Pill shaming has become an epidemic in our society. When you take medication to control your blood pressure no one has anything negative to say regarding your decision to take advantage of a more targeted medical intervention. In most cases people will applaud you for doing what is best for your health. But when you choose to take medication for a mental illness or chronic health condition that other people can’t survey and for the most part can’t see or understand, a sudden sigma is attached to the practice. Taking medication for any health condition is a positive decision and here are 10 reasons why you should not feel shame for taking medication, regardless of your ailment.
1. It isn’t weak
In regards to mental health and chronic health conditions there are many people who believe it to be weak to take medication, as though you aren’t strong enough to fight the condition on your own. Not only is this a toxic view point to have and it should have no place in our communities. It is also wrong. It is not weak to take medication. The process of finding the correct medication for your situation is often long and frustrating and it takes time. This is not a weak thing to do and it isn’t shameful either. If anything, dedicating so much of your time to conversing with health professionals and establishing treatment plans is difficult but it is also incredibly strong. To admit you aren’t able to fight your condition alone is the least weak thing you can do. It is one of the best things you will ever do for your health in fact.
2. You aren’t giving up
Like the previous point, there are some people who are under the impression that taking medication is a last resort and only comes when you’ve given up all other treatment options and are at the end of your tether. This is also wrong. To take medication is not an act of surrendering, it is just a different way to battle your condition. You are in no way giving up or giving in, you are not laying your life down, you should feel absolutely no shame about this. You are fighting for your life in the smartest and most targeted way you possibly can.
3. It can prepare you for the future
Medication is not a band aid solution to complicated health problems. You can’t just take a capsule and think your fight is over. Unfortunately mental and chronic health issues are not this easy to fix. Medication will also not cure you, but it can help prepare you and that is one of its greatest benefits. By taking medication if you have chronic health problems, you can prepare yourself for future procedures. If you have mental health issues, medication can help you when seeking other professional help such as therapy. Medication can often be the beginning of a better health journey and there is absolutely no shame in there.
4. It allows you to function
There is no shame in giving yourself the best possible chance to function as close to ‘normal’ as you can. While normal is a relative term and looks differently for everyone, taking medication allows us to function in similar ways to our peers and colleagues and friends who do not have the same health problems. You shouldn’t feel shame for wanting to have the same opportunities as the people around you and medication in many cases allows this function to be restored. It makes the day to day lives for people with medical conditions easier to manage.
5. You didn’t ask for health problems
Taking medication is not something you should feel shame over because you didn’t ask for your health problems. The guilt some people feel because they are sick isn’t deserving but our healing is our responsibility. While the condition is not your fault, seeking the appropriate health does fall on us. In many cases this means taking medication daily in order to manage. There is no shame in managing a condition you never wished upon yourself. Here you are dealing with something you didn’t ask for.
6. It doesn’t reflect your character
There is a common misconception that leads a lot of people to feel shame for taking medication. Some believe it reflects directly on your character and says something about the person that you are. It doesn’t. But if it did it would say something like, “I am sick but I am also strong and committed to living the best life I possibly can in spite of my health problems.” There is no shame in taking medication because it doesn’t define you in any way. Your willingness to fight does and it says far more positive things than it does negative about you and your character.
7. It is brave
There I said it.. taking medication is brave and for that you should not feel shame. It can be scary to admit you need help that you can’t give to yourself alone. It is intimidating to make the appointment to ask your GP or health professional what options there are for you and for your own circumstances. None of that should make you feel shame because you are doing something that is hard to do and doing it so you can lead a healthier and happier life.
8. It benefits those around you
Taking medication can make us better people. By helping to manage our health problems we can take some of the pressure off the people around us to give us the help we need. We are not the only ones who benefit from taking medication. Anyone close to us also benefits from the reassurance that we are doing what is best for our health. There is no reason to feel shame for doing something that is proactive and considerate.
9. It allows for conversation
When you are open about your health journey and confide in others that you are currently taking medication it allows for more open conversations to occur which both helps you to feel less shame and others to feel less shame also. Not only does this create better support systems it also helps to reduce the stigma associated with medication use.
10. It gives other people permission to seek help
When you so openly seek help you give others permission to seek help also. After all what we see, we are able to become. You should not feel shame for paving the path for other people like you. In fact you should be proud that by doing something difficult and for putting your health first, you are setting an example for others that will allows more people to get the help they deserve.
Are you someone who takes medication? How has it changed your life? In the comments below offer advice for others who may feel shame over taking medication! Let’s create a positive thread and an open conversation below.
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A poet, INFP and an empath who is never without a book, and thoroughly enjoys a soy latte. Based in Melbourne, Australia.