Bipolar Disorder by Stephanie

I came upon your website and related all too well to the story of John Wilson (Marijuana and Bipolar Disorder). I could've written it myself.

My name is Stephanie and I live in Southern California. Since I was 12 years old I have been suffering from an emotionally crippling case of what has been diagnosed as Bipolar Hypomanic Disorder. I am now 22 and in the past 10 years, every relationship in my life has suffered because of my illness, including my relationship with myself. I've gone through horrible mood swings, uncontrollable crying spells, fits of rage, intense irritability, impulsive over-spending, suicidal thoughts, numerous emotional breakdowns, and even physical collapse, to name a few of my many awful symptoms. And from what I hear, it's only going to get worse with time. I refuse to put any further damaging chemicals in my body (i.e. Lithium, Depakote, Paxil).  They are temporary, side-effect-laden answers that rob me of my personality. I've tried so many pills it's sickening. Literally. Recently, I've had to leave my job because there are days when getting out of bed is too painful and I end up spending hours being rocked by uncontrollable sobs.  And those days seem to be growing in number as I grow older. I'm usually a pretty law-abiding citizen, but a few years ago, I started smoking marijuana occasionally. Amazingly, it proved to be the only relief I have found so far that doesn't come in a chemical pill and has no apparent negative side effects. I dare even use the words "miracle drug" to describe it. Due to the illegality, lapses in availability, and monetary aspects, it can't yet be a permanent solution for me. California's Proposition 215 gave me a load of hope. Exceedingly rare these days. But federal law still deems any possession of cannabis illegal, so they can snatch this crucial medicine out of the hands of suffering Americans. People like me and John Wilson have suffered long enough. It's unbelievable to me that I could be thrown in jail for helping myself hold onto sanity when every doctor I've seen in 10 years has failed me. What the hell are we supposed to do?!