Coming Out of the Medicine Cabinet

We live in a culture rife with contradictions, among them our rituals for the display of wealth. The consumption of expensive resources is generally encouraged to be conspicuous, with certain notable exceptions. In a country where (despite a long and protracted political battle) many of our citizens still don’t have access to affordable medical care, our medications are often a major expense. Individual pills can cost as much as precious gems. And yet, far from being displayed as symbols of social status, or even regarded as neutral, these expensive (and vital) objects are shut away with embarrassment behind medicine cabinet doors and hastily taken in private.

I have discovered that many people think they are alone in dealing with a medical issue, when in fact they are surrounded by friends and family silently working through the same or similar situations. The wall of silence surrounding our medication usage is self-perpetuating; when our perception is that everyone around us is functioning without chemical “assistance,” talking about our own usage can feel like admitting a shortcoming or failure. Much as the progress in sexuality visibility has helped perpetuate a move towards acceptance, change is dependent on a critical mass of medication-users “coming out” about their conditions and their usage. The simple act of not hiding is a political act, and that is an issue worth exploring.

The objects presented here represent an alternative approach to the issues we work through every day. Instead of hiding the hurdles we face - resigning ourselves and those around us to isolation - perhaps we should take that step out of the medicine cabinet, and start to serve as examples to each other of the many ways a healthy life can be led.

  • thumbnail of Migraine Mask (Self Portrait)
  • thumbnail of Advair Diskus (inhaler) (view 1)
  • thumbnail of Flovent Inhaler (view 1)
  • thumbnail of Lorazepam (view 1)
  • thumbnail of Relpax (box) (view 1)
  • thumbnail of Relpax (blister pack) (view 1)
  • thumbnail of Citalopram (view 1)
  • thumbnail of Meclofenamate (view 1)
  • thumbnail of Red Albuterol Inhaler (view 1)
  • thumbnail of Velvet Drawstring Prescription Bags (front)
  • thumbnail of 0.5MG Lorazepam ring (view 2)