PTSD and Depression
As a child I was always scared. Not of monsters under the bed, but from the age of 4 I imagined I was the only person not in on the secret that I was being observed and that people were waiting to hurt me and kill everyone I loved and I just wanted to die, hating almost everything about me. Why? Well that was the threat given me when molested during an overnight stay in hospital. Seems I developed PTSD! The fear was real, unknown to me it was improbable and just a subconscious imagination.
At 15, during a weekend stay over at a a former teachers house, I was subjected to a night of sexual abuse. My life went blacker; I began 10 years of self harm; burning and cutting my body to escape the pain I felt in my mind. Some times I would go to sleep bleeding from my neck down to my toes, I would hope not to wake up, but would find myself waking with the sheets stuck to my wounds. I hardly slept, but when I did, I would wake from nightmares completely soaked in sweat, occasionally finding my clothes tossed on the other side of the room. I tried to take my life, but what I really wanted was just to not be awake, I wanted relief. My days were filled with flashbacks, dread, depression and a physical pain within my thinking, where I would hear auditory hallucinations about how much I hated myself. At 17 I began the 26 year regime of anti-depressants, mood stabilisers, sleeping pills and anti-psychotics. Nothing really proved their worth. When I was 20 I started to smoke cannabis regularly, I would joke it was my anti-depressant. After 10 years I was convinced to stop smoking, and what I considered at first to be withdrawals, became a return to a mind I called; the black cloud.
7 years later, I was given a pandadeine forte for a migraine. It eased the black cloud and I took more when it returned, then I took more, and more! Suddenly I had an opiate addiction! It lasted a year, but only for 3 weeks on 2 occasions and a couple of weekends during that time. I was desperate to subdue the black cloud, I even tried kava and other sedating supplements. I went to detox and a couple months in rehab, where I dealt with the brief dalliance into opium addiction, but I couldn’t reconcile my use of cannabis as an addiction. After a relapse where I chewed 54 tablets containing codeine, I was treated as an opiate addict and put on Suboxone (friendlier methadone, but still with incredible side effects and a nagging thought of being a conscripted addict.) I stopped the Suboxone, going cold turkey. I didn’t want to involve the opiate clinic because they didn’t agree with my decision. No doctor would prescribe anything to help with the physical pain of the opiate detox I was experiencing.
So I desperately sought some cannabis in a quest to utilise its pain relieving qualities. It had been 13 years since I’d been stoned. Instantly I felt physical relief from the pain. And unexpectedly my mind was feeling calmer. After about 5 days, I stopped. A week later I was thrust into a mental state of intense suicidal thinking due to the lingering withdrawals from stopping Suboxone cold turkey shortly before. But now I had 2 children and for the first time since I was 4, I actually did not want to die. So I turned back to cannabis. In the 20 months since then I disciplined my diet and lost 39kg, I also returned to studies at age 42 and achieved distinction marks in anthropology of my first ever philosophy unit at Macquarie uni. I was able to do this even when under the influence as my thinking was controllable and I could think straight for the first time in a long time! I can not explain to anyone who does not experience pain in their thinking, how my use of cannabis was not to feel ‘normal’ stoned, but gave my mind such relief that I felt I was just plain and simply: ‘normal’ when I consumed thc.
I was not content to accept my own anecdotal evidence and started researching. When I read an article from a man describing his life with PTSD and the effects of medicinal cannabis in relieving these symptoms, I just cried. I was so tired of being stoned due to my self-medicating. It took me 15 months to find a specialist in the medicinal cannabis field and now I am prescribed medicinal cannabis with thc. My dose is very small and I am so glad to experience the effects that stabilise my Endocannabinoid system without the feelings of being stoned. I am so happy, focused and in control of my thinking. Apart from the cannabis I am on a lower dose than before of a simple anti-depressant. So in 2 years I’ve gone from 5 pharmaceutical chemical prescriptions to just 1 and the cannabis oil. I do still occasionally enjoy recreational use of cannabis, now so easily controlled and not abused. It is my ‘drug of choice’, because before I finish my first alcoholic drink I go deep into the black cloud and try chasing it away by getting drunker and drunker!
After 2 months on the oil, life got a major disruption, but for the first time in 40 years, the black cloud did not consume me, and I can control negative thoughts and I don’t even think about killing myself, hurting myself or escaping in anyway! I thank God for the gift of cannabis and thank you Dr. Towpik for all your efforts and research.