I wear pearls and sweater sets. If you saw me in the preschool drop-off line, you would be excused for thinking that I really have my act together. My car is clean, my kid smiles and gives me a big hug when she sees me. Come over to my house and 90 percent of the time it’ll be in perfect order, decorated for whatever holiday is coming up next, and I’ll offer you something fresh from the oven that I’ve made from scratch.
I know when people look at me they don’t see a woman who suffers from crippling anxiety, PTSD, and OCD. They also wouldn’t expect that I smoke pot a few times a week.
I get it — I don’t fit the stereotype at all. You’d never see me and automatically think that I’m the parent most likely to get high. But I am, and quite simply, smoking pot makes me a better mum.
Look, I was skeptical, too. I smoked pot once when I was sixteen. It was in the back of my boyfriend’s car in the car park of a supermarket. I didn’t like it at all and didn’t really see the appeal.
Plus, the kids in my high school who were stoners were all losers and I didn't want to be like them. They were the ones who turned every project in art class into a bong, and sat in the darkest recesses of the lunchroom with stringy hair and wrinkly Pink Floyd t-shirts.
Fast forward twenty years and I'm one of the biggest advocates for responsible marijuana use and legalisation you'll ever meet.
The past few years have been really tough for me. A series of hardships, none of which I could've prevented, left me shattered and heartbroken. I won't go into the details, but things were really bad and the stress was taking a tremendous toll on me.
I spent more nights than I'd care to remember curled on my bathroom floor in the fetal position sobbing and vomiting from panic attacks that made me feel like I was literally dying.
Of course, I sought medical help. I exercised, ate right, meditated, juiced kale and tried to not consume gluten. I did all the things everyone swears will miraculously cure you. None of it worked.
Antidepressants kind of helped, but the dosage I needed to stop my panic attacks rendered me so tired and sluggish that I couldn't parent in the way my child needed. I'd try to play blocks on the floor and end up passing out cold on the carpet. I gained a lot of weight, which would've been worth it if I felt significantly better, but I didn't.
Xanax was a desperate possibility, but it's highly addictive and users can have dangerous withdrawals. On top of everything else, the last thing I needed was to battle a pill addiction.
When I weaned myself off of SSRIs, my husband suggested pot instead. My sister agreed. She uses it under a doctor's supervision to treat her bipolar disorder. It was a natural, fast-acting option to stop my panic attacks and help me sleep and eat like a normal, functioning human being again without suffering the side-effects of antidepressants.
At first I was really skeptical.
"Am I going to stop shaving my armpits and run off to a Rainbow Gathering?" I asked.
So far, that hasn't happened, although I must admit to a deep appreciation for reggae. I even like the smell of patchouli, but I've got this in check. I promise I won't be following any jam bands around the country any time soon.
All kidding aside, smoking a small amount of pot a couple nights a week after my child is in bed has dramatically improved my life.
My anxiety has significantly reduced. It helps me sleep and doesn't leave me feeling drugged, exhausted and numb like antidepressants did. My energy is back and I can engage with my family so much better now. I'm really thankful for it.
For me, marijuana was a last resort. I don't smoke it to have a good time, and I have strict boundaries about when I can smoke and how much (only one or two puffs at a time). I smoke it medicinally, because I need it and because it works better than anything else I've tried.
I don't advocate smoking around children under any circumstances, and I don't condone recreational use. But for me, pot has some very real medical benefits. It makes me a much better Mum because it helps me calm down, live healthier, and get enough rest and nourishment.
Anxiety took me away from parenting, but marijuana brought me back.
What do you think of the mum's decision to smoke pot?
This post originally appeared on Your Tango.
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