As with any belief structure or moral code, straight edge is not the same for everyone.
Priorities of abstinence may differ for each of us. There are those that believe vegetarian/vegan diets should be a staple of an edge lifestyle, while others feel promiscuous sex need not be a part of the discussion. To each their own, one might say. I try to limit my judgments when it comes to the choices of others in the community, even if I feel strongly in another direction
what is the point of living this positive lifestyle if your physical or mental health is potentially fatal without help?
This is why I struggle with the debate surrounding the use of prescription and over the counter medications. I applaud those who are able to abstain from the use of pain relievers, cold medication, or even anti-depressants. I’ve heard some go so far as to claim they refuse anesthesia and antibiotics. I am content in understanding that will never be me.
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My experiences growing up molded much of my relationship with pharmaceuticals. I cannot recall when my father was diagnosed with depression, though for years in my youth, he was on anti-depressants that made him seem distant, almost vacant. The only time I saw a real reaction from him was when his anger broke through the fog… and unfortunately, I inherited that temper. My mother did not abuse pills, to my knowledge, however, I remember her popping over the counter pain relievers multiple times a day, as if they were of no consequence. Even though I struggled with depression and suicidal ideation as a teenager, I swore to avoid becoming like my parents. I refused prescription medication for mental health long before I chose sobriety, even though my therapist showed concern for my wellbeing. In my late teens, my frequent bouts of suicidal ideation were finally attributed to undiagnosed Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD), which affects millions of women. I committed at that time to curb the symptoms of this ailment by using vitamins and herbal supplements, which effectively helped for years, and allowed me to avoid prescription medications at that time.
at the age of 25, my depression and anxiety had become overwhelming and my performance at work was becoming troublesome. It was a difficult decision, though necessary in order to save my career and many relationships in my personal life. I reluctantly saw a doctor to discuss my options.
As committed as I was to my refusal of antidepressants, at the age of 25, my depression and anxiety had become overwhelming and my performance at work was becoming troublesome. It was a difficult decision, though necessary in order to save my career and many relationships in my personal life. I reluctantly saw a doctor to discuss my options. I tried a number of brands, many with terrible side effects until I found something that allowed me to function at work and in life, without the numbness I had witnessed in my father. At times since, I have felt capable of weaning myself off the meds for long stretches of time, however, it would seem that my depression, coupled with my PMDD, tends to rear its ugly head every few years in an attempt to tear down what I’ve built. At 35 years old, during one of my stints free of anti-depressants, I wound up having a mental break that put me in weeks of intense therapy and caused me to almost lose my job. While I wish it wasn’t the case, I have resigned myself to maintaining my physician prescribed regimen to avoid future relapses of my depression. It is a constant battle that many of us fight, but I now view mental illness like any ailment that affects the body or mind.
That said, I do understand the potential for abuse of over the counter meds, though if I have a cold, flu, headache or muscle cramps that are making it so I cannot work or take care of myself, I will take cold medicine and pain relievers at or below the recommended dose. Over the years, I have had a number of people who live a hardline lifestyle attempt to call me out as not straight edge because of my views on OTC meds, however, I have always said I will never allow anyone without ovaries to tell me I cannot take Midol and still be edge. I am in no way stereotyping all dudes in the community as I have met a number of extremely supportive and welcoming men, though back in the day, there had been plenty of negativity towards the female gender in the scene. Now, a decade after moving cross country, away from that local Midwest scene, I am comforted by the unity I see in xsisterhoodx and a number of other online straight edge communities. I hope I can one day find myself a part of such an accepting local scene in the Pacific Northwest.
My overall point being, I personally do not think the moderated use of pharmaceuticals should be a point of judgment or exclusion within the straight edge community. No one knows what ailments or pain another person struggles with. We need to remove the stigma from mental health and support those within the community who struggle to survive without pharmaceutical intervention.
I mean, what is the point of living this positive lifestyle if your physical or mental health is potentially fatal without help?