[WARNING: This post is a rant against the pill-popping society that we’ve become]
My grandfather was a hypochondriac. According to him, he suffered with many aches, pains, and illness. There was always something wrong with him – and a pill to fix it. He was a pleasure-seeker, so he was always looking for that “next thing” that made him feel good. It was often found in prescriptions.
This is not a fond memory. The fact is, there was a lot wrong with him due to mental illness, but this particular symptom has had a lasting effect on me. You see, I don’t want to be like him. I don’t want to take a pill for every little ache or pain. The irony is that if you have an illness or ache while at my house I probably have the OTC medication in my bathroom cabinet to help relieve your symptoms. I just don’t take them. I often live with a mild headache or pain in my joints rather than take an aspirin or a couple of Advil.You see, we have become a society of the quick fix. Every day there are ads on television about the latest drug that will help with whatever ails you. Feeling a little blue? There’s a pill for that. In fact, many of these drugs have more than one advertisement because they “help” more than one problem. Did you know that Cymbalta® is indicated for both mood disorders and some types of arthritis? www.cymbalta.com. I became aware of this when I saw one ad for Cymbalta® as a supplement for depression and then later in the same hour I saw another ad for Cymbalta® as relief for fibromyalgia. Of course I had to go and look it up.
Now don’t get me wrong. There are people with serious, clinically diagnosed, physical ailments, like fibromyalgia, arthritis, heart disease, and diabetes. And I’m not saying medication should be avoided if you have a potentially life-threatening health issue. But there is a rising trend with pharmaceuticals that promise to fix whatever bothers you, and that is my objection.
I grew up in the ‘70’s. There was no such thing as attention deficit disorder. If you misbehaved in school you were punished. You had to stand in the corner or received a detention and could not play at recess. The real trouble makers were sent to the principal’s office. But we learned to behave, and I don’t remember a lot of serious offenders in elementary school, though there were a few. Today, parents don’t want to take the time to discipline their children. And they refuse to let school teachers provide appropriate structure in the classroom. Instead, a child, acting like a child, is labeled and given drugs to control their behavior.
When I was a senior in high school we had a particularly disciplined English teacher. She was structured and demanded the best out of us. She had a reputation for being stern. We all fell in love with her. On the evening of our Senior Prom a group of us all went to dinner together. The conversation eventually came around to her class. One of my classmates began to sing her praises. His date said, “But she flunked you?” His response, “Yeah, and I deserved it!” Back in 1982 there were consequences for our behavior and we learned from the discipline and structure that was imposed. Today, behavior is excused and children are given drugs.
You’re probably wondering how this is related to Christine and Stevens-Johnson Syndrome. I do not know what caused Christine’s allergic reaction. I don’t know if she was taking a prescription drug, if it was an infection, or if it was a reaction to an OTC non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) – all of them common culprits from my research. It may have been a combination of things. And Christine is not the type of person to take a pill just for the sake of taking a pill. But her condition got me thinking about my own reaction to taking medications (of any kind) and how I’ve become an advocate for whole foods, organics, good nutrition, and exercise for healthy living to help ward off sickness and disease. Christine has been burned from the inside out. And she needs to heal from the inside out.As you know, I underwent chemotherapy treatments. I have learned a lot more about my diagnosis as I’ve researched the details of my pathology report. I have never thought that I needed chemotherapy to “cure” me, but rather it was preventative medicine. I still believe that, and I am convinced that it was necessary given my diagnosis. But I’ve also learned things that I can do to help prevent cancer. Anyone can do these things. Stay at a healthy weight, for one. As a result, I am on a “diet” to get my weight into a healthy range. I am also conscious of what I eat. I would say that I am 80% organic now. I say that because I refuse to become obsessive. I buy and eat as much organic as I can. However, I still go out with friends, eat in restaurants, and go to dinner parties at other’s homes. I’m also known to enjoy a dessert or glass of wine. The adage “everything in moderation” comes to mind.
So my rant against pharmaceuticals is not that we do not need doctors or medicine. It is not that I can never take an aspirin. Rather, I think about what I am ingesting and why. It is about balancing the need for a prescription medication with letting a cold run its course. For me, it is about not obsessing about taking a decongestant. As much as my grandfather was a bad example (or a good example of what not to be), I have to think that his influence was, in fact, a good thing because I stop and think about what I am taking and why. And I am conscious of not making some pill a habit.
We, as a society, need to get back to what is wholesome, nutritious, and real. We need to heal from the inside out.
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