May is Mental Health Awareness Month and it is my turn to share a raw, unfiltered look at my life and the role cannabis has played in helping me to manage anxiety, depression, and to ultimately create a life of true health and happiness.
This article is simply a story of personal reflection and not meant to be taken as advice for any situation.
Here we go again, a raw, unfiltered, unedited post revealing my most sacred secret. The last time I wrote a post like this, the infamous I Am Not An Anti-Diet Dietitian post, I was scared to hit publish, but it was necessary for my own personal growth, so here we go again.
I’ve been feeling that same ‘stuck’ sensation that I felt before. An inability to move forward in my work and sharing pieces of my life without actually being my true authentic self.
I know that by hitting publish on this post that I am opening myself up to criticism, backlash, and judgment. I know that I will be putting myself, as a mother, in danger of public scrutiny. I know that I will lose work from clients who are not ready to accept my truth.
But I am ready.
I am ready to be my true authentic self and to reveal a monumental secret that so deeply defines who I am as a person. I am ready to share my story in hopes of inspiring others to share theirs as well. I am ready to be a thought leader in this space and to change the view of traditional cannabis users. I am ready to be me,
My Ability to Influence Lies in My Ability To Be Honest
I spend a lot of time thinking about my work. I am a solo-entrepreneur promoting wellness through living a holistic lifestyle. As weird as it is to say, I am an influencer. I make money by sharing my thoughts and opinions with the world.
What I have discovered is that my ability to influence others lies in my ability
Unfortunately, we live in a society where it is not always easy
That is why I find it very interesting and timely that I am currently living in the era of a cannabis revolution. I believe in signs, the woo, and I believe that this is happening now so that I can participate and share
So that I can empower and liberate others who use cannabis for wellness, too.
I have already lost a few brand sponsors due to my work with just CBD, so I know that I will likely lose more with this post. But I have to keep reminding myself that this is the reason I started my business, so I can ‘do me’, so I can be myself, so I can empower others to do the same.
I will no longer be an influencer who is too scared
I Have Used Cannabis Every Day For The Last 10 Years: Heres What Happened
I never thought it would type that sentence. For my whole life, my cannabis use has been kept private, shamefully, due to the current political and social climate surrounding cannabis use and the perception of cannabis users.
First, let me clarify, I did not use cannabis while I was pregnant with Ran, although I did consider it for a brief time and hold no judgment towards those who do.
However, I do use cannabis on a daily basis for a multitude of reasons to support my overall health and wellness and have since I was 18 years old.
For so long I held onto the shame of using cannabis, I constantly wrestled with the idea that I was a ‘drug addict’, defined by other peoples standards. Today I hope that I can proudly proclaim that I use cannabis therapeutically to enhance my overall wellbeing without judgement.
The Backstory of My Cannabis Use
To understand my present, I think it is important to understand my past.
I was out of control when I was a teenager, more so than typical teenage girls. I had a severe inability to control my anger and my emotions. My relationship with my parents was volatile, I was rebellious, and I was destructive. It was no fault of my parents, they did everything right.
My fights with my parents grew more explosive, I began self-harming myself, and we all struggled with our mental and emotional health during this time. We went to counseling, but the problems continued to grow.
I remember my parents talking to me about our families deep-rooted history with mental illness, specifically anxiety, depression and bipolar disorder. But I was too young, too impatient, and too ignorant to understand that these illnesses affected just about every single person in my family, including myself.
A Family Tragedy: Suicide
Then one day, something happened that changed my entire family forever. When I was 16 years old, my cousin Molly who was also 16 years old at the time, committed suicide.
I have never publicly discussed this before, it was an extremely painful and shameful experience that devastated the entire family, and at the time I think I was too numb, too young, too dumb, and too naive to understand the true gravity of what happened.
I will never forget
It is not my intention to give any recommendations on taking or not taking medication for depression, this is simply me sharing my experience.
From my experience, I vowed that I would never, ever look at prescription medication or mental health the same way again.
An Introduction to Cannabis Use
At just 17 years old, I headed off to college on my own. I was still the same, miserable angry teenager my parents fought with the previous year, and I will never forget the day they dropped me off. I was horrible to them. I was mean, angry, and know that I truly broke their hearts that day.
I spent one semester at Fredonia State, failing personally and academically. By the end of the semester, I was headed back to move in with my parents at home, with a 1.8 GPA average. It was one of the lowest points in my life. I was depressed, anxious, and felt like a true failure.
Around the same time, I started dating a boyfriend who introduced me to the world of cannabis use. He had a wonderful family that accepted and embraced cannabis use as a therapeutic lifestyle intervention, and I saw first hand how cannabis could be used for positive experiences.
They say hindsight is 20/20, and I can easily see now how this story could have
With my more frequent cannabis use, I found myself being able to control my emotions for the first time ever. I found myself with the ability to control my anger, my mood swings, and my violent outbursts. For the first time, I was able to experience contentment.
I enrolled in the local community college and started working as a waitress at Ember, a local restaurant where I ended up meeting my now husband.
And then something remarkable happened.
Cannabis Use Changed My Life For The Better
I discovered that by using cannabis, I was not only able to be more emotionally stable but was then able to be more motivated, productive and inspired.
During my first semester in community college I got a 4.0 GPA and made the Dean’s list. For the first time in a long time, I had accomplished something positive, all on my own.
For the first time, I was happy, I was determined, and I saw unlimited options for my future. All because I started to use cannabis therapeutically.
What I Have Accomplished Because of Cannabis
I enrolled in the nutrition program at MCC where I made the Dean’s List, Honor Society, and received a few scholarships. After a year, I applied to Rochester Institute of Technology, one of the best schools in the area, and I was accepted.
I excelled at RIT. My GPA was never below a 3.75, I volunteered, I participated in social activities, and I enjoyed the college experience. I felt motivated and inspired to become a dietitian, to become more than just a waitress, to become a better version of myself.
And at the same time, I waitressed at nights and on the weekends, I saved my money, moved in with my new boyfriend Phil, paid all of my own bills, paid my own school tuition, and did it all on my own.
I was never more empowered.
I did (what I was told I couldn’t do) and applied to a distance dietetic internship and graduate school so that I could continue to pursue my dream of becoming a dietitian, without having to move and uproot my life. We moved into our forever home, and at the end of my internship, I graduated with my Master’s of Science
I have no doubt in my mind at all, that I would have never been able to turn my life around and accomplish all that I had by age 23 if I did not begin to use cannabis therapeutically.
Cannabis Use After Motherhood
As I mentioned before, I did not use cannabis when I was pregnant, but I did notice a major difference in my life without it.
As many new mothers experience, I went through another period of depression. Traditional new-mom experiences combined with my dissatisfaction of the standstill in my career left me feeling extremely unhappy. While I had graduated with my degree, I had not taken the exam to become a dietitian and was back again waitressing at the restaurant.
Thankfully, when Ransom was 5 months old, my sister finally talked me into taking my exam. I did not study. I went in, I took it, and I passed.
It was the start of a new life for me. I was officially a dietitian, but I was feeling stuck because I did not want to leave my baby boy to go to work in a hospital. I started using cannabis again and immediately felt the motivation, inspiration, and desire to do something more with my life.
I decided that I was going to start a blog, even though I did not know what a blog even was. Four years ago, I sat with my laptop and my infant on the couch and changed my life forever. I worked on my business part-time for two years while I worked at a hospital part-time in a clinical role.
During my time at the hospital, I dodged drug tests, I hated the work that I was doing, and I never had the opportunity to be my true self. I was always living in secret, always living in fear that someone would ‘find out’ about my secrets.
I Am Successful Because I Use Cannabis
I am proud to say that 18 months ago I was able to quit that job I hated, and the rest has been history for me.
I have been successfully self-employed for the last 1.5 years and have accomplished more than I have ever dreamed of in such a short amount of time. I never dreamt that my ‘blog’ would turn into a full-fledged business that would not only support me but my entire family.
During this time I have become financially stable and been able to start paying off my student loans. I built my own dream She Shed and now work from home in the most beautiful workspace imaginable.
I Am Just So Damn Happy
Every day I feel immense gratitude for the life I live today. I recognize that I am extremely privileged to be in this situation. I am thankful that I live in a time period where it is OK to be myself, to speak my truth, and to know that the world will continue to spin on.
I know that cannabis use is not for everyone. The main message that I am trying to drive home is that you must do what works for you. You must not be ashamed – especially if you have found something that works for you, that makes your life happier and healthier.
Thank you for listening. Thank you for not judging me. And thank you for supporting me, I am forever grateful ♥️