Severe Chronic Anxiety by Steven

I am a 28 year old single male living in Maine.  There was never a time that I can remember not being completely overwhelmed with severe anxiety.

  As a child living in Texas, where I spent 27 years of my life, exposure to mental illness was never lacking due to my family members.  All of my grandparents had severe depression and other physical illnesses.  My cousin is bipolar and slit his wrists in a failed suicide attempt, and even my own parents have had to seek treatment for depression and anxiety.  These are only a few examples, and no conventional treatment has helped any of them to this day.

  My problem began before I was even ten years old.  Fear and anxiety ruled my daily life, making school and social relationships more than just difficult.  My mind constantly raced with fears and worries over big and small things.  Sudden outbursts of pure rage would come out of nowhere and happen at any time.  Yes, this did scare all those around me and even myself.

  Throughout the years I have been to many psychiatrists and therapists.  Paxil, Zoloft, Xanax, Klonopin, Nuerontin, Buspar, Depakote, and Risperdal are only a few of the medications they tried to control my problem.  Though some of them did calm me, the lingering side effects still made it impossible to function normally and often caused memory loss.

   Shortly after graduating high school, I tried marihuana for the first time and found that it calmed me more efficiently and without the awful side effects of the so-called therapeutic legal drugs.  Knowing that it was illegal in this country, I went ahead and continued smoking it.  I had tried so much but marihuana was the only thing that worked.

   What most innocent marihuana patients fear happened to me in 1996.  I was arrested for possession and spent 27 hours in jail before being bonded out.  I had no choice but to discontinue the use of marihuana because of the terms of my probation.

   After trying doctors again for another two years, I went back to smoking marihuana.  No doctor was even willing to listen to me about the medical use of pot.  What are you supposed to do but self-medicate when you have no other avenues, right?  I almost had another scrape with the law in 2000 and decided to turn away from marihuana once again.  Big mistake.

   I began drinking beer on a daily basis.  I don't actually like alcohol, but I forced myself into a drunken stupor  by chugging each twelve ounce beer.  Within a month, I was drinking up to twelve beers a night, and this went on for over a year.  I finally had enough.

   The drinking completely stopped after I returned to marihuana.  There were no outbursts of rage, I could sleep at night, and my mind was not racing with worrisome thoughts every day.

  Yet, now is a bit of a sad story, for the laws have kept me from being able to properly use this medicinal herb, and I often find myself stuck in my own house.  I am terrified to even walk out my front door for fear that I will have an anxiety attack or burst into rage.  This has reduced my life to little more than a daily existence and that is no way to live.

  Will I ever go back to marihuana?  I feel it could be possible at some point.  These are desperate times in America that may call for drastic measures.