Okay lovelies, today’s article is going to be a little different. I have a bone to pick with the world’s view of mental health and considering I have been in emotional purgatory all day I figure this is the best outlet.
So, I live with moderate depression and generalized anxiety which is a combination that leaves me feeling like I want to do everything and nothing at the same time. I refuse, however, to say I suffer from depression and anxiety as I know I am stronger than that having lived with this for years now. For those of you just starting the path through the mental health forest, please know that It will get better and you will be able to look at mental illness the same way in time.
My journey started six years ago when I had no clue why for years I had been feeling emotionally barren. Thankfully now I do. I know that some might think discovering that I had moderate depression and generalized anxiety would be anything but good but, for me, having seriously contemplated my existence and what mark I have made in this world, knowing what was going on in my brain, and finally opening the door to the real, honest, and frankly ugly workings of my psyche was one hell of a relief. I no longer felt useless, lesser than, or like my best option to feel better was to just end my existence.
Opening the door to the real, honest, and frankly ugly workings of my psyche was one hell of a relief.
This isn’t to say that once I was diagnosed the clouds cleared, flowers bloomed, and rabbits fucked in celebration no, no. The reality was (and is) that the medical system sucks for mental health help, there was and still is a stigma and because I was so, so lost, I accepted help without question.
According to the doctor, the first step was to try a veritable smorgasbord of SSRIs, SNRIs, and MAOIs. In short, I had signed up for the world’s shittiest rollercoaster. Some of the pills made me so violently ill, others made me so lethargic and mute that at times, a sentence consisting of three words seemed like an unconquerable mountain. Trial bottle after trial bottle, this went on for three months until I finally found “the perfect pill” for me.
Now, in all fairness to the pharmacological side of things, the pill I had found did help me to establish a new foundation for my brain to build upon. It is because of the need to build this foundation that I was on the same medication for three and a half years before I felt stable enough and trusted myself enough not to fall back into the abyss. On doctor’s orders, I weaned myself off my medication and excitedly turned to a new page, ready to finally begin the next chapter of my life on solid footing.
Now, those of you who have that oh-so-special relationship with depression and anxiety know that it is an unbreakable bond. It is a relationshit. Some days are good, some are great, but there are those random days like the one I am having today which has been less than stellar. Now, one of the things that help me do battle with my brain is personifying my depression and anxiety. I liken it to a Shakespearean antagonist, forever lurking in the rarely visited corridors of my mind castle. On the same level as Othello’s Iago but oh so slightly less cunning. Another handy-dandy tool that I use to battle my mental illness is weed.
I have found that weed helps me when I am feeling ambiguously blue. When I have a toke, my mind slows down enough for me to make sense of things again. I become less inclined to allow my little Iago to take over. Cannabis allows me to reconnect with myself. I have found over the years that when a mood like this sets in, that means that I need to be doing more with my time and I don’t necessarily mean five-minute crafts. Sometimes doing more with my time means allowing the high to set in and allowing myself to feel my big feelings and then analyze when and why I began to feel them in the first place.
Cannabis can be used for so much more than just a good time. Yes, I smoke for shits and giggles for sure but on days like today, I smoke to realign with myself. Hell, given my mood today, I toked up before writing which gave me the willpower to actually write, and good or bad, goddammit I feel better for it. Weed has helped me shake off the self-conscious feelings that come with my mental illness and allows me to see the forest for the trees. When I toke up on a day where every shade has been blue, it gives me the strength I need to not continue to beat myself down even further than my mental illness already has.
I treasure the fact that cannabis has allowed me to be easier on myself and has helped me see that I am completely human and beautiful in my own way. Cannabis has helped to disperse the storm cloud that had been looming over my head since I can remember. It has given me the strength to explore my own mind and see the beauty in its imperfections. That is why I write. I write with the courage of conviction and with a goal to help others see that there is genuine beauty in the perfectly imperfect mind.
I hope that if you are living with mental illness that cannabis helps you too. And always remember, you are not alone.