I have been seeking help for years now, in its various forms.
Therapy, for me, began at age seven.
My first suicide attempt at age nine.
My life was just supposed to be getting started, but I was already tasked with trying to pick up the pieces of myself…and they were scattered into so many shards that I had no clue where to begin.
No one else did, either.
Nobody knew why this young child was rendezvous-ing with various psychologists, social workers and counselors.
But we all knew something was wrong.
We knew there was trauma, but we couldn’t pinpoint the events.
Blind to the big picture.
That really makes it awfully difficult to complete a puzzle: some pieces blurred, bent, disfigured…and some missing altogether.
I was relying on others – the professionals – to see into me and make sense of what was happening. Totally oblivious myself, doing my best to cope with this unknown circumstance.
In this way, the system failed me. Because my situation was never categorized, it was never validated. Words like “depression” and “anxiety” became a part of my vocabulary early on in life, but these are widely regarded and largely dismissed. It has become commonplace to suffer one or both, and it has been deemed not overly problematic, though I’m not certain who by.
I clung to these diagnoses because they described what I was feeling…but offered zero explanation as to why.
I can’t fault the people who were trying to help me. Overall, they were considerate and well-meaning people as one would expect. The therapists, that is.
My family doctor and psychiatrist have been a completely different story. These are children of Doctorates of Medical Science. Keepers of troves of information concerning biology and experts in solving medical mysteries; the causes and solutions to deterioration of cells, abnormal growths, bacterial and viral infections and auto-immune disorders.
What plagues me doesn’t show up on X-Rays, MRIs, or in blood tests nor urine samples.
Explanations of my suffering are lost on them. A reading, a measurement, a clear diagnosis is required.
All I have wanted is validation of my symptoms by professionals – and a hint of help. The system we have is not serving me. Nor is it serving people that I know and love struggling similarly. I believe this is why we have so many self-medicating individuals who tend to seek alternative healing (myself most certainly among them). No matter what you sedate yourself with; be it food, drugs, exercise in excess, alcohol – name your vice – if it is used to stifle emotion then it is addiction. I am not ashamed to say that I have addictions. They have gotten me to where I am, and I have rarely been reckless BUT that does not make me any less of an addict.
Truly, I am addicted to finding wellness. Though my methods may be counter-intuitive at times, I am working with what I’ve got.
I am weary of being defined negatively by the DSM and the doctors who employ it. I am tired of being looked down upon because I perceive life differently than others. I have had it up to here with judgement surrounding my self-medicating habits that help keep me alive and thriving where prescribed medication has kept me sedated and zombified.
(Disclaimer: medication is a very valid way to treat all manner of illnesses – I take Venlafaxine to treat depression and anxiety. I would not recommend eschewing prescription drugs completely, depending on the individual and their needs. What has worked for me may not work for another, and vice versa. I do not think, however, that someone should be so drugged that they can barely function…which was territory I was headed into previously and I had to refuse certain doctor-recommended treatments for my own good.)
The fact that I have little say in my wellness plan is infuriating.
My focus – as anyone who knows me or who has read this post knows – is on cannabis. I have had a love affair with it since age eighteen. It has proven to: improve my mood, alleviate uneasiness, minimize chronic pain, inspire productivity and bring about relaxation. It can also do the complete opposite depending on my headspace, but this is the key. If I am feeling supported, understood and connected then cannabis is a godsend.
Medicinal cannabis, in Canada, is (supposedly) accessible to those suffering PTSD.
I can tell any doctor with confidence that I suffer from PTSD and a plethora of other difficulties on the daily. So why am I being denied?
Am I using the wrong words?
Frustrated yet Determined,