totally working without any of the side effects. That’s why it’s so important to understand your body. It really can be the difference between life and death.
(2) We’ve got to stop shaming people for getting the help they need. It is none of our business what they do with their bodies. We’re not their doctors and we’re not them. Do I think people are over medicated…sure…sometimes. But, it’s a much more complicated issue than a meme or even a blog post like this can cover and making people who might really need help feel bad for getting it is dangerous. Listen, no one is perfect and I’m just as guilty as the next for talking about how this great new diet has totally changed things or this herb is the cure for this or that…but, the reality is that everyone is different. We don’t know people’s medical or life histories enough to be dispensing medical advice. Mental health or as Lauren calls it (and I love this sooooo much), mental awareness is a serious thing. When you’ve got a chemical imbalance, things effect you differently. When we post things that shame people out of seeking all types of help (including medication), we really are messing with life and death. It’s just important to remember that.
Again, I am a big proponent of healing naturally, but I am also a big proponent of making sure you try all things to make you feel better and live the life you truly want to live. Be aware, pay attention and create a system that works for you and please, please, please if you are struggling (especially with suicidal thoughts) ask for help. There is NO shame in asking for help. None.
I know it can be difficult but please, the world needs you to be happy, healthy and most important, alive. Here is a number where you can get help if you need it 1-800-273-8255.
Wow! This blog took a turn toward the serious and I’m all emotional. I just want to hug everyone who is struggling, squeeze them and say that “you can get through this. This is not forever.” It feels strange to now promote the book. But, the thing is that the book can be a major resource because the stories in it are all about overcoming and, honestly you guys, they are powerful and amazing. I do hope you’ll get yourself a copy when it comes out on Sept. 26th along with all the free goodies being offered that day. I especially hope that you’ll get a copy if you’re struggling or gift it to someone you know who is. It might just change your or their lives.
Want to know what’s happening with the launch of the book and learn how to get all the free goodies on the day of its release? Sign up for my mailing list and I’ll send you the info.
Also, I’ve been asked a lot lately how I make my dreams into realities and I realized a lot of it has to do with understanding who I am and how I want to live my life or, the heart of my own personal brand. You can get to the heart of yours by taking my, GET TO THE HEART OF YOUR BRAND, course at Udemy