And so began my nightmare with prescription drugs! Above all else I have always had a desire not to take prescription medication to treat my moods, to be honest I don’t really know why, maybe it was a form of denial, but this time I accepted a prescription of fluoxetine (more commonly known as Prozac.) This drug certainly did not agree with me, I took the suggested dose every day for weeks but only felt more erratic than I had previously, I carried on spiralling out of control, I became more and more of a danger to myself, until eventually it all culminated in a failed suicide attempt- a bottle of vodka mixed with whatever tablets I could get my hands on, a sorry mix of painkillers and the fluoxetine itself. I knew that any prescription medicine came with possible side effects and didn’t put much thought into it. Later I read that any antidepressants may increase the risk of suicide in persons younger than 25. The evidence was based on statistical analyses conducted by two independent groups of the FDA experts in America. They found a 2-fold increase of the suicidal ideation and behaviour in children and adolescents, and 1.5-fold increase of suicidality in the 18–24 age groups. I am very reluctant to blame my suicide attempt on the medication as I feel that would be unfair but suffice it to say that was enough to put me off ever taking fluoxetine again.
After that I was sent to see a psychologist, where I was given my official diagnosis, he tried to prescribe me a variety of medications to control my moods, one was Depakote. This time I flat out refused to take the medication, it may well have been foolish, but looking back I am glad I didn’t. It was not too long now until I would discover the benevolent herb that was to answer all my prayers. Depakote was another drug that came with a long list of undesirable side effects, some listed as ‘common’ include; diarrhoea, nausea, vomiting or abdominal pain, increased appetite and weight gain, temporary hair loss – regrowth may be curly, increased alertness, aggression, hyperactivity, shaky movements and unsteady walk (ataxia), drowsiness, confusion, liver disorders, anaemia, acne, increased hair growth and inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis). I may have been feeling overcautious but I did not want to run the risk of experiencing any of these side effects. I settled on taking a different type of anti-depressant called Clomipramine, but again I did not like the effect the drug had on me, after taking it I would be nauseous and dizzy, I did not sleep well and even found it gave me blurred vision and the dreaded dry mouth! After finishing what I had I did not continue with the medication. Shortly after this I met my now fiancé, he is the only one who has truly loved me for who I am and for that I am eternally grateful. He dealt with my mood swings well and his love for me never seemed to deviate despite the constant stress I put him under. It also just so happened that the love of my life was a cannabis smoker- in fact he was/is a cannabis fanatic- someone who had already discovered the real wonderful properties of the plant. Finally I had found cannabis.
I won’t pretend that my realisation was instant, or easy. After so long believing that ‘weed’ was a pointless drug, it took me time to adjust to it constantly being a part of my life. I would constantly nag at my partner to stop smoking, I would try to impose rules about the amount he could smoke and when it should be! He already loved smoking recreationally but really he too was just beginning his journey into finding out the truth about cannabis. He began to research and read more and more about the plant and its properties, of course it wasn’t long before he began to realise that there was more to this plant than we could have imagined; its incredible amount of uses, aside from smoking, its medicinal values, the irrationality of its illegality. He shared everything he learnt with me, I was a little slower to catch on but, thankfully his persistence paid off. It is hard to pinpoint when my opinions started to reform, but I think by the time I had had my first trip to Amsterdam I was a changed woman! Not only this but I started to realise that the more I smoked the less I noticed my bipolar disorder, no prescription medication had ever even touched on the herbs effectiveness to control my symptoms. All this and no side effects to speak of, even the dry mouth subsided more quickly than I thought. It truly was wonderful. From then on I knew that cannabis was a viable form of medication, for me, and I do not doubt it is the same for others.