My natural state is depressed and anxious even though I’m an optimistic go-getter at heart. These contradictory sides of my personality tug at my peace of mind on a daily, hourly, minute-by-minute basis. Three things keep me sane: writing, cannabis, and exercise, and in that order. If I had to, I could live without cannabis and exercise though I’d be miserable. If I couldn’t write, I’d be dead.
I was diagnosed clinically depressed at the age of twenty-five but have never taken prescription drugs to treat my condition. I took Seroxat – prescribed by a psychiatrist – for five days and binned them against medical advice because they gave me horrendous headaches if I drank alcohol. When I took them, I felt the same way I did on MDMA. From the first pill, it was clear to me it was a drug, and if I were going to take drugs, I’d take the one I trusted: cannabis.
However, opting to self-medicate meant that I had no support system for my condition, making it more challenging to deal with. Over the next few years I made some really bad decisions that effectively murdered my wellbeing, and propelled me to immigrate to a new country. I was on the run with no idea it wasn’t possible to escape ME. It would be another ten years before I’d discover the trauma that underpinned my depression, and another five to learn how to treat it.
Before I learned about how the body holds trauma, I assumed that depression was a head problem, and that if I tried hard enough I could think my way out of it. With the benefit of hindsight, I can now admit that it’s likely cannabis caused me to spend more time in my head than is necessary or healthy. It’s possible that in this regard cannabis slowed my life progress but when you’re dealing with depression in an unsupported manner, there is no “normal” progress.
Essentially, I survived, and cannabis made that possible by easing the pain in my hijacked nervous system, calming me, and enabling me to write. It was when I made the commitment to take my writing seriously that I began to see small changes in my overall health. From the get-go, cannabis was a part of my writing routine, opening the door to my unconscious and allowing me to explore those terrifying parts of life that makes us human. The more I smoked, the more I wrote, and asked difficult questions, and searched for answers. Cannabis made life fascinating, and gave me the curiosity of a child.
I use cannabis to help me get to a place of questioning, and to ask the difficult questions with compassion instead of criticism. It helps me look at my hay-wired mind from a different angle, and makes me open to new ideas, things I might not readily understand, as well as the experiences and expertise of others. Cannabis softens the blow of remembered pain, letting me hold it without pushing it away, helping me to embrace and learn from it, to trace its path back to abstract sources, and follow its patterns through the course of my life. On this podcast, ex-addict Russell Brand talks about addiction as a holding pen that protects a person from life until they’re ready to confront its pain.
To attribute my healing to cannabis alone would be a lie. My approach is holistic, including meditation, nutrition, and exercise as well as a willingness to learn. I’m still working on the forgiveness part. Today, I work out five days a week, and follow a meal plan that nourishes me. I use cannabis to both motivate me to go to the gym, and for muscle recovery. Because sleep is an essential part of muscle building, cannabis also ensures I get the necessary rest. It’s got to the point that I can’t work without cannabis, and in fact, it’s difficult to do anything without cannabis because being stoned has become my natural state.
And I’m not convinced this is a good thing. I have more THC in my system than a Colorado marijuana lab. I’m more conscious than ever that without cannabis, I can’t sit still. Without it, I’m a pinball on Ritalin. In recent months, I’ve been trying to quit tobacco again, and notice it’s more difficult this time round, as my two addictions have become more entrenched in me and with each other. Cannabis has become an extension of my personality. Yet, I’m part of a stoner tribe that’s currently going out of fashion.
Today, everyone is talking about the medical benefits of cannabis, and I couldn’t agree more because it has saved my life. But there’s no question having to maintain a secret addiction did not help my mental health, and I wonder how different the outcome would have been if I’d be able to take this drug supported by the medical community? I’m a recreational user only because that’s how society labels me. Still, if I had to do it all again, I would always choose being a stoner over depressed and suicidal. Who in their right mind wouldn’t?
#stonerfam #medicalcannabis #cannabisheals