End Pill Shaming

I used to be a massive ‘pill shamer’. I sneered at people taking painkillers for their headaches, or period pains. When I had any kind of pain, I used to live by the view that pain was there to tell us that something was wrong and, therefore, a good thing.

If you were rushed to A&E after some kind of accident, the doctors will ask you if you can feel wherever they’re touching, are you hurting, and it’s not a good thing if it doesn’t hurt, because it’s definitely supposed to.

Five years ago, if you offered me a paracetamol, I’d say ‘absolutely not’ and I’d say that painkillers become less effective over time and I want a paracetamol to work when I’m giving birth, which won’t happen if I take them now for measly things like toothache or cramps.

Over the last two and a half years, I have learned that pain doesn’t always mean something is wrong. Pain isn’t a good thing and it’s not always an indicator of something needing to be fixed. I was wrong.

My illness means I’m in pain all the time, but nothing is actually wrong with my face that should be causing this pain. The problem, to put it in the most simple way possible, is that my nerves are sending the wrong signals to my brain. Pain here isn’t an indicator that something is wrong – there is no screwdriver being driven into my temple and there are definitely no little ants crawling all over my cheek.

Take as many drugs as you need! The pain was absolutely unbearable when it first hit, so I was taking double doses of both paracetamol and ibuprofen. When I was given Zapain, I was eating it like candy. Now I take about 10 tablets a day on average; I take Pregabalin, Amitriptyline and I also take Zapain whenever I feel like I need it.

I’m proud to take my pills for my pain.. and whilst they don’t completely take the pain away, they help and I’m going to keep taking them. When someone in work says they feel unwell, I offer up the paracetamol as quick as I possibly can. No one needs to suffer unnecessarily.

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Trigeminal Neuralgia

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