Borderline Personality Disorder and Social Anxiety Disorder by Trish Poce

 I am a 51-year-old woman and I suffer from mental illness. I guess if you need to put a name on it, I have borderline personality disorder (BPD) and social phobia. I was diagnosed as mentally ill in 1994, although unknowingly I have been "sick" all my life.

I smoked pot when I was a teen and also did harder drugs. I can't say one led to the other. As a matter of fact, my first trip was on LSD. When I married and had a child I stopped smoking pot and experimenting with other drugs. I never tried it again until I was in my mid-40's.

My BPD manifests with many symptoms, all of which are excruciatingly painful emotionally and some physically. I get erratic mood swings, and deep depressions. The pain this brings is unbearable. I tend to harm myself when I am "sick". My way of harming is by OD'ing. Most BPD's cut or burn. I am one of the lucky ones-- my scars don't show.

My social phobia gets so bad I never leave my house. I cannot face people. This leads to terrible bouts of loneliness and anxiety attacks, a general feeling of malaise and no self-esteem. At times it feels like my life is spinning out of control. I hate myself with a passion.

When I was really "sick", I began making suicide attempts. My depression and drinking were so bad that it became routine to land on my face in a pile of puke or in a hospital bed. I'd get drunk and swallow a lot of pills and someone would call the ambulance. I spent more times in hospital ERs and psych-holding rooms.

Two years of this behavior landed me in the local psychiatric hospital. They kept me a long time. They put me on all kinds of tranquilizers, antidepressants, anti-psychotics and mood stabilizers. When I was no longer a risk to myself they allowed me to return home.

I was "stable" but I was still filled with anxiety and stress and a mild depression. I could not go out in public. It was excruciatingly painful. I stayed in my house 24/7. I had no friends, only family, and I avoided them if I could. My life consisted of getting up, watching tv and going to bed. Day in, day out. I got lonely, depressed and suicidal again.

Then I started smoking weed. What a miracle! It is a wonder drug! My depression lifted. It allows me to be in public without feeling every eye in the place is on me. I began taking my occupational therapy classes. I stay in touch with my shrink and social worker. I made a friend and I can go to the store.

That's a big outing for me! This helps me feel better for myself. I cheer up and the depression falls to the background. I stop trying to kill myself. I feel human again. I can sit still for periods of time.I used to constantly jiggle my legs, rock back and forth, clutch my hands together, and marihuana stopped that. Tranquilizers never did. I was never given a high enough dose for fear of addiction.

But the combination of my prescription meds and marijuana worked. I am a changed person! In the last few years I have increased my usage of weed from one session a day to three or four sessions, sometimes more. I smoke about 3 -5 gms a day.

Now I don't say I'm cured, far from it, but I am not completely disabled any more. I can function to some degree in this life. My borderline tendencies of self-harm seem far behind me. I am no longer suicidal on a daily basis, it's just a foggy memory. I can concentrate on a craft. I take a shower daily now. Before it was a tremendous challenge even to enter the bathroom.

As for side effects from the weed, with regular use they don't bother me any more. I don't get the giggles etc. I find I am very much in control. As with any drug, you reach a plateau that works for you. I have found mine. I have no qualms about taking my prescribed meds. They are wonder drugs too. I would never suggest coming off meds to try pot.

And I guess I should add that just like any other medication, pot is not for everyone. Some people just don't react to it well. The individual must decide for himself whether he can tolerate pot or not.