Editor’s Note: Often times we don’t realise that our words can mar our best intentions. Perhaps we ought to pay more attention to our tone and timing when it comes to expressing care towards those around us. Here’s a raw account by Raphael on the topic of medication. Thanks for the candid sharing Raphael!
“Have you taken your medicine today?”, my sister asks politely.
I fume, wanting to punch her in the face, but ignore her instead.
Since I have to take medication daily, it seems to make sense for others to remind me to take my pills. However, that is not what I hear. What I hear is this:
“Why are you so crazy/depressed/anxious/manic? Is it because you have not taken your medication?”
“You are so forgetful and don’t know the consequences of not taking your medicine, so I should remind you so that you don’t become crazy/depressed/anxious/manic again.”
Argh, I hate this.
So friends, it may be an innocent question to you, but to the person struggling with mental illness, it is a loaded question.
People who have to deal with a mental disease can be very sensitive to words. Please do not dismiss their negative feelings generated by your question.
“But I care for my friend/family member! What should I do instead?”
Well, be creative then. For me, what may work is this:
“Have you taken your brain supplements tonight, dear?”
“How do your happy pills taste tonight?”
To me fair, others may be antagonized by this or feel condescended to. But, personally, I would welcome your effort in trying to avoid the phrase, “Have you taken your medication?” Anything else just seems so much better than the cliché.
But it is different strokes for different folks.
If your friend or family member express annoyance the next time you ask this question, get feedback, or learn from them if it has been given.
Work together with them to find and figure out what is the best way to remind them to take their medication.
Ask them what they would prefer you to say.
And never, never, never ask them just after they behave a certain way a person who has anxiety issues/depression/bipolar/schizophrenia/paranoia is expected to behave when they are not doing well. Now, that is just downright insensitive.
Raphael Teo is a happy go lucky chap who works as a copywriter. In his free time he likes to jog, read and play on his guitar. He appreciates it when readers leave comments on his blog posts.