Anxiety and Depression
 By Galina Pembroke

Galina Pembroke, 31, is an internationally published health writer and the publisher of a popular e-zine, New View. Since she started using marijuana regularly, at the age of 25, her crippling anxiety and hopelessness dropped and her productivity soared.

I use marijuana as a form of medication and a stimulant for productivity. I like the peaceful feeling it leaves me with, plus I appreciate the relief from anxiety and depression it provides.

Before I started smoking marijuana daily, I was crippled by anxiety and my creative life was stifled. I wrote, but was too inhibited and self-critical to risk publishing very much. I was published in a small daily paper with little pay. Although I had smoked marijuana before, it was isolated to random social events, some unpleasant, where I was too distracted to enjoy the experience.  So, I was not receptive to recognizing what marijuana use could help me accomplish.

At the age of 25, when I was severely depressed and conventional medication and treatment had failed, I reluctantly started to use marijuana. At the time I half-believed what my parents had taught me, which was that marijuana was a “bad” drug that zapped your motivation. Still, I was so desperate for relief from my sickening despair and torturous anxiety that I would gladly trade a little less energy for the ability to get through the day without wishing I wasn’t born.  I did not intend to “get high” although this was and is an attractive ripple effect. Rather, I used marijuana to cope with and ascend from crippling anxiety and depression.. Years of therapy, naturopathic and conventional medical treatment had and has since failed me. Marijuana has not.

Despite my concerns marijuana has increased my motivation, because when I’m relaxed I can think clearly. The increased relaxation provided by marijuana, as well as the expanded and less self-conscious perspective it offers, helps bolster my confidence to proceed at whatever task I need to do. Now I am published all over the world. As a health writer, I am one of the few with an education limited to Grade 12. Marijuana facilitated the visualization and imagination that helped me believe this daunting task was possible. These positive mental images created an optimism and faith that further supported my efforts to become a successful freelance writer.

There is also a very practical aspect of how marijuana has furthered my productivity and success in writing. A month after I had been smoking marijuana daily I became less afraid of submitting article-ideas to newspapers and magazines. Although visualizing success helps, it is nothing if action isn’t taken. Marijuana provided a catalyst for action. Previously I had been too self-conscious and timid to submit my ideas, and this nervousness limited by success as a freelance writer:   The ability to face rejection and put it in perspective is crucial.  With daily marijuana use I have a peaceful detachment when facing rejection, another crucial part of freelance writing.

After a year of smoking marijuana daily I noted, to my surprise, nothing bad had happened. All the clichés I had read and heard about were false, certainly for me. I was not using other drugs or sitting and staring at the television all day.  Instead I was watching less television because my reduction in anxiety energized me.  My free-flow of ideas became endless, and I began reading more with improved concentration. It should be noted that my concentration sags during the peak point of my high, which lasts one hour, but rebounds and strengthens after, becoming stronger than before I had smoked.  I theorize my concentration is stronger due to increased relaxation.

I believe that marijuana is a “good” drug, because when used at a proper dosage it facilitates relaxation and peacefulness, an expansive view and an open mind with the ability to see the complexities of things. This has been my experience. Another reason I consider marijuana to be a “good” drug is because it allows be to be both warm and detached so that I’m sensitive enough to be empathetic but not so sensitive that I’m constantly aggravated and crying.  My volunteer job is walking stray dogs at my local animal shelter, and since I know many of these will be euthanized I have to be emotionally strong. Before I began using marijuana daily I was distressed and fatigued after walking a dog that I knew may be euthanized. This reduced the pleasure of volunteering, so I volunteered less then.  Today, even though I realize euthanasia is a possibility, I am able to put that aside and live in the moment, happy to enjoy a long walk with my temporary canine friend and focus on the pleasure I give them rather than the pain the prospect of there deaths causes me.  

This detachment and experience of not taking things too personally, in writing and in life, is part of the higher self esteem I’ve had since using marijuana. Self-esteem is multifaceted and complicated, and it would be simplistic to say that marijuana alone has caused a rise in my self-esteem. Still, using marijuana has been a catalyst for more self-confidence, because marijuana gives me the relaxation needed to initiate, pursue and complete my writing jobs. Also related to self esteem, marijuana helps me ask “why not?” instead of “why?” It expands my view of what’s possible, which has been essential when writing for health journals and national health magazines with only a Grade 12 education.    

I am very happy that I have found marijuana, an effective medication against anxiety and depression. With my anxiety and depression reduced, increased self-esteem and an expanded perspective I can pursue writing and community activities.

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