I was brought back from the edge of death by cannabis.
PHOTO ABOVE: on the left, me at 18 (95 pounds) and on the right, me at 34 (my healthy weight)
My name is Dawn and I spent the first 17 years of my life struggling with a number of disorders. These were most commonly labeled as “mental.” It’s a phrase I couldn’t stand to hear and one I really didn’t understand.
Depression, anxiety, anger issues, and suicidal thoughts were a darkness that controlled me from as early as the age of 7. At the age of 12, I began cutting myself in the attempt to hide from the darkness: the emotional pain on the inside, the ugly things I’d say to myself, the ugly thoughts that flooded my mind. Cutting myself created a physical pain, an easier pain to deal with..a pain I could treat..a distraction from what was happening in my mind.
I hid these cuts very well from everyone, and began writing my ugly thoughts down inside a journal in poetry form. It was another way to hide my ugly truth. At the age of 14, I began acting out. I hated myself, my family, and the world. I began punching walls, and the cutting progressed from my legs to my arm.
My Mom did everything she could to help. She tried talking with me. She tried tough love. Through it all, she never gave up on me. We tried counselling, but it wasn’t long before the therapist quit on me, stating she couldnt help me if i wasn’t willing to try…which I wasn’t.
That is when the eating disorder settled in. I became addicted to caffeine/energy pills as a way to lose the weight I saw on myself. It was easy to skip meals and get away with it because I worked and could claim it was an accident, “I worked through lunch break.” I could easily go days without eating, and by the time I’d eat my stomach would reject it and I’d vomit.
Vomiting gave me a rush of adrenaline and I became addicted to that. I’d purposely eat a huge burger meal because it was easy to throw up, and I’d get that rush. By the time I was 18, I weighed only 95 pounds and still hated myself. I didn’t see what others saw, every skin fold was fat and it was up to me to get rid of it.
It was about that time that my Mom introduced me to cannabis. She knew I wouldn’t take prescriptions because we tried that. The antidepressants only masked how I felt. Truthfully, I think it made it easier for others because the pills made me smile, but on the inside..I still felt broken.
My Mom hadn’t smoked since since she quit in 1976, but on this day she loaded that bowl and shared it with me. Right away, I felt a million times better. That darkness that clouded my thoughts and made me believe such horrible things was suddenly gone. I remember hugging my mom and LAUGHING. I couldn’t remember ever laughing that hard in my life. THEN I was so hungry. We ordered a pizza, watched a movie and I fell asleep in her bed. I was only able to eat one slice, but I didn’t throw it up!
After that night, sharing a bowl became our thing. We both worked, would get off..share the bowl, eat dinner and go to bed.
I always misjudged cannabis as something so horrible, an awful gateway drug that should be illegal. That’s so wrong!! There are years of pain and suffering I didn’t have to go through had I known the TRUTH about cannabis.
My Mother saved my life and became my best friend, which was beautiful because for so long, I hated her for nothing. I was so mean to her, and to everyone and it didn’t have to be that way. I missed out on my childhood because of my ‘mental problems,’ and it shouldn’t have been that way.
I’m 34 today and weigh about 130. I’m a mother of 3. I still have my struggles, as they live in my head. And I still battle depression and anxiety, but, now, they never control me.
I still struggle with myself, and who I see in the mirror, but I love food and am a fabulous cook.
Cannabis is not a drug, nor was it a cure for me. Cannabis didn’t cure me, but it sure helps me get through the days when the darkness tries to consume me.