How Pill-Guzzlers Theorize Their Identity

A person who takes 25 pills a day and has erected the entire construct of her identity on this foundation explains her pill-guzzling worldview:

Allow yourself to be sick. Accept what is. Don’t run from it anymore. Don’t dwell on it either. Just acknowledge what is, and see where the clarity takes you. . . when I laid down to sleep that night, these words came over me: You were trusted with this illness. And that, among all the health advice I’d ever received, made me feel better.

Well, at least this is honest. In order to get yourself to the point of 25 pills a day, you do, indeed, need to allow yourself to do this and embrace the status of a perennial invalid with glee. Note, also, how this person feels better because of the idea that illness is some kind of a reward that only very special people receive.

What is really scary about this is that this woman is planning to become a nurse. The idea of anybody placing their health in the hands of an individual who sees illness as a gift that needs to be accepted but never analyzed is terrifying. What is even more terrifying, though, is that she is only 27 years old.

35 thoughts on “How Pill-Guzzlers Theorize Their Identity”

  1. I have not counted them, but I am sure I take more than 25 pills a day. No prescription drugs, just vitamins and supplements. As you have noted, food in the U. S. is very low quality, and I find that I feel better and am never sick if I take the vitamins and minerals that I think are missing from my diet. I am choosing to be proactive and not be sick, and it works. I know very few people my age (67) who have as few health issues as do I. If I run out of any vitamins, and have to do without for a few days, I can tell the difference in how I feel.

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    1. This woman is taking prescription meds, from what I understand. And she is 40 years younger than you. You have to agree that this isn’t normal. And the quotes I provided are scary. I thought she was 70 and terminally ill when I first read the post. But 27??? What will she do when she is my age? Or yours? Imagine how the side effects will accumulate.

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  2. This women sounds like my aunt. She started by taking some multi-vitamins, and then started adding more and more supplements while perfectly healthy, and then started making weird smoothie super-foods with a bunch of additives instead of just trying to get those nutrients from a well though out meal. While she started out feeling perfectly well and doing all this for “health upkeep” she started feeling worse and worse, and added more vitamins instead of real food, and her health declined even more, so she added more strange things to her diet… and by the time she turned 50 she had completely destroyed her health with all the “vitamins” she was taking. My mom eventually had to have an intervention and forced my aunt to switch doctors because she had so much chronic fatigue and pain she couldn’t work anymore. It was pretty scary. She is now on only 1 daily multivitamin and 1 type of pain med, but the doctor doubts they will ever be able to bring her back to her full health.

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  3. A lot of people gain some moral satisfaction in embracing an illness or three in lieu of doing something libidinous like martial arts. Somewhere in their pre-Conscious, they’ve made the judgement that to express oneself physically in the world is evil and to be shunned. This judgment alone may suffice to leave them with an illness, in my view. The energy that would be directed at the world turns inwards and they start to attack themselves. Many people feel this attack on themselves to be fully justified as it saves them from the evil that (in their minds) constitutes the world outside of themselves.

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  4. bloggerclarissa :
    Being a perennial invalid is very convenient, too. It liberates you from many responsibilities and allows you to guilt-trip people and manipulate them endlessly.

    Perhaps so. So much of that aspect is hidden from me because I come from a right wing culture where being sick was a sign that you had compromised with the devil. So, really it was the opposite formulation to the one I think is more common, which I have outlined above,

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  5. Okay, now I’ve just read the woman’s article that this Clarissa post was linked to. I have more to say. I can sympathize with her plight because she’s absolutely right. Exercise won’t help; it will just make it worse, etc. I had the same condition and I agree the the solution, as such, is not exercise. My solution was to realize how much aggression I had turned inwards. Women — especially in right wing or religiously informed cultures — tend to unconsciously model themselves on the ideal of passive suffering as a form of sainthood. It’s an unconscious tendency. You don’t know you’re doing it. The body gets overheated and run down because all the energy that should be directed at the world is locked inside the body with nowhere to go. One should be sublimating this aggression by establishing one’s identity in the world, but the unconscious mind is determined to lock one into passive sainthood.

    That was certainly my condition and there is no doubt in my mind that the illness was physiological. There is a certain point where you can’t simply “snap out of it”, because you’ve ruined your physiological health with this ongoing misdirected (and entirely unconscious) aggression.

    The solution is to bring the aggression out of you in some way, very gradually, whilst working to develop a healthier self image at the unconscious level. The difficulty is that many would resist the idea that they harbored unconscious aggression. I had no trouble facing this insight as I have a very innovative mindset (which I had also been repressing).

    A person with chronic fatigue needs to face their anger and aggression about the behaviour of significant people in their lives, as well as significant life events. They need to gradually develop ways to use that anger more productively, so that they gradually release the pressure that has built up in their bodies. This has to be a long term goal, as the body literally needs to recover from all the abuse you’ve imposed on it in the long term, when you remained passive and submissive to events that had filled you with rage.

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    1. And, from the comments in that article Clarissa linked to, this is exactly what I’m talking about concerning the female martyr complex:

      “i’m so exhausted of the rigamarole of recommendations and the insistence that it’s mind over matter and i’m not trying hard enough. i don’t know anyone who *tries* harder than i do. i am always perky, happy, grateful, and optimistic. i’m a giver, i go to church and i pray daily and diligently. i give to charity. i volunteer. i love babies and animals. i do yoga. i’ve done acupuncture. i get trigger point injections and adjustments. i’ve been through and through psych consults and testing… neuro psych testing. i’ve messed with my diet, i’ve taken supplements. i meditate. I DO EVERY EFFING THING UNDER THE SUN. including get sun, and avoid the sun, vitamin D supplements…”

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    2. They need to gradually develop ways to use that anger more productively, so that they gradually release the pressure that has built up in their bodies.

      So how do you do this? I’m asking seriously, as someone with another invisible chronic illness and with the same experience of being either ignored or given useless advice as the blogger that Clarissa linked to. And yes, I tried everything as well, and nothing works.

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      1. Any sufferer of a chronic disease should start by asking themselves the following questions: what does this disease force me to do and be? what does it liberate me from? what is my pay-off from it?

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  6. Anon :
    They need to gradually develop ways to use that anger more productively, so that they gradually release the pressure that has built up in their bodies.
    So how do you do this? I’m asking seriously, as someone with another invisible chronic illness and with the same experience of being either ignored or given useless advice as the blogger that Clarissa linked to. And yes, I tried everything as well, and nothing works.

    First thing is to stop expecting others to direct your life for you. The whole attitude of female subservience that takes the form, “Please tell me what to do”, is a fundamental aspect of what has to go.

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  7. bloggerclarissa :
    Worse? I see nothing but the pure unadulterated enjoyment of illness here.

    With whatever respect is due, this statement makes no sense. Even the most religious of masochists does not experience unadulterated enjoyment of anything. They just imagine that their very real suffering is building up credit for them in a heavenly bank somewhere.

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  8. bloggerclarissa :
    Any sufferer of a chronic disease should start by asking themselves the following questions: what does this disease force me to do and be? what does it liberate me from? what is my pay-off from it?

    Except that maybe the person hasn’t considered that there is any other way to be. That is part of the syndrome of being “physiologically inhibited”. Your imagination and capacity for action are also thus. Those whole of my thesis basically creates a framework for release from physiological inhibition.

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  9. But it is also true that few people are prepared to make any sort of effort on their own behalves is there is any discomfort involved. So it is with training in the martial arts. People will do it for a while, but they expect disproportionate benefits in comparison to the effort they are willing to put in. This is especially the case for middle class women.

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  10. bloggerclarissa :
    “Except that maybe the person hasn’t considered that there is any other way to be.”
    – Of course. But this all hinges on one’s desire to change things.

    It does. But in a sense one just has to move ahead blindly, because the new way of being hasn’t been mapped by the current neurological structures. I mean, one is locked into the old way of being by force of habit and by the innate conservatism that we all possess to some degree. We choose “the devil we know” rather than the one we don’t. That’s an evolutionary adaptation.

    Shamanism proposes that you need the courage to move ahead out of this existing structure of mind. It also recognizes there is a sense of blindness to all this moving and fumbling one’s way out of the morass.

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    1. “Shamanism proposes that you need the courage to move ahead out of this existing structure of mind. It also recognizes there is a sense of blindness to all this moving and fumbling one’s way out of the morass.”

      -Embracing the blindness is scary but also liberating, once you dare to do it.

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  11. Ryan Fennell :
    strike “if”. I meant, you are the people she described.

    That’s weird to lump us all in together, because clearly my views are rather different from those of Clarissa. In particular, I don’t think there are any psychological trade-offs in having a long term illness. Also, I may differ from Clarissa in holding that the locus of the illness, although initially psychological, is in the physiology of the sufferer.

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    1. I think with “you” he actually meant Clarissa. As someone whose chronic disease only started a few years ago I do know how before something like this hits you, you have no idea how those people feel. Because I was the same, I just had no idea about experiencing physiological problems every day that take your energy and hinder you from what you were able to do before. When I was still healthy, I never realised what a luxury it was to have all the energy I needed. Now, I need to be careful to budget for what I use my energy, as the supply is limited.
      Here is a story that explains this very well:
      http://www.butyoudontlooksick.com/articles/written-by-christine/the-spoon-theory-written-by-christine-miserandino/
      And another version:
      http://journeywithendometriosis.blogspot.com/2011/04/day-in-life-of.html

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    2. “In particular, I don’t think there are any psychological trade-offs in having a long term illness.”

      -Really? You’ve never seen a person who gets the entire family dance around them and their chronic illness for decades? Then, the family members, exhausted by the care of the invalid, start dropping of like flies. The first to go is usually the worn-out spouse. The invalid who never did a stroke of work and had all their problems solved for them by doting relatives looks young and perky. Immediately, this heroic sufferer gets married again and now has yet another idiot to dance around them and take care of them.

      I also could get tons of mileage out of my high BP and autism. The first thing that comes to mind is, for example, that I could have definitely avoided packing and unpacking my office this semester. Bending and lifting heavy things is really bad for high BP. Oh, I’m feeling faint already. Please help me. . .

      Easy-peasy. 🙂

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  12. Anon :
    When I was still healthy, I never realised what a luxury it was to have all the energy I needed. Now, I need to be careful to budget for what I use my energy, as the supply is limited.
    Here is a story that explains this very well:
    http://www.butyoudontlooksick.com/articles/written-by-christine/the-spoon-theory-written-by-christine-miserandino/
    And another version:
    http://journeywithendometriosis.blogspot.com/2011/04/day-in-life-of.html

    Okay. I might look at this later, but I’m sure it’s all true. I think my main point is that the link between psychological states and physical states is de-emphasized in contemporary culture, to our detriments. I’m not suggesting that all physical states can be reduced to psychological states, though. Just that if a link could be there, it might be explored.

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  13. bloggerclarissa :
    “In particular, I don’t think there are any psychological trade-offs in having a long term illness.”
    -Really? You’ve never seen a person who gets the entire family dance around them and their chronic illness for decades? Then, the family members, exhausted by the care of the invalid, start dropping of like flies. The first to go is usually the worn-out spouse. The invalid who never did a stroke of work and had all their problems solved for them by doting relatives looks young and perky. Immediately, this heroic sufferer gets married again and now has yet another idiot to dance around them and take care of them.

    Easy-peasy.

    I do think we are dealing with cultural differences here. In my original culture, being sick was hardly rewarded. Rather the opposite was the case. My culture was very right wing and only valued anything that was sturdy. Even right down to the underlay of the (black) African culture, being sick was more a sign that one had been dabbling in witchcraft than anything that deserved pity.

    Clarissa, I’m not being psychologically obtuse here. The most common response directed at someone who had become sick was anger that they had betrayed Christian decency. That is why it is hard for me to imagine any tradeoffs for illness.

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  14. bloggerclarissa :
    Well, culture is one thing. Knowing how to organize everybody in sight to serve the cause of making your life easy is another thing. Some people are very very good at this.

    I expect they might be, just that the idea is unfamiliar to me. Here is something I was inspired to write just a few minutes ago. Maybe it clarifies some things.

    http://unsanesafe.blogspot.com/2011/12/my-upbringing-may-have-been-different.html

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    1. ” I had no sex education in school and I didn’t understand the fundamental mechanisms of sex until way into my late teens (and even then, it was rather hazy and didn’t bear thinking about)”

      -Aha. When I discovered the facts of life at the late age of 13, I immediately thought, “I don’t know about other people, but my parents definitely did not engage in something like that.” Of course, then I needed to figure out how my sister and I came into existence and I had no idea how to create a plausible scenario. So I avoided thinking about it for a long time.

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  15. bloggerclarissa :

    -Aha. When I discovered the facts of life at the late age of 13, I immediately thought, “I don’t know about other people, but my parents definitely did not engage in something like that.” Of course, then I needed to figure out how my sister and I came into existence and I had no idea how to create a plausible scenario. So I avoided thinking about it for a long time.

    Really?! I quite literally didn’t think about sex in any way. I was a virgin until my early twenties and before that I didn’t actually think about sex. After that, everything changed. I think it would be hard to overestimate the levels of repression that my right wing culture imposed. Also, the degree of being impersonal it also imposed. It’s why when anybody says, “You’re trying to draw attention to yourself by doing X or Y,” I think they really don’t understand my original culture, which formed me. They think they do. They think it’s all about walking around like a Nazi and bloating one’s ego and being all racially superior. But actually we had no concept of individualism at all and only a formal (not all that subjectively felt) concept of racial superiority. It’s hard to wrap your mind around.

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