My cannabis journey has been light at the end of a very dark tunnel of crippling anxiety.
I have a life-altering condition called VACTERL Syndrome. These letters stand for: Vertebral defects, Anal atresia, Cardiac defects, Tracheo-esophageal fistula, Renal abnormalities, and Limb abnormalities.
This is a rare, congenital condition that is basically a combination of birth defects. All the surgeries are done, and I now deal with severe scoliosis and arthritis; GI problems because I am not able to flush everything out without medication; and extra female organs that cause severe pain and create intense mood swings.
This Was My Life
I grew up in an abusive home – beaten, isolated, and belittled from the age of 8 to 19 years old. This created depression, anxiety disorder, and PTSD.
At the age of 18, I overdosed on pills. I intended to take my life. I believed this was the only way to get out of that house and away from this pain. They hospitalized me, then put me into counselling and onto SSRIs.
It was clear that if I didn’t follow this protocol, I would be sent to a mental hospital.
A year after my suicide attempt, I was kicked out of my house for not cleaning a corner good enough. My dad flew me out to live with him.
The Nightmares Were so Vivid
From there, it was like I didn’t know what reality was for so long. I had nightmares that I was still in that abusive house. These were so vivid that when I woke up, and throughout the day, I didn’t know if I was here, or there.
I literally shook and shut down at any sign of conflict, and I would cower whenever I came into contact with authority figures. A lot of times I had full blown panic attacks. It was rare, but sometimes I even blacked out. Time would “skip” or I would be in a place in the house or outside, and I didn’t remember how I got there.
I even self-harmed naked, outside, in the middle of the night, with no recollection of it. After that incident, I was put on a different SSRI’s. I was getting worse, and everyday I wanted to die. I didn’t believe I was worthy of living, I didn’t believe I was good enough at anything to contribute to society. I was stuck between dreams and reality, not knowing which was which.
Every SSRI that I tried, failed. The anti-depressants shocked my brain every morning and I would stare into space for 20 minutes just trying to recover. The meds I took after the self harm blackout made me completely numb and apathetic. And if you knew me, you’d know I am actually very empathetic. All of them took away feeling in one form or another, and created severe brain fog.
I struggled like this for a long time…fast forward to nine months ago and my syndrome acted up in a BIG way. The scoliosis and arthritis got so severe I couldn’t sit, stand, bend down, or walk without pain. I was taking 5 ibuprofen every 5 hours, and it still did NOTHING for me except make me constipated. I did yoga, changed my diet to vegetarian, walked 2-miles a day, still nothing helped. Yoga and walking helped WHILE I was doing the activity, but when I finished everything got more painful than before. I was out of options. Bedridden. Opiates. Or….
I Started with CBD
At first I thought the cannabis thing was bogus, then I saw a video of cannabis helping an epileptic child, someone with autism, and 3 seniors with chronic pain. I researched further just to make sure, because my body is sensitive and decided to try CBD. It was a good start, but it just made my pain more bearable, it didn’t take it away. It did help with anxiety a little bit, and I began to get out of my shell. I remember talking to a group of strangers which was huge for me to initiate this sort of interaction.
Then I Added THC to My Day
So then I tried “flower” with THC in it. Immediately I felt a difference. I was more “loose” and I began to stretch and move freely. I had NO PAIN. It even helped my STOMACH pain which nothing has ever helped.
After a couple weeks, I began to realize that I was becoming happy, and grateful. I began to see colors in the trees and sky and the beach. I appreciated nature, something I never experienced before. I began to talk openly and freely with people in situations in which I would have previously stayed quiet.
Whenever I had a flashback, it was like I was watching it rather than being in it. And I could tell myself that I was safe now, and not there. When I had those anxious thoughts, I could smoke and then sit down and be like “okay. Let’s rationalize this.” And I could go THROUGH my thoughts, and tell myself X, Y, and Z most likely won’t happen, OR I could make a plan to make sure something happens. Instead of being stuck in fear or doubt.
My dad was against me taking cannabis at first, but he is now amazed at my progress, mentally and physically. He went from “I don’t know about this” to now bragging about how much it’s helped me to people who also are open about this subject.
I still have struggles, but I am way better than I was. I am now doing a podcast, blog, and recently went to a studio to record poetry in LA. Trying to educate people as well as trying to help and provide some kind of hope, something for people to relate to. Or wake up to. It’s all in beginning stages but it’s all something, it’s all progress. Something that wouldn’t be possible without cannabis. I’m still standing motherfuckers!