When it comes to make important life decisions, it’s almost never black or white for me – I always look at a very wide spectrum of grey areas in between. However, even though I’m able to see all my grey areas, I often see other people labelling the decisions I make as either black or white.
Four years ago, I was feeling joint pain that started limiting the activities of my everyday life. So I went to the doctor and after some tests she said she couldn’t really give me a name for what I had, and that I was in the grey area of connective tissue diseases, which fortunately also meant that I didn’t fit into any type of arthritis or other more serious diseases.
My medication took a long time to work, and it was not the only thing I had to do to get better. I think the most important thing in my recovery was running, but I know that running wouldn’t have been even a possibility had I not taken my medication.
Four years later, I am now taking half of the dosage I started with and I can happily say I’ve never been this energized and active in my life. However, I recently had a conversation that made me feel a little judged by someone I care about because she doesn’t really trust medication. Her comments made me feel a little hurt because I felt that she wasn’t considering all my grey areas, she was judging my decision with a black or white mentality: are you taking medication?, yes or no?
It felt like the rest of the efforts and things I’ve done to feel better didn’t matter at all, to her I’m still doing this one thing that she thinks is wrong. After that conversation, I really wanted to write this post because I can imagine that people taking medication for anxiety disorders or depression get judged much more harshly and frequently.
When people are making decisions about medication, I encourage them to not frame the question as: “Should I take medication?” but instead as: “What supports are going to empower me to make the healthy changes I need to make to be healthy and happy five years from now?” It helps to make treatment decisions around where you’re going and what you want to build.Whether somebody takes medication or doesn’t take medication won’t change the fact that they need to make healthy changes in their life if they want to improve their mental health and prevent relapse in the future. If a person takes meds, they still need to make those changes. If a person doesn’t take meds, they still need to make those changes.
When it comes to health, there are no yes or no questions, you really do need to take many things into consideration and make the decisions that will work for you. Find the grey area that will make you healthy and happy, and try not to get too hung up on the fact that your shade of grey might still look black or white to someone else. But it needs to work just for you, do the changes that matter to you.
Photo credit: Fernando Pichardo Ríos
Being an adult was something I was always anxious about. I thought I would be terrible at it as I was anxious about most things. Recently, when my OCD and other anxieties were too bad and I decided to look into help, I felt so childish. I was dependent on others, I had no job, I was done with school. I started to yearn for independence and “adulthood.”
Finally, I got a job and have started to be able to support myself. Suddenly, all the things that gave me anxiety growing up were exciting. Little things like walking into the office with coffee in the morning or buying my own groceries and clothes are oddly relaxing to my anxieties.