My C-PTSD and Cannabis Story

“Common then, its ready” My husband smiles at me as he drags me from the bed, this will help you to feel better, common then” he pleads.

I sob more and I can’t tell if it’s because of my hurt or at the idea of him caring after me so much, because every time he tries to help me, I seem to cry harder; possibly because I know that seeing me like this hurts him too.
I wipe the tears from under my eyes with my hands, trying not to smudge the days mascara across my face, because fuck; who could be bothered dealing with that too.
I follow him outside and he sits me down under cover as the rain drizzles over our heads, he wraps a blanket around my small cowered body.
He hands it to me, along with a blue lighter.
I am still sobbing uncontrollably, with sounds of heartbreak and all; think classic hyperventilating drama queen but with the actual drama.
I sit there for a moment contemplating the idea that this could help when I just can’t imagine that anything can calm my head or my heart.
My societal conditioning thought patterns start,
“Now I’m one of those druggie mums?”
“Am I a Junkie, now?”
“What kind of person am I if I do this?”
“What would such and such think”
But then I remember, no anti-depressant, no anti-psychotic, no amount of alcohol mixed with codeine or Valium has ever soothed the agony that my mind throws at me lately.
The pain writhes through my body in violent waves and with it more heaving sobs follow.
This pain, it is not physical, you can’t see it.
Its emotional and it flows through my body as though its right there, visible under my skin.

I place the joint in my mouth and I light it. I draw in the smoke, and then exhale slowly.
I sob slightly as I let it go, and I watch the smoke as it fills at air around us and fades off into the sky.
My tears slow to mere drops on my cheeks, the tension falls from my shoulders and a warm cosiness flows to my toes and the water droplets on the trees beyond me glitter more than usual. I breathe and smile up at him.
He watches me and smiles, “Better?” he asks.

“Better” I agree.
He leans over and farts and I giggle.

I didn’t always smoke weed. In fact, most of my life I was anti-weed because I watched what it did to some people, turns out, it wasn’t the weed, it was just that I didn’t like those people. My experiences with it were in my teen years getting high at a friends and being so high I was unable to walk, or get up off the couch. My experiences made me hungry and laugh too much and as soon as my mum found out I stopped and never looked back.

Until the PTSD induced by flash backs of my childhood sexual abuse began.

My PTSD induced anxiety and depression spent quite a few years ruling my life.
The depression filled me with relentless dread, I was followed around by the feelings of impending doom for weeks on end. My anxiety filled my stomach with knots and it came out in mini-angry-explosions over the tiniest of things. I sought control and comfort in a stupidly clean house and militant order.
My husband would find me on the shower floor in a sobbing mess, overwhelmed with the flashbacks of abuse from 17 years earlier, he’d find me having panic attacks because the house was a mess and he’d find me crying uncontrollably while I cooked the evening meal.
He would find me crying when he didn’t think he would.
My past came back to haunt me for years, from the ages of 28-31 my mental health was not what one might call stable.
I tried a few anti-depressants, I tried anti-anxiety-anti-psychotics, I tried being a hermit, I tried to drink it away and even secretly took too many pain meds just to numb myself out.
I had thrown myself into therapy which was only bringing it all out to the surface; as it does. And because of that; I wanted to die.
Despite the agony it brought up, I knew it was all necessary. But knowing that didn’t make living with it any easier. After a while, I wanted to hurt myself in anyway I could, whether that be mentally by starving myself because I was ‘fat’ or by physically scratching myself with my own nails to remind myself I could still hurt in other ways.
I hated who I was and what had happened to me and nothing could pull me out.
I was terrified of myself, because I no longer had control over my thoughts.
I couldn’t leave the house without feeling scared, and overwhelmed, I assumed anyone who looked in my direction was going to rape me, or at least I assumed they thought about it.
My life had become a prison.

Eventually, it all became unbearable. My husband hurt every time he watched me sob in his arms on our bed when I told him “I just want the pain to stop, I just want to die”, he would cry with me and beg me “Stay with me okay? You can’t leave me”.

And that’s when I began using Cannabis to help me through my PTSD.

And help me it did.

When I was too anxious to eat, when my social anxiety stopped me from attending my first ever university lecture. When the depression was too great that I couldn’t face a family gathering, when I couldn’t bare being around my children, when I couldn’t get up and feed my children. When those flashbacks swallowed my little heart and took away my ability to function. When I couldn’t sleep because every bump in the night was a man trying to get my kids. When I wanted to take my own life.

The cannabis was there.
I could think rationally.
I could eat.
I could cook and… clean.
I could go to uni.
I could see my friends.
I could see my family.
I could be present with my own children.

I could sleep.
I could be.

It never made me able to get my clothes washing issues sorted though. Weird that.

Smoking Cannabis also helped my marriage in ways I never imagined, it was like a marital peace pipe.
Some nights my husband and I would sit outside after the kids had gone to bed and share a joint, the conversations the followed were ones that I’d never had with anyone else.
It was in those late-night discussions I was able to reveal parts of myself to him that I never believed I would, and he the same. We were more able at accept each other’s stances and view-points on parenting, on our life together, and on our own life experiences and more specifically my childhood trauma. We could delve deep into topics that we feared and explore them together and then we’d eat some snacks and take a long nap.

Many people will judge me for my choice. But in my own experience it was the only one. When the therapy is delving into topics that make your heart roar, race, twist and contort. When the drugs the doctor gives you make your heart skip beats and the suicidal thoughts worse when you didn’t think they could get any worse and when you believe you will eventually die from the heartache alone, there aren’t many choices left… in my opinion.

Now, don’t get me wrong here. Cannabis is not for everyone, but it is for some.
Cannabis did not heal me.
It did not make what was going on go away.
It didn’t change what it was that was tearing me up.
It did not change who I was.
What it did do was allow me some breathing space in the chaos that is living with PTSD, it allowed me to be present when I needed to be, it allowed me to cope with overwhelming emotions that were consuming my life. It was a gateway to my progress and thankfully nothing else. It was not a slippery slope into the arms of heroin but into healing.

Disclaimer: I am not saying that everyone should use this method nor that I continue to do so  . And always use precautions; driving , child minding etc.
Nor should anyone participate in “illegal activities” if they don’t want to.
Before taking any approach to healing that is alternative to the social norms, be sure to look into the legalities of such things depending on where you live. Also, it is incredibly important to be aware that not all substances will help everyone, and some substances can have effects that are not desired. Be sure to do all your research before partaking in anything different that alters your usual state. And of course, like all things, if you or someone you know is having issues with drugs of any kind, reach out and get support.

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