Tag Archives: social anxiety

In the shower this morning I found a piece of anger within me that I have yet to fully eradicate.

The thing about dealing with mental health problems is that you will always have days you feel like you can manage, and you will have days you feel like you can’t manage. Sometimes the days you can’t manage are consecutive and go on for months, maybe even years. And the shitty thing about that, other than the fact that you are struggling managing life, is that other people will not understand that.

Everyone has their own pain that they deal with and everyone deals with it differently. Some people can breeze through a truama and choose to put it out of their head while others develop Post Traumatic Stress and dissociation issues. I don’t think there’s a right way to deal with trauma, but generally what works is facing it and working through it. Sometimes when you do that, it takes a while and it takes a lot of pain. And that pain can shut you down for a while, maybe some weeks, months, years even.

For me, learning more about myself and what goes on in my head is proving to take some months, coming up on a year now. And for the past year it is true that I have been withdrawn and I have avoided other people, mainly because I’m struggling believing people have respectable motives towards me. I feel that they’re against me, and that if they say they aren’t, they’re lying.

Trying to explain this to someone who doesn’t experience it is almost impossible.

And I feel that since this was a part of the conditions of my recent breakup, that I should address this on this blog so I can also process it for myself.

Last November was a tough time for me going into the hospital and losing touch with a lot of reality. When I came out of the hospital, I didn’t really have anywhere to turn, at least that’s what it felt like. I still struggle with reaching out when I need some kind of support because it seems like whenever I do, it’s never enough. That’s my own issue I need to work on.

But knowing what I’ve been through, knowing what I’ve gone though, it should go without saying that It’s going to take me years to really get to a point where I feel comfortable “being outgoing” again. Unless I stop this infernal medication and go manic.

I just don’t feel like any part of me was understood in this break up. It was another trauma, because I’ve never had anyone so close to me misunderstand me so entirely.

And I respect his decision, and I respect that this has been an issue between us for a while. I don’t have any problem with someone making a decision that’s best for them. I just wish it wasn’t because of my mental health. I finally understand that saying: if someone can’t handle you at your worst, they don’t deserve you at your best. 

And I will be back to my best, I will return to myself. And it hurts me that I couldn’t have someone I love walk that journey with me. I guess it’s something I need to walk by myself. Maybe that’s just how it’s meant to be, and that’s fine too. I can’t control everything.

I also know there are people out there who WOULD walk that journey with me, who would research what they don’t understand, who would offer support in a way that will help me grow and get back to myself. And those are the people I need to surround myself with. I’m not quite sure where or when I will find them, but I will find them and I will latch onto them.

It seems like it’s a lot to ask of someone, but I would do the same for them. If they suddenly woke up in the midst of psychosis and ended up in the hospital, I would learn all I could about their experiences. I would be with them in their experiences and I would support their confidence until their confidence could support itself. Sometimes we need someone to do that for us, and it seems like if you truly love someone, that wouldn’t be too hard of a thing to do.

I had a great four years in my relationship. It was great fun, and there were times where I was supported by no one else but him. I acknowledge that. And maybe that was too much of a burden. Maybe it’s difficult for some people to hold that kind of pain and confusion with someone else. I tend to think it’s a rather simple thing because that’s what I do at work at all the time. I also acknowledge it’s different when you’re around it 24/7, or at least more often than three days a week.

So, these are things to be aware of going into my next relationship, whenever that may be. But I never felt like I overburdened him with my problems. I never sat there and complained about myself all day and all night, and I never demanded support. I only talked about my problems when they became overwhelming and I really did try and get out and do things.

I’ve been told all my life I’m not outgoing enough. I’m sick of hearing it. And you know what? I don’t give a fuck anymore. I’m done giving a fuck. Don’t like it? Not my problem anymore. I was ready to put effort into saving the relationship and that was cut off. So I’m not going to try to put anymore effort. I’m not going to try to win you back. I’m not going to bother you all the time. I’m just going to do me. I’m going to move and I”m going to try starting over. This town, Santa Cruz, has nothing left for me. And that’s okay. Everyone has to move on some time.

And that’s today’s Mental Truth.

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Songs have a beautiful way of expressing things we struggle to speak. Tonight I am listening to The Strumbellas, and I fell in love with their songs “Spirits” and “Shovels and Dirt”. I think each line has something impressive to offer. It’s hard to miss the main line in spirits: “I’ve got guns in my head and they won’t go, spirits in my head and they won’t go”.

And I think “it ain’t worth livin’ if you don’t get hurt” and “I’ve got a head full of darkness and darkness is good” is also two of the most beautifully truthful lines I’ve heard, along with “Well demons pull me side to side again, yeah well I’m scared to sleep and I hate my friends . . .” I never knew it was so easy to sum up psychological pain.

Is darkness good? A lot of my depressions have been bad, the episodes have driven me into self-destruction and put me through a lot of pain, but the beauty that has come out of that pain has been magnificent. I’ve done some of my best writing. I started this blog. I played some of my best on the piano. Without that little bit of darkness, half of me wouldn’t exist. The darkness is me, and it’s a part of me I couldn’t live without.

That being said, I’ll be in the Santa Monica area tomorrow. Sometimes it’s nice to push aside the darkness and have a little fun.

I don’t talk much about my writing projects on here, but most people know I write short stories as well as some poetry that I think is shit. I’ve been to some fiction workshops, and I’m taking yet another fiction class this semester, but I’m shit at communicating with other writers. Maybe if we write back and forth, I can communicate with them, but not many are willing to do that.

So, if there are ever any fellow writers out there who are serious about their writing, and would be willing to give me some thoughtful, constructive criticism on my work in return for a batch of my own thoughtful, constructive criticism on their work, please get in contact with me. I have a few writing projects that I want to push forward, but I need some more reassurance and criticism before I do.

I’m not quite sure what this post is. Remember when I used to do these kinds of vagabond posts where each paragraph is something completely irrelevant to the previous one? I took some Melatonin and I’m hoping it will knock me out soon so I don’t have to torture you all any longer.

Love yourself. You are enough.

And that’s today’s mental truth. Well, tonight’s mental truth. It’s almost tomorrow’s mental truth. I’ll blog about my Santa Monica experience. I’ll be sharing pictures on instagram, you can follow me there @ Written_in_the_photo, and my twitter @Ipenned. I don’t use Twitter much, and I just created a new account, so there’s not much there, but if you’re a big twitter person, you might get a kick out of things I retweet.

Anyway, enough of this shit post. Ali, Out.

If there’s one thing I sometimes wish I didn’t exist because of it, it would be social anxiety. For me, it’s more than the occasional nervous butterflies in the stomach when you get near a crowd, it’s more like the crippling can’t-do-anything-in-your-life kind of anxiety. Let me give an example from this very moment.

My new apartment is about 15 minutes from the main library branch in town, which is wonderful for someone like me, who is an avid reader. The problem is, I’ve been missing my library card since I was about 15 or 16. It wouldn’t be that big of a deal except in order to get it reinstated, or get a new one, I have to talk to the librarian.

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Talk.

To.

The.

Librarian.

And some of you might be thinking–wait a second, you’re a peer worker. Isn’t talking kind of your job? And you’d be right. And I’d feel like an idiot, as usual. But you see, being a peer worker is quite different, I’m among my own people and the conversation is more of others talking than me hogging up the space. I can handle that. I can’t handle small talk. And speaking to a librarian about a lost library card is considered small talk to my brain.

So, instead I’m sitting in the library writing this post.

I brought a few dollars with me in case I do decide to get a new card, but with the way my head is spinning and my stomach is feeling, I most likely will not be doing that today. It’s not urgent, but I would like some free reading material.

So how do people live with this? There are some people who aren’t able to step foot outside of their door, and I was one of those people until a couple years ago. What has worked for me may not work for others, but I figured I’d share some things anyway.

add090525_1_560One thing that has helped me was getting to the root of my social anxiety. What makes me most anxious, what makes me least anxious, and where could this have started? For me, what makes me most anxious is crowds. All of the eyes and voices are overstimulating to me, and can aggravate my own voices, and I don’t like the idea of all of those eyes judging every ounce of me. Eyes bother me because I don’t want to be seen. I’ve never been seen before, not truly. When I was a kid I was taught not to be seen or heard by the actions of my parents. Therefore, when I am seen, physically or metaphysically, I am wholly uncomfortable.

What makes me least anxious is one-on-one communication. There is a lot less stimulation. There is still the risk of judgement, but there is always a risk for judgement and that is something I need to get comfortable with, not something other people need to fix. Judgement is within human nature, unfortunately, and some people don’t have the capacity to not judge. Therefore, I need to have the capacity to not care. And I’m working on that.

What fuels my social anxiety is my childhood, and perhaps a predisposition towards anxiety as well. I was yelled at a lot, chased, around a lot of drugs, alcohol, and anger. I wasn’t allowed to speak unless I was being spoken to directly, and not even then sometimes. Silence became my comfort because I knew I wouldn’t get attacked if I stayed silent.

In learning the truth behind my social anxiety I have been better able to manage it. I realize that that trauma is not everywhere. I am allowed to speak if I wish to, and allowed not to speak if I don’t wish to.

58809653-man-at-desk-overwhelmed-hard-work-stress-at-work-fatigue-at-work-vector-illustration-flat-designIt’s easier to say than do. It’s taken a few years of practice, a lot of tears, a lot of frustration, self-harm, suicide threats, hospitalizations–not all related to social anxiety, but in one way or another those experiences have pushed me further towards being less socially anxious, particularly being in the hospital where I have no choice but to “live” with other people.

What has also helped me has been telling people about my social anxiety. I tell people about my paranoia, about delusions, and my mild hallucinations and in doing that I’ve learned to really, really, REALLY not care what people think, because I’m forcing them to judge me. And if you tell someone that when a celebrity dies, their spirit lives with you, they are going to judge you, trust me.

But telling people about my social anxiety has helped them also become aware of what makes me uncomfortable and what makes me comfortable, and that has been really helpful for me. There are some people who don’t care, and there will always be people who don’t care. But of the few that do, it’s been really helpful.

Everyone is at a different level of their anxiety. Mine was severe, to the point where I didn’t leave my house and if I did I would cry, shake, and have a panic attack. It’s now to the point where I can pick and choose some days to step outside, have some fun, and explore my limits. It takes work and dedication. But severity can be reduced. And that’s today’s Mental Truth

If I were required to keep a consistent blog schedule to save my life, I would have been dead months ago. It feels almost foreign to be writing on this page, but here I am.

Why have I been absent?

As a writer, and someone who deals with mental health challenges, it’s not always the easiest thing keeping up on my responsibilities and I can easily admit this is one I’ve let fall to the wayside. I’ve also been struggling with some horrific bouts of writer’s block.

These last few troubling weeks has got me thinking, really thinking, about what it means to heal, how long that takes–or how short–and what kind of work goes into the aspect of healing. Healing from trauma, healing from emotional pains, physical pains, imaginary pains. Are there stages of healing? How do you know when you’re in one stage and out of the other? Can you even keep track by yourself? How helpful is it to have someone by your side in the process of your healing? Do you ever actually heal?

These are questions I’ve been asking myself because I find myself in this ambiguous position of being someone people come to during their healing, and being someone who hasn’t really healed yet. And for the people who say “this is why you don’t help others if you haven’t helped yourself yet”, yes, I get it. I’m aware.

But this little mental purgatory I float in is an experience that perhaps needed to be experienced for the healing process to continue. Without feeling that ambiguity, I wouldn’t have ever focused on the subject of healing–perhaps things do happen for a reason.

This doesn’t take away from the fact that I feel completely unsatisfied in life and horribly unwelcome in my own skin. And that’s why I haven’t been posting.

This doesn’t mean I want to give up on this website, it’s still something I wish to nurture and foster, it’s just something that’s going to have to go along this little ride with me, much like the earlier version of my blog did. It went through my ups and downs and all of you followers who have stayed with me from the beginning have been absolutely amazing.

I’m thinking, if there are stages of healing, I’m still trapped in the beginning. I haven’t yet developed the skills I need to surpass the stage and enter into a realm where I can really handle the under-the-surface emotions. I haven’t yet encountered a therapy session, or two, or three, that has managed to break the wall I’ve built around myself. I can’t even break it, it seems, or else I could move onto stage two. And yet my intuition involving other’s pain is pretty spot on. I can feel their emotions and understand their hurt, and empathize with their feelings, all without being in touch with my own. And that’s an emotional paradox.

This isn’t the kind of posting I want to be doing on here, but the only thing I know how to do is be real with the readers who take time from their day to click on this little article. And this is part of being human, we all struggle, and this is what it can look like: ditching responsibilities, feeling drained of all forms of peace, being unsatisfied with every aspect of life.

This isn’t depression. I’m not hopeless, I don’t feel worthless, and I’m generally a jolly person throughout the day. This is a much larger beast that’s been feeding off my mental capacity since the day I was born, and that’s not supporting an ‘I was born this way’ genetic view of ‘mental diseases’. It’s a reference to how my environment influenced my silence and my withdrawal. And it seems that no matter how aware of these things I am, the awareness just hovers and nothing gets done.

And so I drown in this feeling of being inauthentic, because the people around me never really experience me. Some people take my silence or awkwardness as rudeness, stupidity, a lack of interest, or boredom, or sometimes they just think I’m not all there (which could be argued either way). I’m not even sure if I experience me, I’ve never been to “me”. I’m silent towards myself.

And I’ve never quite spoken to someone who experiences this similar to me. I’ve had people say they do, talks with people with social anxiety, regular anxiety, but this is so much different than that. It’s not easy to explain to your average person, and that’s why therapy has never worked for me. All of this, too, is why I haven’t been posting.

So I’m not quite sure where things will go from here. I may need this site as an outlet again, and tie these experiences back to the reason why there needs to be improvements in the mental health system. That’s what’s on my to-do list.

 

 

In the magical birth year of classical television series “I Love Lucy”, the DSM-I materialized into existence with 145 pages and 106 disorders.

Based off the Medical 203 (The Armed Forces Nomenclature), this 1951 piece of psychological literature featured short paragraphs describing disorders so psychologists and psychiatrists could look up at their patients dancing across the floor, look down at their trusty Bible, compare their patient’s behavior to their book’s description, and experience that “light-bulb” feeling.

In the medical 203, experiences later labeled as disorders were considered reactions to life, to combat, to habits learned in life from friends, family, social status and environment. The medical 203, you see, included LIFE as a source of altered mental state. What a radical view, right? LIFE and VARIETY being the cause of people’s experiences. So fucking radical I almost spit my juice across my computer screen.

The DSM-I followed those footsteps closely, with the guidance of APA president and first psychiatrist-In-Chief at John Hopkins University, Adolf Meyer. He believed, at first, chemistry and physiology could explain these mental experiences, but after findings in his own research and a glance into reality, he termed what we know as disorders today, as “Reactions”. He saw that emotional states were responses to experiences in life, and life in itself.

The DSM two, in the year of Martin Luther King Jr’s assassination, contained only 136 pages stuffed full of 182 disorders. There’s a rumor in the mental health community that the DSM evolved from “reaction” to “disorder” because of science–everything is always because of advancements in science, right? They found biological proof of mental disorders, right? They were mapping neurotransmitters and the dopamine hypothesis and the amygdala and the frontal cortex and inserted fancy terms and publicized research papers and they were experts after all . . . right?

The reason the terminology and the view associated with mental “reactions” was transformed stems not from science but from a really, really weak attempt at neutrality: Robert Spitzer and Paul Wilson stated they wished the DSM to stray from adhering to any “specific theories” when labeling disorders. Neurosis entered the scene, the term “disorder” reigned prevalent, and in the year 2017 we have the DSM-5, with over 300 disorders and a creative budget of 25 million dollars.

25 million dollars to write a book that’s been re-written four other times to basically say the same shit.

Why is ANY of this important? So I can ramble and make people read my rambles? That’s part of it.

The rest of my reasoning is far more valid. When Spitzer and Wilson reasoned the term “reaction” unworthy against “disorder” and descriptions of “neurosis”, what did they think they weren’t adhering to? The idea that people were struggling in life and therefore reacted to it? The idea that life itself might actually be a bit traumatic? The idea that there is a variety of human brains and human perceptions that could at any time differ from theirs? How is that a significant and scientific reason to dismember a mental health system that intertwined social, environmental, and biological factors? How is exiting the social and environmental portion of this not favoring AND adhering to a biological theory? 

So much for neutrality. 

Gender is a spectrum. This is 2017: Gender and Sex are not the same, Transvestite is not an appropriate term, and non-binary is a thing. We won’t go into the slander of the DSM-2 on sexuality, but we will talk about the transformation of how homosexuality and gender dysphoria was seen in those days versus today.

Because really the only thing that changed was the words. The natural variation of human sexuality and the development of sexuality in fetal stages has never changed: there have always been people who favored intimacy with the same sex over the opposite sex, and fetuses always went through the development process of splitting up hormones and growing certain organs.

Over time, the words changed and in the world of sociology, this classifies things like Gender, masculinity, and femininity as social constructions: no one is born a girl who likes barbies and no one is born a boy who likes toy trucks. At one point in history little boys wore dresses and blue was the color for girls: the ideas and standards we create and burden people with change as society transforms and time passes.

Over the last fifty years or so, How many names have changed in the DSM? How many descriptors have changed in the DSM? See where I’m going with this?

Who’s a good little social construction? Hmm? Who’s a good itty, bitty social construction! You, DSM! That’s right! Good boy!

A bold claim I don’t feel I need to defend, the reasoning defends itself. Abnormal and normal are social constructions: we deem what is “acceptable” behavior, what isn’t, and both categories change as time passes, as new generations gain empowerment, as older generations adapt. If the definition of eccentric behaviors, odd behaviors, bizarre behaviors are based on what is acceptable and not, they too change over time, and they too become social constructions.

Take paranoia around the government for example: all the people who were sent to a psychiatrist and called crazy because they felt some agency was reading their emails–well, in 2017 with the NSA in full-force, who’s crazy now?

This is not to invalidate our experiences or our mental states, only the way they’re being described.

What does it mean for these disorders to be social constructions? Am I saying they don’t exist and should therefore be dragged to the gallows and hanged for my mental health blasphemy?

Short answer: No.

Blunt answer: I could give two shits what someone’s disorder label is, just as I could give two shits if someone is gay, lesbian, bi, transgender, and all the other PC names I don’t know. I don’t even give a shit about my own disorder labels. I only care for someone’s experience, because that’s the only reliable thing in all of this. The APA isn’t reliable, the DSM isn’t reliable, medicine isn’t reliable; Medicine is susceptible to human error (and greed), the APA consists of elite, mostly white, cis-gender, non-crazy males, (meaning no representation for the majority of the world) and the DSM is a product of both of those.

But someone’s experience? That’s raw, that’s real, however unreal it may seem. I’ve never seen someone tell more of a truth about themselves and life than when their mental state is so vulnerable they have no choice in the matter–it becomes too much pressure to NOT share. And as morbid as that sounds, it’s also rather beautiful as these states allow us access to a portion of ourselves the hustle and bustle of modern life steals from us. We think deeper and we feel deeper. Sometimes we’re stuck so far inside ourselves we have no other option than to learn to love ourselves. Not many people have that opportunity.

Disorder (as of today) implies something is wrong, defective, shoddy. In another 100 years, it may mean something different. And when that time comes in 3017, when disorder holds a positive connotation, people’s experiences will still be raw, and real, and it still won’t matter how the term is perceived. Crazy, right?

 

 

The MMJ Journey Pt. 3

 

Is this self-medicating?

I couldn’t give you a straight answer to that.

Because I find myself slipping into that mindset of “magic fix”, although there are no such thing. I find myself wanting to be “medicated” 100% of the time, and that’s my fault because I did buy an Indica strain with THC, mostly to help me sleep. Which it does. It also reminds me how nice being high can be. It’s like an ex-heroin addict taking Narco.

But what’s the difference, really, between this and the other psych meds I were on? Psych meds last 12 hours or so, hence the repeated use in the morning and the night, and no strain of CBD or THC can last that long–as far as I’m aware. It would make “sense” to use it more often throughout the day.

And then, at that point, isn’t the point to self-medicate? Isn’t the point of anti-depressants to medicate your depression away? Isn’t that the point?

41x3yditbxl-_sx322_bo1204203200_Of all the psych meds I’ve tried, they’ve all pretty much done the same thing: made me more numb than usual. A little more numb means, by default, less anxiety, less paranoia, less dissociation, less everything. That’s how you know it’s “working” . . . when you can’t feel anything, really. That doesn’t sound any different than someone in an alley shooting heroin to forget whatever they’re trying to forget.

But once you come out of it, you’re going to remember again. Same goes for anti-depressants, anti-anxiety meds, and anti-psychotics. For the overarching majority of us, “symptoms” are still there regardless of whether or not medication is down our throats. For some reason that possibility of “no medication will ever help” is meant to make us feel hopeless or, at the very least, disappointed.

With every medication I’ve tried, I’ve been disappointed, and MMJ is no different, because I have this surreal expectation that one day I will take something, do something, think a certain thought a certain way, and everything will disappear. But life doesn’t work that way.

That’s not an expectation I created myself, it was an expectation a lot of society advocates: you’re having problems with what? Go to the doctor, there’s a pill for that.

So, just like I would your average psych med, let me list the top five pros and cons of this route so far.

Pros:

  1. Sleep comes easy. Raspberry Kush has, by far, been my favorite for this, probably because of the familiarity of it. The strains I used as a teenager were also medical and one of them was that same Kush, due to ties we had with a grower.
  2. More focus. I am able to get some things done with less fatigue and a little more motivation. There are times I feel like my old self again, with a bunch of ideas (good ones, too, ones that are realistic, that I know I can accomplish).
  3. Less thoughts. Thoughts are what keep me up at night, and although nothing can “stop” the thoughts, their effect on me is severely diminished. On nights when insomnia is horrible, that helps a lot.
  4. Less fog. You would think “getting high” would put you in a fog, and it will if you’re a legit stoner. But for me, it lifts away that fog and lets me see things a little clearer. I don’t have thoughts crashing into each other, I have a few organized ones that I can take the time to enjoy.
  5. The present. With Sativa, I’m in the present and not the future or the past or whatever other parallel universe I get transported to.

Cons:

  1. Dependence. I do depend on certain strains to sleep or make it through the day. This is conflicting: people depend on other meds to do the same thing, but I hate dependence regardless of where or why. I’m working on this.
  2. Paranoia. Mmm, I . . . hmm. This could cause trouble. If you experience this yourself, you know you can feel it coming. At least, I can. I can feel the interjection of some thoughts here and there or that ethereal sense of being watched, tracked, listened to. I feel there’s someone who has been tracking my computer, or my profiles, maybe my IP address, because weird shit keeps happening on a few of them by people with different usernames, but they all do/say the same thing. That doesn’t keep me awake at night, but the spiritual things are, the demons–maybe I’ll explain this later. Also because I’m pretty sure a spirit just went into my poster. Which is probably why I had such a strong feeling to buy it when I did. Cool. Glad I’m not sleeping HERE tonight.
  3. I know absolutely that Indica makes me hear shit, more often than I usually would. It’s annoying, but since I don’t use much of it and only for sleep, I’m not too bothered. I only deal with whatever I deal with for a few minutes and then I’m passed out. I wake up very refreshed.
  4. It’s not very discrete. If you’re someone who smokes it, the smell will linger in your clothes and such if you’re not one to air out your room. I’m not one of those people who will go to work or class baked out of my mind just because it’s medical and “I can”. That’s just being an asshole. If I’m going to work, I will use CBD because I will be alert, focused, and calm but not high. “10/10 best medicine ever”–IGN.
  5. Can easily get expensive. Medi-Cal ain’t covering this, I spent $93 on my last haul, which is nothing really.

It was harder to come up with cons than pros, probably because I’m tripping on this poster. You don’t understand. I was pulled towards this poster when I bought it, and then all this weird shit is happening, my phone call was interrupted with static and what sounded like a bunch of voices or demonic something. My boyfriend on the phone heard it too. I’m thinking maybe a radio interruption? I don’t know, we couldn’t hear each other through the phone. He had to hang up and I called back. At any rate, I’m feeling right now there are a lot of secrets in this poster, I . . .

. . . need to stop talking and get ready for work. I also need to pull my mind away from all that before I drive myself crazy some more.

Conclusion? Be careful with Sativa, CBD or THC, and know your limits. Be careful with high content THC Indica as well. Be careful with high content THC anything. 

*NOTE: I’ve had waaay worse psychological experiences on psych meds. This is NOTHING compared to how Effexor fucked me up Effexor was pure shit. It had me feeling focused with some energy until I wanted to come off it and got sucked into some demonic hell. It was worse than an anti-psychotic withdrawal, I swear to God, and that was only after . . . three months? Three months. That’s it. Fuck Effexor. How is that shit legal?

The MMJ Journal, Pt. 1

 

Part one of this experiment. What experiment? The experiment of Medical Marijuana, CBD, and how they pertain to mental health per my experience.

Remember, I was a general street pot head since I was 13 until around 18. I stopped because I got busy with college and went into a period of being still crazy, but very positive and hopeful. I forgot what depression was, I felt I could handle the anxiety. Until the real paranoia or brief hallucinations started well into my second year of college.

Since those experiences have heightened, I noticed I keep bouncing in and out of psychiatrist offices again, buying into (briefly) the idea of a magic pill. Until I’m faced with the prescription in my hand and remember my own personal beliefs. That’s usually when I tear up the prescription. And then cry on my knees a week later for having done so. Then pick myself up and remind myself of why I tore it up. Then I’m on my knees again and . . . well, you get the point.

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It wasn’t until the big Medical Marijuana legalization and controversy sprang up here again did I wonder about the benefits. So I researched, came across CBD, hybrids, and a load of strains of cannabis I never knew existed.

So I got the card, got the stuff, and have some interesting things to say.

First things first. What have I decided to use it for, mental health wise? A few things.

  1. The PTSD: Flashbacks and thoughts always swirl uncontrollably. I don’t know if anyone else experiences this, but flashbacks aren’t always just images. Emotions can be a flashback as well. CBD calms the body and therefore calms the mind.
  2. The anxiety: The shakes, the avoidance, the rumination, the aches, the physical upset, all of it. As I said, CBD calms the body and therefore the mind.
  3. The depression and mixed emotions: There are times I can’t get out of bed and am devastated and valueless. There are times I can’t figure out what emotion I am and that usually results in self harm or broken doors and cracked walls. I get violent.
  4. Other things: I am technically on that spectrum of schizophrenia disorders, although it keeps being bounced back and forth between severe dissociation and some “lesser” form of schizophrenia. Whatever. There are times where I don’t feel much at all, or I feel a lot at once, and either way it’s not going to show up in my face. You’ll find me laughing and smiling a lot, not because I’m happy but because it’s my reaction to my own emotions and others emotions, bad ones, good ones, unsure ones. Rarely, you’ll see me monotone entirely, and that’s when It’s gotten into danger levels. That’s how I was in the hospital and that’s why they thought I was depressed. Anyway, i’ll lose my motivation but I’ll also lose my ability to really care much about it. So when I hear I’ve failed three classes or haven’t kept up to my responsibilities–self-care wise, work wise, people wise, myself wise–the thought just goes through my brain, chills for a minute, but evokes no real panic or anxiety or sadness or anything really. Sativa helps with this.

I’ll explain how each has been transformed a little bit, more so than I’ve ever experienced with psychotropic medication.

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Knowing about the types of strains are important. The main two, Indica and Sativa, have different properties. The Hybrid type does as well, said to be more balanced between the two. Being grown indoor versus outdoor–all these little things matter. Having been your average teenage drug dealer at one point (not a very high status, but in high school it meant you were the SHIT) and your average teenage stoner at one point, I can confidentially say getting dealt with things from the street versus in a dispensary are drastically different. At least around here.

CBD has no THC, but can still be Sativa or Indica. You won’t get high. You can Dab it (i.e, burning concentrate (wax, crumble, shatter on a glass rig) and still not feel anything “mentally”. For all you who have dabbed, you know how crazy that sounds.

Your body will feel it, though. Your pain will dissipate, you might feel a little clearer, or notice your stomach isn’t churning anymore, or that your cheeks aren’t burning anymore. It’s a very physical high, less of a mental head rush.

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So, that being said, CBD sounds like a godsend for Anxiety. For me, it calms my heart rate. Listening to that thing pump like crazy sends my head into a tizzy and makes my anxiety worse. Having that thing sound steady took away 40% of my anxiety immediately.

The stomach stops churning and hurting and nothing is very urgent anymore, that’s the signal your brain gets from your body at least.

The thoughts can still swirl and be a tornado and be overwhelming. But that’s what’s so great about CBD. You’re not disconnected from your brain, you’re being forced to deal with your mindstate clearly, absent of any bodily interference or mind fogging “high”. That’s something not even psychotropics can do. 

Sativa is the upper, Indica is the downer, that’s how I see it. Sativa will kick motivation into gear, focus, energy, and I’ve noticed for me the more focus I have, the less my anxious thoughts hold me back, and that’s where the anxiety relief comes from. Not everyone’s anxiety is helped with Sativa, though, so be warned. Sativa is the strain I was least confident about, giving my issues with anxiety and fast heart rates, so I go about that strain with caution.

So far, Sativa has kicked me out of bed and giving me some focus time. No weighted depression, no avolition issues–yet. It took me a while to balance the Sativa with the THC to a level I could mentally withstand, but the CBD Sativa works fine.

Indica will relax you and put you to sleep. I guess people say it helps with depression because it might influence dopamine? I have no idea, it’s always worsened depression for me. It will wind down that heart and that brain and your body will melt if you do enough of it. Struggling with dissociation I have to be careful of that, because I will slip off an edge if I “melt” too much. I’ve noticed in the past, since I was heavy into Indica and the body melting, that the morning after my depression will be full blast for the next few days, just as getting off any anti-depressant would do–but without the bodily side-effects.

So far, I’ve only used it to put me to sleep and I’m sure that will be its main purpose. It doesn’t take much, with the strength of strain I’ve got, and it’s helped me stay on a consistent sleep schedule. I’ve noticed it increased paranoia as well, and hallucinations, but that’s how it’s always been with Indica and me for whatever reason. Seems backwards, right?

I have only tried a Sativa CBD. I use Indica with THC because it does more than just relax, it physically puts me to sleep.

"You've been eating that 'special' grass again, haven't you?"If I were my teenage self, I’d see this as an opportunity to spend all my money getting high. But because I’ve noticed my limitations I understand this is no different than Prozac or Haldol or any of that: and if I had those medications I wouldn’t buy more than I needed and take extra. I won’t do that with MMJ either. Because I’ve noticed the huge difference between being high and being, as they say, “medicated”.

I guess I will say this last week and a half, I’ve briefly felt what I assume normal people feel. Mentally balanced. The anxiety can be taken down so far I get confused: turns out I was experiencing close to zero anxiety. Never experienced that in my life, not even from the street things, supplements or psychotropics I’ve tried.

The important thing to know, if deciding to try this, is your mind and body’s limitations. CBD you can feel secure with knowing there is next to no THC and the probability your mental state will be “chemically” affected is also next to none. With THC, just test it. It’s no different than jumping between medications, albeit being safer, albeit having no side-effects, and albeit not being man-made.

If you’ve tried everything else, don’t be afraid to open your mind to this. You never know what could happen.

That’s the Sativa talking.

NOTE: I have suspicions Sativa influences serotonin. If you are sensitive to serotonin as I am, be cautious. I notice a headache (just as every other SSRI has been for me) and I notice the teeth grinding and twitching (which has also accompanied things that increase serotonin or serotonin-like receptors in me). I have ONLY noticed with this the THC Sativa strain, NOT the CBD. It’s also sent my thoughts in weird directions, as SNRI’s have, but that’s because I did more than I should have. My mistake. The more I leveled out my amount, the better the results were. Complete focus, Complete ability to stay in the present.