“When fixing issues, dig on the root as an alternative of simply hacking on the leaves.” ~Anthony J. D’Angelo
That is an account of my expertise utilizing marijuana as a tool to assist my anxiousness, why I’m glad I had it, and why I not want it.
This story isn’t an advocation for or in opposition to smoking pot. It’s a narrative to shed some perception into how and why it helped sure illnesses and my journey to lasting change with out it.
How Smoking Pot Helped My Anxiousness
For many of my life I used to be a closet anxiousness sufferer.
That’s largely as a result of I didn’t have a label for a way I felt till I used to be thirty.
My anxiousness introduced insomnia, rigidity complications, abdomen issues, and social anxiousness along with the swirl of bees that lived in my chest.
One symptom that drove me nuts was incessant queasiness. In my twenties I dated a man who smoked pot, so I gave it a attempt to see if it could assist my abdomen. And it helped. Rather a lot.
Then I seen it helped me go to sleep.
It helped with my ADD by letting me concentrate on my work once I was coding (nerd alert!) or doing one thing artistic.
It helped my social anxiousness by loosening my fear and worry over different folks’s judgments.
Once I felt anxious, upset, unhappy, or offended, it dulled the unfavourable feelings down and helped take the sting off, which generally was sufficient to offer me the area to get some perspective.
It eased my rigidity complications.
It gave me one thing to do on boring days.
It made doing chores much less laborious.
I got here to depend on it. If we had been working low, I might begin to get anxious. If I ran out, I might have anxiousness assaults. I felt like I wanted it to get by the day.
I went from sometimes smoking to smoking morning, midday, and night time (and in the midst of the night time once I couldn’t get again to sleep).
I instructed myself that this was completely acceptable. It was my medication. I wanted it. It was a lifestyle. That it wasn’t like I used to be smoking cigarettes, so it was completely advantageous.
However solely within the second.
Why Smoking Pot Didn’t Actually Assist My Anxiousness
What pot didn’t do for me was repair my anxiousness. It didn’t make it go away; it simply eased it a bit quickly. It wasn’t serving to me get to the foundation of my drawback, and that’s why I wanted to maintain going again to it.
It was serving to the signs of tension, not the trigger.
Anxiousness triggered abdomen issues and rigidity complications. Pot helped with that.
Anxiousness made my thoughts soar in all places once I tried to sleep or focus. Pot helped gradual the erratic surge of ideas.
Anxiousness made me nervous round different folks. Pot took the sting off.
I didn’t like how any unfavourable feelings felt in my physique, so I jumped to numb the sensation within the quickest and easiest method I knew how. Smoking pot.
It grew to become such a behavior that the thought of not having this crutch at my quick disposal triggered me stress.
Day after day, 12 months after 12 months, the anxiousness was nonetheless there. So I stored needing my crutch.
That’s, till I made a decision I needed to stroll alone. I reached the belief that I needed to unravel this drawback, not handle it.
That meant I wanted to resolve it.
Why Did I Have Anxiousness within the First Place?
I didn’t know I had anxiousness for many of my life. It was simply how I felt. I figured some folks had been both fortunate that they had been comfortable and carefree, or they had been faking it.
It simply didn’t look like it was within the playing cards for me. I felt like this was simply how I used to be born.
I grew up in a “suck it up” sort of household, so we didn’t speak about our feelings. I by no means actually noticed my dad and mom displaying me a wholesome approach to share emotions, so I didn’t have one thing to mannequin after.
What I did see had been folks being made enjoyable of for being emotionally weak. I assumed it was weak to point out folks that you’re hurting.
However by quite a lot of inside work, I used to be capable of begin breaking down what was making my anxiousness.
My social anxiousness and worry of being came upon as a fraud at work (aka imposter syndrome) stemmed from a long-held perception of not being ok.
Doing a little reflection on my previous, the “suck it up” atmosphere I grew up in led to being made enjoyable of quite a bit because the youngest child. I internalized this and turned it right into a perception that I held onto for many years.
This limiting perception got here out as worry. Worry of disappointing others. Worry of failure. Worry of not being preferred. Worry of constructing a unsuitable determination.
This accounted for lots of my anxieties.
The stress response—aka the battle or flight response—has two sides. Flight = worry. Struggle = anger. So I held quite a lot of anger too. I used to be so fast to anger and judgment. And I held onto it for a very long time whether or not it was being lower off in site visitors, or when my mom left once I was fourteen.
Anger is a protection mechanism. It’s triggered if you really feel threatened indirectly. And I at all times felt threatened.
Years of tension will plague the physique. Continuously triggering one’s stress response wreaks havoc on the immune system, digestive system, your coronary heart, thoughts and complete physique.
In order that defined all my signs.
Smoking pot helped the signs. It didn’t assist me overcome my long-held perception that I wasn’t ok.
How I Overcame Anxiousness As soon as and for All
What I actually wanted was to alter my relationship with my ideas. To try this, I first needed to study the vital lesson that you’re not your ideas.
It is a core idea in meditation, which is without doubt one of the largest instruments that helped me relate otherwise to my ideas.
Once I first got here throughout this idea, I didn’t get it. “If I’m not my ideas, then what am I?” I got here to study that ideas are simply concepts, simply sentences floating by the mind like clouds within the sky. They arrive. They go. They alter form.
I, me, myself—that’s who will get to decide on which ideas to carry onto, which of them to imagine. There’s a me past the ideas.
As soon as this concept began to ring true, that’s when change started. Once I was frightened of what different folks considered me, I wanted to dive into why.
As a substitute of permitting these fearful ideas to run by my head on autopilot, believing the issues they mentioned to be true, I used to be capable of cease, step again, and problem them.
So as an alternative of catastrophizing each state of affairs, I may take the time to ask and truthfully reply questions like “What’s the worst that would occur?” And to that, I may observe up with “How will I deal with that worst-case state of affairs if it truly occurred?”
I discovered I used to be far more able to coping with adversity than I had ever given myself credit score for.
Stopping Wasn’t Simple
Marijuana is probably not chemically addicting like many medicine. However it may be very psychologically and habitually addicting.
Years of tension meant that I’d developed quite a lot of unconscious triggers to feeling anxious. That meant generally the signs of tension would come up with out me realizing precisely why.
Anytime I felt a little bit queasy, and even too full. Seeing smoke and even listening to the phrase. Getting house from work. Feeling any quantity of stress or afflictive feelings. Boredom. Going to any social gathering. Celebrations.
Every time I used to be triggered bodily—like feeling my coronary heart racing or tightness in my chest—I might freak out and soar to ease the discomfort as rapidly as doable.
A part of my work to beat anxiousness was paradoxically to permit myself to really feel it with out preventing it.
Similar to the Buddhist story of the 2 arrows. Getting hit with an arrow hurts, after all. However in life, issues occur and generally damage.
Lamenting it, saying how this could by no means have occurred, wallowing in how a lot I hate that this occurred and the way a lot I would like it to finish—that’s like getting hit with a second arrow.
Preventing in opposition to actuality causes pointless struggling. Like attempting to tug your fingers out of a Chinese language finger entice—you get caught much more. I discovered that peacefully recognizing the discomfort, saying hi there, permitting it to go by was all far more efficient than taking a success off my bowl.
And over time, these emotions of tension from unknown sources grew to become much less and fewer, and getting by them grew to become simpler and simpler.
I’m glad I had pot as a tool to assist with my anxiousness for the time that I had it. It gave me aid. It let me expertise moments of peace. For me it was a stepping-stone on a journey I didn’t understand I used to be on.
However as soon as I acknowledged that my anxiousness wasn’t enhancing, that I wanted to place in some work to take my life to the subsequent stage, that’s once I knew it was time to take the leap into the unknown with out my crutch.
I stumbled for a sizzling minute, then obtained up alone two ft. I now look again at my life in phases—the “outdated” me and the “new” me.
The “outdated” me would have been a nervous wreck to confess any of this story to the world. She would have written it whereas excessive. She would have freaked out when she ran out of her stash.
The “new” me writes this with the boldness that I do know my message will land with some folks, whereas others could not prefer it and even care to learn this far, however I don’t fear about what folks assume anymore. I’ve tackled my “not ok” inside bully. She nonetheless makes a peep right here or there, however I now know tips on how to hear with out judgement after which go about my day.
For full transparency and honesty, I nonetheless dabble sometimes sometimes. However not as a result of I would like it and never as a result of I’m anxious and working away from my emotions, moderately, it’s like having fun with a pleasant glass of wine.