"Taking medication isn't my weakness..."

I just posted a quote on my instagram page that said:

“Taking medication isn’t my weakness, it’s what I do to help myself feel strong again.”

This hit home with me for a lot of reasons. The first being, as mentioned in this article, I come from an environment where medications were the enemy. This has caused me so much mental anguish because, since my diagnosis back in 2000, I haven’t been able to live without medications.

Between managing my IBD symptoms and dealing with another autoimmune disease, plus chronic migraines and fibromyalgia… my quality of life would be non-existent without pharmaceutical meds. I wish to God that wasn’t true but I do know and have accepted the reality. Unfortunately, it doesn’t change my loved ones feelings on the matter, which leads me to wonder in the back of my mind if I am doing something wrong by ingesting medications that often come with an assortment of unpleasant side effects.

Do you!

I recently found the words DO YOU on social media and fell in love with everything those two little words stand for. To me, it means run your own show. You are the one living your life. You are the one feeling what you are feeling.

There is a lot of comparison on social media and that holds true for chronic illness communities as well. There are debates about whether medication should be involved in helping with mental health issues. There are those same debates about whether someone should come off all IBD medication and start a new diet or lifestyle program. It can be upsetting, yet hopeful at the same time to see others with your condition be able to achieve an improved quality of life without the need for pharmaceuticals.

However, please understand that you not only are probably missing some key things from other people’s stories but we are all unique. Our inflammatory bowel disease manifests differently in everyone. So, while it is only natural to compare and look to others with the same diagnosis for ways of eliminating some of the things you don’t want to continue doing (for example, ingesting medication), it is important to understand and internalize the fact that we are all different.

"There is no right or wrong way to go about life with a chronic illness."

Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis impact our entire body and it does so in different ways for every person with the disease. I wish to God that we were all the same in this way because it would take a lot of the guesswork out of things. But, alas, we are not. We must continue to do our own trial and error to find what works best for us and our lives. There is no right or wrong way to go about life with a chronic illness. I have my opinions, just like I am sure you have yours. We are all entitled to think and feel the way we want about any treatment method. It is crucial to try and igraine in yourself that the way you are handling your disease is fine. You aren’t doing anything wrong by needing medication. You aren’t doing anything wrong by experimenting with various lifestyle changes.

So, to go back to the quote stated above, taking medication is not a weakness. You didn’t fail if you need medication for your inflammatory bowel disease (I believe most people do FYI). You didn’t fail if you need to take mental health medication. While I know all of us would rather never ingest another pill ever again, we are strong for recognizing that our bodies may require us to do things we wish we didn’t want to. We are all insanely strong for dealing with the side effects and other issues that can come with pharmacological medications in the hopes that our quality of life will improve.

You are not weak for needing any type of medication. Remember that!

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