Hi Hi Y’all,
I wanted to take a moment to mention something a bit serious again. I have someone I know in University who just came out as going to a counseling session for drug use. Now, just because I go to a top notch university like McGill doesn’t mean the people who attend it are robots immune to the problems. I had known of this person as someone who was pretty straight laced A type student back in their first year of University. Thinking of this person as someone who was going to sessions about a drug problem was shocking to me. They always had it together. They said it started with taking ritalin to stay up and study for exams. From there it went to sleeping pills to then fall asleep and then to other drugs for fun or other things. I’m not going to talk about their story past this. It is their journey and story. However, I am going to talk about the issue as a whole, because my attitude towards it has changed a lot over the years.
I mention it all the time, but I am from a conservative family. Growing up, my family wasn’t big on medication. If you really felt like you needed something just take Tylenol would be enough to tide over the problem. This led me to have two different reactions to the idea of drugs as a child. The first was I thought that people who relied on them or took them were weak and sort of pathetic. The second was me wishing I could take them. Sometimes, as a kid I would try to exaggerate the problem I was having in hopes of care or recognition. I would be sent to school with fevers or colds without a second thought. Part of me felt like if they gave me medicine it would be the same as recognition of it. However, this part was buried down because people who used drugs were weak. I was not expected to be weak. I was the kid everyone pinned their hopes on and had to succeed.
I kept this up for many years. It was a problem I could push away and not have to deal with. Then in high school I started feeling on well more. More people I knew were starting to use drugs for either medicinal purposes or recreational ones. The line between drug use and an individual seemed to get grayer. The idea of a lot of family problems occurring because no one in my family wanted to be responsible and take the medication they should be on became clearer. Still, I pushed this problem away as much as I could.
However, once again in University I was forced to confront this. I had gotten sick. I had entered into a world of chronic pain. No matter how much pain I was in I would actually tell some of my doctors I refused to take certain medications. My own mother had started getting sick about a year before me and was now taking from my family’s point of view lots of medication. Specifically, she seemed reliant on pain medication. The idea of being like that scared me more then it conflicted with my views. What if I started taking pain medication, became reliant on it, dealt with horrible side effects and allowed myself to be weak. I couldn’t allow that, so for three years I avoided some medication I should of been on and only took stronger versions of anti-inflammatory. However, there comes a time where you have to admit that isn’t enough.
When that time came for me I was scared. My fear of failure and all my other problems seemed to load on top of it as if I now had to carry another boulder on my back. I can’t say I am 100% okay with it all yet. I can say that now I can make jokes about it and remind myself I am on medication I need.
However, the biggest change is when I hear about someone like this. I don’t look down on them like I used to. I guess, even if I still think they are weak, a part of me can understand how it came to be. I think I can empathize with them a bit and maybe one day I can grow past my fear of weakness.