The other dark-side of the opioid epidemic….

For everyone out there taking pain medication, as prescribed… yet, hiding in the shadows in shame due to the recent press about the opioid epidemic… you’re not alone.

I have an illness which causes constant daily pain due to literal deteriorating holes in my bones… and which causes occasional, sudden and severe full body, intense painful episodes also known as sickle cell pain crisis. I have a rare hereditary blood disorder called sickle-beta thalassemia anemia.

Due to this, in order to function as a normal human being.. in order to get out of bed every morning.. I am prescribed pain medication…. oh wait.. I’m sorry, I’m on “drugs”!!

I have been at the same pain specialist for nearly 7 years… I have been on the same regime of medication for 5. Yes, it took a few years to find the right one/dosage … but, for the last 5 years.. I have been on the same medication.

In those 7 years, I have never once.. ran out early, had my medicine “stolen”, “lost” or whatever other reason addicts come up with to go to the doctors early and get more medicine. In fact, most months, I have extra pills at home because I haven’t taken all of my medicine & one time, I had so much extra medication in my possession that I went down to the police station to, safely, throw away the extra/expired medication.

Each month, I have to pee for my doctor.. proving that, not only, do I have the appropriate amount of the medication in my system, but I also don’t have any other medications and/or illicit drugs which I am not suppose to have in my system.

You can not go to the same doctors for 7plus years and be an addict! I don’t “doctor hop”.. I don’t exhibit any signs and/or symptoms of an addict.. YET, just because I am prescribed and take medications which other people abuse… I must be an addict!?!

Call me crazy… but, I don’t think that’s fair!?! I also don’t think that’s correct.. There is a huge difference to being physically dependent on medication and being an addict and with the media coverage of the “epidemic” … I think those of us who have to use pain medicine in order to live normal lives, are being unfairly shamed into the corners of society.. even into the corners of our own families.

Moral of the story… don’t judge a book by a cover nor a person by their medicine cabinet. Not everyone prescribed pain meds abuse said prescription & physical dependence is not the same as addiction.

If you are a responsible patient, following doctors orders and doing your best to live your best life… you are not alone & shouldn’t let close-minded, judgmental people shame you into silence about your illness or condition.

At the same time… if you do need help… don’t be scared to ask!

Click here for resources to find help!!

…. because I am in, no way, advocating the use of opioids if they are not needed!! I do understand that many people suffer from addiction and if you are one of them… click the link above and please find the help you need!

I am simply sharing my own personal story & asking you not to judge me or anyone else in my situation… or any situation for that matter. Have compassion for everyone… we all have a story. I’m simply trying to share mine & hopefully let someone else out there know… YOU ARE NOT ALONE…. because I know I’m tired of feeling like I am & I wish someone would say it to me ;?)