I still remember the first joint I had (not like it was that long ago as I am only 21). I was still in high school at the time. It was just me and one of my old best friends sitting on a field during the school summer holidays. It was my first time I had smoked ANYTHING (still to this day I have never smoked a cigarette… bizarre… I know). My asthma used to be awful back then, so I coughed a little, to say the least. About half an hour or so later I just felt light headed and pretty "high." It was my first time; I wasn’t really sure how I was supposed to feel and to be honest, back then I didn’t really think much of weed. I mostly just saw all the negativity and stigma that surrounds it rather than its benefits. I had plenty of friends that smoked it, even an ex-boyfriend at one point, but even then it never really interested me. I just couldn’t really understand what the hype was about weed, but I thought why not?
I have suffered with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), depression and anxiety from since I can remember. My life hasn’t been the easiest. I was pretty oblivious to these mental disorders back then. I just kinda thought that it was me. I just thought I was naturally a bit of a worrier that I was naturally like this. It wasn’t till I was roughly 18 years old, I realised I did have a few underlying issues that I had never dealt with. My dad died at a young age (12 to be exact). I started drinking soon after as a way of "coping" (I would not advise this! It does not help!). It caused many arguments between me, my mum and my friends, but that didn’t stop me. It helped me release all these emotions that had built up over the years (yes I was one of those girls that cries when they are drunk…). For days afterwards I felt awful. I was in a horrible place, but I felt as though alcohol was giving me this release. I completely ignored the fact that I was making a tit of myself and slightly ruining my life (and liver at the same time). I reached a point where I admitted that I needed to cut down on the drinking.
But how was I going to do that? How was I going to cope with all this trauma in my head? All these emotions and thoughts? A few of my friends mentioned weed to me. They always spoke about how relaxed it made them. I had terrible anxiety back then. Did I really believe weed would benefit this? Not gonna lie, I was skeptical, but at this point, I was pretty willing to try anything. I had always been scared of smoking in front of people. I was scared to have a coughing fit and they would all start laughing at me (#AnxietyIssues). So me and my best friend decided to go to Amsterdam in 2015. He had been before, but I hadn’t. I was excited to go somewhere new, but wasn’t really sure of what to expect. Well… if you don’t like weed, you won’t like Amsterdam to say it straight. We arrived and went straight to a coffee shop. I still didn’t have the guts to smoke in front of people, especially not in a busy coffee shop. So the first couple of days I just stuck to eating space brownies. They were nice, but didn’t quite have the same effect as I would have liked. My friend was smoking. He was smoking away, loving life. It was getting closer to our last day in Amsterdam and I still hadn’t smoked anything. Then my friend came up with the smartest (and dumbest) idea. Our hotel room was on the very top floor, and it had a window on the ceiling that you could climb out of and go onto the roof of the hotel (attached is a cute selfie of us two on the roof). So we went to a coffee shop and bought a couple of joints to go and we went and climbed onto the roof. That’s when I grew my balls. I smoked a joint AND didn’t cough! My ego went from 0 to 100 and we decided to go get some shrooms too (when I say we, I mean me). The shrooms definitely made the experience more… interesting to say the least (I can still picture the Chinese Dragon going around our hotel room now). We awoke the following morning at roughly 7:00 AM for our flight home.
*Little tip: Do not do shrooms the night before you fly home. It made a 40 minute flight feel like four hours*
Once we arrived home it was straight back to reality for me. I was back in work the next day. At the time, I loved my job. I was a horse groomer on a dressage and livery yard. Horses were and still are my passion, but being back at work I couldn’t help but notice a black cloud hovering over me. It was like my mental disorders were trying to take over me. I just felt so low and I just didn’t know how to pick myself up. I tried exercise, I tried being around the horses or my dog but nothing was budging this cloud. It was starting to take over my emotions and my life. I felt as though I was going to go through another mental breakdown. I was scared. I didn’t feel as though I had any control and I did not want to go through another break down. I remember texting my friend saying I really wanted to get high. I was fed up of being down; I was fed up of drinking and getting terrible a hangover the next day. I wanted a change. I wanted a pick me up rather than something that would make me feel worse. We decided to just buy some weed as he suffers with anxiety as well so he was up for it! (This is the friend I went to Amsterdam with.) We planned it all out. We planned on how to get the weed, where to smoke it and when. Luckily my friend had a free house a few weekends later. This was our opportunity. We had everything prep’d and ready. His sister had pre-rolled some joints for us as we didn’t know how to roll at this point. Then the day arrived. I was so excited! I packed my asthma inhaler just in case (always gotta be prepared!). I arrived at his and straight away we got on it. Much to my shock I didn’t cough! A couple of joints down and we just sat in his garden having a chat. I find myself opening up about how I was feeling and what was going on. For me, this is a big deal. I struggle to speak about my emotions and my problems, but it was so easy for me to just talk! I got everything off my chest. I felt as though a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders. The following evening we had such a laugh. I think we both forgot about our troubles that evening.
Months passed and we started buying our own pipes (included some pictures for you guys) and we were smoking on a regular basis. When I say regular basis, I mean daily. We would go out for walks and take joints, go for drinks or nights out and take joints. Whatever we had planned, we would have weed with us. We were doing a pick up a few times a week, but it was like the norm for us now. Still at this point no one in my family knew. They wouldn’t really understand why I smoked weed. They wouldn’t understand the release from all this emotional and mental weight weed gave me. They wouldn’t understand how it would calm my anxiety and stop me from having panic attacks. Why should I tell them? It’s my business, my choice and my life. Do I really want their negative comments bringing me down even more? Don’t get me wrong, I love my family to bits, but for me, I like to keep my private life separate from them. They didn’t really know how bad my issues were. How could they know? I’d kept it all hidden for over ten years (I’m a pro at hiding my emotions…had lots of practise). Weed gave me the release and peace that I needed, that I wanted. Even if it was only for just an hour or so. Just an hour, to escape to somewhere peaceful. I could let my mind and imagination run free. It was like euphoria. It was refreshing. My confidence shot up, as though my anxiety disappeared. It made me feel like a new person. This was the person I wanted to be.
Do I think there are better ways to deal with these sort of issues? Yes. However weed helped me overcome my fears and seek medical help. Weed showed me that even on my darkest days, I was still strong enough to crack a smile. It showed me people’s true colours. It showed me who I needed to get rid from my life and who I needed to treasure. Weed uplifted my mood, gave me the energy to exercise, to socialise more and get out from my pit (my bed…). Weed is still helping me, but so are other things. Weed has helped me in ways some people won’t understand. No matter how many research studies and facts you show them. Some people are just too set in their ways. Who needs people like that in your life anyway? Let go of the negativity and be free. Am I encouraging you to go and smoke weed? Of course not… it’s still illegal (give it a few years). I just want to give you a briefing on how weed has helped me, and helped me cope with my issues. Everybody is different. Everybody functions differently. Some things might work for me but not for you. The benefits of weed is getting more and more recognised each day. For this we should be thankful. Of course there are pro’s and con’s with this. There is with everything! But sooner or later, the cons won’t even matter.