My Dad doesn’t take pills. When his doctor informed him that he was pre-diabetic, Dad asked for six months to get his diet and exercise in-line before starting medication. At fifty-five, he is very proud of the fact that he doesn’t need daily meds to manage his cholesterol or sugar or whatever else middle-aged men generally need pills for (based on the spam I receive, I don’t want to know).
He’s also weirdly proud of his feet.
My mom, on the other hand, is a huge fan of all sorts of natural supplements. If you dare to sniffle over the phone or absentmindedly mention that you’re a little tired, you can expect a package of allerplex or congaplex or some other sort of plex within 48 hours. And a follow-up text to make sure you received it and are taking it.
I’m more like my Dad in that I fall closer to the “fewer meds, thanks” part of the “I’ll take any pill that might possibly help this slight pain in my left pinky toe” to “I won’t pollute my body with prescribed chemical crap” spectrum. In just about every other way I’m as similar to my mom and Little Darcy is to The Engineer.
Although I do appreciate the effect Excedrin Extra Strength has on my migraines.
It’s not that I’m against medication—but we tend reach for it sooner than we implement lifestyle changes. It’s easier and more comfortable to take a pill than to start running five miles a day. I’d rather take an Excedrin now and then so I can keep drinking caffeine and getting odd amounts of sleep without the massive headaches.
It surprises me how quickly I came around to trying anxiety medication, given how long it took me to recognize and accept the illness.
When I (finally) saw the therapist who formally diagnosed me with moderate postpartum depression and anxiety, she urged me to consider medication as a treatment option. Her argument was that that Little Darcy was already nine months old and this clearly wasn’t going away by itself. I would have to meet with the psychiatrist if I was interested; the clinical social worker wasn’t able to prescribe medication herself.
I had to wait another month to see the psychiatrist, which shouldn’t have been such a surprise given what it took to get this first appointment.
It turns out the wait was a good thing—I was vehemently opposed to the idea medication those first few days after being diagnosed. I didn’t have a very clear reason as to why, I just didn’t want to take pills everyday. When I realized I’d have to miss school (I’m a teacher, sub plans suck, and I’m a bit territorial over my classroom) to make the appointment with the psychiatrist, I decided to just cancel it. Now that I knew had PPD, couldn’t I just fix it by myself?
Dry Mama to the rescue.
Dry Mama pointed out that in the month before the appointment I could try the other strategies that were recommended—alone time, self-help books, basic self care. Exercise. If those strategies worked and I was feeling better, great! If not, I’d have options. Plus, just because a medication was recommended didn’t mean I’d have to take it—and didn’t I want all the information?
Of course I wanted all of the information. I’m my mother’s daughter, we always want all of the information.
I ultimately did choose the medication route and continue to try to implement better self-care. A pill is a pill. Taking it does not mean I’m weak. It does not mean I’m strong. It means I’m willing to do what it takes to make things better, for myself and for my family.
It also wasn’t a quick fix. I started medication about seven weeks after I first read Teigen’s article. It took six weeks for the medication to fully work, at which point they adjusted my dosage. Four weeks beyond that, I felt like me.
That same week Little Darcy turned one.
My Dad just had his equivalent of a well-baby appointment, and his numbers are looking even better. My mom “forgot” some of her supplements here on her last visit and said I should just use them. I’m proud of all of us for taking care of our health, whatever forms that may take.