Bipolar Disorder by Anonymous
I am a married 24- year- old woman. I was diagnosed with bipolar 2 (the depressive form, rather than the manic form) when I was 18 or 19 by a psychiatrist. I went through therapy for about a year, which helped - unfortunately, due to rising healthcare costs, I am no longer able to afford this treatment option. I was given a "pharmacopeia" of drugs to treat bipolar disorder -trazodone, Prozac, Wellbutrin, Zoloft, Sonata, Seroquel, Depakote. These drugs are supposed to decrease depression, keep me awake, help me sleep, stop racing thoughts, stabilize my mood, keep me from getting too manic, etc. That list doesn’t even cover the full range of what I was prescribed. Many of these drugs can be addictive and have negative side effects.
I started smoking marijuana at 17, and became educated enough to stop using it recreationally and start using it medicinally at 20. Marijuana helps with the anxiety and panic attacks that stem from my disease, and helps with the racing thoughts -it enables my mind to slow down enough to actually grasp and concentrate on thoughts. It helps me to sleep. Being Bipolar 2, I have issues with irritability (one of the common bipolar 2 manifestations of mania). Marijuana use enables me to sense that irritability and rationalize, so that I don't "fly off the handle" and become angry when there is no reason for me to do so. It stabilizes my mood; it decreases my depression; it makes it easier to fall asleep; in short, it does what all the other drugs I was taking were supposed to do but didn’t, without all the negative side effects. One drug per day versus ten. Fewer negative side effects. Better overall mental health. Regardless of what the U.S. legal system believes, personal experience has proved to me that marijuana is the only drug that helps combat the symptoms of my disease. Self-medication? Hell, yeah. It wouldn’t be self-medication if it were legal federally for a doctor to prescribe to me the one drug that has proven effective.