When Mama Pops Pills
Typically, when we think of drug addicts, we don’t think of beautifully put together, mini-van driving soccer moms who seem to have all their ‘stuff' together.
We don’t think the pill-popping mama is our neighbor with the perfectly manicured house, with the ‘perfect’ kids.
No, instead when we think of addicts, we think of street people and people who have a certain ‘stigma of addiction' that is hard to shake and far too easy to judge.
As of late, and much to my surprise, however, I have realized that plenty of people I know (and love) are pill popping mamas. Look at social media and you will see plenty of references made by mothers – often jokingly – about how badly they need Xanax or a bottle of wine.
Recently, however, I was dumbfounded to realize that a mother I have known for years is addicted to Xanax and pain killers.
I promise, if you met her you would never know that she needed pills in order to get through her days, and that her pill popping has eventually become a habit. Her kids are awesome, she holds down a great job, she seemingly does everything right. But there's this one little thing.
Perhaps I am just naive. But after doing some research I found out that there are more middle class MOTHERS taking anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medications than any other demographic today. These medications are, of course, prescribed by doctors for a myriad of reasons that range from insomnia to panic attacks. But it seems that all a woman has to do is show up in her doctor’s office, say she is tired or exhausted or stressed out and has 4 kids at home, and a physician will happily hand her over a prescription.
(I know this is the truth, because this happened to me – but I turned the prescription down.)
I am not judging the use of such medications. But I do think that sometimes as women, we have to realize that “We are not okay” and take proactive measures to help ourselves.
Trust me, there are times when I have wished for a little something, something extra to help me get through my day.
What does concern me however, is the ease of getting these medications, the ease of becoming addicted (in less than a month), and the nonchalance with which doctors and patients treat these medications.
Not to mention, that these meds are Band-Aids. They don’t cure the wounds, or heal the stress, or deal with the issues common to every single one of us as mothers, as women. They simply mask it and add to our feelings of inadequacies.
According to a report by Working Mother Magazine, drug use among MOTHERS ages 30-44 has increased 400% over a period of 10 years. This essentially means that 3 out of every 5 mothers that you know, is likely taking some sort of anti-anxiety medication.
Would you know who she is? Is it you?
And what does this say about our current state and expectations of motherhood? Perhaps we are trying to do too much for too many and neglecting ourselves in the process.