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passing 2

January 30, 2012

I am trying to post at least weekly and wow – it is already a week since my last post.  So I am going to talk about me today.  I take medication to assist in the management of depression.  I was chatting with a friend recently and mentioned that I would like to continue to reduce how much medication that I take.  In fact, I dream of not needing to take any medication.

Before I continue, it is important that I strongly emphasize that I am not remotely suggesting that other people with conditions that require medication should even consider reducing or eliminating their medications.  I only make medication changes following consultation with a physician.  I strongly encourage people to discuss any medication questions, desires, concerns etc. with one or more physicians.

Medications, in many ways, have given my real personality back to me.  Medication assists me to manage the depression and allows the real me to show through.  So why do I even think about reducing my medication?  I’m not sure.  My friend asked me if it might be because taking medication allows me to ‘pass’ as a person without a mental illness.  I realized that – at least in part – this is true.  With medication, I am able to cope with many more stressors than I am able to cope with without medication. But is it really that healthy for me?

Maybe it would be better if I reduced the stressors as well as the medication.  Maybe if I and others said “this is what I can manage and continue to feel competent, successful and well”, others would feel more free to take on interesting challenges and make more contributions to our communities.  What is the connection, you ask.  Well, many of us with mental illnesses limit how many activities we participate in because we are concerned that we won’t be able to manage – we’ll break down.  Maybe if we all stopped passing, there would be more of us stretching ourselves a little and making more contributions.  We would feel confident that others would understand if we needed to slow down in order to stay well.  In the end our communities would be richer due to our talents even if they are shared in unique ways.

Please feel free to challenge me or to add to what I have suggested.  My goal is to learn with others.

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