Releasing the Shame of Taking Medication

At the risk of sounding vague I count myself as being among those in the ever-expanding wellness community. As a psychotherapist, plant-based chef and someone who has experienced serious illness (cancer, complete with a bone marrow transplant, and diabetes) I have vast respect for western medicine, it saved my life. But I can also see its glaring limitations. Too much specialization, 15 minute appointments, overprescribing of medications, unnecessary testing, cost, etc. Born out of frustration with our current state of affairs in healthcare, millions of folks have turned to alternative medicine, which admittedly has numerous merits, but one of its potential pitfalls is to eschew treatment or medication altogether when it may be not only warranted, but necessary.

I have type II diabetes and I eat a plant-based diet. I have been able to reduce my medication but have not been able to get off of it and began to feel some shame around this. If I’m doing all the right things to take care of myself, shouldn’t I be able to get rid of this supposed lesser than, diabetes? Am I fraudulent advocate of plant-based living if I can’t even get off of the drugs?

I now realize the answer is no. I recently went for a check-up with my integrative physician and found myself starting to apologize/make excuses for why my numbers hadn’t dropped to the point of being able to extinguish my medication.

I must have come off as apologetic because he looked at me empathically and said, ‘Jennifer, you take really good care of yourself. There is no harm in taking the small dose of Metformin that you take. In fact, many studies have shown it to be cancer-protective which is a bonus with your history.”

He added, “your plant-based lifestyle provides you with unimaginable benefits, so please do not let this frustrate you to the point of veering off. Stick with it!”

This, my friends, is what a good integrative physician can do. They know the latest research regarding both supplements and medications and can prescribe both and explain why the combination is beneficial for your unique health situation.

They also have a broad knowledge of nutritional science, explaining exactly how and why kale is a good thing to consume.

I no longer feel like a wellness fraud for taking my Metformin. I have reframed it as a diabetes treating, cancer preventing daily ritual.

It brings me comfort to know that so many major hospitals and institutions are now embracing the healing merits of practices that are not conceived in a laboratory. This coming together or integration, will ultimately serve us all moving forward, so that we can reclaim our health as individuals, as communities and as a nation.