Bipolar Disorder
by Sarah C

Dear Dr. Grinspoon

Bipolar Disorder runs in my family, those of us affected refer to it as “the gene of the damned”. My father is bipolar, my mother is not. I am bipolar, my brother is not. The same is true with extended family, some are affected, some are not.

My real problems and first complete breakdown happened in 1999 after I was raped, beaten and left to die, later diagnosed with PTSD and eventually agoraphobia, anxiety disorder and insomnia. My condition deteriorated as time passed and by 2007 I was unable to go anywhere. I actually did not leave my house for three years. I would try to go outside in my yard to play with my kids, but I would have a panic attack and pass out before even opening the door.

Eventually I quit trying to leave, it was upsetting to my children to see me pass out just trying to leave the house. I spent ten years trying one drug after another the FDA approved for my conditions with no help or relief, instead severe depression and suicide consumed me.

Then in a strange twist of events, my insurance was cancelled when my disability was approved by Social Security. I could no longer afford the medications nor could I even see my psychiatrist due to Medicare not covering her services or any of the medications. At that time I was taking 7-10 pills several times a day and I stopped cold turkey.

After stopping all psychotropic drugs, somehow managing to not kill myself through the withdrawals, which are just as bad as heroin some say, I tried MMJ... I had previously spoken to my doctor about MMJ and she believed it could be very helpful, but alas, it is not legal here yet, so she could not prescribe it as she wanted. I decided to try it anyway.

I instantly felt calm, the anxiety and depression that consumed my very soul for 10 years was disappearing. I felt truly happy, something I had not experienced for quite some time. I was laughing with my children, planning a wonderful dinner for our family, not thinking at all about anything that normal raced through my mind, driving me insane. I felt like a real person again, but even the personal relief I had felt almost instantly could not compare with what came next.

I walked outside!!! I took a leisurely stroll through my neighborhood, breathing in the fresh air, feeling the sun on my face, saying hello to my neighbors, it was amazing!!!! MMJ literally gave me my quality of life back. After 3 years in a house, unable to leave, you feel hopeless, life was never going to get any better for me, or so I thought.

I cannot tell you that I am cured and MMJ cured me, that is far from the truth. I believe MMJ was the medication I needed to begin the healing process and currently allows me to maintain a sense of peace within myself. I obviously still have some issues, but MMJ has allowed me to focus on these issues instead of medicating myself to the point I feel nothing, unable to be a human being, as pharmaceuticals had done.

I have to say behavior modification and becoming aware of triggers along with MMJ has changed my life for the better, but without the MMJ, I may have never been able to change. I may have moments I struggle with my moods, but at no time have I really been depressed or even thought of suicide as a viable option since I began using medical marijuana.

After years of attempting suicide, then years of praying to God to end my suffering, a few mood swings here and there when I am unable to find MMJ is a welcomed change. I am still disabled, I don’t really go in public often, but I can if I have to or want to, and I am in the process of writing my first fiction novel. I have accomplished more in the last year using MMJ than I had in the previous 10 years and for the most part I am pretty happy.

I hope you find this information useful and I would be honored if you would like to share my story, I would ask you do not use my last name or the actual town I live in as I am breaking the law, but if you would like to use Sarah C from Iowa, well that would be okay with me.

Thank you for listening and thank you for all of your work, research and support, you give so many of us hope the federal government will finally listen and end prohibition.

Sarah C

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