It seems like every time we turn on the TV there is a segment or local tragedy about the war on drugs, the opioid epidemic, or new studies highlighting just how rapidly masses of people are becoming addicted to or dying from prescription medications. According to the CDC, in 2017, over 72,000 people died of apparent overdoses and the trend only tends to increase. And though those numbers are a somber note of the times we're in it tells us that, at this very moment, millions of people are fighting addictions and afflictions that make pills their life jacket and anchor at the same time.
Whether the introduction to pills comes as a form of treatment for a physical or mental issue, what is intended to be a temporary solution can easily become a long term problem. It's important for everyone to understand that no one wakes up one morning aspiring to be addicted to prescription pills or in a situation where they have to take something. People don't plan on underestimating its power, losing custody of their children, losing their jobs, having their reputations altered, or ending up fighting a battle with the very thing that was supposed to help. Pills aren't taken because someone wants to ruin their life. More often than not, that person is looking for a way to escape something in their reality.
The pills we think are going to cure us are killing us at alarming rates, and with the lifestyles, stressors, and influences most Americans have, this sad fact is not a shocking one. These days instant gratification is the cornerstone of medical and technological advancements and many doctors give out bottles of pills like Halloween candy to their patients. Because we are accustomed to and expect microwave style results, we begin to think healing should work the same. Unfortunately, there is no magic button, pill, or potion that will instantly cure chronic pain, mental illnesses, or broken bones.
True healing is a process that involves the mind, body, and spirit. Though pills may certainly help, the body knows what it wants and needs, more than we give it credit for. That process toward balance oftentimes takes longer and more difficult than we anticipate. Therefore, whenever we have mental, emotional, or spiritual ailments what makes us think a pill will cure it? They can numb us, induce sleep, or relieve tensions but they can't produce miracles.
No pill can ever bring back a deceased family member, erase memories of traumatic or regretful events, or make us worthy in someone else's eyes. No prescription can cure us of all problems, make our lives or situations something they are not, or instantaneously bring peace to a person who has walked a journey consumed by pain. Pills don't end issues, solve problems, or stop spirals. They simply put both on pause and prolong them. The reality of whatever we need to face will be waiting, the voids will still be there, and the world will keep turning, but we will just be too disoriented to grasp it.
I don't know what it's like to suffer with a drug addiction or lose everything because of it, but I do know what it's like to take pills that weren't prescribed to me, consume multiple medications at one time in an effort to balance myself to a point I could function, and become even more depressed on medications that were supposed to help that very issue. There was a time that I, the person who always seemed to have it all together, was essentially losing my mind and exhibiting erratic, destructive, and suicidal behavior. I resorted to pills whenever I didn't want to cry with anxiety anymore. I didn't want to think anymore, and most of all, I didn't want to feel pain anymore. I just wanted to sleep and wake up content. I was tired of feeling the weight and pressure on my shoulders while feeling vulnerable, confused, and misunderstood at the same time.
I had to realize that I wasn't the only one hurting. I allowed my pain to trickle down and hurt everyone attached to me because I allowed myself to stay stuck in my spiral. I put them down and picked up more counseling and started my journey to conversion. As much as it isn't a great story to tell, it is one that opened my eyes and humbled me significantly. It was the first time I understood just the lengths I and anyone else would go to just to ease pain and have some peace.
I realized that some medications have the power to mess us up even more than we were to begin with, but we always have the choice to seek another route. If there is one lesson I learned from that difficult chapter in my life, it's sometimes what seems to be the shortcut or least painful course of action can be the most excruciating one. Our healing doesn't come from taking a pill or the approval and advice of other people. Healing is a product of discovering and addressing the true root of your ails, no matter if it's physical, mental, or spiritual.
Intertwined by Epidemic
If one friend, one family, one person has a pill problem, everyone attached to them has that problem. It doesn't mean that everyone connected to that person is physically taking pills, but I promise that everyone who loves and cares about them is affected in some way. We so easily get wrapped up in our pain and trying to do anything to numb it, that we inadvertently transfer our pain to the ones around us. We bring them worry for our well being, tears from watching our trials, and a sense of helplessness to see us in such condition. It's a web that is weaved.
Before judging people who suffer with addictions, depression, or those who find themselves dependent upon pills, take a step back and realize that can one day be you. Instead of looking at this issue as everyone's problem, put your name, your child's name, or someone you care about's name in that situation and see how fast you'll want to make a difference. The United States doesn't have a pill problem. My loved one doesn't have a pill problem. That homeless man doesn't have a pill problem. I have a pill problem.