I am not here to preach to you about how you shouldn’t smoke marijuana.
I am not here to tell you what you are doing with your life is wrong or that you should live it my way.
I am here to show other young people like me that sometimes marijuana is not the answer.
I am not entirely against the use of this herb. There are many people out there who I know that benefit from using the oil, and even smoking it for health reasons. I understand people use it to cope with anxiety, PTSD, cancer and a range of other issues.
However, I no longer think it should be legalized or distributed in Canada any differently than it already is. I think it should be easier to get it prescribed from doctors for people who truly need it—those need marijuana to cope. Yes, cope. That is ultimately the benefit of marijuana. I know clinical trials have shown that it may be possible to treat cancer with marijuana, but the American Cancer Society says, “While the studies so far have shown that cannabinoids can be safe in treating cancer, they do not show that they help control or cure the disease.”
I was an avid smoker of marijuana for four years. For three of those years I smoked it every single day.
I calculated my total sober days in this three year period I was probably sober for about three weeks.
It started when I was going through a rough time in high school. I was deeply depressed, to the point of wanting to take my own life. I was self-harming—burning my skin with my straight-iron and or curling iron. I would cut up my hands with screw-drivers—it was pretty brutal.
Then I met a guy at the end of high school who saw my cuts and wanted to help. So he told me, “Chelsea, the next time you feel this way. Call me and I’ll come pick you up.” So the next time I felt that dark I phoned him up. He came and picked me up, and asked me if I knew how to smoke out of a bong. I tried it and I loved it.
All the sadness, guilt, loneliness, anxiety and depression were gone. Instead I didn’t feel anything and that was awesome.
Then I started smoking marijuana every day. I made new friends who smoked it. I dated guys who only smoked it. I would lash out at any loved one who got upset with me for being stoned at a family function saying,
“I need it to make me happy.”
I completely stopped taking my anti-depressants because those were chemicals and this was a herb from the ground. I thought I was going the natural way. This is when my downward spiral started.
I changed. I became lazy. I replaced doing things I used to enjoy doing, that made me happy before—like writing, reading, playing video games, running and taking pictures— with taking tokes from the bong.
I was spending $60 a week to keep up with my drug habit. When I woke up, I smoked marijuana. Before bed, I smoked marijuana. After work, I smoked marijuana. Every hour I was at my window lighting up my bong blazing away.
I became forgetful. I would forget important things going on in my family’s life. I would ditch friends because I was too lazy, which is a nicer way of saying stoned, to go. My eating habits became awful. I lived off fast-food and chips because of the munchies. I can no longer eat a full meal without being stoned and I am still working on that.
I did everything high. I was never myself. I was just floating through life on a cloud of smoky numbness. I couldn’t be excited when my brother called me to tell me how well he did on a report he wrote. I couldn’t be thoughtful and call my sister to let her know she did a good job on her public speech. I couldn’t hangout with my youngest sister without being agitated all the time. I only called them to talk or hangout when I decided it was a good time.
The only people that would hang around me were those who either wanted to smoke my marijuana or just didn’t want to get high by themselves. Whenever I didn’t have marijuana or a place to blaze at, these same people stopped talking to me.
All of my true, mature, caring friends—the ones who were there for me when I was sad or going through a hard time— stopped calling me. They stopped asking to hangout, because my conversations went from “I read this really interesting book the other day you should take a look at it” to “You should have seen the “nug” I got the other day, it was bigger than a frog I swear.”
My brain was being fried. They were growing up and doing things with their lives while I was wasting my time and money. Now, not all of my friends did this. I am truly grateful for all the people in my life who called me despite everything—despite the fact that my whole life revolved around pot. I was into guys who smoked pot. I had friends who smoked pot. I knew where to find a hook-up for pot. And the friends who smoked it weren’t friends if I didn’t.
Marijuana actually made my anxiety worse. I started to become paranoid about going out in public because I thought everyone knew I was stoned. I couldn’t go into places with large groups without having anxiety attacks. My depression got worse because I locked myself in my house all day and I stopped doing things that made me happy.
I was numb—all the time.
My anxiety got so bad that I had to leave my home, my boyfriend and my job to move back with my mom and get help.
I couldn’t function on a daily basis without having at least five panic attacks—paranoid thought attacks. I was missing out on great opportunities because I had zero motivation. I had to come to the realization that I had gotten this low through my own choices and actions. Once I made this step, how many of my stoner friends have called me to see how I’m doing? Zero.
I haven’t been off the pot for a long time now, but since I have, my thoughts have been healthier, my relationships are slowly mending and I’m slowly getting my life back. However, when I’m bored, I find myself thinking things like, “Man, I wish I could take a fat bong rip right now.” I am fully aware of how dumb that sounds. How immature. How little of my good qualities these thoughts actually reflect.
I abused marijuana.
I’m sure there are people out there that can function fully and still have great relationships while living the higher life. I’m so happy it works for you, but for me it just didn’t. I’m not here to judge, look down on or resent anyone. You do your thing and I’ll do mine.
For me, smoking marijuana was not the answer. If I had used alcohol like I used marijuana to cope with life, I would be an alcoholic. If I used cocaine in the same way, I would be an addict. It’s the same thing.
To truly work on ourselves you have to be ourselves, and when we are in an altered state of mind, we are not ourselves.
How can we be happy with who we are if we aren’t actually being who we are?
I hope that marijuana becomes more available medically, for those who need it. However, I don’t think it should be freely available to anyone to abuse it as I have. Especially not young people.
I was a child when I started using marijuana and I did not know how to use moderation.
May my story be of benefit and may you know that you have the freedom to live your life the way you want to. I hope you make good use of that freedom.
Here are a few life lessons on how to start the day out right:
Author: Chelsea Perron
Editor: Khara-Jade Warren
Image: Wikimedia Commons