Dying Daily #304: Self-Medicalization

Self-medication.

This is the phrase I always saw associated with my intoxication.

I am a little wary of it for the most part. It seems like one of those unnecessary medicalizations that are so prevalent in the world now.

I get what they mean though.

We intoxicate ourselves because we make the mistake of thinking this existence is somehow boring. We also do it because we make the mistake of labeling some emotional states as unacceptable or as needing to be avoided. This decision often (usually) makes these states worse and prolongs them in unhelpful ways.

Self-medicating.

Yes, I drank and used drugs and everything else we will talk about this week because I was depressed and dealt with anxiety and other issues. This is a thing.

But it’s really not all that different from anything else. I was trying to escape from reality as it was. I was not accepting things that were in front of me. I was trying to deal with things without doing the difficult work. Calling it self-medication just hands it over to the medical industry, though they never helped me.

Even a little.

I am not sure it ever helped me to be told I was self-medicating.

It often just gave me a reason to keep doing it. It made me feel like I was doing something with a purpose. I am not saying this is always the case, but it was for me.

If we are not careful we can use the pursuit of a why as an excuse to keep doing the things we are doing, even if they are not healthy or helpful. It tricks our brain into thinking it is dealing with the issue.

Sometimes, we may never discover the why, but this doesn’t mean that action isn’t required.

Other times, we discover the why and find out that knowing what it is doesn’t help us at all. This isn’t a movie where finding the why suddenly brings freedom and resolution. You aren’t Sandra Bullock.

Oftentimes, why is irrelevant and we just need to make a change.