How I Use Cannabis in My Mental Health Recovery Journey
Mental health recovery, like any other type of recovery, is a series of milestones and setbacks. Until recently, it had been a few months since my last relapse. And unlike some people, cannabis is actually part of my relapse self-care routine. Although I’ve only been disabled since 2016, my symptoms began to pop up somewhere in 2012/2013. At first, I started having migraines. The migraines were bad enough that I would have to stay home from work and school and sleep. Around that same time, I tried cannabis for the second time in my life.
As my symptoms progressed, I began to use cannabis more and more frequently. However, until late-2015, my use was restricted to primarily social situations. That changed in 2015 for a few reasons.
First of all, I finally had the money to go to a nearby dispensary to buy my own product. Previous to that, I was left to smoking whatever my friends were willing to share with me. Secondly, because I had more consistent access, I realized one night that cannabis was the only thing that helped me fall asleep at night. Third, and finally, I didn’t have any side effects; and that was very important to me.
From then on, and in response to my increasingly disruptive mental crisis symptoms, I progressively smoked more and more until I was smoking at least once a day.
Then, on my 25th birthday in August 2016, I started having day-long panic attacks. The pain was unlike anything I’d felt before. Realistically, the pain only made it more difficult to breathe; however, my brain was convinced I was completely incapable of doing so. Cannabis was the only thing that both soothed the pain and relieved the panic. As a result, I began to smoke all day everyday. That continued until early this year, 2018, when my mental health started to stabilize. Aside from the occasional relapse between now and then, at least. Like this week.
On Thursday night, after a 2-hour networking event for local professionals, I had to leave the party early. Even though there was only 30-minute left of the party, I chose to leave the party without saying a single word to anyone I’d met that night. Instead, I calmly collected my things, put my headphones on, and walked a block down the road to sit in the lobby of another hotel nearby.
I cursed myself for the duration of the 10-minute walk. I had forgotten my CBD tincture in home. I had specifically saved the last dose for after the networking event. I knew the event would drain me emotionally, but I had had no reason to think it would cause an anxiety attack; which is why I had chosen to leave it at home.
As soon as I sat down in the nearby hotel’s lobby, the pain of anxiety crept into the center of my chest. Slowly, as I waited for my husband to pick me up, it crept up until it reached my left collar-bone. My hips and shoulder, which had been bothering my all night, were also starting to feel more and more tight and painful. When my husband finally pulled up, I felt 50-years older.
When I got home, I didn’t measure the remainder of the CBD tincture. Instead, I removed the pipette and poured the remaining tincture directly into my mouth. I’m not sure if you’ve ever had a Ceres Tincture, but to me it tastes like floral tea. The CBD Relief formula also contains extracts of Horse Chestnut, Willow Bark, and Turmeric. As someone with Fibromyalgia, this was the perfect combination of ingredients to fight inflammation and pain throughout my body while also relaxing my stressed out/fogged out brain. I’m just sad it’s gone.