My Response To a Very Stupid Question

Is There Any Point of Getting Diagnosed if You Don’t Want Drugs for Treatment?

So I can’t quite believe that a question such as this even exists therefore I can’t quite believe I’m taking time out of my busy day to write a post and an answer to such a question. I saw this on Twitter, via Reddit or something (I’ve never used Reddit in my life) and it angered me so much that I felt compelled to write something about it. If you know me, you will know I rarely feel ‘angered’ to the point of going full on blog rant about something (the last time I did this was my post on What’s the Point of Book Reviews?) but this is something that needs to be addressed.

my-response-to-a-very-stupid-question

Is there any point of getting diagnosed if you don’t want drugs for treatment? Before I give you a firm ‘yes‘ or ‘no‘ answer, let me just tell you a little bit of my back-story (in case you wasn’t aware – if you’d like to read about it in more detail you can here). I was diagnosed with GAD (Generalised Anxiety Disorder) in around 2012 after a weird but awful bout of the flu which left me bed bound for 2 weeks. I got better but something wasn’t right and my thought processes were all out. I couldn’t get back to normal and I began freaking out and getting anxious about everything. 4 years down the line, I still have anxiety but I can manage it. I don’t necessarily get anxious about the same sort of stuff I did – it fluctuates massively – but it’s still there to some degree. But I’m okay. I may sound very nonchalant about it here but trust me, it has changed my life and turned it completely upside down.

Now back to the original question: Is there any point of getting diagnosed if you don’t want drugs for treatment? Well, yes. There is a point. I never once took medication for my anxiety. I was prescribed medication but I didn’t even open the box. And here’s why:

  • I didn’t like the sound of the side-effects: I know this sounds pathetic because everything has side effects but they were so awful, especially the fact that you’re likely to feel worse before you feel better and you may experience suicidal thoughts. That terrified me.
  • I didn’t feel at my worse at the time of prescription: Which ties in above if I didn’t feel rock-bottom and felt I could cope without medication then I was going to damn well try.
  • I wanted to get through it without medication: I take herbal remedies (whether they actually work or not is a whole other matter but quite frankly, I don’t care if it’s a placebo affect) and that’s all I’m willing to take. I was determined not to put extra chemicals etc. into my body and to try and get through this naturally, with herbal remedies and counselling. And I did.

Now I know that not taking medication just isn’t an option for some people. And that’s fine. Some people need it and it works for them and that’s great – everyone is different and we need to find what works for us. But I’m talking about those who didn’t and don’t want to take medication today – like myself. And whether there was any point us getting diagnosed if we’re not going to take drugs the doctors want to give. us.

Of course there’s a point.

There’s a point because getting diagnosed is the turning point. Medication or not, is it the point where we have a solid indication of what is wrong and a solid foundation to work from and build ourselves back up from. Before I was diagnosed, I had no idea what was wrong with me – it was terrifying. But then, everything became clear. By being diagnosed, we can learn to recognise that what’s happening to us isn’t a freak incident that’s not happening to anyone else on the planet. It’s a real thing. And we’re not alone.

By being diagnosed, we can start researching ourselves. We know what to look for and where to find the appropriate help. Just like I did. Medication isn’t the be-all and end-all of mental health problems. It’s not the only option. We can begin to understand our thought processes more – however radical they may seem at the time. And having a doctors diagnosis can be the whole world off your shoulders. Whether you take any medication or not, is pretty irrelevant. There is always a point of a diagnosis. Medication or none.

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27 thoughts on “My Response To a Very Stupid Question

  1. I am with you on knowing what is “wrong” with you and not wanting to take meds.

    I wasn’t fully diagnosed with Fibromyalgia (or similar tired all the time, body pain etc.) But knowing what it is and how my body reacts is enough to be able to handle it. I don’t think I actually have Fibro, but knowing roughly what it is has really helped.

    I don’t want to take meds for similar reasons. I don’t think I need them. I am fully functional even if it does take a little more effort than the average “normal” person.

    Nice to see another person with a similar situation. 🙂

  2. I have a raft of ailments and conditions, all dutifully prescribed medication by my doctor. But one by one, I have stopped taking them all when I fully read the paperwork that comes with them. Most of them should never be taken by an asthmatic (me), or someone with a history of a heart condition (me again). And as for statins, something they dish out to everyone of my age, they are absolutely lethal. When my muscles completely seized up in agonizing pain, and I discovered this was a ‘normal’ side effect, I stopped taking them fast!

      • Yes and no. I fully believe doctors know what they are talking about. I also knew what they were saying wasn’t completely accurate to my symptoms so I looked online etc.

        This happened when I was 15 and my mom did lots of the research so I have always had the outlook of multiple sources. Which solidified my outlook as an adult.

        I never liked taking medicine for things unless I absolutely needed it. I also can’t swallow pills…I have to crush them..

    • Some medications do have truly awful side-effects don’t they? As I mentioned above, this post was referring only to mental health conditions. I’d never suggest not taking medication for something physical because I just don’t have the experience in that situation to share my thoughts on it.

  3. I can’t even get beyond the eye roll for the stupidity of that question. There is so much more to getting well than medication. Yes I take medication but I haven’t always and I don’t take very much in comparison to other people I know with Bipolar. There are many ways of managing illness’ but you have to know what the illness is before you can start to learn how to manage it properly.

    • Agreed, Claire! Medication for mental illness isn’t the be-all and end-all and those who choose not to are not stupid. Yes, doctors know what they’re talking about. But we know our bodies and minds better than anyone, I guess.

  4. Very interesting post and comments today. We all have our own way of dealing with things. I had a wonderful doctor who operated on me and removed the malignant tumor. While I was still in hospital he came into my room and talked with me about it. I was only 38 and had three children ages 12, 9, and 4. I told him I was going to be fine, it’s gone. I had children to raise and a life to live. He smiled and told me, the mind is a very powerful thing and I had tapped into a part of it that some just can’t reach. I am now 73 I had cancer twice more since then and surgeries for both. I never forgot what that doctor told me but more is important is that I believed him. I am still here enjoying life and my family including my grand children. Smart doctor, bless him.

    • I’m so happy to hear you’ve been so strong and you’re obviously very, very determined not to let anything change or ruin your life and good for you! Obviously I wasn’t referring to physical conditions in this post – I don’t have the knowledge or experience to even comment on them but you’ve definitely proved that with physical, as well as mental illness, having a positive and clear mindset is so, so crucial.

  5. I have a lot of chronic illness diagnosis that I chose not to take medication for depression, anxiety and others such as IBS that I absolutely couldn’t get through like without taking medication.

    Having a diagnosis makes me know i have an illness and am not over reacting. It lets my employer know this aswell which is helpful. But most of all it lets me know that I’m not dying. The pain isn’t something that will kill me.

    You know they say there’s no such thing as a stupid question?

    Charlotte | http://www.shoestringchic.co.uk

    • The feeling of knowing you’re not over-reacting is one I definitely experienced when I was diagnosed with GAD when I didn’t have any idea what was going on with me. It was very scary but having someone tell you, this is this, that is that, this is what you have is very reassuring.

  6. The choice to take medication prescribed by doctor is entirely of the patient. But if you are opting to overcome your problem without medication then you surely need strong will power and strength to stand for it and follow every alternative option religiously. If you have to cure yourself with out medication then we must firmly believe in placebo effect.

    • I don’t believe deciding to work through a mental illness without medication is all down to a placebo effect. I referred to the placebo effect in this post in terms of herbal remedies – like which I take. I have no idea if they work or not or if, because I’ve read that they “should” make me feel calmer, taking them just makes me feel calmer. I think ALL medication aside – herbal as well – our minds aren’t placebo effects and we can absolutely change our thoughts and thinking patterns through a whole range of different things; counselling, yoga, meditation, positive thinking. But yes, obviously taking medication is up to each individual patient. I’ve been very open to trying anything since being diagnosed: herbal remedies, yoga, meditation, CBT, talking therapy, nothing at all, just going for it and seeing what happens.

      • By placebo effect , I meant to say that when a patient goes for optional medication then he must believe firmly that it will completely help him in curing. Believing in the medication that it will cure you is an integral part of the placebo effect. It is our belief and our immune system strength that cures us.

  7. Hi Jenny! Snaps to you on this post.

    I also just want to point out that this question probably doesn’t exist for visible diseases. So, if someone is exhibiting symptoms of life-threatening cancer but isn’t going to pursue chemo if that’s the case, I don’t think people would bat an eyelash at them going to the doctor anyway to get a diagnosis. Regardless of medication, one needs to know what’s going on with their own body so they can manage it in the way that is best for them.

    Again, props to you for your honesty and for taking care of yourself. It’s very inspiring 🙂

  8. I completely agree with your reaction to that question. I have a rare genetic eye disorder, and a rare associated disorder, both of which combine and cause lots of pain and discomfort. The genetic condition was discovered and treated when I was a child, but as I grew older, I wanted to know what it was so that I could learn to deal with it, especially when it got more serious as I reached adulthood.

    It took several years for doctors to diagnose the second condition, and because it is not really “visible” despite being in my eyes, people often don’t realise there is anything different about me. So you can imagine the anxiety and lack of self confidence that gave to me at a very sensitive time of my life.

    For me, receiving a medical diagnosis for my eye disorders took a weight off my mind, because finally I could tell people that there really was something up with me, and I wasn’t just making a fuss about nothing. Oh, and those eye conditions, if you are curious: Lymphodoema Distichiasis (double row of eyelashes, one that grows on the inside of the eyelid), and Dry Eye Syndrome (that usually only affects older people as their bodies deteriorate – I’ve had it since my early twenties, officially).

    https://spookymrsgreen.com/2013/03/02/how-to-confuse-your-doctor/

  9. Pingback: 7 Things To Do To Get Your Day Off To a Better Start | Jenny in Neverland

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