Weed and Bipolar Disorder

Right now, I can’t smoke any weed at all. It will be that way until I’m off of probation, which is about 17 months from now. After I get free from probation, though, it’s fair game and I will probably smoke daily.

Marijuana is truly a wonder drug for me. It helps with my depression and anxiety, helps with my ever-present worrying, and makes me more social and friendly towards others. It’s a joke that it is more strictly regulated than alcohol. And yet, when I was manic, even weed couldn’t keep me sane. I was smoking all day every day, just trying to keep myself somewhat tethered to the planet, because I continually had this feeling of too much energy. I felt I couldn’t contain it, and the weed was the only thing I had that helped at all. Now, of course, I know it was the Zoloft making me feel that way. One of my prosecutors actually called me a “pothead” and intimated that smoking weed led to me committing my crime, which is the furthest thing from the truth. Of course, these are the people who thought I was faking my mental illness to get off the hook. Funny how they believe me now and insist that I get treatment, despite denying that I was mentally ill when I committed my crime. Hypocrites of the worst sort.

Nonetheless, I have come to believe that weed is best appreciated in some sort of moderation. Wake-and-baking all day every day is a recipe for trouble because you tend not to get anything much done, which ramps up your anxiety because you’re falling behind on everything, which leads to more weed consumption, and it becomes a vicious circle. That’s what happened to me, but I still maintain the weed wasn’t the problem, it was the untreated anxiety that I was self-medicating with weed that was the problem. However, when I do start using again, I will only do so later in the day when things are winding down and I’m trying to relax. There’s also something to be said for letting out both sides of your personality. My unmedicated personality is much different from my medicated personality. I’m more task-oriented, for instance. Things like that tend to help when you have a job or something else you have to do.

All that being said, I wouldn’t recommend weed as a drug of choice for somebody who is manic. It can make you paranoid and can make your delusions more powerful. Weed is much more useful for the depressed side of bipolar. There really–and I speak from personal experience here–aren’t any good antidepressants out there that actually work at lifting your depression. I’ve tried just about all of them at this point, and frankly they don’t work. Weed DOES work. Weed lifts your mood and (usually) limits your worrying. Weed gives a sense of euphoria and well-being that you can’t find in an antidepressant. Now, if you have troubles, real troubles, that sense of euphoria can be fooling you into not dealing with your problems, but if you’re just depressed, it can be a real lifeline back to some sort of stable relationship with the world around you. It can keep you out of the worst of the depression and make you more functional. But it’s still a drug, and a very powerful drug at that, and I have come to believe it is best used in moderation. You don’t want to be smoking away ALL your worries and anxieties, because some of them are probably prodding you to do things that need to get done. But when it’s just pointless worry about things you can’t control anyway, and hopeless depression that robs you of the spirit to fight back, weed can help much more than it hurts.

That’s all for today. Thanks for reading. =)

 

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Sixteen Tons (Daily Prompt)

Today’s prompt is called Sixteen Tons and it’s about work. More specifically, it’s: how do you feel about your job?

That’s an easy one for me. I don’t have a job right now, and I hope to never have a job again. I’ve worked my entire adult life until the last five years, and I hated every minute of it. My anxiety and depression go through the roof when I have to go to work somewhere. It wasn’t so bad when I was younger and had simple jobs like bagging groceries or delivering pizzas, but as I got older, and especially after I became an ICU nurse, my anxiety about going to work just got worse and worse.

You know what I hate the most about working for a living? Clocking in. I walk up to that clock, and all I can think is “Man, I’m gonna be hitting this clock every day for the rest of my life.” It’s so fucking depressing. And the worst thing of all is that, even as a nurse, I couldn’t get us anywhere. We weren’t going to own a nice home on my nursing wages. We weren’t putting by a ton of money for savings, or going on nice vacations. I was working like a dog and we were just getting by. Now, we had a nice apartment, and we paid a grand a month for it, true, but any houses in our price range were ones we didn’t want to buy. So I always used to think I was working for nothing, really, since we weren’t getting ahead.

With the benefit of hindsight, though, I can see this wasn’t true. When I was working I was keeping food on the table and a nice roof over my wife’s head. Now that I CAN’T work because of my disability, I have to depend on the government to do that for me. The fact that I don’t trust the government, especially Trump’s government, to deliver in that realm, only adds to my anxiety and depression about our situation. So it’s almost as bad now as it was when I was working. I’m still worrying, I’m just worrying about different things.

Might I go back to work someday? Possibly, once I’m off probation. I may re-apply for my nursing license, but there’s no guarantee I’ll get it back. And I may just never be able to handle doing that again because my bipolar has gotten so much worse over the last few years. So has my back, and you know what they call a nurse with a bad back? Unemployed, lol.

Nursing is the only thing I could see myself doing again–it’s the only thing I’m qualified for that’s worth doing, paycheck-wise–and I’d need a nursing job that was easy on my back. Maybe I could work on a psych unit. I’d be able to relate to my patients since I have my own psych issues. Other than that, the only thing I could see myself doing is telecommuting from home. I just can’t do a normal full-time job, I can’t handle the stress. But not working at all has stresses of its own, as I have learned.

So basically, I hate working but I also hate being poor and dependent on the government for everything I need to live. It’s a moot point for right now because I can’t get my nursing license back until I’m off probation, and that’s 18 months away. Right now I’m focused on getting my Social Security Disability (SSD) due to my bipolar depression, anxiety, and back issues. Once I get a final determination from Social Security and I’m off probation, we’ll see about going back into nursing. I don’t WANT to do it, but I feel like I may HAVE to. We shall see. I need to lose a lot of weight, too, that I gained due to my psych meds. If I don’t do that, my back will never get to the point that it can tolerate working. Right now I can sit in a chair for about an hour, maybe a little more, before I have to flop on the couch or lay down in bed. I can only stand and walk around for about half an hour at a time. Jobs that require a lot of standing and walking are right out, and that includes an awful lot of nursing jobs. So I don’t really know where I go from here. Getting SSD will give my wife and I some breathing room so we’re not one car repair away from complete destitution, but it’s not going to get us rich. But at this point in my life, it’s no longer about being rich, it’s about getting by.

There’s an idea floating around out there called Universal Basic Income. Basically, everybody in society gets a check each month, enough for them to live on. People who want more than the minimum are welcome to work, and the basic income phases out for those who make more money working. Some of our more progressive European brethren see this as a viable option in the face of continued automation of jobs. As robots take over more and more jobs, what do the people do for a living? Well, they get the “basic” income. I don’t know if this would ever work in the United States, given our collective hatred of the poor, but it’s an interesting idea. Of course, for this to work, you have to tax the rich and the corporations, so we’d basically need to overhaul the government beforehand. It’s nothing I’ll probably ever see in my lifetime, but maybe the Millennials can make it work.

Eh, that’s enough for now. Thanks for reading. =)