My Lifelong Quest for Approval

zebra painting 1
My first attempt at a zebra painting, which was referred to as too disturbing, and demonic looking.

I am just using this painting as an example. I have this habit of sending out photos of paintings I’m not finished with yet, to get a sense of peoples’ reactions to them.

Not a great idea. As you would guess, everyone has different ideas about what they like and don’t like regarding my work, and I can’t say I’m not affected by these opinions.

My father, upon seeing the initial painting, claimed that it looks like a demon zebra. I wasn’t too happy with his response, to say the least.

I got some other negative feedback, as well, so rather than stick with my plan, I decided to give in to the expectations, and make the piece less intense.

2nd, more approved of version, of zebra painting.

Believe it or not, I did not write this article for approval of my paintings, I wrote it to illustrate how easily influenced I am, when it comes to the comments and opinions of my friends and family.

I so want to be liked and approved of. My work is an extension of my soul.

Somehow, I’ve always felt like I’m something broken in need of repair, and inept at living a normal, and meaningful life. This lack of faith in my own judgment is tied into these thoughts.

I know as humans, that we all need approval from our peers. I just feel like I desire/need more than usual!

I’ve written before about my recent flare of Crohn’s disease.

It hasn’t flared in 25 years, which I’m very thankful for. And this bout hasn’t really been too hard to cope with.

Well, my Gastroenterologist in town, wants to put me on a drug called Humira. It needs to be injected(by me), and is not a medication to take lightly.

I’ve called this particular doctor’s office a handful of times, with anxious questions about the Humira, and have received no reply.

My first thoughts were, “Are they finding me annoying?”, “Should I just trust the doctor, and start the drug?”.

This is a heavy duty drug that is potentially life threatening, and I’m worried about what my Gastroenterologist, and his assistant think about me, and my concerns?

Today, I spoke to a nurse who works for the drug company, and asked her about how long the average treatment lasts for people in my situation. She informed me that I probably would be on it for the remainder of my life, as if you start and stop the medication, you can built up a tolerance for it, and it will no longer work!

At this point, I’ve concluded that I don’t care so much about what my doctor thinks of me.

I’ve had Crohn’s since I was 10 years old, and through my life I’ve encountered a number of docs who have made seriously bad judgment calls.

When I was told that I needed to be on Humira, by my doc, he told me pretty much nothing about it. He certainly did not mention that it would be a life long commitment. He did mention that a bunch of his patients are on it and doing very well.

I wonder; would he prescribe this drug to his daughter, or take it himself?

In this situation,  I’m being given the opportunity to make my own decision in regards to taking this drug, and to worry less about what people will think of me. I had seriously been thinking of just trying to take the shots, to see if my low grade symptoms would be resolved, in part because I didn’t want to cause waves.

Fuck that!

I wrote a letter to this docs assistant today, via the offices portal for patients, and told her that I am going to take a month to think about whether or not I want to pursue Humira as a medical option for myself. I told her to tell my doc about this decision, and frankly have no idea if I’ll ever get a response.

I’m not saying here that no one should take Humira, or that it’s a horrendous drug. I’m just wondering if it’s the right course of action for me.

So, in the next month, I will keep a close eye on my Crohn’s symptoms, to make sure that they’re not worsening. I’m hoping my GI guy will be on board, and not let his ego get in the way of a helping a concerned patient.

If my health begins to obviously deteriorate, I will most likely give in, and take the Humira.

For now, I’ll just deal with the mild nausea, the weight loss(holding steady), and my nearly non-existent desire to eat.

I also am going to do my best to stop sending unfinished paintings to friends and family.

I have an inner voice, or intuition, that truly does know things. I’d like to teach myself to rely on it more frequently, and to trust my innermost self.

It’s a big project. But it’s one that has begun already, and will most probably be completely resolved, only upon my death.

Remember, that you have this intuition, too. Don’t allow anyone to stomp on you, and dismiss you, just because you don’t see things in the same was that they do. Especially when it’s about your health, or anything that resides close to your heart.


  1. Well, I for one love the first zebra! I actually think he’s really funky and you’ve done a wonderful job with the colour scheme; I love how he’s partly transparent, too. The pupil in the eye does make a difference. Is that the finished piece? I’d happily hang the first one on my wall, so I don’t know what anyone else has said but, well, maybe they can’t appreciate good art 😉 And my opinion on this piece is completely honest & genuine, I wouldn’t have said it if I didn’t mean it, I would have overlooked the whole thing otherwise.

    I used to care hugely about other peoples’ opinions, and then in my later 20s I started to care a lot less. Recently, I hadn’t realised that I do still care too much, more than I thought I did. I guess I just get better at not showing it, or kidding myself that I don’t care, that I don’t need the approval of others. I also have high anxiety & I’m a chronic over-thinker..perhaps you share some of those things because it makes worrying about how you come across, what others think, etc, more of an issue. It sounds like maybe that’s the case with worrying about why you’d not heard back about your queries on Humira. I find that so annoying when we have to chase for a response to important things like this. The one time when you can care less about their opinion is when it comes to medical professionals. They have a job to do, and your health trumps everything else. The doc that prescribed this really, really should have told you more about it. I’m glad you’ve written to him and are taking a bit more time to consider it. And you’re absolutely right, don’t let anyone stomp on you or dismiss you. Have you checked out other blogs and forums where others have taken Humira, to get some first hand experiences alongside the rest of your research? May be an idea.

    Sending hugs, take care of yourself over the weekend, try to rest and give yourself some kindness (hope that doesn’t sound too cheesy & cliche!)  ♥
    Caz xx

    1. Caz, you always write the most thoughtful and kind hearted responses to my blog. I really appreciate this. I’m glad to hear that you enjoyed my initial vision of my zebra. Thank you for the compliment.

      I totally understand what you mean about overthinking, and continuing to care so much about what other people think concerning our hair, our looks, our work, our bodies, etc.

      My friend who is in her sixties spoke to me about how this need for approval runs deep, especially for women. In part because we always have needed to support one another, to get along, and so much compromise and approval is needed to do so. I thought this was an interesting tact, and one that made me feel a tad less critical of myself, and that needy part of my personality.

      I did write my doctor, and his assistant got back to me. He(the doc), is fine with me staying off of all meds for one month. Then we will meet, and discuss all the benefits, and drawbacks of the medication that he wants to put me on. It made me feel good to know that he wasn’t the sort of doc with a huge ego, who punishes patients that question him!

      Hugs to you, too. I believe that you go through an awful lot, on a daily basis, and that somehow you manage to write a thought provoking, and empathic blog, regularly, despite this. Definitely something to be proud of.

      I am often impressed by how much wisdom you’ve accumulated in a relatively short period of time. You have helped me on many occasions, and I feel a true affection for you.

      No, didn’t at all sound like a cheesy cliche’. You give yourself that understanding and kindness too. I know what a challenge it can be.

      Wendy xoxo

      1. Aww, I’m so glad to have ‘met’ you in the blogging world, Wendy, you’re very dear to me so I care about how you are. An interesting, and I think spot on point, about the need for approval and acceptance, about having to compromise so much and caring too much about what others think running so deep with women. I think that’s pretty spot on, sadly. I’m glad your doc was more open so you can take the time to think things through and then revisit the issue with him in a few weeks. Take care of yourself this weekend,  ♥

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