I consider the twenties a wash. A lot of us don’t like to remember, or sometimes even admit, to things we experienced or did prior to getting help.
Self-medication is a loose term. Especially when we used it as an excuse for mania and now, with a proper mood stabilizer, that term “self medication” should no longer exist. I say should but we are all prone to old habits. Old habits are just that, habits, which don’t get affected by any form of medication. And you can’t lean on “self-medication” as an excuse to engaging in bad habits once you get stabilized.
I recall the first time I took my mood stabilizer. I was driving down Sunset Blvd. and didn’t drive with urgency. I experienced a whole new kind of relaxation that felt like, or equivalent to, the feeling of having a couple glasses of wine, or a joint. It hit me that I didn’t need alcohol or marijuana to curb my hypomania. Yes, I thought. I am free from wild restless nights of using alcohol to get to sleep, and stop the internal combusting in my brain, and I can finally feel what it’s like to walk in the world without excessive energy. My problems are solved!
It was an opportunity for me to stop my “self medication.” I thought awesome, I can switch out my bad habits and pop a pill and everything will be as it should be. My mood stabilizer will replace my “self-medication.”
But life doesn’t work like that. The self-medication you did prior to your psychiatric help and medication doesn’t end with a pill.
Turns out, there is no “self-medication.” Self-medication is an excuse for bad habits. I realize I can’t point to my poor habits as self-medication cause, habits aren’t affected by medication.
Habits stand alone.
Don’t let your excuse, or reliance on self-medication, foul you. Work on the habit, and ditch the rest.
Girl with pills photo available from Shutterstock
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Last reviewed: 5 May 2013