I (Jordana) have personally suffered from mental health issues since the age of 11. By 21 I was fighting for my life and trying to stay off of pharmaceuticals thinking “I want to be happy because I’m happy, not because pills are making me feel that way”. By 25, the fight was over and the trial and error began to find “the right combination” for my multiple diagnoses; “depressive episodes, chronic anxiety, PTSD, OCD and panic disorder”.
After experiencing different medications like Zoloft, Wellbutrin, and Seroquel and feeling closer to death than ever, my psychiatrist finally found the “right combination” of drugs for me. 150mg of Effexor and 150mg of Seroquel Xr. Two years into being on those meds I wasn’t any better. I had to drop out of university and take a medical leave from my job. I stayed in bed for months, unable to see the light. I knew my life wasn’t where I wanted it to be, and that the person I was sharing my life with wasn’t the right person for me. So I made some hard decisions and left my “freedom” behind.
It was 2013 the summer of my life, I was single for the first time in 5 years and living alone. I was experiencing a new found sense of freedom and adulthood. Yet my fits of rage, my crippling anxiety and turning to alcohol to escape it all, landed me in some questionable situations. After two more failed attempts of suicide, I didn’t know what else to do. My friends at the time had been smoking cannabis for years. One friend said “Jord, I think you would really like it”. After thinking it over, and managing to get over my past experiences with it and the fear of “paranoia”, I decided, I have nothing to lose.
From that very first inhale, to exhale, I felt immediate relief. All of the tensed up energy in my body loosened. The racing thoughts slowed. My pulse slowed. I was able to see clearly for the first time in years. I thought to myself rather quickly “wow, I have been lied to for so long”. From there, I continued consuming cannabis. I tracked all of the strains I was using and I was figuring out what helped and what didn’t. After successfully coming down to 37.5 mg of Effexor just from smoking cannabis, I knew I could go all the way.
During this time, I met my husband, got married and started our family. With my previous mental health illnesses, this severely impacted my pregnancies, which in turn affected being newlyweds. My doctors encouraged me to go back up on Effexor and think twice about using cannabis. This weighed on me heavily because I truly believe that the Effexor is more harmful to a fetus than cannabis. I explained that it was curious to me that I did so well for two years and now I’m back here; being told this is the route to take. So I did what a “good girl” does and I listened to my educated, “well intended” doctors. I went back up on my pills, but not only did I not get any relief, I ended up experiencing severe postpartum depression twice in 2 years after the births of my two children.
Today I am 34 years old and after a long journey with mental health and self-development, I can proudly say that I am no longer using antidepressants, antipsychotics or sleeping pills. I have successfully managed, with the help of my psychiatrist, a social worker, occupational therapist, Mothers Mary Community and our group coaching program, to wean from the medications I had gotten back on during pregnancy. I am now living a 99.9% Pharma free life.
I will also say that I believe with every fiber of my being that all humans are capable of achieving whatever goals they set out for themselves. I personally think that if you want to truly be happy with yourself, you need to heal. In order to heal, you need to do the hard ugly work and release your trauma. Pills are not here to help us or cure us. They are here to maintain our illnesses and feed the greed.
*Disclaimer: We are not medical professionals and as such, we cannot diagnose or treat any medical issues. Readers are advised to do their own research and make decisions in partnership with their health care provider. If you are pregnant, nursing, have a medical condition or are taking any medication, please consult your physician. Nothing you read here should be relied upon to determine dietary changes, a medical diagnosis or course of treatment.