How Medical Marijuana Has Helped Ease My Depression
In October of 2008, I was diagnosed with depression.
I had suspected as much before that, but having been brought up by a mother who believed in stoicism, martyrdom and a refusal to seek help, I had been a little delinquent in taking care of myself. That year was major, both in the depths to which I fell and in the progress I eventually made in the years to come.
In April, my mom died after a long journey into dementia/Alzheimer’s. It was during those years dealing with her deterioration and the sadness of it all that I came to realize I was both stronger than I had thought and in need of better self-care.
One month exactly after her death, I fell down some stairs at work. I broke my foot, the arch and two toes. It was not only physically painful, but it was a real analogy for my mental health. What clearer way to reveal that my foundation had been knocked out from under me than to take away the physical support?
I was put in a huge boot, which I could not lift on my own. For a while, I was using a wheelchair to get around at work. All the while, I felt like a sad, little orphan, even though I was in my late 50s. In autumn of that year, the last piece of the puzzle was, literally, jammed into place, which took the form of a major car crash.
I was driving my friend’s car. She and I were coming back from a retreat in southeast Texas. I was doing the speed limit, 65 mph. I know because I had just checked everything: the speedometer, the mirrors and the traffic all around me. I did not, however, see the Ram pickup that was about to rear end us.
The driver had apparently failed to see us and had also decided we were on a motor speedway rather than a highway. The police said he was going more than 95 mph. He was driving a big pickup truck, and we were in a Toyota! You can imagine the damage, trunk pushed to the back seat and some of the back seat into the front seats. We spun 180 degrees, across three lanes of traffic and then onto the median in total shock.
Amazingly, our physical injuries were not serious. Apart from a slight concussion, I only had bruised ribs and whiplash. It was the effect on my mental health that really did me in. This is when I first received care for my state of mind and was placed on a drug for depression. The doctor told me after a couple of weeks that he had been fearful when he first saw me. He said I was so far down that I couldn’t even see the bottom. It was just so far above me.
Since 2008, I’ve experienced devastating loss. Our grandson killed himself in June of 2013, which sent me into a well of grief and depression that I nearly didn’t make it out of. The doctors tried a number of pills to try to relieve my depression and anxiety. I went through so many drug prescriptions I can’t recall their names.
My primary doctor finally hit upon a new pill, which was a saving grace. Eleven months after our grandson died, I found some relief. I saw some light. I saw that I really wanted to live. Then, in 2015, my husband of 45 years suddenly died. I was still in recovery from the pain of 2013. I now had to cope with a brand new situation, me without my beloved partner.
This past year, I have been on pills for depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). Then, I tried CBD oil (cannabidiol). It comes from the cannabis plant, extracted without the THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). It has relieved a lot of the anxiety and a little of the depression. I place some under my tongue at bedtime, and it helps with the pain.
More recently, I discovered that marijuana truly does a magnificent job of relief. It decreases my physical pain (from low back issues) by at least 75 percent and sometimes more. It also reduces my anxiety and depression, relieving the symptoms so I can relax and get some much-needed sleep. I can’t tell you how encouraged I am that medical marijuana has been approved in Florida where I live.
I would ask you, dear reader, before you judge or think “a certain way” about a person who is using medication, marijuana in my case in particular, to consider how the quality of their life has improved. I, myself, am not one to just throw pills at a problem, and I will be glad when I can toss my pills away.
I get regular counseling with a qualified therapist, and I am under the care of a psychiatrist. I meditate. I am restarting yoga. This is my story.
And it continues…
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