I take a lot of vitamins and supplements to help with my various ailments. It’s my pro-active way of doing everything I can do be my best me for me, and for you. Ironically, there have been some “you”s in my life who haven’t exactly been nice about it.
Just the same as some people who don’t want to hear about our conditions, there are some that don’t want to see it. Like, how nice that our illnesses are invisible and how about we just keep it that way?
It’s pill shaming, and it’s not cool. Pills are a particular target, because they carry a lot of stigma. My pills happen to be vitamins, but as they are in pill form, they’ve been simply called “pills”‘ and looked down upon.
“What would happen if you stopped taking all those pills? Have you ever tried?” a man I was dating asked me. We didn’t date for long.
And then that time recently when I was at a conference having appetizers with other professionals and I got out my little pill case and a man at the table said, “This is a really weird time for you to do that.”
Really? They say, “Take with food.”
Me taking my vitamins is no different than someone eating their green beans. I’m putting healthy things in my body that help me function at my best. Sometimes I will take a prescription, for inflammation, digestive flare-ups, or infections. It’s seriously no different than someone taking a nap in the middle of the day so they can be more refreshed for an evening social engagement. It’s a means available to me to make me feel better, and I use that means.
Fine, people abuse pills sometimes and no one abuses naps. Well, maybe some people do! – sleeping through a day while neglecting responsibilities, falling asleep on the job.
But we simply can’t do that. We can’t tie what some people do wrong with a certain thing to everybody who uses that certain thing. I don’t want to go down the gloomy road of listing the terrible stuff people do and their means of doing it. You get the idea.
Pills are just one example of treatment shaming. We have so many ways to help ourselves feel better, and there still aren’t nearly enough, honestly. Whatever it is that we do for ourselves, let us be, for all the same reasons that you should let us openly talk about it (read Chapter 2 of my book here to see our reasons), if even it looks weird, or you don’t understand how or why it works, of if you’ve known someone who’s done the same thing in a harmful way. We are all our different selves, not someone else you’ve known.
My keto diet is like your skin care routine. His visits to a psychic advisor are like their pot of coffee. These are simply the things we all do to live our best lives.
For more, watch my video clip on stigma and illness shaming: