I’ve had an epiphany. What do I mean by epiphany? A thought that came to me suddenly that changes the way I am thinking about something. That’s all. It’s not huge. It’s a little awakening. It’s a lawakening. A small epiphany. A sepiphany. Here it is:
I spend a lot of effort justifying my pot smoking. You’ve seen it, if you’ve read my other posts. I detail many positives, how it helps me to combat many symptoms, that might or might not be part of any clinical diagnosis. I make good arguments, in my mind, and support them well, and try hard to convince anyone who is willing to hear them. But now I realize that it is accurate to simply say that I smoke it for depression.
What is depression anyway?
I say that I feel better about who I am, that I am motivated, that I believe I can finish things, that I am willing to push through unpleasant tasks, confident in the satisfaction it will bring me upon completion. I say I am more patient, more in the moment, more attentive as a mom and wife. I enjoy sex more. I say that it is the difference between being happy and unhappy.
What else is it curing for me, than things which are simply put, symptoms of depression? And maybe people understand, or at least accept, that depression is a real thing. Some people will probably still say that I should take something prescribed by a doctor, even if it’s more toxic, and possibly addictive and may not even work (we don’t know), in lieu of something that is proven to work, at least on me, and I’m the only one we’re talking about right now. Actually, I’ve tried that. It’s like going to the eye doctor. They give you one thing and ask you if you feel better. And if you say no, they try something else and ask you, again, for your subjective evaluation. If you say yes (I can see!) you stay on that until maybe you wonder whether it’s just the mindfulness of the question that made you think you felt better. Mindfulness can help. Noticing when you feel good and when you feel bad can help you identify triggers, at least. And then you realize that there is already something that you know works for you and even helps you with the mindfulness.
My neuroscientist friend who says that studies support the notion that pot use affects the developing brain, suggests that it could be the cause of my depression. That’s a valid theory. I don’t know what I would be like if I didn’t smoke at 13. But is he assuming that this is true? Because, I don’t want to tell him how to do his job, but the only scientific conclusion we can make about its effect on me is that we don’t know.
We can look for evidence to support the theory. We might expect, for example, that if pot caused my depression, then I would not have had symptoms before I started smoking. I have an early memory, early enough that I can’t really pinpoint the time, elementary school, I think, 6th grade at the latest, in which I am standing in front of a mirror crying and saying to the me in the reflection, “I hate myself.” I’m welling up a little remembering what that felt like.
The sense that I don’t like myself goes back. I remember wanting to be an actress because I liked pretending to be someone else. All of that came before I ever smoked pot. Whether there were other effects that were somewhat permanent, I still don’t know, maybe never will. But I haven’t found evidence that there was.
So unless you have some other reason for wanting to believe that, I don’t think it’s a logical conclusion, either, that kids should take adderall, or lexapro, or whatever else they are prescribing kids today over a less toxic alternative which they may choose to self-medicate with, but would be better off taking under some kind of supervision.
Crying in the mirror as a tweenie was most probably related to my gender dysphoria, which was also a likely founding factor for the chronic minor depression that I have struggled with my entire life. When I smoke pot, I’m not cured of that, but I’m ok with it. I like who I am, despite it, accepting of the feminine and masculine. It seems less significant to me, because I can be happy anyway. Would you deny me that?