The blog of photographer and musician, Kim Ayres

What's Your Medication?


Sometimes it sucks.

Don't get me wrong, it's not all doom and gloom - there are some wonderful things about it, but sometimes it overwhelms the best of us.

Sometimes the pain gets too great to handle.

Sometimes we need a little help to get through.

Anyone who has been reading this blog for any amount of time will know that my default self-medication of choice tends to be FOOD. What I would like to know is what everyone else's is. What do you use to plug the pain?

So I've set up a poll. You vote anonymously, although if you'd like to discuss your thoughts further, you're more than welcome to in the comments.

Judging by the visitor numbers I get from my Sitemeter statistics, there are several readers who visit, but don't comment. That's fine, you don't have to comment, but do please take the time to vote as this is something I think is genuinely interesting.

I would imagine that for some people, more than one of the boxes could be ticked, in which case I would ask that you just select the Primary one - the one you are most drawn to most often.

I'd be surprised if I've covered every eventuality, so if yours isn't here, I'd love to know what it is - please leave a comment

What is Your PRIMARY Medication of Choice
Sexual Activity
Illegal Drugs
Only What The Doctor Prescribes
Video Games
A Brisk Walk
Talking with Friends
Stop being so weak and pathetic and pull yourself together
Free polls from

NOTE: This poll is now officially finished. See Self-Medication - The Results for the outcome

(Sometimes Pollhost is a little temperamental, so if it doesn't work this time, please try again later)

After you have voted, if you want to see how the poll develops, click on the "view" button above rather than voting a 2nd time.

Thanks for your input. I hope you have a good weekend where you don't have to resort to your self-medication.


Dr Maroon said...

You've just gone down the list of all your own self medications with the exception of the brisk walk.

Richard Herring was on the TV the other night talking about something, the similarity to you was uncanny. I was kind of mesmerised. You know the one I mean?

Anonymous said...

Okay, I've been guilty of lurking. Found you through Restaurant Gal...lurk there too.

My self medication of choice wasn't on your list. I read. I know that doesn't sound like "medication" however for me, the way I read, it really kinda is. When I get into a book, I am completely lost in it. I am totally unaware of anything around me, and I usually remain engrossed until the book is done. This usually allows me a break from whatever it that is bothering me for long enough for me to take a fresh look at it when the book is done. Of course I'm often also taking a bleery eyed look at a bright new day because I've read through the night without even noticing!


Dr Maroon said...

Hey Mia, lurk if you want. There's nothing he can do about it. Don't be bullied by him. Anyway I think he goes out on a Thursday to teach philosophy.

Kim, the "stop being so weak and pull yourself together" was me. That's my vote so far. I wonder why I voted that way. Is this one of your tricksy games?

Mary Witzl said...

Kim, Anonymous has beaten me to it, but I was going to suggest reading and writing -- usually in that order. Baking is another: usually I don't even need to eat much of what I prepare. And then there is cleaning the house, but that often takes me back to depression...

And sometimes on myself I try the 'Pull yourself together' trick, and it works. But then I am a wimp, and I don't for a minute think that my depression is the kind that needs the big guns.

MikeP said...

Pets? Nothing like the unconditional love of my pet dogs.

The Birdwatcher said...

I voted for booze but actually I find playing rugby the best cure for the blues. Eighty minutes of playing with and for your team mates, you forget all the shit and stuff. Like the others it does not last but at least it gives you a break from it.

Anonymous said...

damn I already responded to the poll and said puzzles, but it would have to be reading for me too. I like to read what i think are good books most of the time, but when I feeling down or stressfuk I like to read mysteries or "chick lit". Something entertaining, hard to put down, not depressing or that makes me think too much about life.

From a lurker and occasional commenter.

Miss Tree

PS I used to blog and read a lot of blogs but I stopped I only read about 3 of them now on a regular basis and one is this one

Tom said...

I'm trying to remember what I do to self-medicate by I can't seem to hear myself think over the crunch of these potato chips and the slurp of this strawberry milkshake.

Sorry I can't help you out on this one.

Maybe I'll think clearer once I polish off this bag of M&M's.

ArleneWKW said...

I NEVER self medicate with healthful things, tough I can easily get lost in a book, sudoku, or a crossword puzzle. Meditation and excise sound like they'd be great ways to self medicate. I wish I could truthfully claim to do those instead of eating.

Zazzy said...

Cookies. As bad as cookies may be for me, I think they are overall better than my previous shopping fix. It's not that I don't lose myself in reading or playing games, pets, talking to friends - but when it comes down to last one standing, food it is.

Canadian Girl said...

While I chose food as my number one method of self-medication (I find myself standing in front of the open refrigerator all too often after dealing with the children), reading is a close second. When life sucks - and it does more and more often lately - it is easy to lose oneself in a book. Thank goodness for my library card!

savannah said...

if brownies aren't available and i'm really's a nap..or back to bed...under the covers, blinds drawn, phone muffled...

Fat Lazy Guy said...

Food! Glorious food! ;)
But when I self-medicate with food, it's never anything good. Like, I don't go and bake a cake, or cookies, or cook up a carbonara, or lasagne or whatever. It's always whatever's handy. Usually leftovers, or crackers or something.

Z said...

It used to be reading, but for a while it became hard to concentrate and then it was music.

Kim Ayres said...

Dr Maroon - have to say I've not seen/heard of Richard Herring - I'll keep an eye/ear out for him.

Mia - Reading - yes, that's one that should have been on the list - thank you for taking the time to de-lurk and comment :)

Dr Maroon - Yes I was teaching philosophy last night, and it went very well, thank you.

That option I put in especially for you, Doc, you Übermensch you. I toyed with Kir or Jägermeister but it seemed too obvious.

Mary - Baking is one of Maggie's self-medications, but then we are compelled to eat the results

MikeP - Pets. Yes, another one I should have put in. We don't have any, but a close friend of ours has found the new kittens she's got are proving a positive distraction.

Birdwatcher - Rugby - you should have ticked "Violence"...

Miss Tree - Sometimes I like to watch trashy, straight-to-video, poorly acted action adventure films, but I put that down to self-harm rather than self medication...

Tom - pass the dips and I'll see if I can work it out with you

Arlene - I think quite a few of the self-medication categories also fall into self-harm on some level.

Zazzy - last one standing - that's the real test isn't it?

Canadian Girl - especially the cookery section :)

Savannah - I find almost the opposite problem - when lying in bed, when I wake up my mind tends to race with whatever's most concerning me and I need to get up to distract myself.

FLG - interesting how we can use different foods in different ways - the leftovers route is more self-harm than medication - it says we're not worthy of having something nice to eat.

Z - Music's a good one.Sould have had that on the list too.

PI said...

I Have ticked but not convinced that it has worked. I haven't suffered - thank God - from real clinical depression but I can't believe I'm the only one who used shopping? Also prayer, meditation, exercise and talking with friends(especially husband)
Doccie reminds me of a close friend who tends to say the 'snap out of it' thing but is now a Samaritan and possibly, won't be embarrassed about showing his compassion.

BTW Kim - grovelling apology from Amazon and they have waived the postage.

michael greenwell said...

once a month i tend to get a few (well ,a lot of) beers and listen to music at ear-splitting volume alone. i find it very therapeutic tho ia m not sure why

Kim Ayres said...

Pat - if it didn't take you through to another page after you clicked "Vote", then it probably hasn't registered.

Don't worry about Doc - he's an expert in self-medication but wouldn't want to be seen as taking it seriously.

Glad you got the Amazon thing sorted :)

Michael - I think it's a bit like hitting your toe with a hammer to forget how much pain a different part of your body is in.

Dr Joseph McCrumble said...

self analysis. It doesn't really work, but at least I get comfort from thinking that I am being proactive.

C in DC said...

Chocolate and a really good book.

no longer anonymous said...

I checked a box but my first go to drug is spending time with my son. It still amazes me how his laugh,His growing wry sense of humor or best of all a well timed hug ( he's 13 these are comming further & further apart)reminds me what life is really about

I'm looking forward to learning the results of your surveyIt sounds very interesting

Mary Witzl said...

Another thing: I put on classical music full blast, and I find just one small corner to tidy or clean and try to sing along. I'm such crap at singing along, I almost always make myself lap. Even if I fail to cheer myself up, the fact that I've cleaned just one little spot makes me feel a little better.

Kuin said...

Very cool survey ...
I am actually very much a gambler and I do tend to do it alot. However, depending on the nature of the stress..for me now..I am unemployed and so although the desire to go out and gamble is strong I am lucky enough to have willpower and common sence left enough to realize that wouldn't be a very good combination if finances are already an for me ..I checked off I have really found an interesting ( and healthy frustration) with playing online...( oh except for when other players whip the pants off me...then I need chocolate lol ) .lol.

Sam, Problem-Child-Bride said...

Doc's right about a brisk walk being a great pick-me-up even if it seems like the last thing you feel like doing. Especially someplace blowy and fresh.

Really. It can make the picking up of oneself with one's shoe closure mechanisms a lot easier. The trick is just to force yourself out of the door, move quickly and pick up a rhythm. The sheer physical counteraction to the slow and sluggish brain is irresistible.

I'm always re-surprised by what a difference that can make and I've been taking long walks since I was a wee one with my family. Plus it's free! Making it perfect for the Scottish sensibility. It won't solve everything but it is a great weapon in the arsenal.

Canadian Girl said...

I feel great during and after a workout at the gym, but it's difficult to muster the motivation to GO there when I'm feeling low.

When life's little problems are really getting to me, I use the multiple medication method: good book in one hand, cup of cocoa in the other, tasty snack within arm's reach, a cat (or two or three!) on my lap and a dog at my feet. Nirvana - for a little while, at least. One bonus to having the cat on the lap: it stops me from going to get more snacks. One mustn't disturb the sleeping kitty!

Andraste said...

I feel great after a good workout, but I must confess I'm more of a "pull yourself together" type.

I was feeling depressed and persecuted recently, and just said, "OH, ENOUGH WITH THE SELF PITY, BE RATIONAL, YOU SILLY BINT. NO ONE'S OUT TO GET YOU SO JUST QUIT YOUR BITCHING." And I immediately felt all right again.


Eryl Shields said...

I ummed and ahhed about which to tick for ages and eventually chose talking with friends. The more I think about it the more I realise that that is the thing that helps the most. My recent lunch with Rhona totally sorted me out.

I am a bit of a 'pull yourself together' sort but I'm apt to think, now, that that just leads to suppression or denial and it all comes out in the end, and much worse, if you go down that route.

I'm amazed to see how many people have chosen food, food just makes me feel worse about myself - and it is always mysyef that is the root of any problem.

Anonymous said...

I was one of the "other" votes, but my choice is television. If I'm sad, I'm sad... miserable, even. But there's always something mind-numbingly stupid on television to help me drift out of my own head.

Restaurant Gal said...

The three Ws: writing, walking, wine--in that order

Kim Ayres said...

Dr McCrumble - :)

C in DC - Charlie and the Chocolate Factory?

NLA - I think I'm more tempted to agree with the old saying "Insanity is heritary: you get it from yor kids..."

Mary - loud music - another one that should be on the list

Kuin - I had heard that online scrabble was becoming a bit of an addiction...

Sam - I do read, again and again, about the benefits of physical exercise. Unfortunately this Fatigue thing prevents me from it. If I go out for a half-hour brisk walk it wipes me out completely.

Canadian Girl - our friend with the kittens mentioned to us recently about how a sleeping cat on the lap has stopped her being able to go and get more snacks.

Andraste - This is what I find fascinating - the variation. The idea of dealing with hard emotional pain by saying pull yourself together and exercising, is about as far removed from my reality as I can imagine. But if it works for you then that's superb as it's not a physically damaging coping mechanism.

Eryl - For many of us, we have such a powerful and complex relationship with food - whether we over indulge or deny ourselves.

Anonymous - Because I have been spending the past 2 and a half years battling with using food as my default medication, TV and blogging have become my now main forms of distraction - but they are still secondary choices.

Restaurant Gal - I daresay if you started with the Wine, then the other 2 would probably never get started :)

SafeTinspector said...

Hah! I am one of only TWO people to indicate videogames as his primary med.

I have so many, though. Food is one for me as well, as is blogging and general techno-fuckery. Oh, and don't forget self-denial.

Sayre said...

When I'm sad, I read or watch TV. When I'm angry, I clean. REALLY clean. As in a whole day to clean one room. Every nook and cranny spotless.

My husband has been known to come in, back out and tell my son, "Oh, God, watch out. She's CLEANING."

Andraste said...

Kim - I think it's more the "be rational" part that does it. And the endorphins from the exercise.

But now that I reflect a bit more, a stupid movie or some very loud music, with some nice wine and cheese popcorn can also do wonders...Maybe it's a combination of all or any, depending on the particular type of depression/sadness/blahhhhs.

Or maybe I'm just not particularly deep.

MikeP said...

Since "reading a good book" showed up often in this poll, maybe the next poll you should have is "what is a good book"?

jennifergg said...

Great post! I have to say, we all need a little help sometimes. For me, the help varies, and depends. Sometimes it's prayer, or friends. Sometimes writing, or a walk. Sometimes food (hello my friend, chocolate!) and probably lots more too...

The main thing is balance. I think in life, we need balance, between the good and the bad, the hard and the easy, the taking-of-help and the giving help to others.

The key is, of course, figuring out how to keep it all in balance!~

Stella said...

I voted for food, sigh.....but could also put anti-ds, alcohol, reading, swimming, music (listening to)

Hope you are on the up Kim and sorry I haven't been around AGAIN.

Gyrobo said...

I can totally empathize with Mia; once I get into a book I like, not even wild horses can defeat me.

But my primary means of blowing off steam -- and I mean it, this is what I do, don't question it -- is to walk.

Yup, a brisk walk. Over hot coals.

Kim Ayres said...

SafeT - I refuse to have an Xbox or Playstation in the house as I know I would end up on it to the exclusion of almost everything else.

Sayre - at least there's a practical outcome... I guess it's another control thing really

Andraste - or maybe you have less mental health problems

MikeP - that would probably cause too many fights and arguments...

Jennifer - ah, that elusive balance... :)

Stella - sometimes we're just spoilt for choice...

Welcome back :)

Gyrobo - now is walking over hot coals harder or easier for a robot? There might be less pain, but metal does conduct the heat much more

Kimberley MacLean said...

I actually tend to hibernate. I tend to go inward - ignore the phone, shut-off the computer, tv, etc. Maybe listen to some music, throw a bit of a pity party. So long as I am able to do this, I find the process ends up taking me into a period of self-reflection. I normally then end-up talking myself through it and realize whatever it is will pass, as have other issues/concerns/troubles, etc.

fatmammycat said...

Exercise for me. No matter how crappy I might feel, I feel much better after a gut bursting work out in the gym or a run.

PI said...

when I'm really miserable I have to have a lovely hot fragrant bath - back to the womb.

Mom the hipple said...

Reading and sleeping for me. It's just a form of procrastination you know; putting off until another day what you can't face today.

C in DC said...

Or The Chocolate Wars.

Kim Ayres said...

Kimberley - I think cocooning is a natural defence mechanism. And sooner or later the cocoon ceases to be a comfort and becomes an irritation to shed

FMC - I specifically had you in mind when I pur in the exercise option :)

Pat - lights out, but lots of candles. mmmmm....

Mom the Hipple - well if it means you get to the end of the day then it serves a purpose

C in DC - :)

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