Eating humble pie – taking antibiotics for the first time in over 20 years

by Matilda Bathurst, Midwife & Primary School Teacher, UK

I have been beautifully, tenderly and gently humbled this week following a visit to my GP on Monday. For over 3 weeks I had had a cough and was feeling various degrees of unwell, resisting, as is my tendency, really taking care of myself and allowing support from others.

Prompted by a beautiful man in my life, I made the appointment and was guided by my GP to take some antibiotics, in that a cough that persists for over 3 weeks is significant and he could hear a ‘slight crackle’ in the base of my left lung.

For a long time, I have had a disdainful relationship with mainstream medicine, avidly exploring alternative modalities and building an arrogance in myself about mainstream medicine being ‘less’ and below me. So it was with some discomfort and unfamiliarity that I collected my prescription and actually committed to take the tablets.

What has transpired in the week since (I completed the course yesterday) has been nothing short of miraculous. For one the cough has gone… but more significantly I have had the opportunity to explore and review a filing cabinet’s worth of pictures, beliefs, opinions and ideals about how I have always thought things ‘should’ be: how I should present myself in the world and that it is a failure and weakness to be ill and need the support of others.

I wrote to my GP today to say thank you and enclose a copy of part of the email here:

‘I just wanted to say a big thank you for your support in our appointment last week. I have just finished the course of antibiotics and my cough has gone. Almost more inspiring though than this, is the fact that my whole relationship with being unwell and allowing myself to be supported has shifted. I realised that in well over 20 years I have only taken one paracetamol and up to last week I was quite stubbornly proud of this, but what it actually shows is that I have not allowed myself to be taken care of and have ‘done’ hardship far too much.

So, more than just physiological support, my first round of antibiotics for a while has shown me a whole lot more.’

Would I say I have a tendency to be stubborn, yes; opinionated, yes… but less and less so and it is life changing moments like this one that are breaking the abusive and self-disregarding patterns of behaviour I have chosen and established in my life.


Read more:

  1. Should we reconsider what illness and disease mean for us? 
  2. Why don’t I feel well? Is illness and disease just a random event? 



372 thoughts on “Eating humble pie – taking antibiotics for the first time in over 20 years

  1. When we are able to just feel the learning on offer without making it a drama or reaction it is just so lovely and fruitful for everyone.

  2. Reaching out and asking for, and allowing support when we are ill is also a loving form of medicine in its own right.

  3. Thank you Matilda for sharing the change, on many levels, that can come about through letting go of ideals and beliefs and allowing support in a form we had previously refused to consider.

  4. Eating the humble pie can be healing for everybody around us too, especially when we have been widely proclaiming the fact that we don’t need medication for instance. It is healing to see someone who denied the truth turns back to it without drama or resistance and is truthful about it too.

  5. This is not an uncommon story that people will not use conventional medicine and will suffer when there are very effective and simple treatments available. It is worth pondering on what it is that makes people either blindly buy it completely and do whatever ‘doctor says’ or react and avoid it and be willing to try anything alternative rather than see a doctor. It reminds me of mainstream religion. People either blindly follow or react and throw the ‘baby out with the bath water’.

  6. I like that the author wrote a letter of appreciation to her GP – who does that these days? There was a time when the family doctor was considered a close family friend, but these days we rarely get to see the same one when we visit the GP surgery.

  7. Committing to take the tablets… that’s an interesting one for me too Matilda. I often start a course and then somehow forget, what a reflection of how much we are committed to ourselves in a daily basis. Imagine the sun not committing to shine and we get plunged into darkness because it couldn’t be bothered that day.

  8. I love what you share here Matilda as it exposes so many ideals and beliefs around medicine and needing support. I encounter this a lot in my daily practice as a health practitioner and it can make such a difference if people are willing to feel and accept what their body truly needs, even to the point where prescriptions that can have severe side effects cause no or only minimal reactions when taken without resistance and in the intention of self-care and self-nurturing.

  9. We can be so stuck or stubborn in our ways yet as we let go and open ourselves up listening to the support around us we can very often change old patterns and behaviours. It is very beautiful when we let go of our selfish ways to listen, hear and take heed of what our loved ones are offering deepening the intimacy within ourselves and within our relationships too.

  10. I have had many ideals and beliefs around main stream medicine too. For instance insisting on a home birth with no drugs when previous to being pregnant I took copious amounts of illegal drugs. When I needed drugs to support my delivery I refused them and battled through an extremely painful 36 hours labour where I nearly died…nuts really when I could have been supported by the medical profession!!!

  11. This blog really helped me let go of a nagging belief system I have held onto that says that if I am ill or sick in any way, then I must have been doing something wrong and it is a sign of failure in some way. Obviously, there is so much more that is on offer when we are met with an illness and it’s up to us to take advantage of the healing that our body is going through without self-judgement, which would block it.

  12. To me it seems like the eating of humble pie is really just the process of understanding the judgement we have been in and noticing it as we let it go. When it’s gone there is no humble pie but just love and understanding.

    1. So true Matilda, one actually feels lighter and freer as the ideals and beliefs are let go of, and this clearing of our energy allows us to see and feel the magic that is on offer.

  13. What I have also become aware of is the tenderness and delicacy that is revealed when we get honest with ourselves.

  14. It is amazing to read about the power of humbleness, and especially when it comes to your own body. I find that humbleness with my body leads to great awareness not only of myself and my motivations, but also for the rest of the world and its population. And being this aware can be a huge challenge, but the humbleness of listening to my body always brings everything back to basics.

  15. I love the fact you have sent your GP an email and the honesty in which you have written to him how accepting his treatment has changed more than the illness but was part of breaking abusive and disregarding patterns you had chosen. Making your GP aware that there is more to heal than only the body.

  16. I love that you wrote to your GP – appreciation absolutely changes lives and when many of us go to the GP we often seek relief and a fix, but once the GP has supported us do we appreciate it and express that? I love the openness that you wrote to your GP in, every relationship can have this transparency and honesty whether we have just met or known each other a life time.

  17. There can be a certain stubbornness in refusing to be honest with what is in front of us, taking away the possibility of learning and embracing the support that is available to us.

  18. Many of us who are looking after ourselves and making healthy lifestyle choices are finding that our health has improved enormously however, some of our past choices can manifest in an illness or disease that requires conventional Western medical treatment. We can supplement our treatment with naturopathic remedies and they can help alleviate symptoms of the pharmaceuticals offered, but we need to feel into each situation before rejecting medicine on a principle.

  19. What a truly remarkable thing to be able to come to, to be humble and to actually listen to what is actually there that is needed to support us and not push on thinking we have to do it on our own.

  20. “Eating humble pie” – eating what we already have known yet have dismissed to then taste once again and in appreciation having understood the self-revealed bigger picture.

    1. The good old humble pie – eaten time and time again as we learn more and more about letting go of pictures and living the truth we know from within.

  21. There is great humility and healing available when we let go of the ideals and beliefs of what we think may be happening and let other possibilities and medicine options in.

  22. Matilda oh how I can so relate, I was for many years proud that I did not take any mainstream medication and the last time I was prescribed antibiotics (which was sometime ago now) I actually threw them away.
    Stubborn can be the mind that says it has to be a certain way. Being open to what is on offer and feeling with our body rather than our mind will direct us to the best way to heal.

  23. There is something very levelling and a process of ‘bringing you back’ to truth and honesty when we experience the situation of ‘eating humble pie’… Like a re-set to the body, discarding old patterns, behaviours and dogged beliefs, it is a new beginning, only now with a truck load of settlement, acceptance and grace.

  24. Yes, Matilda, feeling it is a failure to be ill is a big nut to crack, so we can open ourselves up to the amazing reflection offered by the body to support our learning and the grand opportunity to heal.

  25. With any illness there must always be two aspects to complete the healing process: support from medical professionals, and, a willingness from ourselves to look at our part in creating the illness.

    1. Yes, very true. If we don’t take ownership or responsibility about our part, asking ourselves questions such as ‘What was my part in this?’, then so much expectation is loaded onto medication to work, when the way we live and our lifestyle choices are contributing factors in the rise of ill health and dis-ease.

      1. We always have a part to play, we create everything we walk into and therefore will always have a lesson to learn from any given scenario.

  26. I have just been in a lesson where we looked at our modern understanding of heroes comparing them to what the Greeks believed to be a hero to be. It was an interesting exercise in that it exposed how many beliefs were felt to be false; in the modern era we don’t necessarily feel that dying gloriously is the way to go and yet for the Greeks this is something that was apparently aspired to. With time, many of the ideals and beliefs we hold as true or normal will simply get exposed as absurd. How awesome then to catch any personal ones we may have now and see them for what they are and maybe why we took them on in the first place.

  27. I would not find taking antibiotics as eating humble pie. If I have an infection and the doctor recommends antibiotics, I take them. I will look at why I got an infection but it need not be any failing at all or, if there is something that I would need to change I would then endeavour to do so.

  28. It is so liberating to let go of any ideals or beliefs we may have had in the past, and embrace the true love and support that we have available to us all of the time.

  29. Thanks, Matilda. I love your honesty about the ‘filing cabinet’s worth of pictures, beliefs, opinions and ideals’. As we let go of these mental projections we start settling more in the body and surrendering to the wisdom that comes from within us.

      1. Good question, Otto! I for one have in the past resisted the love that is on offer, holding onto my layers of protection and justifying my choices from this position. To let others in is a deeply healing process.

    1. How many people have become disillusioned with the overstressed medical care providers and the lengthy waiting times for treatment that suffer in silence and hope it will get better with time?

  30. Absolute honesty brings with it constant learning and humble pie eating, which supports us to expose all the hindrances to living from the innate wisdom of the soul.

    1. I wonder if it is humble pie for only part of us while for another part it is actually quite a liberation.

  31. I too had that ‘stubborn streak’, but also a lot of fear, when it came to antibiotics for many years after a serious reaction to Penicillin followed by minor reactions to four others. In fact, if a doctor mentioned antibiotics I would run off, very fast, to try something alternative. But one day I was left with no alternative and antibiotics it was, so I allowed myself to open up to the possibility that this time all would be well – and it was. The condition was healed and the fear that had sat with me for so long began to dissipate. My body had known what it needed at that moment in time and supported me all the way.

  32. When we start opening up to the truth we can eat humble pie over a lot of things that surface for us to look at. Things we have held onto because they are familiar and it is our way of viewing the world. Everything can be questioned in order to clear the way for our deep knowing of the truth.

  33. Our critical mind will pick apart the most sensible straight forward thing and reframe its decision as being ‘true to our heart’ – our body is what gives away what is really true.

  34. There’s the surrender to receiving support and guidance on a wider scale, and then there’s the detail we can explore about why the sickness was – in this case – staying stuck in our left lung and not the right one etc.

  35. Yes, Matilda, it is very joyful to let go of an ideal or belief that has kept us separate from the innate wisdom of the body, as there is a sense of home-coming to the truth that was always there.

  36. What a strange expression of eating humble pie when learning something new should be exposing for us, to appreciate the evolution it brings. We are never too old to learn new things.

    1. I have found that when I need to eat some humble pie rather than appreciating the learning on offer I often tend to self-bash with the painful exposure… this does need to change because with it I am sabotaging the learning on offer.

      1. … and letting go of being wrong! Humble pie brings a humility and a fragility that can be raw and honest. Much better than the arrogance we refused to see the truth with before-hand.

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