First, know that I affirm your courage and vulnerability to seek out support. Reading a blog with the hope of gaining more knowledge about yourself and what you are experiencing is so proactive and can help you grow in greater awareness of yourself.
So please know, that as you are reading this, I am not saying that you have to take medication or that you should. I am not a doctor. Out of compassion for yourself and a desire to see you experience wholeness and healing, I’d like to talk about common beliefs that keep us from even exploring the possibility of medication.
Personal Beliefs and Questions
In my time in the field, I have heard many reflect these statements and questions when the topic of medications came up. Truly, what you decide to put into your body should be your choice. Here are a few thoughts that have been expressed to me. Do any of them sound familiar?
- If I take medication, it means that I am “crazy”
- If I take medication, it means that I am not strong enough
- If I take medication, I have to admit that “something is really wrong”
- If I take medication, than I will become addicted to it
- If I take medication, than I will have to deal with some challenging side effects
- It doesn’t matter what it’s for, I do not want to take anything that is unnatural
- Pharmaceutical companies and doctors are just trying to make more money
- Medication doesn’t really help
- Taking medication is so expensive
- I don’t mind taking medication, but does it mean that I will need to take it the rest of my life?
- Things haven’t gotten that bad. There’s still a few more things that I can try before I need to take medication
- I already take so many medications, I don’t want to take anymore
- I know what I need to do, once I do those things than everything will be fine. I don’t need to take anything.
Many individuals have personal beliefs and questions about medication because of what they have experienced or have witnessed others’ experience. In addition, one’s beliefs about medication can be influenced by one’s culture or their faith community. See Helping Faith Communities Turn To Mental Health for more information on the impact that faith community beliefs can have on seeking treatment.
Is This A Belief That Can Be Reframed?
When people take the courageous step to reflect their questions and beliefs out loud, I often ask them to share a little more. Feelings of fear, guilt, confusion, and weariness often rise to the surface as they reflect upon taking medication. Once we’ve identified some of the feelings and thoughts attached to them, it’s important to start to reframe (consider another way of thinking about it) what can be changed and to answer the question, “is what I’m doing now working?”
For instance, for the statement, “taking medication makes me crazy,” is it possible there’s another way of thinking about it that can offer compassion to yourself? Like: “I have worked so hard to find what will help me the most. It’s possible that without at least exploring this, I will continue to feel out of control.” Jokingly, Dr. Phil has often said that the definition of insanity is continuing to do the same thing expecting to get a different result. Considering to take medication could be the different something that will get you your desired result.
Now, With All This Information…
These last few weeks we’ve looked at how our biological makeup and emotional struggles can lead us to consider the possibility of taking medication. We explored the different types of medications that are prescribed. And we’ve reflected upon our personal beliefs and questions connected to taking medication. Exploring your options is something that you should not have to walk through alone. Please know I am available, willing, and interested in helping you consider your options. Call today!
Written by therapist Pamela Larkin